Honor 8X review: Redmi Note 7 competitor with NFC for $232.29

The Honor 8X is – beside the Redmi Note 7 – probably the price performance tip within the range around $200. The biggest plus point compared to the Redmi competition is probably the support of NFC and Google Pay. But can the rest of the 8X also hold its own against the Note 7?

Honor 8X

Technical data of the Honor 8X

Display 6.5 inch 19.5:9 Full-HD+ (2340 x 1080 pixels) LC Display (396 PPI)
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 710 Octa-Core @2,2 GHz | 1,7 GHz
Graphics chip ARM Mali-G51 MP4
RAM 4 GB LPDDR4X
Internal memory 64 GB / 128 GB (microSD to 256 GB)
Camera 20 MP ƒ/1.8 + 2 MP ƒ2.4 Dual camera
Front camera 16 Megapixel ƒ/2.0 aperture
Battery 3.750 mAh with 10W charger
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2, Micro-USB, Dual-SIM, GPS, 5GHz WLAN
Features Fingerprint Sensor, Face Unlock, NFC, Headphone Jack
Operating system Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2 interface
Dimensions / Weight 160.4 x 76.6 x 7.8 mm / 175 g

The Honor 8X isn’t brand new. But it is an interesting competitor for the Redmi Note 7, just as it has an edge because of its integrated NFC.

6.5 inch display in the usual stylish design

Compared to its predecessor (7X), the display grows by 0.57 inches to a proud 6.5 inches. However, the resolution and sharpness remain at a similar level. With 2340 x 1080 pixels, the Chinese continue to talk about FullHD+ and thus achieve a pixel density of 396 PPI (the average is 402 PPI).

Honor 8X Display

Unfortunately we had to notice light bleeding at the bottom of the screen with our test device. However, we could observe a similar effect with the Honor View 20, so it could be a deliberate effect, which is only noticeable on closer inspection. All in all, the screen makes a good impression and is in good average with regard to contrast, brightness and color representation.

Honor 8X front camera

If you enlarge the display in this way, you have to work space-savingly, of course, in order not to let the smartphone itself become too huge. That’s why Honor, as with Honor 10, relies on a notch. The notch is pleasantly small, but is not yet at the level of the Waterdrop notch of the Note 7. Nevertheless, the 8X, with dimensions of 160.4 x 76.6 x 7.8 mm, is hardly larger than the Redmi competition, making it more of a “two-handed smartphone”.

Honor 8X keys

The workmanship is typical for a Honor Smartphone very good and the design with the characteristic glass back is still inspiring. Especially in our red version this is of course even more noticeable, so that the two different glass effects come into their own. On the left of the dual camera, the Honor logo and the “AI Camera” lettering are emblazoned on slightly different looking glass than on the right. If the red is too aggressive for you, you can alternatively use the blue, pink, classic black or recently the Phantom Blue Edition.

Honor 8X Colors

The fingerprint sensor is slightly recessed on the back and can be easily felt blindly. It reacts very quickly and reliably, as you would expect from “normal” fingerprint sensors.

Honor 8X back side

Good middle class performance

Honor uses its own Kirin 710 as processor. The Octa-Core with four 2.2 GHz and four 1.7 GHz cores is also used in the Honor 10 Lite and Huawei Mate 20 Lite and is most similar to the Snapdragon 660 from the Redmi Note 7. This comparison is also confirmed in everyday life, where the 8X performs well. Apps open quickly, the system runs smoothly and without lags or long waiting times. Multitasking also works with the 4 GB RAM without big problems, but a 6 GB option would have been nice for more future security.

Honor 8X Benchmarks

A difference to Redmi Note 7 is only really noticeable when you play. Here the Mali-G51 MP4 GPU can’t quite keep up with the Honor 8X, which is also confirmed by the AnTuTu GPU score of 22.135 (vs. 30.399 at note 7). In practice, this simply means that you have to play demanding games like Asphalt 9 or PUBG Mobile on medium graphics settings in order to have a smooth gaming experience. The games are stored on either 64 GB or 128 GB, which can still be expanded using a microSD card.

Honor 8X Games

EMUI 8.2 and Netflix in FullHD!

Honor 8X is delivered with Android 8.1 Oreo which runs the EMUI 8.2 interface of Honor and Huawei respectively. Fortunately there have already been updates so that the security patch is up to date as of January 2019. You also like to see that the Google Play Store is directly available and the whole system is completely available in several languages. Of course, this is what you expect from a Honor device and is also standard in the Global version of Redmi Note 7. A real advantage compared to the Note 7 is the Widevine Level, because the 8X has Level 1. In practice, this means that you can stream Netflix, Prime Video etc. in FullHD (1080P), while you are limited to 540 P for Note 7.

