Huawei isn’t going anywhere. If you’re surprised that I’m referencing Huawei again, it’s because the company owns the Honor brand which is a sub brand of the Huawei brand…. Sounds great right?
The Honor brand specializes in mid range smartphones with great performances. The last year’s Honor 8x was a great success. It was obviously the best selling of the entire Honor brand so far. Then the company had produced other amazing smartphones like the Honor View 20 and View 20 Pro which are known for their usage of the Hole-Punch camera design just as seen on the Galaxy S10 series.
But that’s not the point of this article because I’ll be talking about the upgraded version of the previous Honor 8x… The Honor 9x and the Honor 9x Pro. Both smartphones were released on July 2019 and had been making quite a wave on the Internet eventhough its not getting too much attention as il the previous version did.
What makes this device amazing is probably the fact that it’s designed without a notch or a hole-punch on its screen. So it features a really fluid UI which really feels sturdy and great when held in the hand.
We made our request and got our own order 3 days ago and I have been using the smartphone which to me feels very awesome. We currently have both the Honor 9x and the 9x Pro which both works great.
One distinct difference about the devices is the presence of triple camera setup and RAM upgrade in the Honor 9x Pro while the normal Honor 9x has just 2 camera setups which also works great.
A little background story goes like this, Huawei had a problem with the US Government some times ago and things got really toughened up during the Trump administration leading to the company getting blacklisted in May as a “National Threat”.
US companies were therefore obligated to never work with Huawei leading to lots of company pulling out of working WITH Huawei. Google being the most obvious which is because Google was going to snatch off its Android license and this led to lots of controversies in the tech world.
Samsung infact struck a deal with its Singaporean customers asking them to snap in their Huawei smartphones in exchange for a Galaxy S10 device (or at least take off as huge as $550 off the normal price of the Galaxy S10) it was as if Huawei was going to die. But well, the company had just launched its power phone, the P30 Pro which is a really perfect device and it costs $1000.
Of course none of this story should concern you because US president, Donald Trump eventually said US companies can now trade with Huawei even though nothing really seems official and its not as publicised as the ban itself, most people didn’t trust the words and lots have ditched their Huawei smartphones for Samsung…. Which isn’t good for Huawei.
Initially, we thought here at Brumpost that Huawei would develop and deploy its own OS. It did launch it but only would deploy in its Honor Vision “Smart Screen” TV which was announced on the 9th of May 2019 during the Annual Huawei developer conference. The company’s CEO even made it known that if the Android license is finally taken off, they would deploy the Harmony (Hong Meng) Operating system to their devices.
But that’s not the story here. Because the Whole Huawei fiasco with the US government is something political and its beyond thr scopes of this article. But the reason I’m telling you this beforehand is that you’re somewhat still limited if you’re planning to get yourself an Honor 9x device. But without further ado, let’s continue with the review.
Hardware and Design
One thing Huawei had excelled and perfected so well is the usage of gradient designs on its devices. Even though the previous Honor 8x had just singular colors, the design was extremely premium which made people to opt for it over its counterpart, the Huawei Y9 2019.
But the Honor 9x had taken things up the notch with the amazing gradient which looks somehow like an “X” when you move it on a bright light. One miss here is the absence of the fingerprint sensor at the back of the device.
This is something I mostly miss because I’m somehow used to it. The usage of in-display fingerprint sensor is becoming rampart and its becoming generally acceptable. Even though it slows down sometimes due to the implementation of different technologies used to achieve it. But the Honor 9x took the fingerprint to the right side of the device… That in a moment.
Still at the back of the devices, there are triple camera setup on the Honor 9x Pro while the Honor 9x has just double Camera setup. The triple camera setup includes a 48MP main lens as well as a 8MP secondary lens and a 2MP lens for deep sensing.
While the double camera setup includes just the 48MP main lens and a 2MP lens for deep sensing as well as an LED flash which is really bright.
