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November 30, 2017

Honor 7X hands on

by John_A

The Honor 6X was released a little over a year ago, and it was remarkably well received for a company that had yet to make a real impact on the US market. Packing an octa-core processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 3,340 mAh battery, it was the phone to beat for budget-minded consumers.

Now, Honor is back with the 7X, bringing an updated 2017 design, better cameras, and a faster processor. We went hands-on with the phone to see how it stacks up against other budget devices on the market.

In the hand, the Honor 7X has a premium feel. It has an all-metal chassis with rounded corners to fit well in your palm. It certainly feels like it could compete with other flagships, in terms of build quality. It’s quite thin too, at just 7.6mm (that’s .3mm thinner than the Google Pixel 2 XL). Coming in at 165 grams, it is also very light, despite still feeling sturdy.

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The screen isn’t 2K resolution, but that’s to be expected for a budget device. It’s got a Full HD+ 2,160 x 1,080 LCD screen instead, which, as we’ve seen with devices like the OnePlus 5T, is perfectly fine for most people. The colors looks quite punchy, and are accented by the bright and colorful wallpapers that come pre-installed.

At 407 ppi, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between this and a 2K display with the naked eye, unless it’s something like the Note 8‘s outstanding OLED panel.

As you may have noticed, this phone has an 18:9 aspect ratio. This shouldn’t be too surprising, considering it is one of the biggest trends of 2017, but it’s quite nice to see on a budget device. There is now an 82.9% screen to body ratio, which isn’t quite as good as something like the Galaxy S8, but this is a far, far cheaper phone.

Honor tells me the wider screen in landscape mode increases the field of view by 13%. This supposedly gives you a competitive advantage in games. To my knowledge game engines would typically crop to fit, so this is something we will have to test further for the full review.

Powering that big, beautiful 5.93-inch display is a Kirin 659 octa-core processor running four cores at 2.36 GHz and four at 1.7 GHz, a Mali T830 GPU, and 3-4 GB of RAM. A 64 GB storage model with 4 GB RAM will be available globally, but the US will only be seeing the 32 GB version with 3 GB RAM. Storage is expandable up to 256 GB via a microSD card slot though.

In our initial hands on this hardware array seems to do quite well, launching apps and multitasking fluidly. We’ll have to test this further though, and will let you know our final verdict in next week’s full review.

The camera has been improved considerably since the Honor 6X. There are two cameras in the back of the device: a 16 MP main shooter and a 2 MP secondary camera. The second camera is for portraits much like all the other dual-lens cameras on the market (as well as the single-lens Pixel 2), but it doesn’t do a great job with depth. I was a bit disappointed with the results, but at this price point you can’t win ’em all.

For what it’s worth, the primary 16 MP shooter actually does quite well, remaining quite sharp for most circumstances. The biggest problem I’ve noticed is color accuracy, as it tends to over-saturate things. This is especially evident in pictures of people, which is a shame considering Honor marketed the selfie modes as a major perk.

The front-facing camera shoots at 8 MP, and actually does decently. The popularization of the selfie has resulted in front-facing shooters becoming higher quality, and that is particularly evident in this phone.

Below the cameras on the back you’ll find a fingerprint reader, which Honor says will read your biometrics in a quarter of a second. It feels very small— smaller than most other readers on the market. This isn’t exactly a deal-breaker, but it feels a bit odd. It’s also recessed a bit more than most other devices on the market, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, but I would have preferred it to be more flush with the back of the phone.

On the bottom of the device you’ll find a microUSB port, bottom-firing speaker, and yes, a headphone jack! I found it a bit disappointing that Honor used microUSB when almost every new phone released today is using USB Type-C, but when I asked about this they mentioned that they wanted to cut costs in areas that weren’t essential. I think they could have charged a couple dollars more and included the Type-C port, but Honor assured me that this device will be extremely competitively priced.

The Honor 7X packs a 3,340 mAh battery, which is the same capacity as the Honor 6X. While I would normally say that this would probably drain faster than the 6X thanks to the larger screen, the wonderful battery life we experienced in the OnePlus 5T is proof that battery life really can be optimized with good software. We’ll be running it through further testing to see if it can really last the full 1.38 days that Honor is advertising, so look for that in our full review.

Display 5.93-inch IPS LCD
18:9 aspect ratio
2160 x 1080 resolution
407 ppi
Processor Octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 659
GPU Mali-T830-MP2
RAM 3/4 GB
Storage 32/64 GB
MicroSD Yes, up to 256 GB
Cameras Rear: Dual 16 and 2 MP sensors with phase detection autofocus, LED flash, 1.2 µm pixel size, wide aperture range from f/0.95 – f/16
Front: 8 MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth 4.1
Micro USB
GPS/AGPS/Glonass/BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
Sensors Hall effect sensor
Fingerprint sensor
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Compass
Accelerometer
Phone status indicator
Battery 3,340 mAh
Non-removable
Software Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Emotion UI 5.1
Dimensions and weight 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm
165 g
Colors Black, Gold, Blue

Pricing and availability have yet to be announced, but stick around and we’ll be sure to let you know when they are.

Was the Honor 6X a compelling device for you? Would you consider picking up the 7X? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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