Honor 9X first impressions: The new phone has lots of promises to keep

Honor 9X launched in India today for a starting price of 13,999. Here are our detailed first impressions of the new smartphone.

Honor 9X  is here
Honor 9X is here (HT Photo)

Huawei's Honor just kicked off the New Year with a new budget smartphone, Honor 9X. The handset is available in two variants - 4GB+128GB and 6GB+128GB - priced at 13,999 and 16,999 respectively. At this price point, Honor 9X competes with the likes of Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro and Realme 5 Pro.

We got our hands on the new smartphone for a few hours, and here's what we think about it.

For someone who has already used an Honor smartphone before, the new 9X should deliver a familiar feel in hands. The back features a plastic panel with a glossy finish at the back. The edges, however, curved, making it slightly slippery. Honor 9x is on the heavier side at 192 grams. Midnight Black and Sapphire Blue colour variants are good to look at though.

Watch | Honor 9X launched in India: Unboxing, first impressions of the new budget phone


It also has a Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 vibe to it but nonetheless, is attractive, especially the Sapphire Blue colour variant. As compared, the Midnight Black variant might be the one reflecting most fingerprint smudges as the other one has a pattern and this one doesn't. And considering there's a fingerprint sensor at the back, it will be difficult to maintain the look.

Honor 9X has a plastic back panel with glossy finish
Honor 9X has a plastic back panel with glossy finish (HT Photo)

We found the 6.5-inch FullView FHD+ IPS LCD screen good with colours for the most part, especially the blacks while playing videos and scrolling through websites and images. It's not as flashy as AMOLED panels but fits in with the rest of the specifications that you usually see in sub-20,000 smartphones. There is a 'chin' at the bottom that might grow on you over time. Fortunately, there's no notch, so CoD Mobile or other games and videos will be as immersive as they can be.

Honor 9x comes with 48MP, 8MP, and 2MP rear cameras
Honor 9x comes with 48MP, 8MP, and 2MP rear cameras (HT Photo)

Powering the smartphone is a rather dated Kirin 710F, which we saw in Honor 20i as well last year. There's also the new GPU 3.0 Turbo tech about which we will talk in detail in our review.

Running the show is Android 9 Pie-based EMUI 9.0. The scrolling animations, swiftness while jumping across different apps and more were fluid. That said, what comes as a massive 'bummer' is that it might not get an Android 10 update. It's 2020 already and a smartphone running Android 9 without any guarantee for the next version can be a huge trade-off.

Honor 9X has a 16MP pop-up selfie camera
Honor 9X has a 16MP pop-up selfie camera (HT Photo)

Honor made a huge deal about the cameras of the Honor 9X at the launch. The smartphone has a 48-megapixel camera with f1.9 aperture, 8-megapixel Super Wide Angle camera with f2.4 aperture and 2-megapixel Depth assist sensor. We did notice that the camera is set to 12-megapixel by default and the user would have to change it to 48-megapixel manually. A plus point is that the camera resolution doesn't change to default once you close and reopen the app. A possible downside here can be the AI video stabilisation mode that only works on 720p resolution videos.

Selfie lovers get a 16-megapixel pop-up camera, something that was made popular by the likes of Oppo and Vivo last year. We have seen this in several smartphones in this budget. However, unlike some handsets, the pop-up module shows up on the left side instead of the centre. You do get Beauty mode, portrait and other features for selfies. However, the pop-up camera is not as fancy as the one you get in smartphones like Redmi K20 Pro.

Powering the entire device is a 4,000mAh battery with Type-C charging. On the software side of things, you get three modes that you get in every other Honor handset - Performance, Power Saving, and Ultra Power Saving.

Stay tuned to Hindustan Times tech for the review, which will be up soon!