Reviews

HONOR X9a 5G: Thoughts and impressions

The HONOR X9a 5G is making so much buzz with its drop test challenge. While its durability has become its strongest point, so far, this new smartphone from HONOR has so much to offer.

We will go straight to what we think of (and experienced from) the HONOR X9a 5G, which carries a price tag of P16,990.

While most reviews begin with display, let’s begin with performance because we have been using the HONOR X9a 5G heavily in mobile gaming, more often, “Mobile Legends.” We will take this review backward from the normal setup.

HONOR X9a 5G promises to defy ‘wear and tear’
HONOR X9a 5G with OLED Curved Screen to arrive on Jan. 19

Performance

HONOR X9a 5G is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chipset and an Adreno 619 GPU. 

Snapdragon 695 is not the latest in the Qualcomm chipset portfolio and yet, it gave us a solid performance. In the weeks we have it on hand, we didn’t experience any lag while playing, which, for casual gamers like us, is quite a big deal. 

Framerate, as far as we are concerned, is beyond decent, even if we played on standard settings. That alone is one of the reasons HONOR X9a won us over. 

We tried it playing “Call of Duty” and it also delivered. We are not sure if it helped that we are using two network providers that offer 5G connectivity, which made it a breeze for us to play highly intensive mobile games. (With Vincent Salazar)

Camera

We don’t want to sound like an overzealous convert but on steady subjects, the cameras churned out some really good images, at least for mobile photography. It is not perfect, even with a 64MP main, 5MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, and a 16-megapixel front camera. We find the LED flash at the bottom of the matrix ring quite a nifty and functional additional feature.

We tried the different settings because initially, we saw that the exposure was too bright so we adjusted and used all various modes. Honestly, having multiple cameras can be daunting sometimes because there were times when we had to do several shots before we were satisfied.

The same goes for indoor shooting where low light or unsteady lighting could be a real challenge. During the first tries for evening shots, the images came in grainy and shots of streetlights are a teen weeny bit disappointing. Street photography, especially with moving objects, can be quite a struggle with fast-moving subjects and all. But the camera churned out some really pretty colors. We always go for natural colors so we compared the camera with the other smartphone cameras that we have. While it didn’t come close to the one that gave out the most natural-looking hues, the images are not so bad as they can be used for social media, just not for print materials, perhaps.

The rear camera matrix, which is where you will find the triple-camera setup, is pretty eye-catching, especially for ordinary consumers. 

Portrait Mode provided the most favorable images with sharp images. The macro camera, on the other hand, can capture crisp images and the depth of field is impressive.

Even if the multi-video only allows 720p resolution at 30 frames per second, which is a level lower than the maximum 1080p at 30fps, was quite fun to try as it allowed us to shoot using the front and main rear cameras at the same time.

Display

HONOR X9a is designed with a curved 6.67-inch 1080p OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The rear panel is made of plastic but durable and it doesn’t take away the premium feel finish. While we don’t use silicone cases on our own smartphones, we suggest to use one on this smartphone because you don’t want to even put a dent in the matrix ring and the beautiful colors of the back.

Even if it is 6.67 inches it provides a perfect gift and yes, can fit in a pocket. It is also lightweight measuring 7.99 mm in thickness and weighs only 175g.

Battery life

Ah yes, we should not forget the battery life. As mentioned above, the smartphone was used heavily for mobile gaming, so its 5000mAh is easily drained. However, in between those game playing, we used the smartphone for just the usual daily grind, you know, social media and video and photo shoots, and yes, it could last for what it promised of two days of battery life.

And lastly, no, we didn’t do the drop test. We have seen so much of it before we got to review one so we skipped that test.

While there is no perfect smartphone, there will always be the perfect fit for what a consumer needs. If you need something that could defy the wear and tear of a gadget especially if your work requires too much use of smartphones, the HONOR X9a can meet some of your work requirements.