The fate of Honor’s latest phone was pretty uncertain after its parent company Huawei had its Android license pulled by Google - leaving the new Mate 30 Pro without any of the Android apps we’re used to.
However, back to Honor - the Honor 9X seems to come out of the debacle relatively unscathed and is available now in the UK for £249.99.
At that price, and an offering of four cameras lens (more on that below), it’s certainly vying for top spot in terms of value for money. But, what about specs? After all, what’s the point of saving money if you’re left in the dark ages.
Well, these are 7 things we learnt while playing around with the Honor 9X - covering everything from design, to battery life and those all important cameras.
- Want to know how it fairs against others? Check out our best mid-range phones review
1. It's notch-less
The 6.59-inch screen on the Honor 9X is notch-less leaving the user with a screen-to-body ratio of a pretty impressive 91%. The screen itself is only a LCD display, but the colour still feels pretty vibrant and the brightness levels are good, too.
The front camera is instead a 16MP pop-up that comes out the top of the phone - a fun novelty, which does leaves the display undisrupted. You can hear the whirring of the mechanism working when you activate the front camera, but it’s not noticeably loud.
2. Super night mode really is super
One of the winning features of this mid-range phone is the night mode. Honor have obviously put a lot of work in trying to compete with the more expensive models when it comes with camera quality. There are three lens - a 48MP main lens, a 8MP wide angle (that has a field view of 120 degrees), and a 2MP portrait lens.
The panorama mode is fun, but does create a lot of noise in the photos. However, for a £200-ish phone, the night mode - named Super Night Mode by Honor - is pretty good. The photos are clear, and show an impressive amount of detail. If you know your way around a camera, you can also turn off the automated settings and manually choose the shutter speed.
3. All-day battery
There’s no quick-charging function in the Honor 9X, but the battery life is pretty good. Honor suggests that the phone has an ‘all-day battery life’ or up to 28-hours of talktime. It certainly lasted the full work day for us, including an hour commute each way and a two-hour YouTube bingeing session when we got home.
And, in terms of the charging time - in our tests, the Honor 9X charged 22% in half an hour. Not stunning but as long as you remember to charge it overnight, it shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Watch your fingers
One of the first things you’ll notice with the Honor 9X is the back, which features a reflective ‘X’ design that moves in the light. It looks pretty cool but because of the reflective glass back, it does show fingerprints pretty badly and attracts every bit of fluff and dust in the vicinity.
The solution is obviously to put a case on the phone. Problem solved? Well, yes and no. It solves the dust problem but it does then obscure the design on the back of the phone - one of the nicest features.
While we're talking about the back of the handset, it's also worth mentioning this is where you'll find the fingerprint scanner. This is to keep that huge screen-to-body ratio, and for the most part it works pretty well. It's a fairly natural movement to move your finger to the back of the phone and the unlock speed is fast. The only issue is that this positioning of the sensor is a little awkward for those with small hands.
5. An old-school headphone jack
If you’re one of those people who complained when Apple first got rid of its headphone jack, you’ll be pleased to know that the Honor 9X does have one. The 3.5mm headphone jack is an added bonus for the few of us who still prefer wired headphones. However, it does mean that the phone is not waterproof, though it does have minor dust and splash ‘protection’.
6. The storage is expandable
The Honor 9X only has 128GB of internal storage, but you do have the option of expanding it with a micro SD card. That means it can be expanded to over 512GB of storage, which is ideal if you want to use the handset for work and need to store a decent amount of photos or other files on the phone itself.
7. There's no avoiding Android
The biggest concern around this new Honor phone was whether it would feature Android. Luckily, the Honor 9X came out of the Huawei ban fairly unharmed (hurray) and still has all the Google apps you’d expect, including Google Assistant.