Aside these camera differences, there isn’t too much differences or obvious makeovers on both devices that makes it distinct. But then the bottom of the device houses the Headphone jack. This is something that many company are getting rid of in 2019 and by 2020, we probably won’t see headphone jack anymore or at least we’ll see it very less maybe in less expensive smartphones considering the fact that premium smartphones like the Galaxy Note 10 is already done with it. Even the Honor View 20 Pro ditched the headphone jack as well.
Other obvious build at the bottom of the Honor 9x and 9x Pro includes the USB Type-C port which was really missed in the Honor 8x last year. Also, the speaker and the microphone are placed at the bottom of the device.
The right side of the device is where the fingerprint scanner is located on the Honor 9x. Other button includes the volume up/down rocker as well as the power button. One thing I don’t really like is the placement of the fingerprint scanner at the side of the device. Then even going further by over separating the volume keys and the power button isn’t really common but one has to get used to it… Afterall, new technology mean new changes.
There is dual nano SIM tray on the left side of the devices which also houses the MicroSD card that can be as much as 512GB.
The top of the device is where most of the magic happens… The slide out camera. This isn’t of course the first time we’ll be seeing this. But it’s the first time we’ll be seeing it on an Honor smartphone. It slides out to reveal a 16MP camera lens. Other Huawei device that has this design is the Y9 Prime. Don’t be surprised that the Y9 series and the Honor (8x, 9x) usually have this close resemblance eventhough Honor devices usually seems to be much more expensive than those mid-range Huawei smartphones. Aside the slide out camera, other hardware component at the top of the device is the microphone just as seen on the Honor 8x.
The Matte finish on the sides of the device is really amazing and it feels very premium when held. Many peoe would ask what device I was holding and how much it costs. (The pricing in a moment)
As for the colors of the device, it comes in various colors. For example, the Honor 9x Pro comes in Magic Night Black, Charm Sea Blue while the same applies to the Honor 9x with the addition being a Red color.
All in all, its a really awesome device in terms of build quality. If you always wonder why the Honor brands are usually more expensive than Huawei mid-rangers, it’s because they’re made with really high quality materials and awesome build quality.
Powerful 6.59-inch LCD Display
The Honor 9x and the Honor 9x Pro features the same display sizes and dimensions hence, no obvious differences again. The both devices features a 6.59 inch IPS LCD display which is a bit lower grade compared to the OLED seen on the P30 Pro… Again, P30 Pro is an expensive premium smartphone.
The usual differences between the IPS LCD and OLED displays is usually the crisps. Looking a device that is made with OLED display usually feel as though objects are right on top of the device’s screen while the IPS LCD display usually feel feel like those objects are below the screen. If you get what I’m talking about. But again, the build quality of the Honor 9x and the 9x Pro is really amazing and you wouldn’t miss anything much on the display. It’s generally beautiful and crisp.
The resolution of both devices’ screen is 1080×2340 pixels. The device runs the Android 9.0 Pie as its base OS with the EMUI 9.0 even though there is a chance to upgrade to the Android Q with the new EMUI 10.0.
The default skin is really great but I preferred it black which is why I utilised a black theme on top of the EMUI 9.0. Also the PPI are 391 for both devices.
Its bezel-less display is met with a little bit of a chin at the bottom. But don’t be surprised that the chin is extremely insignificant. The same thing we witnessed in the previous Honor 8x was how thin the bottom bezel or chin was. Unlike other OEM that wood usually place giant chin to their device due to engineering reasons (Google Pixel 3XL as an example) Huawei managed to make the Honor devices look somewhere near premium device screens like the iPhone XS Max.
Kirin 810 SoC Processor
The powerful feature of the device is its ability to handle whatever its being thrown at it. As a young lady, I’m not obviously doing too much on my device other than writing enormously, watching tutorials and reading via my smartphone. The Honor 9x Pro which is obviously my favorite took that to the next level.
The Honor 9x comes in two variants which is the version with 4GB RAM as well as 64 GB ROM, then the other version has 6GB RAM as well as 128GB ROM just as the Honor 8x then the Honor 9x Pro takes things from a bit farther starting from 6GB RAM and 128 GB ROM as well as 8GB RAM and 256GB ROM. The higher end variant of the Honor 9x Pro is obviously tougher.
