If there was a phrase to describe 2018’s smartphone market, it would be “value for money”. Over the past handful of months, we’ve seen phones release within the mid-range category that came bundled with specs and features that leave most people seriously questioning the purchase of devices costing hundreds, sometimes thousands more.
For the most part, these freshly released mid-rangers come shipped with at least one single component that is considered to be outstanding in its class range. Things like giant batteries, more-than-decent cameras, or even flagship level chipsets, are all in an attempt to outdo the competition in at least one feature.
Here at Vulcan Post there have been numerous conversations over this trend and the state of the mid-range category, so much so that my colleague Nic felt compelled to write a full piece documenting his thoughts on the mid-range versus flagship debate. You can read it here.
Last month, Honor released the 8X—another device in the same category of devices offering more than decent performances for prices almost too good to be true. Starting at a selling price of RM949, the 8X undercuts other similar devices such as the Pocophone F1, Nokia 7.1, and Honor’s very own Play by about a few hundred ringgit, bringing it close to the levels of a budget phone.
But just as with other similar value mid-rangers, I was curious to see what outstanding feature this phone possessed that would make it a compelling enough buy for those in the market for a new phone—what could it possibly have that other phones didn’t?
As it turns out, there was one, and it was a big one.
|Display||6.5 inch IPS LCD panel, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 aspect ratio|
|Dimensions & Weight||160.4 x 76.6 x 7.8 mm (6.31 x 3.02 x 0.31 in), 175 grams|
|Camera||Dual Rear Camera: 20MP primary shooter + 2MP depth sensor
Front: 8MP selfie camera
|Processor||Hisilicon Kirin 710|
|Storage||128GB, expandable storage up to 400GB|
From The Outside
As you’d expect from Honor, the 8X sports a striking plastic back that shifts patterns as you move it around in the light, making it appear as close to the fingerprint-laden Gorilla Glass enclosures you usually find with more high-end phones in the market. I
n the hand, you kind of get the feeling that you’re holding a premium device, the only giveaway being its relatively light weight that’s telling of the lack of real glass at the back.
On the front, there is a huge IPS LCD touchscreen that measures 6.5 inches, immediately putting it in giant phone territory and providing the device one of its major selling points, which I’ll talk more about later.
The screen boasts an incredible 91% screen-to-body ratio and manages to make its bezels impressively thin, the only obstructions in the way being a slightly broader bottom chin and the now-common notch at the top.
Behind, you’ll find a dual camera setup that boasts up to 20 megapixels on the main shooter, and a fingerprint scanner just beside it.
Around the rest of the phone, you’ll find everything else as expected—a volume rocker, a power button, a dual SIM tray with a slot for a Micro SD card, a even very welcome headphone jack.
The only thing that proved to be a negative was the presence of a Micro-USB charging port instead of a USB-C one—although this is still to be expected of lower-end phones, I really wish we’d adopt a standard port for all devices, especially at a time where everything is becoming so seamlessly connected.
The Value Proposition
Jumping straight to the bit about value propositions, the first is immediately obvious. In the front, a giant 6.5 inch display provides an immersive experience when watching videos or playing games, and even without it being an LED screen, colours and vibrancy were nothing to sneeze at.
Even coming from a slightly smaller display on my daily OnePlus 6, I managed to appreciate the extra real estate, often finding myself choosing to spend my YouTube and gaming sessions on the 8X instead of my own device.
As it stands, the 8X is the one of two phones from well-known manufacturers that offers a display at a size of 6.5 inches or larger at a price below RM1,000, the other being the Huawei Y9—an almost direct clone of the 8X except with not as good a camera.
This all comes backed by a 3,750 mAh battery that provides ample juice for at least a day and a half worth of regular usage. On occasions where I didn’t utilise the phone as heavily, I found the battery easily stretching to almost two full days.
This longevity of course is thanks in huge part to the mid-range Kirin 710 processor—one that doesn’t quite demand the same amount of performance as its higher end Kirin 980 chipset that you’ll find on the Mate 20 Pro.
In terms of performance however, this doesn’t mean the 8X is a slouch. Yes, you won’t find the same level of snappiness and multitasking ability as better specced devices such as the Mate 20 Pro, OnePlus 6T, or even the Pocophone F1, but the 8X does well enough for me to not complain about daily usability.
Watching videos, browsing the web, and even playing some games went pretty much fuss free, and the only times I encountered any slowdowns were in multitasking and occasionally when using facial recognition to unlock the device, which I admittedly found quite annoying at times.
Touching on the camera, the setup on the 8X does pretty well for the price. While it lacks things like optical image stabilisation and optical zoom, the dual lens module still does alright for the most part. In well lit conditions, there was sufficient detail in shots, and the camera app itself felt spritely enough when navigating through menus.
On the 8X, Honor even went as far to include scene detection capabilities, although in this case results were a mixed bag. In some situations, the 8X managed to make the subjects appear more vivid and poppy, but in other situations, colours became a bit oversaturated.
Overall, I found that photos on the 8X on can be expected to have a quality that you could call Instagrammable at the very least, and with a little bit of smart angling and editing using apps such as Snapseed, the final output should make it an adequate shooter for most.
Overall, the performance of the 8X was satisfactory—it won’t win any awards for speedy performances, but there was nothing that I found that would prove to be a dealbreaker for buyers thinking of getting it for themselves.
Because looking at it together with its starting price point of RM949, it does seem as if the 8X is a pretty strong entry in the value midrange category, successfully putting forth one big strong point to make it worth considering at the very least.
While there are also a glut of other similarly priced phones in the market that promote themselves similarly, the 8X makes a case for itself as one for heavy media consumers, what with its huge display outputting the sort of quality you’d expect from a phone worth a fair bit more.
|Huge display with good colours and details||No USB-C port|
|Good battery size||Scene detection sometimes oversaturates photos|
|Premium build quality||Some slowdowns when using fingerprint scanner|
You can find out more about the Honor 8X here.
VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.