We have a tablet from HONOR. Yeah, we haven’t reviewed their stuff for a while but this tablet surprised me. I have never seen a tablet that is so laser-focused on a specific group of users and managed to nail down exactly what that group of users wants from a device like this and offered some more bonuses in between.
There is a lot to like here for the price of RM1,099 just for the tablet itself and an additional RM299 for this keyboard case. Allow me to share my thoughts about this tablet in this video.
We’ll start talking about the tablet first. By all means, this is a very simple tablet. It has a decently-sized 11.5-inch screen that can go up to 120Hz refresh rate. It does cover about 97% of sRGB color gamut but since it is an IPS LCD screen, its maximum brightness is only at around 450 nits. It’s not going to be enough to be used outdoors, unfortunately.
Nonetheless, even though it doesn’t have the best color vividness or brightness, the resolution of this screen is rather high at 2000×1200 pixels. It’s not actually a 16:10 aspect ratio, but it’s close.
The bezels are also nicely sized as it is not too small to the point that it is impossible to hold at the sides.
One thing I do want to highlight though, is the speakers. They do sound pretty decent overall. To hear how the speaker sounds, watch the video at the top of this review.
Performance with the Snapdragon 685 4G
Okay, let’s talk about the performance. It is using the Snapdragon 685 which is adequate enough for day-to-day use and also for students as a laptop alternative, but I think it’ll only be suitable until about secondary school.
Some parents that got this tablet for their kids might say that it can be used for gaming on the side too – but and I’d say somewhat yes? We did test Genshin Impact but even at the lowest graphical settings, it can’t maintain 30fps.
Now, this tablet does come with 4GB of LPDDR4X RAM. I know that it’s not really sufficient nowadays but HONOR is trying to say that this tablet has 7GB RAM because they have that extra 3GB RAM coming from the “HONOR RAM Turbo”.
But the truth is, it doesn’t work that way. that “HONOR RAM Turbo” is essentially virtual RAM whereby they allocated 3GB of the internal storage and treat it as “RAM”.
As you can see from this test here, the internal storage speed is around 7x slower than the RAM. Imagine if you actually use the internal storage as RAM, you’ll experience even worse performance. In fact, it even damages your device too as the life span of your internal storage will be degrading even faster.
There is no way to disable the HONOR RAM Turbo feature, by the way.
As for the software, I think it’s pretty fine overall. Nothing much to talk about as Magic UI 7.1 is decent enough for day-to-day usage. I don’t have any issues with it and it just doesn’t get in the way.
There are a few system apps and preloaded apps here and there but I’m okay with them since they don’t push me unwanted ads – unlike some other brands.
Funnily enough, this tablet does have face unlock but does not have a fingerprint scanner. Just want to highlight that since some of you prefer fingerprint unlock more than anything else.
Since we can’t install any benchmark apps, we can’t run our usual battery life benchmark app on this tablet.
So, I used this tablet as my daily driver for the past week or so, and its 7,250mAh battery is actually quite good. It lasts more than a day of intensive usage of web browsing, YouTube, and Spotify. I also used it to do my daily Duolingo too.
I do have to point out that I am using this tablet exclusively on WiFi only. This tablet does have a SIM card slot too – and we can use 4G on it. That will further impact the battery life. We can fit in a microSD card too!
Since we do not have the charger inside the box, we have to just use whatever we have. In my case, it’s the Ugreen 140W GaN charger and out wattmeter cable says it takes 21W at its peak. It took less than 2 hours to charge completely and I think that’s actually quite good.
I do want to highlight the camera on this tablet for a while. Even though it looks like there are two camera cutouts on this tablet, there is actually only one camera. It’s a 5MP camera and as pointed out in our comments section, there are students that just tablets to take pics of the whiteboard and that is why having a camera on a tablet is important. I can understand why – but you can have a look at the quality of this camera yourself.
The keyboard though, is a very weird accessory. I’ll be frank here – to me, this keyboard accessory feels like an afterthought. Let me show you why.
Usually, tablets with their official folio-style cases will have some sort of feature to automatically make the device go to sleep when it is closed. Laptops and even some phones do that too.
For this HONOR Pad X9 though, there is no such feature. The tablet just doesn’t respond to the keyboard. Also, this keyboard is connected to the tablet wirelessly via Bluetooth. There is no physical connection – and I know this because the tablet nor the keyboard has any pogo pins.
We also need to manually turn the keyboard on or off, and charge the keyboard separately since it has its own battery that is independent from the tablet itself. Yes, we’ll have to charge both devices at once.
However, since we don’t have the official charger in the box, we don’t know how many ports the charger has. If it comes with only one port… then we’ll have to plug in the tablet and the charger separately to get them charged – and that just feels very weird.
And that to me, is why the keyboard feels like an afterthought.
Nonetheless, the keyboard feels amazing to type on. It’s springy, great travel distance, and I typed most of this review using this keyboard too. I do want to highlight that this keyboard does not have a backlight and it also only has a single angle to use. Again, for someone will a long body like mine – it’s not ergonomic to use.
Should you buy the HONOR Pad X9?
Okay then, so why did this tablet surprise me? Well, there is one thing lacking in today’s tech market – and that is the selection of budget tablets. Yeah, we really don’t have that many choices from reputable brands. We have the Galaxy Tab A8 which was not updated for a long time, whereby the newly released Xiaomi Pad 6 that we reviewed earlier – many of you voiced out disappointment for not having a SIM card slot. There is also the OPPO Pad Air that’s an actually decent tablet but is also missing a SIM card slot.
And that’s why I say the HONOR Pad X9 is surprising. It targets a specific segment of users with pinpoint laser-focused accuracy and they do it really well. Good screen, good speakers, has 4G connectivity, and the price is really enticing. Good job there HONOR.