Published on February 5th, 2017 | by Bhavishya Kanjhan0
Honor 6X Review – lot of power per dollar!
Huawei had a significant presence at CES this year. Not only did the Company’s CEO Richard Yu present the keynote where he launched the Mate 9, the company also announced the newest phone under the Honor brand, the Honor 6X.
The 6X is a successor to the budget series 5X but incorporates a lot of the technology found in the Huawei and Honor flagship phones. The phone’s most notable feature is its price point – AED 919 or USD 250. You’re tempted to forgive a few of the phone’s misgiving by thinking ‘but it’s just $250!’ Let’s take a look at how the phone stacks up.
The 6X comes in three color – gold, silver, and gray. The front of the 6X looks very similar to other Huawei phones and there really isn’t much to talk about here. With the front camera at and Honor branding at the bottom sandwiching the screen, you probably won’t pick this phone out of a line-up. The back is another story, though – our test unit was the Gold color which features a smooth matte finish. The back is metal which makes the phone feel like it’s well-built; the top and the bottom edges are plastic, though, presumably to allow for better signal throughput.
There is a noticeable line where the metal stops and the plastic begins, but there are not ugly antenna lines running through the phone. At the back is also the fingerprint sensor that will unlock the phone and the vertically oriented dual-camera setup (more on this later). The power button and volume rocker are on the right side of the phone while the dual-sim / microSD card is on the left. Overall the phone is fairly thin at 8.2mm and feels surprisingly light when picked up (162g) given that it features a 5.5-inch screen. Sadly, the buttons feel a little flimsy though and creak a little.
The Honor 6X has a 5.5-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 which results in a pixel density of 403ppi. Despite being a low-end phone, the Honor packs a pretty impressive display. It doesn’t have the deep black of an AMOLED screen, but the colors are pretty vivid. The screen performs well under sunlight too – its bright display ensures visibility under bright light.
Honor is touting the dual-camera setup on the new Honor 6X as its standout feature. The tagline of the phone is ‘Double or Nothing’. The rear camera features a 12MP + 2MP (f/2.2) camera setup while the front is an 8MP camera (f/2.0).
Honor is bringing the post-shot focus capabilities found on other Huawei and Honor devices to the Honor 6X. This means when you take a picture in wide-aperture mode. You can return to the gallery at any time to change the focus of the picture and create low depth-of-field shots where the background is completely blurred. This software-enabled feature allows you to go as low as f/0.95 and as high as f/16.
This feature isn’t perfect – especially at the extreme of f/0.95, the low depth of field shots can look artificial. However, many other times the results are stunning. Since the main sensor is still an impressive 12MP, the camera does a great job of capturing rich detail in the photographs.
Honor also makes a very capable phone camera app that thankfully doesn’t feature a terrible UI. The opening screen features shortcuts to gallery and video, as well as buttons to adjust flash, wide-aperture mode, a few filters, and the ability to switch cameras. Swipe to the left and you can see a whole host of preset and advanced options such as HDR, Panorama, Time-lapse, Night-shot, and (my favorite) Pro Photo.
Under the Pro-photo mode, users can control the ISO, Shutter Speed, Exposure, While Balance and more. The camera also allows users to enable ‘Ultra Snapshot’ – when enabled, users can press the volume down button twice rapidly and the phone will unlock and take a picture quickly. It’s great for when you want to take a picture as soon as possible.
Performance and Internals
The Honor 6X features Huawei’s mid-range Kirin 655 processor with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The phone comes with a dual-SIM / microSD setup which means that users can expand either use the slot to use an additional SIM or use the microSD slot to expand storage capabilities.
The phone is lacking NFC and given that there’s an increasing amount of functionality that is being built on the back of NFC, so it is a strange omission on part of Honor. The phone features one speaker at the bottom of the phone and it is uninspiring. Furthermore, it’s using microUSB connectivity and not Type-C. While the former is more widespread right now, we’re certainly moving in the right direction with Type-C so it’s surprising that Honor would include the (now) older standard. Then again, we’re reminded that this is a mid-range (at best) phone so some compromises are both expected and necessary to keep the price low.
On the bright side, the phone does include a fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone and that works really well. The phone recognizes the prints and unlocks the phone very quickly and there’s no significant difference between the Honor 6X and Mate 9 in that respect.
This is another place where the phone absolutely shines. The Honor 6X features a 3,340 mAh battery and will comfortable last you about a day and a half. With constrained use, the phone can go up to 2 days go. I was able to get a day’s life out of it with fairly heavy usage. A lot of this is due to the 1080p screen on the phone. A higher resolution display would significantly impact battery life. The phone charges fairly quickly too. A full charge will take you just over an hour.
The Honor 6X ships with Android 6.1 Marshmellow and EMUI 4.1. This would definitely be a sore spot for many users. The EMUI on the Huawei and Honor phones have always featured heavy customizations. With EMUI 5.0, Huawei has simplified and cleaned up the interface to a great extent. The Mate 9 which launched late last year features the new EMUI so for Honor to not include the newest update on a later launch seems strange again. Honor did say that the update is coming in Q2 2017 so that’s a silver lining for users.
The Honor 6X isn’t perfect. The lack of NFC, outdated operating system, and weak speakers are some of its weak points. However, given that it features a very capable processor, a 5.5-inch screen, great battery life and an impressive camera shows Honor is focusing on the right things. For every shortcoming, you could argue “but it’s only $250” and you would be right. At that price point, it’s hard to argue that this phone packs a lot of power per dollar.