The Honor series from Huawei always surprised me by offering the best smartphones with a reasonable price tag. The Huawei Honor 7X is not an exception to it. When I got the review unit in a fancy box from Huawei I was pretty excited to open it and get my hands on it. I have used the device as my daily driver for almost a month and here is the full review of it.
Honor 7X Review
The Honor 7X has an all metal design with great built quality. In comparison, the aluminum unibody design feels just as solid as the new OnePlus 5T. I liked the curved body of the phone which makes it comfortable and easy to hold. The only problem with the design is the dual camera set up on the back. The camera bump comes into picture most of the time. The giant camera bump for both the lens looks awkward in the beginning but you will get used to it. If you are a person who likes to text by placing the phone on the desk then it is going to get little tricky but cases are available to hide this camera bump and make the device lay flat on the table. Another problem, more from a convenience perspective, I could point out is the placement of fingerprint scanner. But, without this, there wouldn't have an 18:9 ratio screen.
In my opinion, the Honor 7X has the best design compared to other smartphones in this segment. Whether it be the Mi A1 or Moto G5S, the 7X is clearly the winner here.The phone comes with a nano-coating on the body making it splash resistant. I have seen videos on the internet where people do the waterproof test and the phone emerges out, still functioning.
On the front, there are all sorts of sensors but, not the gyroscope. The 8MP selfie camera and unlike the 9i there is no flash. The 5.93 inch LTPS IPS LCD display is at 18:9 ratio and has a resolution of 2160*1080px. Honor 7X is the first phone from Huawei to sport an 18:9 display. This set up offers an effective pixel density of 407 PPI. The display seems pretty sharp and colorful for a phone of this price range and there is some considerable sunlight legibility issue even when the brightness is set to the maximum.
On the bottom, the speaker grill, 3.5 mm headphone jack and a micro USB port. When the whole world is adopting the USB C revolution, for some reason, honor has decided to go with the micro USB port. On the small chin, there is an honor branding which they could have completely avoided.The phone has a 3400 mAh battery. There is no support for fast charging but, Huawei has provided with powerful charging brick which will charge your phone at a considerably faster rate. You can charge the device from 0 to 100 in 2.5 hours.
On the top earpiece and front facing an 8MP camera. Can record 1080p videos. In the bottom, on the small chin, there is an honor branding which they could have completely avoided.
The Honor 7x comes with HiSilicon Kirin 659 octa-core processor with Mali-T830 GPU. The phone packs 4GB of RAM and 32/64GB internal storage options. The storage is expandable using microSD card. The SIM card slot is hybrid, means you can use a combination of either one sim card and microSD card or 2 sims.
The Kirin 659 is always my favorite compared to the Snapdragons in this segment. Personally, I find the processor offers better performance than the Snapdragon 600 series with an exception of fast charging. Honor 7x can handle all sorts of gaming. The gaming experience is smooth and the full-screen experience can be managed to crop fit to 18:9 ratio.
The Honor 7x is running on Android 7 Nougat and an update to Android 8 is promised by the company. The EMUI is skin which is running on top of stock android which is not a complete disaster compared to other skins in the market. For beginners, there is no app drawer, all the apps are piled up and displayed on the home screen. This will take some time getting used to.
In terms of bloatware, there are some Huawei apps like; the Google now alternate Hi Board which I found completely useless. There is a Hi Game app and the most useful among these, the Honor Community. The Honor community app lets you connect with other Huawei users where you can discuss things related to your phone.
The files app won’t let you do most of the things which can be done using the popular file explorer like ES File Explorer. Other apps are the UC Browser and UC News which I have uninstalled in the initial few hours of usage. The swift keyboard, Facebook, Instagram apps come pre-installed. The phone also supports app twin feature which will help you login to multiple accounts in social media space.
Since the Honor 7x has an 18:9 display, the software scaling settings to stretch unsupported apps to fill the entire screen. On the whole, EMUI is fast and fluid but the questionable options and design choices may turn you away if you are used to cleaner build of Android. Unlike other skins, the EMUI combined with the already battery efficient Kirin processor, the phone offers excellent battery life.
The games like; Asphalt Nitro, Bubble Bash 3, Danger Dash, Modern Compact and Spiderman Ultimate Power comes pre-installed. However, most of these are sub-par level games and to top it all, some are just demo and requires in-app purchases to play it.
The Camera in Honor 7x helps you click great pictures during well-lit conditions and things change drastically when you switch to dim environment.
The 16 MP main camera is combined with 2MP depth sensor to help you click the portraits. The depth sensor is offering lot more than a telephoto lens. The portrait mode is little gimmicky when compared to the output of big players like Samsung, Apple and OnePlus. Can’t complain considering the price point at which the phone is listed.
The Camera interface is neat and simple. Swipe from left to right, you get a list of different camera modes. The available modes are; Photo, Pro Photo, Video, Pro Video, HDR, Night Shot, Panorama, Light painting, Timelapse, Slow-mo, Filter, Effects, Watermark, Audio note and more can be downloaded from the Honor store. Swipe from right to left, you will get the settings.
In the viewfinder, on the top, you will see options like Portrait Mode, Flash turn on/off, Moving Picture, Wide aperture, and a flip camera option. The moving picture mode is same as the Live Photo on iPhone which allows you to capture a short video along with the audio during the time of capture. There is no sort of Image Stabilization, making it difficult to get low light images or videos might get shaky if held in hand.
16MP main camera, 2MP depth sensor the phone is offering a lot more than a telephoto lens. The portrait mode is a little gimmick for this price point. Moving picture mode is same as the Live photo on iPhone, which allows you to capture a short video along with the audio during the time of capture. There is no sort of image stabilization, means you will get shaky videos if help in hand.
The post-processing really helps to pull out the best photos possible with impressive dynamic range and colors. The fingerprint scanner can be used to help click the pictures when the shutter button is out of reach.
The 2 MP depth sensor didn’t perform well in capturing the portraits in low light, It struggled quite a bit with edge detection. There are a few blemishes as a result. Outdoors, under good lighting conditions, the images shot with the 7x are sharp. They have great detail levels. What I don’t like about the images are the colors and the dynamic range. The colors seemed oversaturated, there was a significant loss in detailing the shadows. The 8MP selfie camera performed really well and gave me great results. This is something you can rely on for your selfie game.
Under low light, the 7x camera performance is sub-par. The images are a bit too dark and had a lot of noise. The full-fledged manual mode and a dedicated night mode with limited controls. There is a significant lag, 4 to 8 seconds at one time, for capturing the image in manual mode during the night. For the regular customers, who like shooting on auto mode, this camera won’t do any wonders. The Mi A1 clearly wins in here.
When it comes to selfies, the honor 7x does a really great job. The images are very bright and extremely sharp and have a lot of details. The skin tones and dynamic range are ok.
Overall, the phone felt really great for the price range it come from. Though the camera setup seems pretty reliable in the paper, in reality, it performed not up to the expectation. In terms of portraits, the Mi A1 clearly wins if compared side by side. The 18:9 display offers great viewing angle and sharp images. The performance and battery life were top notch and the Kirin processor has done a great job. The selfie camera gives you great pictures and the images look sharp and vivid. The absence of Gyro-sensor may be a problem if you are a gaming person. For this price tag, the phone is worth considering if you want a piece of everything from the 2017 smartphone innovations. Of course, except for the USB Type C port.