Not to be confused with 2018’s Honor 8X, this is the Honor X8. While the smartphone’s name change is subtle, it brings with it some notable upgrades. Up front, it features a 90Hz high-refresh rate 6.7-inch Full HD+ display running Honor’s Magic UI 4.2 software. This is a build over Android 11 which brings with it several UI elements that we have come to expect from a typical Honor device.
Accompanying the software is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor with up to 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM. The latter can be expanded a further 2GB thanks to Honor’s RAM Booster optimisation which generally helps more applications stay in memory. However, the smartphone’s overall usage experience is still largely underwhelming with frequent jitters and pauses.
On the rear, the Honor X8 features a quad-camera setup consisting of a 64MP main sensor which does the bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to photography. If you can get over the sluggish shutter speed, the pictures taken from the Honor X8 are decent. But they quickly fall apart in low light especially if you are trying to take pictures of moving objects. Likewise, videography is also not a strong suit of the phone with no support for 4K video.
But where you will see the device excel is with battery life. Given the hardware makeup of the phone and the 4,000mAh battery, you can easily see north of 2 days’ worth of moderate usage. Included in the box is a 22.5W charger as well, which can take the battery from 0-100 per-cent in just over an hour. For those wanting good battery life and a good display on a budget, the Honor X8 is well equipped. But with growing competition even at the Dh999 price bracket, there are competing smartphones that offer more.
Price and release date
The Honor X8 is another step towards the manufacturer’s return into the local market. The smartphone is aiming to cater towards an audience wanting a budget smartphone equipped with high-end specifications. Available in either Titanium Silver, Midnight Black or Ocean Blue, the Honor X8 is currently up for pre-order starting at Dh899 coming with up to 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM capable of RAM Booster technology.
Design and display
- Thin and lightweight
- Not very premium
- 90Hz Full HD+ display
When you first pick up the Honor X8, its thin and lightweight body stands out. It is only 177g and 7.5mm thick however it is quite a tall phone. Given this design, one-handed use especially for people with smaller hands will be difficult. But Honor has at least made sure that the volume rocker and power button on the right edge of the device is comfortably accessible for anybody. The power button further doubles as a quick and responsive fingerprint scanner.
On the bottom edge of the device, you find a mono speaker, a Type-C USB input for charging, a 3.5mm headphone jack and the primary microphone. Sometimes, smartphones at this price bracket like to cut corners with the microphone but we were pleased with the quality of calls, especially in combination with that secondary microphone on the top edge for noise cancellation. Lastly, the right edge houses a dual-SIM tray for 4G compatible cards.
Although designed with some thought, the Honor X8 isn't a metal phone all over . This is evident from the first time you pick it up. The back and frame of the smartphone is made of plastic. Instead of the current glossy finish, we feel a matte finish would have made more sense given the material choice. That being said, if you;'re going to case up the phone, this won't matter too much to you. The back is also where you find the relatively flush and well positioned quad-camera setup with a centered flash module.
On the front, the Honor X8 sports a 6.7-inch IPS LCD panel. This is a flat Full HD+ display with a 90Hz refresh rate, a punch hole design and good sunlight legibility. While it does not have the pop of an OLED display, it is still decent for watching content, especially given its size. You will only find a mono speaker for your audio experience though which is underwhelming. For general interaction, the smoothness of the 90Hz refresh rate is also felt. However, the processor on the smartphone struggles to keep up.
- Memory management is good
- Daily performance can be better
- Slow overall experience
The core aspect of any smartphone is performance. And while Honor has implemented a few tweaks for the X8, it still does not deliver a consistently fluid experience. Inside, the Honor X8 sports a 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SoC with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Thanks to RAM Booster, the smartphone can use an extra 2GB of its storage as RAM to keep additional applications in memory.
This is a feature that is usually reserved for higher-end smartphones and in this case, it works well. Honor’s Magic UI 4.2 is adequately optimized to keep more applications in memory with the help of RAM Booster however the software and hardware cannot keep up with regular usage. For instance, quickly switching between multiple applications is choppy and there are often frame drops when multitasking. Scrolling through Instagram can be inconsistent, using the native camera application across multiple social media applications is less than ideal and multitasking with picture-in-picture when using Google Maps or YouTube is infuriating given how slow the phone becomes.
At the end of the day, we know that the Honor X8 is a budget smartphone. And you can only deliver so much at this price point. However, we have seen other smartphones performing with better consistency at this price bracket. So, we can only hope that Honor addresses these issues with a software update to Android 12.
- Front and rear cameras perform well in good light
- Slow shutter speed
- Good selfie camera
The Honor X8 features a quad-camera primary setup although, you will only use two of these lenses for the most part. Firstly, the 64MP wide lens which will do the bulk of your photography and the 5MP ultra-wide lens for the occasional wider angle shot. The other two lenses are the 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensors which frankly do not contribute much. Sure, the 2MP macro lens is useful for occasional close-up images but its resolution is too low for any meaningful clicks.
With the main wide lens, you will be able to click some decent pictures in good lighting conditions. Detail and dynamic range is relatively good for the most part and up to 2x zoom is usable for pictures that you want to share online. One aspect of the camera we found to be impressive was photos of people, where a good balance in skin tones was maintained.
Even the ultra-wide lens during the day holds its own, however images come out a bit grainier given the much lower resolution of the sensor. As soon as you start to take pictures in low light, this effect is even more pronounced. The main lens also starts to struggle in this case and despite using night mode, images are underwhelming. As for the ultra-wide lens, we recommend not using it in low-light as it struggles quite a bit.
- 4,000mAh size
- Up to two-day battery backup
- 22.5W fast charging
With budget smartphones, battery life is usually a strong suit. And it is no different with the Honor X8. With its 4,000mAh cell, it can provide up to two days of battery backup without any sweat. We think this is thanks to a combination of less power-hungry hardware and optimisation. On a regular day using both data and WiFi, we were able to get a solid 7 hours of screen-on time running the battery percentage down to about 40 per-cent.
The great thing about the Honor X8 is also its charging capabilities. With the included charger, you can go from 0-100 per-cent in just over an hour. While this is not on par with the ridiculous charging speeds we are seeing of late, it is plenty fast for a quick top-up when you need it.
Should you buy the Honor X8?
The Honor X8 is a budget smartphone that is not meant for everyone. But if you are a fan of Honor’s software and the fact that the smartphone supports Google Play Services, you may be swayed by it. Add to that, a decent display and good battery backup and the Honor X8 becomes a viable choice as a secondary phone if you can look past its flaws.
Buy it if...
You want good battery life
Undeniably, the battery life on the Honor X8 is solid. Whether you are a moderate or heavy user, it will give you reliable backup.
You like Honor’s Magic UI
A few years ago, Honor’s Magic UI had become a popular software skin on its smartphones. After a break of a few years, this is one of the first Honor devices to bring that experience back with Google Play Services onboard.
You like lightweight phones
The combination of material choices and design on the Honor X8 makes it a thin and lightweight device, which not many are at this price bracket.
Don’t buy it if
You want 5G connectivity
With the switch to modern day communications, you may be looking for the fastest in connectivity. But the Honor X8, unlike some of its competition at this price point does not offer 5G support.
You need a good camera package
While the Honor X8 has a capable 16MP selfie camera and a main 64MP sensor as one of the four units on its quad-camera setup, the other three units are below par for general usage