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Honor 6X Review: In Depth

4
It's not about the camera, but it's good

The Good

  • Attractive design
  • Rich camera features
  • Great battery life

The Bad

  • Underwhelming camera quality
  • No 5GHz WiFi support

Honor 6X review: Honor’s first phone of 2017 is an interesting mid-ranger packing a premium build and a dual sensor-laden rear camera. Meet the Honor 6X.

Honor 6X Review: Design

Honor’s a company known for making affordable smartphones that look nicer than you’d expect for the price tag and the 6X is no exception. On one side you’ve got pillowed glass that feels nice under-finger, whilst the rest of the body is hewn from bead-blasted aluminium alloy, in gold, grey or silver.

Honor 6X review: Front Honor 6X review: Back

There are nice details like the polished chamfer around the fingerprint sensor and the handset’s distinctive rear camera array too. In fact, the only real hints of its more humble nature are the colour-matched plastic caps that accommodate the phone’s antennas and the fact that it hasn’t been given a more current Type-C USB port, instead opting for an older microUSB connection.

Honor 6X Review: Screen and media

As with its predecessor, the Honor 5X, the 6X packs a sizeable 5.5-inch Full HD display that would make the phone unwieldy in certain scenarios were it not for the inclusion of a one-handed mode that features across Huawei’s and Honor’s entire line.

Honor 6X review: Screen

The screen itself offers pleasing visuals, with soft, natural looking colours, respectable viewing angles and decent contrast management. Maximum brightness could be a tad more powerful as the cover glass comes with a pre-fitted screen protector that picks up fingerprints easily, but beyond that, it’s a pleasant display to use day-to-day.

Users will also appreciate the ability to tweak the display’s overall colour temperature as well as its blue-light filter for evening or low-light environments.

At the base of the 6X’s body is a surprisingly clear single downward-facing loudspeaker that produces better sound than you’d expect for a phone at this price point.

Honor 6X Review: OS

Whilst the company’s flagship, the Honor 8 recently made the jump to Android 7.0 Nougat with their own Emotion UI 5.0 custom overlay running on top, the Honor 6X hits the market on the older Android 6.0 Marshmallow, paired to EMUI 4.1. For the most part, you don’t really miss out on any new functionality, with a highly customisable interface that’s still laden with themes, options for different home screen transitions and unique widgets.

The only real omission is the absence of an apps drawer or the ability to add one in without downloading a different launcher from the Play Store; something that’ll likely be rectified when the phone does eventually make the jump to EMUI 5.0.

If you’re a stock Android fan, the 6X’s user experience will take a little getting used to as it can be a tad convoluted at times, namely with its two-pane notifications panel, as well as the wealth of proprietary Huawei/Honor apps that double up on some of the functionality present in Google’s own offerings.

Where it does excel is with regards to shortcuts and usability tweaks, such as fingerprint gestures for accessing notifications or swiping through photos, along with split-screen multitasking, even if it only works with a handful of the company’s own applications.

Honor 6X Review: Performance and battery

The 6X is one of the few Honor phones running on the company’s latest Kirin 655 octa-core chipset and in markets including the UK it’s accompanied by 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage.

Whilst it’s no spring chicken when place alongside the market leaders, according to Antutu’s benchmarks, performance seems more than adequate for everything from jumping between apps, to HD video playback, to playing intense 3D games without lag, and if you’re concerned about the amount of space on offer, the phone is luckily expandable via microSD by up to an extra 256GB, which if unused can accommodate a second SIM card instead for dual SIM functionality.

Honor 6X review: SIM

The Huawei SensorHub for step counting and basic fitness tracking, 4G support, NFC and the unique WiFi Bridge relay ability are all appreciated, but no 5GHz band WiFi support is a little disappointing for a premium-feeling mid-ranger in 2017 such as this.

Like its predecessor, the Honor 6X thankfully packs a sizeable battery, which Honor promises will last up to 2.2 days on a single charge. In our testing, we never quite made it that far, but it’ll happily endure a day of heavy use or two full workdays if pushed, whilst the fast charger will take the 3340mAh cell from empty to full in around two hours.

Honor 6X Review: Cameras

The biggest talking point around the 6X has to be its dual camera arrangement, which brings the premium imaging capabilities of the Huawei P9, Mate 9 and Honor 8 to a more affordable price point.

You can see full resolution photo samples from this article here.

We go into more depth in the Honor 6X’s dedicated camera review, but in a nutshell, the camera’s functionality is really what shines, with intelligent tools like the ability to refocus shots after the fact and manual control over both stills and video.

Image quality could unquestionably be better, however, with grain creeping in when shooting in auto in dimly lit environments.

Honor 6X Review: Verdict

The Honor 6X is a timely update on 2016’s Honor 5X with a great design, feature-rich user and camera interfaces, dependable battery life and respectable performance, all for under £225.

Honor 6X review: Handheld

Whilst its principle standout feature, that dual camera, may under-deliver just a tad, it excels in a number of other ways and will only get better once it makes to jump to Android Nougat and Emotion UI 5.0.

Key Specs

  • 5.5-inches
  • Full HD (1920x1080)
  • 162 grams
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • 12/2-megapixels dual sensor
  • 8-megapixels
  • 2.1GHz/1.7GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 655
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB. Expandable via microSD up to 256GB
  • Yes
  • Dual SIM, WiFi Bridge, Huawei SensorHub, fingerprint sensor

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