Honor 8X Software

Unfortunately, the negative aspect is that Honor preinstalls an incredible amount of bloatware. From several own services over Netflix up to Booking there is a lot of apps available right at the beginning. Fortunately you can uninstall most of the apps, but it’s still annoying. Otherwise I have nothing to complain about EMUI. The design is certainly a matter of taste, but thanks to Theme Store you can customize it. Furthermore you can decide if you want to use an App Drawer or not and how the virtual keys are arranged. EMUI runs very smoothly and there were no annoying errors or lags.

AI Camera detects over 500 scenes

Altogether the Honor 8X uses “only” three cameras. The two on the back offer 20 megapixels with a bright aperture of ƒ/1.8 and 2 MP with a ƒ2.4 aperture for portraits. Honor seems to be particularly proud of the AI capabilities of the camera, which is supposed to recognize up to 500 different scenes and then “intelligently adjust the camera settings to the subject”.

Honor 8X Camera

Ordinary main camera

The photos from the Honor 8X are generally nice and sharp, rich in detail and the colors are quite lifelike. However, this color fastness is only valid as long as the AI photography is deactivated. This increases the color saturation very strongly and also increases the contrast, so that the photos are more “poppy” but also more unnatural. Honor kindly gives you the choice, you can simply deactivate the AI mode.

Honor 8X AI vs. no AI
AI mode for buildings: Left with AI – right without.
Honor 8X AI vs. normal plant
AI mode for plants: left with AI – right without.

For photos of people, the skin may look a bit paler than it really is. Here the AI mode is useful again because it counteracts this effect. In portraits, the Honor is already doing well, but to get to the Redmi level, the separation between foreground and background has to become even more precise.

Honor 8X Portrait vs AI vs normal
Left: Portrait – middle: AI – Right: Normal

But the Honor can keep up in night mode. This extends the exposure time up to 7 seconds and really gets a lot out of otherwise unusable scenes. Of course, you have to have a steady hand or rest on your laurels, but then the photos are surprisingly good!

Honor 8X night mode vs normal
The night mode (left) delivers surprisingly good results! On the right is the same scene in “normal” photo mode.

Pale Selfies & disappointing Portraits

The front camera features a 16 megapixel sensor with a ƒ/2.0 aperture. The camera sits in the notch and can also be used for Face Unlock. This works quickly and reliably. Honor himself says that this is not very safe, because only a photo of your face is taken.

Honor 8X Front Camera

Also with Selfies the colours look a little weak and the skin paler than it actually is. Unfortunately, the AI mode doesn’t help this time either. The portrait Selfies can then be completely disregarded, as whole ears are “cut off” and the background is so blurred that it can hardly be recognized.

Honor 8X Selfies

Larger display, smaller battery?

The fact that the 8X is somewhat lighter than the Redmi Note 7 is probably mainly due to a hardware component: the battery. At 3,750 mAh, it’s quite large, but doesn’t come close to the 4,000 mAh of the Redmi. In addition, you have to illuminate a 0.2 inch larger display. Nevertheless, the Honor 8X has a good battery life of ~10 hours at half brightness (Redmi comes up with ~12 hours). This means you’ll get over two days if you don’t game.

Honor 8X Battery Benchmark

It is not so convincing considering the charging of the smartphone. Honor 8X does not support any form of Quick Charging. With the included 10 Watt adapter the charging process takes 2 hours and 17 minutes. In addition, the 8X does not have a USB type C, but the old micro-USB input.

Connectivity & Extras of the Honor 8X

When it comes to connectivity, Honor leaves nothing to be desired. In addition to the standard features, the support of NFC for Google Pay is probably the biggest plus point. But everything else is also available. The WLAN supports the ac standard, Bluetooth is available in version 4.2 and LTE. There were no reception problems with any of these connection options. GPS, Beidou and GLONASS are supported for navigation.

Honor 8X USB jack

The sound is provided by a solid mono loudspeaker on the underside. Alternatively, you can also enjoy wired music, because the 8X has a classic headphone jack. A pair of in-ears and a silicone case are even included. Another plus point: the SIM slot accepts two SIM cards and one microSD at the same time, offering true dual SIM functionality.

Honor 8X Scope of Delivery

Conclusion – Honor 8X or Redmi Note 7?

The Honor 8X would probably be the undisputed middle class champ if there wasn’t the Redmi Note 7, which came out a bit later. The Honor has clear advantages by the support of NFC, the real dual SIM slot and the playback of Netflix and Co. in FullHD. Furthermore, the frame for the Honor is made of aluminium, while the Redmi is made of plastic. Display (bigger or smaller), design and software are a matter of taste in my eyes, whereby one must say that the Redmi already runs with Android 9. When it comes to camera and battery, however, the Note 7 is clearly ahead, but the honor in these categories is anything but a disappointment.

All in all, I would personally go for the Redmi Note 7, as I prefer the better camera and battery life instead of NFC and FullHD Netflix. Which smartphone would you choose?

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Alex

Part of the China-Gadgets Team since 2016. I love China-Smartphones and all accessories that surround them.

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