After an Honor 8X released in October 2018, the brand returns a year later with its successor, the Honor 9X. In the table of differences, we can note the presence of a retractable photo module, a USB-C socket, and a larger capacity battery. After spending some time in his company, I give you what I thought of this smartphone.
The Honor 9X comes in a box similar to the Honor 8X tested last year. The upper face of the box presents two visuals of the device as well as its reference. On the edges with a blue or white background, nothing special except references to the make and model.
Inside, the brand has inserted, in addition to its smartphone, a sim extractor, a USB cable, and its power adapter as well as a transparent silicone protective shell. If you take a closer look you will see that the screen is protected by a film already installed.
So you have everything you need to start your day with this new device. In the copy I received, I had no documentation – is it really still useful for a smartphone? – no hands-free kit but I suppose it is related to the fact that it is a specimen used for the tests.Inside, the brand has inserted, in addition to its smartphone, a sim extractor, a USB cable, and its power adapter as well as a transparent silicone protective shell. If you take a closer look you will see that the screen is protected by a film already installed.
So you have everything you need to start your day with this new device. In the copy I received, I had no documentation – is it really still useful for a smartphone? – no hands-free kit but I suppose it is related to the fact that it is a specimen used for the tests.
We start this data sheet with the engine of this new model: a Kirin 710F processor, a Mali-G51 MP4 GPU chip, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage capacity. You can always extend the latter via a memory card. It also accepts a 2nd sim card but you have to choose between the latter and a memory card. So far, nothing much different from the Honor 8X.
For the display, Honor remained on an LCD screen but increased the diagonal very slightly from 6.5 ″ to a diagonal of 6.59 ″ on the Honor 9X. The definition (2340 x 1080px) and the ratio (19.5: 9) remain unchanged.
I am coming to the field of photography and it is on this subject that evolution is the most obvious. We go from 2 to 3 sensors on the back of the device. Let’s focus on the Honor 9X which includes a 48Mpx main sensor, an 8Mpx ultra-wide sensor, and a final 2Mpx module for depth.
For the selfie sensor, the terminal benefits from a 16Mpx pop-up camera capable of capturing videos in Full HD at 60fps.
It offers the same connectivity as the 2018 model namely WiFi (Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and 4G compatibility. There is still a little progress on the USB side. We migrate from a micro-USB socket to USB-C but we stay on USB 2.0. No switch to USB 3.0 yet. The headphone jack and the fingerprint reader are also still present.
In its slightly thicker shell, Honor has managed to integrate a larger non-removable battery: 4000mAh for the Honor 9X against 3750mAh for the Honor 8X. As for the measurements, the Honor 9X comes with a body of 163.5 x 77.3 x 8.8 mm for approximately 200g against 160.4 x 76.6 x 7.8 mm and 176g for the Honor 8X.
Please note that the Honor 9X, like its predecessor before it, does not benefit from any protection against water and dust.
For its Honor 9X, the brand uses the same formula as its predecessor: a large format device with a beautiful display surface. Thanks to the pop-up camera – a pleasant surprise for this model – the screen does not have any punch or drop of water. This type of sensor is not without flaws but for the display, it’s great.
The physical buttons are well laid out in relation to the hand and just like the Honor 8X, they remain on the right side of the device. The other side is completely smooth.
The upper edge, in addition to containing the drawer for the pop-up camera, receives the slot for the sim cards and the memory card. In contrast, Honor has positioned a speaker output, the USB-C socket, the headphone socket, and the main microphone.
On the backside of the Honor 9X, on a back with slightly curved edges and nice reflections, the 3 photo modules are arranged vertically, always in the upper left corner. It’s similar to what was done on the Honor 8X. In the light, the back is pleasant to look at… if it weren’t for the fingerprints which quickly “decorate” this side of the device.
Other common points: the area including the photosensors does not protrude too much from the surface of the smartphone and a fingerprint sensor is located in the center of the blue shell. If you opt for fingerprint unlocking, be aware that the reader is very well placed.
For its Honor 9X, the brand has not made a big change compared to the previous edition: we go from a 6.5 ″ screen to a 6.59 ″ screen but we keep the IPS technology. Still no Oled screen on the horizon.
With controlled dimensions, the part occupied by the screen remains close to 85% and the resolution remains the same (2340 x 1080px). Basically, the density is almost the same. It hits 391ppi which is absolutely correct.
A screen of this size has advantages. On the other hand, it becomes almost impossible to handle it with one hand. Don’t worry, the system offers a few options to make navigation easier.
