Honor goes full premium, on a tight budget as it officially unveiled the Honor 7X at a gala event held in London, yesterday.
It was a much awaited device, thanks to the popularity of the 6X and it's pricing. Fortunately we've been playing with the device for quite some time now and cannot wait to reveal all! Spoiler alert - it's pretty awesome.
DESIGN & BUILD - GRACEFULLY YOURS
Pick up the phone and it will remind you of the not-so-old Honor 8 Pro.
It feels luxurious in the hand thanks to that stunning display, an all metal body, and I love the sculpted corners.
The weight (165g) is beautifully managed, which is why you will never find it adding bulk to your denim trousers, jacket or shirt pocket (if that’s where you keep your smartphone).
There is a fingerprint scanner on the back along with the twin cameras, while an 8MP snapper on the front completes things.
FEATURES - RICHER THAN YOU IMAGINE
The obvious thing you will first notice is the 5.93in, 18:9 ratio screen which packs in 407ppi, with the screen resolution maxing out at 2160 x 1080.
Honor hasn’t gotten rid of the headphone jack just as yet, which will please more than it will disappoint.
One thing though, that I would have absolutely loved on this device, would be the USB-C port instead of the microUSB charging port that’s provided. I don’t think its inclusion would have skyrocketed the price point.
There is no NFC either, and I don’t use much of it, most would have loved it to be included in the spec list.
PERFORMANCE - KIRIN ON ALL CYLINDERS
The fingerprint scanner on this one is mighty quick, it might not be the quickest, but boy does it work well. So, now that we have unlocked the device, let’s get down to business.
Coming back to that screen, it is an absolute joy to look at. It is stellar at colour reproduction indoors and when you hit the road, it can get bright and capable enough for text to be easily readable and content to be effortlessly viewable, when the sun blares its might on you.
Binging on NetFlix or lazily flipping through YouTube videos is an entertaining experience, thanks to overall screen resolution and the way it punches out proper colours. Overall image quality is right up there and both text and videos look sharp.
What helps things glide along smoothly is the processing on the inside handled by the Kirin 659 CPU+4GB RAM. It is well complemented by the OS EMUI 5.1 which makes its presence felt over Android 7. Honor will update this to Oreo, but that will only happen early next year. For day-to-day use, it is mostly an effortless affair.
The 4 gigs of RAM lets me multi-task effortlessly as I switched from YouTube to playing games to checking the latest news. There is 64GB of on-board storage and that should be enough for most things, unless you are a space-hog, in which case you will find the next bit useful. The phone has dual SIM slots and you can use one of them to plonk in a microSD card and increase the storage capacity by a large (up to 256GB) extent.
Audio duties are taken care of by a solitary speaker unit, which can get loud enough for you to enjoy your gaming, movies and music. However, if you want to up the aural experience, invest in a good pair of headphones.
I love the inclusion of the new one-button split screen mode which automatically kicks in whenever you get an SMS or WhatsApp message, letting the Recents key divide the screen into two with just a tap, instead of a tap and hold.
If you love reading before sleeping, the improved blue light filtering Night Mode should help. It now dips all the way down to 3 nits when you’re reading in pitch-black darkness so you don’t get yelled on by the missus or disturb the cat.
CAMERA: SHOW ME THE LIGHT
The Honor 7X gets an upgrade for the main rear camera which is now 16MP as compared to the 12MP on the 6X. The 16+2MP dual-cam setup does a pretty neat job of snapping moody shots and there is a ton of tweaking you could indulge in via the camera app.
While the cameras do a decent job of clicking colour-rich shots during the day, the overall quality takes a tiny dip as the light goes down, with a hint of noise making its presence felt. That might improve in the future as the software updates start rolling in, hence don’t be alarmed.
I have to say that the AF could have used with some more improvement on the 7X. Quickly moving on to different parts of a frame and tapping to focus, is not a lag-free experience.
I particularly liked the portrait mode though, which is supported by the cameras on the rear and on the 8MP front. It does a good job of achieving bokeh-filled background while keeping the subject sharp.
If you love tweaking a shot to its max before taking it, you are in for a treat. The Honor 7X supports Pro mode for both still and video and there is a boot-load of things to tinker with. You can play with exposure, shutter speed, white balance and more. There are a plethora of filters and effects too to choose from. I really found the light painting mode way too much fun to use.
Video quality is decent enough and while we would have loved it to support 4K, that price tag up there makes us not miss 4K one bit. However, don’t bother using Slo-mo, as it is a hit and a miss.
It’s got a 3340mAh battery underneath and that will last you the entire day once you fully charge the device.
Since you still have to charge via the older micro USB slot, it does take a bit longer than expected. However, once fully charged, you can go ahead and indulge in gaming, videos, photography and more and still the phone should have some juice left at the end of the day. Good job done here, Honor!
HONOR 7X VERDICT
The Honor 7X does a lot of things right. First and most importantly it is priced exactly at what the 6X was priced at launch.
Then, there is that absolutely stunning 18:9 screen which is a treat to work and play with. It’s got a fast fingerprint scanner and the OS doesn’t come in the way of getting things done.
The only chink in the armor is the older micro USB slot which I feel should have been replaced with a USB-C port. If not for that, this would be a 5-star product for its price. Still, for what you pay, you get an excellent package that’s loaded with features and performance alike.