ROG product family

The X-series of smartphones from Honor has been one of the more anticipated smartphones in the market. Now we have the brand new Honor 8X in the market – and it has a few new feats that makes it stand out from the crowd.

Honor 8X

Acer Nitro 5

However, there are a few things to be disclosed beforehand. We actually got an early version of the Honor 8X – and it’s not a retail unit. In the box, we only have the Honor 8X itself, a USB cable, and the charger. It also has an unlocked bootloader as well.

Honor 8X

With that out of the way, let’s take a deep dive into what the Honor 8X has to offer in this in-depth review. The specific variant of the Honor 8X that we are reviewing has the codename JSN-L22.

Honor 8X

Specs

The Honor 8X is quite similar to the Huawei Nova 3i that was launched some time ago. They’re both using the new Kirin 710 SoC but the Honor 8X comes with a few extras:

  • 6.5-inch IPS LCD display with notched 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 710 chipset
    • 4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz + 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.7GHz
    • Mali-G51 MP4 GPU with 4 GPU cores
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage (expandable with microSD)
  • 3,750mAh battery
  • Android 8.1.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.2

This is our first time reviewing a smartphone that’s using the new Kirin 710 chipset as well. We tested it as much as we can to know how powerful and efficient is the Kirin 710 chipset in this review.

[nextpage title=”Design”]

Taking our first look at the Honor 8X, it looks rather simple. First taking a look at the back of the phone, it has a two-tone color behind the glass back. The two-tone color is actually a fresh look for smartphones in the market. The two-tones aren’t contrasting each other but instead lighter in color.

Honor 8X

The cameras do protrude quite a bit – so we hope that the Honor 8X does come with a case in the full retail set. The case will play quite a crucial role here since the Honor 8X is indeed slippery with the glass back.

Honor 8X

The glass sandwich sinks blends into the metal frame of the phone quite well, creating a slim profile while looking and feeling elegant.

Honor 8X

At the front, we see something unique – this phone has thin bezels all around and there’s a relatively small notch at the top. It’s a beautiful smartphone – but how did Honor achieve this?

Honor 8X

This phone is definitely not small as my big hands can only reach about 40% of the 6.5-inch screen with one hand. Without the bottom chin, some might complain that the elements are way too low at the bottom of the screen – but I find it to be just fine after some time.

[nextpage title=”Display”]

When I first pressed the power button on the Honor 8X, I was amazed by the screen. It uses a technology where the display driver (the chip) is folded under the display, hence the bezels can be made smaller. And that’s exactly what Honor did.

Honor 8X

The Honor 8X boasts a 91% screen-to-body ratio with its 6.5-inch notched IPS LCD display that has a massive 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The 6.5-inch display has a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels, by the way. The bezels around the screen is small with rounded corners, and the notch is relatively small as well. These characteristics make the phone feels whole on the hand.

Honor 8X

The screen quality itself is quite good too. The colors are saturated enough and the overall looks pleasing – and it can get really bright for outdoors use too. The white balance is good as well. It also comes with a film screen protector pre-installed.

The Honor 8X is also the first ever smartphone to be certified by TÜV Rheinland. According to Honor, this means the blue light emission of the display is reduced by more than half.

Honor 8X launch

One thing I do find a little annoying while the display is the rounded corners as some of the elements in games like PUBG Mobile gets cropped off. Same goes to the notch, actually.

If you choose not to hide the notch, then many app’s buttons will be cropped off as well. I play PUBG Mobile quite often and the buttons were eaten by the notch. You can fix this issue by hiding the notch – which can be done in the settings menu.

[nextpage title=”Connectivity & Ports”]

The Honor 8X has a few great merit points when it comes to its connectivity. It’s one of the few rare phones that actually has true dual-SIM + microSD card slot, which is found on the left side of the phone. You can put in two SIM cards and a microSD card at the same time!

Honor 8X

We’ve only seen such expandability in the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) which we reviewed here – which makes the Honor 8X a gem for those who needs dual-SIM.

Honor 8X

At the bottom of the phone we can see a 3.5mm audio jack, a microphone, a micro USB port, and the mono speaker grill.

Honor 8X

At the right side is where we’ll find all the buttons. We have the power and volume rocker which feel tactile and satisfying to press.