For example, I had to try so many things on this device to see how powerful it is and if it would break at any point but it never did. Or at least I gave up trying to break it after so much trial.
Believe me, I was really excited to try new things on the device just 2 days after I got the Honor 9x Pro and the Honor 9x. The higher end of both devices performed well.
Playing games like Mortal kombat 11 as well as PUBG all well absolutely well. The lower variant (Honor 9x with 4GB RAM) wasn’t very great at this job even though it took quite a while to break it. I had to drop it off and simply worked with both the higher ends (Honor 9x 6GB and Honor 9x Pro 8GB).
For example, it doesn’t kill applications at the background the same way the older Honor 8x does because there is a lot of memory allocated to each application. I did wrote this entire content on the Honor 9x (6GB variant) and it was very great and feels very handy.
Although it’s big, playing games on the device is really enjoyable which means objects moves very fast and the color are well thought out. Another thing I find fascinating about the device’s processor is that it uses Huawei’s latest HiSilicon Kirin 810 processor which is a higher end chip as seen on the Honor View 20 and View 20 Pro.
So you would expect a really great application transition and fast handling of data. I use Drupe which is a really powerful contact application that also has its own call screen and bunch of features. Drupe would slow down your device if its not fast enough especially when you’re using the Drupe call screen as your default. But the Honor 9x and 9x Pro both handled this exactly well.
The call screen doesn’t lag in any way or form.
4000 mAh Li-Ion Battery
Both devices comes with a big 4000mAh battery capacity which means having a lot of juice to burn through the day. Believe me, you don’t necessarily need a powerbank when you get a Honor 9x or Honor 9x Pro. Let me explain how I used the devices when they brought them to our office last weekend.
I turned them on and then took the three devices for a little ride out at about 10:00 am to the nearest café. During this time, I had swapped in my sim card in the higher grade of the Honor 9x Pro (the 8GB model) and started out by downloading games because the café usually have faster Internet connection. It didn’t take too long before I did. Then I transfered the file to the other devices. After about 3 hours of continuously running multiple tasks on the lowest variant of the Honor 9x (4GB model) I had to drop it because it went slower.
I wanted to have a real life experience of the device and so I took it out as well to the plains and took couple of random pictures of complete strangers. Throughout this period, I had the Geek bench running as well as multiple applications. I minimised 4 different games as well as YouTube, then I also turned on the Camera app permanently with the resolution set to the HD+ at the highest resolution with the screen back-light set to 100%
Other things I did was I turned on its wireless connection even though I went out of range while on the street, I also turned on the Bluetooth connection. Eventually I returned back to office at about 3PM and continued working until 6PM meanwhile, I was writing contents on the device. I made two videos using my licensed version of the Kinemaster application.
I worked completely on the devices throughout the day and it was really great and crisp. It never lagged at any point making it a really portable computer. And the battery lasted very long enough that I only had to plug it back to power supply at about 8PM after a really heavy usage.
Now, most users won’t use the device the way I did and we of course have a more cohesive way of draining devices power in the robotic way but I did to see how a really heavy smartphone user would use the device. It worked very well and it was really amazing I must confess.
One great addition is the USB Type-C which makes transfer and charging very fast. The power breaker is also very powerful and charging is very much fast compared to the previous Honor 8x. This is obviously an invitation to upgrade to the latest version of the Honor 9x and Honor 9x Pro from the previous Honor devices.
Dual 48Mp and 2MP rear Camera
Now comes in the goodie part of the devices. The Honor 9x Pro has a much greater triple camera setup which makes photographs good looking.
The main rear cameras of both devices which is of course 48MP has an f/1.8 aperture and a the 2MP secondary lens has an f/2.4 aperture. The rear camera also has the bokeh effect thanks to the 2MP secondary camera that makes deep sensing very possible. The bigger lenses in the primary camera makes the bokeh far better unlike the not-so-good bokeh effects we’ve seen on the previous Honor 8x.
Overall photograph is much more perfect than the previous version. Also, the primary lens is the same that is found on the Honor View 20 which is a really big plus for mobile photography.