The display options of the Honor 9X
The screen is easy to read, but you can still encounter some difficulties when the outside light is high. Just like on the Honor 8X, you really should not hesitate to go through the Settings menu to adapt the colorimetry.
The Honor 9X runs Android 9 with the EMUI 9.1 overlay. Don’t worry, there is no change compared to the Honor 8X and for those who do not know, you will quickly find the functions that interest you.
In these times, it’s good to remember that the Honor 9X still benefits from Google apps. No risk of getting stuck the day you want to install your favorite program or game. In contrast, the latest Android security update was released last summer.
Honor 9X interface overview
The interface offers a lot of possibilities to customize the interface and the navigation mode of your device.
I will repeat myself in relation to the Honor 8X: some pre-installed apps probably won’t serve you. In this case, I invite you to uninstall them even if the capacity of the terminal is quite suitable (128GB) but it depends on your use.
To unlock the device, the good old methods still work but you might as well use what the device offers in addition: the fingerprint reader. It works great and the unlocking is quick. On the other hand, it becomes complicated if the device is placed on its back.
I’m not talking about facial recognition because, despite the presence of this pop-up camera, the Honor 9X does not offer such a security option. Is it related to the delay with which the camera appears? A question of cost? It’s a shame not to have it but between offering it but not using it because it’s slower than going through the fingerprint reader, we can indeed ask the question and Honor has made his decision.
As you discovered on the technical sheet, the Honor 9X is equipped with a triple photo module: a 48MPx main sensor with f / 1.6 aperture, an 8Mpx ultra-wide-angle sensor with f / 2.4 aperture, and a sensor of 2Mpx for better rendering on the depth.
In addition to improving the photosensors present on the device, the rendering has also improved compared to the Honor 8X.
I would like to point out that all the photos presented below were taken before the start of confinement.
I would like to clarify one point right away: the main module of the Honor 9X does not capture 48Mpx photos directly. The maximum definition is 12Mpx and it uses Pixel Binning technology to go from 12 to 48Mpx. This process makes it possible to combine 4 pixels into 1 via image processing.
With the 48Mpx mode, the rendering is better outdoors with good brightness. By switching to the 12Mpx mode, the precision and colorimetry are slightly worse. The result is still very satisfactory, especially for the price of the device.
In low light, the rendering is average. The noise is much more present and the colorimetry is less good. It’s hard to expect much better from this line of cameras, and the “night shot” mode doesn’t help much.
As for the ultra-wide-angle sensor, it’s nice to have one on a smartphone for less than 250 €. The rendering is cooler than with the main module and a distortion remains visible. Finally, I do not recommend using this same sensor in low light, you would be disappointed with the result.
In portrait mode, although you can adjust the bokeh effect, the clipping is not perfect but it is still quite correct.
The 16Mpx selfie sensor is hidden in the upper edge of the device. It will only come out when needed. As indicated, it’s nice for the display surface but on the other hand, activating it is not as fast as with a photo module on the front. In terms of rendering, the result is satisfactory.
The Honor 9X has a Kirin 710F processor made up of 8 cores and 4GB of RAM. All in all, this is sufficient for everyday tasks. It stays smooth when browsing or running apps and offers decent performance.
Honor 9X Benchmark Scores
Now if you decide to “push” it a bit by running resource-intensive games, it will show some limits. It will then be necessary to reduce the graphics options to ensure better fluidity of constant fluidity.
For the audio part, as indicated above, it is possible to connect the headphones. The rendering is quite good even if the level is not very high. Now, if you prefer to go hands-free – a single speaker – this will work fine for calls but not be very satisfactory for other uses.
With its 4000mAh battery, the Honor 9X offers a very comfortable autonomy. You can leave on the autonomy of between 1.5 days and 2 days following your use.
Honor 9X autonomy overview
Unfortunately, the presence of the USB-C port on the lower edge does not mean fast charging. It will take about 2 hours to leave it to leave with it.
The Honor 9X is currently available at a price of € 229.90 against € 249.90 usually. You will find it on the HiHonor website as well as on partner merchant sites.
There are two different colors: Midnight Black or Phantom Blue, the latter corresponding to the model tested.
With its Honor 9X, the brand gives us a device in the continuity of its predecessor with some additional improvements. The design is always neat, it has a nice display area and offers satisfactory photos for this budget. It only needs a performance boost and a shorter charging time. Bravo again for the quality/price ratio.