However, it only uses 2.4GHz for WiFi – which means it only supports up to 802.11n WiFi. Not a huge deal considering 2.4GHz can transmit WiFi signal further albeit at slower speed. Stable WiFi is more important when it comes to online gaming anyway.

[nextpage title=”Cameras”]

Honor once again touts its AI-enhanced cameras and surprisingly, this is the first time an X-series smartphone from Honor has AI capabilities. We previously tested the AI capability previously but we found out that Honor 8X is different the others.

Honor 8X

Let’s first take a look at the camera specs:

  • Rear-facing cameras
    • 20MP f/1.8 camera with PDAF
    • 2MP depth sensor
  • Selfie camera
    • 16MP f/2.0 camera; fixed focus

Like any other smartphone reviews that we’ve done, the images shown in this review can be viewed in its full glory alongside with its EXIF data at our Flickr album.

Rear-facing camera

I realized that the camera on the Honor 8X is a lot better than what we’ve experienced before. The AI camera still works the same as before – the color saturation is bumped all the way up with higher dynamic range and better contrast. Different enhancements are done towards different scenes that are detected by the AI camera. I also realized that the AI camera did add a very subtle vignette effect around some of the pictures taken.

IMG_20180921_174023

Without AI.

IMG_20180921_174026

With AI.

The AI mode enhancements look surprisingly good in some scenes, but as a personal preference – I don’t like the amount of unreal color saturation for night shot as shown below.

IMG_20180921_200826

Without AI.

IMG_20180921_200830

With AI.

For daylight photography, I switched off the AI and the picture looks more natural now. The color saturation and white balance is good as well.

IMG_20180921_173125

Without AI.

IMG_20180921_173130

With AI.

Take a look at some other pictures taken with the Honor 8X.

IMG_20180922_182238

IMG_20181008_150805

One small quirk when it comes to the AI mode is that the resolution of pictures taken is locked down to 12MP only. To take the full 20MP picture, you’ll have to disable AI mode. There’s a few reasons to this – namely for stabilization and also for sharper image.

Selfie camera

I’m not much of a selfie expert here and from the selfies taken with the Honor 8X, it’s not bad. It’s a fixed focus camera – so don’t expect sharp selfies. In dimly-lit conditions, the selfie cameras still take decent selfies – but the shutter is a little slow. Perhaps a firmware update can improve on this.

IMG_20180924_011232

Camera UI

The camera UI itself didn’t change much from the previous Honor smartphone that we reviewed. The new AI toggle button is still there, and the detected scene/subject is shown at the bottom of the screen.

Honor 8X camera UI

I actually wish that we as users can fine-tune the AI enhancements a little as I still find the saturation a little to extreme in some cases.

Honor 8X camera UI

[nextpage title=”Software – Android 8.1.0 with EMUI 8.2.0″]

The EMUI 8.2.0 didn’t really change much from before. Once you finished setting up the phone after starting up for the first time, we’re greeted with the familiar UI.

There is no app drawer, so the number of home screens will grow as more apps get installed – unless you create a “junk” app folder and throw some unused apps inside. I do wish that EMUI 8.2.0 has the option to toggle the app drawer on or off. That will definitely cater to the two different types of users.

Honor 8X Top Apps

Speaking of unused apps, the EMUI 8.2.0 still has the folder of “top apps” and the folder will recommend some new apps from time to time. You can switch off the app recommendation if you choose to do so, or “delete” the folder entirely.

Honor 8X Ride Mode

There’s also a new app here called “ride mode”. This app changes the phone to become something like “driving mode” but for bicycles, where it disables Bluetooth and headset and you can configure it to answer calls and reply via the recorded voice or text.

Honor 8X Ride Mode

We did mention at the beginning of this review that the Honor 8X we have had unlocked bootloader as well. While we did not encounter any anomalies on the software experience side, we’ll have to talk about the performance.

[nextpage title=”Performance & Gaming”]

We found it weird that the Honor 8X had an unlocked bootloader. There are a few apps which did not run at all – like Antutu and also Geekbench. Hence, we are unable to get the benchmark scores for both those apps – but we still managed to get scores from our other benchmarkers.

Here’s a quick rundown of the specs of the Honor 8X.