Honor devices don’t usually come with AR animated emoji like QMojis which are usually found on Huawei branded devices. But still, there are tons of features to enjoy with the back camera. The EMUI 9.0 comes with tons of extra features such as the Panorama, AR, HDR and so forth.
Shooting slow motion is very possible and this time around, the slow motions are far more upgraded unlike those made by the Honor 8x. Video stabilization is still missing but as a mobile photographer, the use of external stabilzers or Gimbal is advised.
The front facing camera is 16 megapixel with an f/2.2 aperture. The selfie camera slides out just the way as found on the Huawei Y9 Prime. It’s quite fast especially if it’s to be used for face unlock event hough that could take quite a while before the thing slides out… That’s hell of a time. Then the worst was repositioning the fingerprint sensor.
Honor 9x is not a 5G phone…. Connectivity
The Honor 9x and the Honor 9x Pro both have the normal conectivites that any smartphone would have. This isn’t a 5G smartphone though but it’s predecessor has 4G LTE which means the same as the Honor 9x.
Other means of data transfer includes Wi-Fi for faster Internet connectivity as well as Bluetooth 5.0. There is Huawei share also which enhances data transfer way faster than the normal transfer on Bluetooth.
It also has Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 802.11 n 5GHz, Dual-Band, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hot-spot. Bluetooth v5.0 with Following Profile A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) LE (Low Energy).
Supported Internet explorer includes Google Chrome, Opera Mini, Support WAP, HTML, HTML5 Browsers.
Pricing starts from $203 – $490
Pricing for the Honor 9X starts at 1,399 yuan (£163 / $203) and comes in black, blue, and red, while the Honor 9X Pro begins at 2,199 yuan (£256 / $320) and comes in black and purple. Of course there would be a little hike in the price tag if you’re purchasing the device from a carrier or you could catch it at a lower price tag on websites like Ali Express.
Should you buy the Honor 9x or the 9x Pro?
Both devices are great and feels really premium in every way. The fact that the devices have great cameras as well as fast processors makes it really attractive. But there are many factors to consider when planning to purchase this device. First of which would be the so-called trade war between the Company and the US government.
If you’re not an American… Or if you don’t live in the US, then you shouldn’t have a problem with the device. So far, the pricing as well as what it delivers is really fantastic. Even though the Honor View 20 and View 20 Pro are a little bit more expensive than this device, they share so many familiarities.
But if you’re an avid Huawei fan, then you might upgrade to this if you’re using other Huawei nid range budge smartphones like the Huawei Y9 2019, Y6, Y7, Honor 8x or Huawei Nova 3i.
Honor 9x Pro and Honor 9x vs Others
The Honor 9x pro is really capable of competing with other mid rangers from companies like Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus, Nokia, Lenovo and of course the Galaxy A Series. But let’s examine few.
Samsung Galaxy A70
This is a really great device. It has nearly all the functionalities that you’ll find on the high end Galaxy S10 just trimmed down to fit the budget. This device features triple camera setup, 6GB RAM, 128GB ROM, USB Type-C connector, 6.7 Inch display which is very crisp. It also has in display fingerprint sensor. This is a real Honor 9x competitor considering how much features the device has in box.
Honor View 20
Nothing obvious sets the View 20 from the Honor 9x device aside the Hole-punch design of the device. But considering the fact that this is a quite upscale device makes it really valuable for the money.
It features dual camera setup while the Pro model has a triple camera setup. It also has in-screen fingerprint sensor as well a 24MP selfie camera. It features a 8GB RAM and 256GB ROM for the higher end Pro model of the View 20.
The Redmi K20 is a really fascinating device which is out to kill the Honor 9X completely considering the fact that both device have identical features as though they were both competing for users attentions. One obvious thing about this device is the inclusion of the OLED display which is quite higher graded unlike the Honor 9x.
All in all, your choice of device will influence if you should really purchase the Honor 9x because it has lots of features. But considering the legal issues and scandals the company is currently into, many customers want to ditch their Huawei devices or at least this, if not fixed up by the end of August might usher in a new era of The Harmony (Hong Meng) OS by Huawei after they lose their Android license.