Honor 6X camera review: Huawei sub-brand Honor has taken some of the company’s most interesting camera technology to date and implemented it on the new dual rear sensor-laden Honor 6X, but are two cameras better than one when talking about this mid-ranger? Read on to find out.
The 6X boasts a dual 12/2-megapixel rear sensor promising a f/0.95 to f/16 aperture range, PDAF (phase detection autofocus), a 0.3 second fast shutter and enlarged 1.25µm pixels for improved low-light performance over its single-sensored predecessor. On the front, there’s also a respectably large 8-megapixel sensor at your disposal too.
Honor 6X Camera Review: UI
If you’ve come into contact with any of Huawei’s or Honor’s dual-sensor-toting smartphones from the past year you’ll find the 6X’s camera interface is rather familiar. The viewfinder keeps things clean with a shutter, gallery shortcut, flash control, wide aperture toggle, filters, camera switcher and still/video toggle all easily accessible without making things feel cluttered.
Swipe left and you can dip into the settings of the specific mode you’re in, namely with regards to elements including resolution, GPS tagging and camera controls, whilst swiping right reveals the phone’s plethora of camera modes. Arguably one the of greatest strengths of the 6X’s camera is that it throws in so many unique features, like manual video control on top of standard manual control, as well as the company’s signature light painting and beauty modes.
It’s a massive departure from the stock Android camera UI, but doesn’t feel overly convoluted whilst giving the user unprecedented levels of control over the capture experience for a mid-ranger.
Read next: Huawei Mate 9 Camera Review
Honor 6X Camera Review: Picture quality
First, let’s start with the strengths. Shooting in automatic in well-lit conditions, the 6X packs primary cameras that are both fast to focus and fast to capture. There’s noticeable lag versus more premium handsets like the Honor 8, but for a phone of its class, the snappers feel perfectly, well, snappy.
There’s a competent level of fine detail in images too, although the post-processing does seem to overstep its bounds a little when it comes to contrast management and sharpness.
Throwing manual control into the mix also lets you counter some of the shortcomings of the phone’s natural low-light performance, however, a complete lack of image stabilisation tech means that when the lights are dim you’ll struggle to capture anything decent that isn’t perfectly still, without allowing some level of grain within the darker areas of the frame.
The pre-loaded filters and modes like document capture are welcome, albeit novel inclusions, whilst the the wide aperture mode keeps things interesting by not only allowing for simulated bokeh by way of the depth data it’s able to capture, but also adding background defocus, both of which can be altered after capture, which gives the impression that the 6X packs a snapper that punches above its weight (and more importantly its price point).
The phone’s front-facing 8-megapixel camera doesn’t stray far from the path of its predecessors, but of all the companies out there, Huawei/Honor has been leading the way in the selfie department for some time. The 6X’s front camera picks up plenty of detail, even in artificial lighting and the two dedicated selfie modes add overpowered tools for enlarging eyes and smoothing skin, which if abused can result in some pretty horrifying results.
Honor 6X Camera Review: Video quality
The Kirin 655 octa-core processor running the show inside the Honor 6X doesn’t bring the same grunt to the phone’s video department as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 found in the likes of the Huawei Nova Plus, but the phone does offer Full HD video recording up to 30 frames per second, slow motion capture and some level of manual control when filming in ‘pro’ mode.
Quality isn’t anything to write home about, unfortunately, as the phone struggles with high-contrast environments, lacks fine detail and picks up every minute tremor and shake to run through your hands. That said, audio recording is clear, albeit lacking in bass, and autofocus along with auto contrast adjustment are impressively fast.
Honor 6X Camera Review: Verdict
All in all, whilst the Honor 6X’s specialised camera hardware is perhaps more impressive to look at than to actually use, this phone can still deliver a competent mobile photographic experience. Just don’t expect flagship-class images and video, despite the added care taken in giving this phone its snapper.
Where it really excels is with regards to the range of shooting options available, the amount of control before and after capture, and the fact that it’s all wrapped up in a good-looking smartphone that costs under £225.