HONOR X9 5G
+ Massive display
- Mono audio
+ Smooth 120Hz refresh rate
- No expandable storage
+ Great battery life
+ 66W fast charging
Just a few days ago, HONOR launched its new X series in the Malaysian market, which includes the X7, X8, and two versions of X9. The model that we received is the HONOR X9 5G, which the company claims to show only 3.8% of ageing rate after 3 years of usage. So, can it really tahan and is it the best? Let's test it out!
In terms of design, the X9 resembles the HONOR 50 Lite that we reviewed last year with a huge ring at the back housing its rear camera units, except the cameras on the HONOR X9 are placed in wider gaps along the circle with the "Matrix AI Vision Camera" branding in the middle of the ring.
After a few matte covers on our recently reviewed devices, we're getting a glossy one this time. A shiny back is always nice to see especially when you hold it facing against a beautiful scene because you can see its reflection right from the phone. But that will be gone when you see what a mess your fingerprints leave behind on the cover.
Both the volume rocker and power button are located on the right with the left side completely bare. A fingerprint reader is integrated into the power button, which is sensitive enough to unlock the phone the instant you place your finger on it. There's an earpiece and a microphone on the top. The bottom houses another microphone, the SIM card slot, a charging port, and another speaker grille.
The HONOR X9 comes in three colors - Titanium Silver, Midnight Black, and Ocean Blue. I'm actually pleased that we got the last option because I personally like blue and I don't get bored of the color after using it for some time. (My own phone is blue too.) But, if you're the type who likes to play safe, you can opt for the other two color variants.
Overall, it's a pretty solid device to hold in hands as it's not too light to feel cheap and neither is it too heavy. It has a simple and minimalist design with only the HONOR logo adorned on the back far below the camera ring.
The X9 boasts a large 6.81" HONOR FullView display with very minimal bezels on the sides and top for a 94% screen-to-body ratio. The screen has a 2388 x 1080 resolution and supports 16.7 million colors. The refresh rate can be adjusted between a standard 60Hz if you wish to save power and a high 120Hz if you're gaming. Otherwise, you can also set it at Dynamic to balance the smoothness and battery life. For gamers, it also has a 240Hz touch sampling rate.
Featured on the display is what HONOR calls a Sunshine Screen, which is supposed to help you view and watch content more easily outdoors, even under direct sunlight. We brought the phone out for a day trip and we're glad to say that the content on-screen is clearly visible even when we're walking outdoors under the burning sun.
In the settings, you can personalize the color and temperature of the screen according to your preferences. It also offers a few features that can reduce eye strain for prolonged hours of usage, such as Eye Comfort, eBook mode, and Dark mode. For extra eye protection, it is TUV Rheinland Low Blue Light certified, reducing harmful blue light that can kill your eyes.
Watching Business Proposal and Twenty-Five Twenty-One (you'll know if you watch K-dramas) is a pleasure on the big display. The only downside is the unbalanced audio you'll hear because of the mono speaker, especially in landscape use. You'll need a wireless device for a more immersive experience as there's no headphone jack available.
In the camera department, the X9 packs a 48MP main camera, a 2MP macro camera, a 2MP bokeh camera, and a 16MP selfie camera.
Despite not having the best camera specs, the phone is capable of taking pretty decent photos with a fair amount of details, brightness, and vivid colors for a device in its price range.
With the help of night mode, we were able to take photos at night with a decent amount of brightness applied and some noise but they're okay if you don't enlarge the photos.
Photos taken by the macro camera are less than impressive with not much details and colors reproduced are far from accurate.
As for portrait photos, we do like the blurred background because the subject will stand out more but we'd love if the Ai wouldn't blur out some parts of the subject. For example, in this image, some hair strands, the edge of the glasses and earring of the subject were blurred together with the background. The same goes for selfies in portrait mode.
The X9 supports 1080p video recording and comes with a Dual Video Recording feature, which allows you to shoot videos with both the front and rear cameras simultaneously. In this feature, you can opt to record in a split screen mode or picture in picture mode. There's also a Story feature in the camera setting, which offersseveral pre-installed micro movie templates, including rhythm, dual-view, classical, party, and visited. This feature will be helpful for newbie creators to combine short clips into a video.
The X9 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G processor, and our unit comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There's also another cheaper variant, offering a lower 6GB memory. Unfortunately, storage is not expandable so that means you'll have to delete some old movies if you want to download more new ones. The HONOR RAM Turbo allows you to convert some storage into 2GB of virtual RAM if you ever feel the need for more memory.
For daily work tasks, we hadn't experienced any stutters from launching multiple apps to browsing documents to social media. As for gaming, it can easily handle MOBA games like MLBB but for Genshin players, you'll need to sacrifice graphics for smooth gameplay.
Powering this device is a 4800mAh battery with 66W HONOR SuperCharge. The battery life is impressively solid as we watched two episodes of dramas (about 2 hours) with around 50% of brightness and 70% volume, the bar only dropped 15%. This means you can enjoy watching a movie while on your way back kampung without worrying about the battery going flat. As for charging, the 66W charging can fill up the battery up to 15% in just 15 minutes.
Buy or no buy
For RM1,299, the HONOR X9 5G is a pretty solid device as a mid range device with a massive smooth display and great battery life, as well as 5G connectivity support. If you're looking for a phone that can satisfy your gaming and entertainment needs with an affordable price, it will be a great fit for you. While it suffice for your daily Insta shots, if you're more of a vlogger or someone who wants better camera performance, there are other options out there in the market that will impress you more.
If you don't think you need a 5G device at the moment, there's also a standard X9 model with no 5G support, priced at RM1,099. And if you have even low budget, there's also the HONOR X7 and the HONOR X8, which we has recently reviewed too.