  • 6.5-inch IPS LCD display with notched 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 710 chipset
    • 4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.2GHz + 4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.7GHz
    • Mali-G51 MP4 GPU with 4 GPU cores
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage (expandable with microSD)
  • 3,750mAh battery
  • Android 8.1.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.2

The Kirin 710 is a rather new chipset and we are curious about its performance. Take a look at the benchmarks below.

Honor 8X 3DMark benchmark Honor 8X VRMark benchmark

From the benchmarks, we can see that the Honor 8X is actually somewhat near the Snapdragon 636’s performance – like the Redmi Note 5 and the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) and the ASUS ZenFone 5 that we reviewed here. But our gaming experience tells a different story.

Gaming on the Honor 8X

The Honor 8X touts GPU Turbo, which learns how to optimize its GPU performance for the games according to the scene that’s being rendered. As of now, we know that PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends support GPU Turbo, but there is no official list of games that are supported.

We played our usual few games to test the gaming performance of the Honor 8X – PUBG Mobile, Honkai Impact 3, and also Asphalt 9. Surprisingly, this is where the Kirin 710 outperforms Snapdragon 636 – mainly because of the faster CPU.

Honor 8X PUBG Mobile

Upon launching PUBG Mobile for the first time, the game tells us that it automatically selected to run at medium settings. We went into the settings and set the frame rate to high, disabled anti-aliasing and auto-adjust graphics. The Honor 8X runs fairly well, but does have frame rate drops from time to time. We recommend enabling auto-adjust graphics for a smoother gaming experience.

Then we started Honkai Impact 3. We are able to experience Honkai Impact 3 in the highest settings at 60FPS with only occasional frame rate drops while having intense fights. It can play the Sakura Samsara map without any hitch as well.

As for Asphalt 9, the Honor 8X can run it in highest quality without any issues at all. Bravo, Kirin 710.

To add another positive point, the Honor 8X is just a tad warmer after gaming for a very long time. I’m impressed by its efficiency. Speaking of its efficiency, let’s take a look at its battery life.

[nextpage title=”Battery & Charger”]

Packed with a fairly large 3,750mAh battery, we predicted that the Honor 8X will last for a long time in terms of battery life – and we’ve been proven to be right. In our usual battery life test, the Honor 8X managed to last for nearly 14 hours.

Honor 8X battery life benchmark

Comparing with the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M1) and ZenFone 5 which uses the high-efficiency Snapdragon 636, we realized the efficiency of the Kirin 710 that is used in the Honor 8X is comparable. That’s a good sign, if you want a phone with an all-day battery life.

Charger

Honor 8X battery charging graph

The Honor 8X comes with a 5V 2A charger, which is basically the standard right now. It does take quite a long time to completely charge the 3,750mAh battery. It reaches 50% battery at around 37 minutes, then 75% at 66 minutes, and finally 100% full charge at 116 minutes.

[nextpage title=”Wrapping up the Honor 8X review”]

The Honor 8X is a good smartphone for sure. Not because it has a beautiful faceted back or whatever – but because of its simplicity. The two-tone back is a refreshing look – though I think many people will just slap a case and forget about it – and the cameras are decent as well.

Honor 8X

The large 6.5-inch screen with 91% screen-to-body ratio is a definite plus – making it a truly unique smartphone to use. The COF technology is definitely something new here. To our surprise, the Kirin 710 is efficient and offers good performance as well. It’s efficient like the Snapdragon 636 while having a faster CPU.

For the price of only RM949 RM849, the Honor 8X is a no-frills smartphone that has a large screen with great performance and a fairly large battery. Great for day-to-day use and for some gaming while bring wallet-friendly as well.

If you plan to buy it, then check out this post where we talked about its roadshow and online sale deals.


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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Materials
8
Software
7
Connectivity and ports
9
Screen
9
Specifications
8
Camera
8
Battery and charger
8
Value
9
The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!
review-honor-8xThe Honor 8X is a new mid-range smartphone that aims to provide a humongous 91% screen-to-body ratio while providing a refreshing experience with the power efficient Kirin 710 chipset. <a href="https://nasilemaktech.com/?attachment_id=25664" rel="attachment wp-att-25664"><img class="aligncenter wp-image-25664 size-thumbnail" src="https://nasilemaktech.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Nasi-Lemak-Tech-Silver-Award-150x150.png" alt="Nasi Lemak Tech Silver Award" width="150" height="150" /></a>