These days, $250 can get you a great phone. The days of having to pay at least $600 for a decent phone are long over. The age of good budget phones is here. The Honor 6X continues a tradition of a budget phone with premium build quality and decent hardware.
5.5-inch 1080P LCD
Kirin 655 octa-core
32GB storage + microSD slot
12MP + 2MP rear camera with phase detection autofocus
8MP front camera
Android 6.0 with EMUI 4.1
3,340 mAh battery
The device features some pretty good specs. On the front is a large 5.5-inch 1080p display that is surprisingly pretty. It’s not very high resolution, but it’s reasonably sharp. However, the brightness and colors are very good, especially for the price. It’s a very enjoyable display, and unlike most budget devices, it’s just as responsive to touch as high end phones. Above it is an 8MP camera, sensors, and a notification light.
On the rear is the dual camera setup and a fingerprint sensor. This fingerprint sensor is lightning fast and doesn’t get inaccurate over time. It’s worked every time for me as long as my fingers weren’t wet. Unlike the Honor 8, this one isn’t a button and can’t be programmed as a shortcut. However, it can also be swiped up and down to activate the notification shade.
The SIM card is located in a tray on the side of the device. It also has a second slot that can either house a second SIM card or a microSD card.
On the bottom are the speaker, microphone, and a charging port. Despite the Honor 8 using a Type-C port, this phone uses an older microUSB port.
Two things to note are the audio quality of the main speaker and the haptic motor. The loudspeaker is quite mediocre and tinny, about what you’d expect for the price. The haptic motor is not great too. Unlike high end phones, which give quick bumps when typing, this one gives vague buzzes. It’s not as bad as other budget phones, but it could be a lot better.
The front panel is a sheet of 2.5D glass while most of the rear is made out of metal. There are two pieces of plastic on the top and bottom of the metal, and the side buttons are also plastic.
The smooth curved glass feels very premium and the metal rear feels almost like a flagship device. However, the two pieces of plastic flanking it don’t feel very nice. A better quality plastic could have definitely been used.
Overall this phone feels very well made. There are no creaks or bending and it feels great in the hand. If it weren’t for the two pieces of cheap plastic, it would feel like a premium device. For $250, it’s definitely above average.
If you’re interested in what I think of Emotion UI 4.1, check out my Honor 8 review. The software is pretty much identical to what the Honor 8 currently runs. Everything I said then holds true.
The main thing to look out for is the app cleanup feature, which will kill apps when you lock the screen. You’ll have to manually approve apps to stay running! Otherwise you’ll be wondering why Google Fit isn’t collecting data and Reddit isn’t sending you notifications.
There is one significant difference and it’s actually a nice one. There is a new setting for DPI called View Mode. There are small, medium, and large settings. All phones should have this! The display is spacious and it’s nice to fit more on it at one time, so a DPI setting is always appreciated.
There is an update for Android 7.0 Nougat coming with Emotion UI 5.0 in tow in Q2 2017. That’s quite far away, but EMUI 5.0 is a huge upgrade. It’ll change the phone for the better, making it more stock-like and even nicer to use.
With a more budget-oriented processor, I figured the performance of this phone would suffer quite a bit over the likes of higher end devices. I mean, how much can you ask for from a $250 phone?
You won’t be getting flagship levels of smoothness, but the Honor 6X is a zippy device. It does most tasks very quick and retains a decent level of smoothness. There is a bit of visual stuttering throughout the OS but speed was never a let down.
As far as games go, it handles them just fine. Pokemon Go seems to be a particularly poorly optimized game yet the Honor 6X takes it like a champ. The same can’t be said for cheaper devices.
The 3GB of RAM is plenty, it never fills up. The phone isn’t very aggressive with closing apps in the background either.
This device uses a dual camera setup much like it’s big brother the Honor 8. But instead of two of the same sensor, it has a 12MP main sensor and a secondary 2MP sensor. The second sensor helps with focus, adding a bokeh effect and more.
Yes, the features of the camera are its main draw. You can add a really nice bokeh effect using the depth data from the second sensor, and you can change it later on. There are also modes like a night mode for a long exposure, painting, and more.
The actual performance of the camera is quite good. In good light, it captures very nice images. They’re large and detailed and the colors are fantastic. They’re a lot better than I expected for the price. Sometimes, they’re downright amazing.
At night, this camera has a bit of trouble. Oftentimes the photo will simply be blurred. It’s possible to get good shots in the dark, but it isn’t very easy. Check every shot after taking it to make sure you got it. However, if you keep the phone stable enough, night photos look quite good.
The front facing camera is an 8MP sensor that captures quite good photos as well. Huawei seems to use very good front facing sensors to nail your selfies.
Overall, the camera is very good but doesn’t handle low light very well. Nonetheless, it can take some shockingly great shots.
With a 3,340 mAh battery and fairly mid-range specs, the battery life is outstanding. With normal use, you can easily go two days on one charge. Even with heavy use, it’ll last a full day with ease. Throw hours of Google Maps and music streaming at it and still get home with plenty of juice.
Firing up games like Pokemon Go still drains the battery at a significant rate, but you’ll have many many hours of play time before needing a charger.
Unfortunately, there is no quick charging with this device. Charging isn’t slow, but it’s what you were used to before the advent of quick charging.
In the realm of budget phones, it’s all about compromise and getting the best bang for your buck. The Honor 6X offers almost everything you could possibly want from a flagship phone. Dual cameras, a big battery, a pretty display, it has it all.
The compromises made are few and easy to handle. The vibration motor isn’t very good, the processor can’t make the UI perfectly smooth, and the camera suffers in low light. However, for $250, it’s a fantastic phone.