The trend we have noticed when it comes to smartphones in 2017 is to sport a tall edge-to-edge display, and dual-camera setups. Sticking to that trend is the new Honor 7X, which was launched for the Indian market today. As the name suggests, it is the successor to the Honor 6X that was launched in India earlier this year. With a price tag starting from Rs 12,999, the Honor 7X debuts in a highly competitive segment that has good options from the likes of Xiaomi, and Motorola among others. So can the new Honor smartphone stand out in this competitive segment? Here’s my review.
Right out of the box, you can see that the Honor 7X’s display is one of its USPs. The tall 5.93-inch display features an aspect ratio of 18:9, and stretches right to the edges with very slim bezels on the sides. The top bezel only has enough space for the front camera, sensors, and the earpiece, while the bottom bezel only has space for the Honor logo.
The display sports a full HD+ (2160×1080 pixels) resolution, and is a treat to look at. Visuals are crisp and punchy too despite it being an IPS panel. Text look sharp, and viewing angles are good too. Even outdoors during the day, the display is legible. There’s a 2.5D glass on top, which adds to the overall premiumness of the device.
As we see with most devices these days, the Honor 7X has a ‘Daytime Screen’ feature that automatically boosts the brightness in bright conditions. On the other hand, it also has an ‘Eye Comfort’ mode that filters the blue light for an easy-on-the-eye experience. Basically these just seem like unnecessary jargons for auto adaptive brightness feature. That said, the transitions between different brightness levels is quite smooth. Overall, the Honor 7X’s display is quite good, and dare we say among the best in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment.
Complementing the display is the overall good build quality. The metal unibody design does looks premium, and matte black finish is something that appeals to me. My only complaint however is that the matte black variant is a fingerprint magnet. Even after a short time of use, the back panel was full of fingerprints and smudges. Unfortunately, it takes a bit of an effort to really clean the back panel. You are bound to take that extra effort when the phone is new, but eventually, one will have to learn to live with it. The alternative is to use a phone cover.
The other talking point about the Honor 7X is the dual-camera setup at the back. While the popular choice lately seems to be a combination of telephoto and wide-angle lenses, Honor has opted for a slightly different setup. The Honor 7X comes with a 16-megapixel primary sensor, and a 2-megapixel sensor to add depth of field to your images.
As you can guess, the focus here is to let users click photos with DSLR-like bokeh effects. The Portrait Mode, as the name suggests, is dedicated to shoot photos where the subject stands out in front of a blurred background. While shooting portrait photos, you can also adjust the beauty settings to really amp up the glam factor. The portrait mode works decently as long as the lighting conditions are good. You will see the camera struggling to really distinguish the edges in the evenings or when you move indoors.
When shooting standard photos, again the camera impresses only when lighting conditions are optimum. Detail levels are strong, and the camera is able to capture scenes accurately with realistic colour reproduction. You however realize that the Honor 7X is a mid-range smartphone when shooting photos in low light. Photos are grainy, and there’s a visible loss in details. If you really do need to shoot photos in low light though, the LED flash can come in handy.
Up front, the Honor 7X features an 8-megapixel camera for selfies and video calling. Though the setup features a single lens, the camera allows you to click selfies with bokeh effects. The camera is quite adept at judging the depth when clicking photos of yourself. The overall quality is good enough to be shared on social media without the need for much editing. Speaking of social media, as is the craze with millennials, the selfie camera also lets you add a bunch of effects to your selfies.
Powering the Honor 7X is a Kirin 659 octa-core SoC paired with 4GB of RAM. While you should not expect a buttery smooth experience, the overall performance is typically mid-range. Though it is capable of handling most games, you will encounter occasional lags or stutters during your day-to-day usage.
The slightly resource-heavy performance can be due to the software on the phone. Disappointingly, the smartphone runs on Android 7.0 Nougat-based EMUI 5.1. As is the case with most Chinese UIs, Huawei’s EMUI too is crammed with features. These include the ability to enable the app drawer, app twin mode, and floating dock to name a few. For those who feel the Honor 7X’s display is quite tall for one handed use, there is a feature called ‘One-handed UI’. As the name suggests, this feature shrinks the UI to one corner of the phone, which then lets you reach the corners of the display with ease.
There is also a fingerprint sensor placed at the back, which does more than just unlock the device. The placement of the sensor is perfect as it is easy to reach without straining your fingers. You can use the fingerprint sensor to click selfies, but my personal favorite is the ability to pull down the notifications panel. Head over to the Fingerprint ID section in settings, and enable ‘show notification panel’. Once enabled, you can simply swipe down on the fingerprint sensor to drag down the notifications panel.
Making sure everything ticks is a 3,340mAh battery under the hood. In my time with the phone, the battery was able to last for a day-and-half with judicial usage. With more resource-hungry usage, the battery was able to get through the day on a single charge. In case you are out and running low on battery, you can choose from a couple of power saver modes to really stretch out that final bit of battery life. One disappointing aspect is the presence of a dated micro-USB port instead of USB Type-C that would have enabled faster charging.
The Honor 7X does come across as a strong contender in the sub-Rs 15,000 price segment. It has an impressive display, a decent set of cameras, and Honor has clearly put in some efforts into the overall build quality. Missing features like fast charging does come across as a bit of compromise, and the dated EMUI is what stop me from highly recommending this phone to people.
At this price range, the Honor 7X faces strong competition from the Xiaomi Mi A1. While it doesn’t come with as impressive a display as the Honor 7X, it does boast a superior set of cameras, and stock Android OS.