We had the opportunity to test Honor 9X Pro’s latest newborn, subsidiary of the Chinese giant Huawei. With solid features, excellent photo and video performance and an edge-to-edge screen without notch or punch, all for a very contained price, Honor’s smartphone manages to make us forget that it does not have the Google services? The answer in our test !
Honor quickly made a name for herself in our regions, with smartphones always at the top technically, with an original look and neat performance, all for a very contained price. If Huawei, the parent brand, offers all the latest technologies, as on the recent Huawei P40, P40 Pro and P40 Pro +, Honor wishes to make them accessible to everyone, and for this it offers very balanced smartphones for the youngest, in particular. This is how, in this very particular context of global pandemic and generalized containment coupled with the shadow of the American government which causes the absence of Google services on the manufacturer’s latest smartphones, we tested the Honor 9X Pro.
Despite very specific launch conditions, the brand does not skimp on resources and offers with its 9X Pro a particularly balanced smartphone. Here is the full specification sheet for the Honor 9X Pro:
|Last name||Honor 9X Pro|
|Screen||– 6.59 inch LCD
– 2,340 x 1,080 pixels
– 391 ppi
– 60 Hz
|SoC||– HiSilicon Kirin 810 (8 cores 2.27 GHz)
– ARM Mali G52 MP6
(4 × Cortex A72 @ 2.3GHz + 4 × Cortex A53 @ 1.8GHz)
|RAM||– 6 GB|
|Internal memory||– 256 GB|
|Micro-SD port||– Yes|
|Drums||– 4000 mAh|
|Back camera||– 48 MP wide-angle sensor
– 8 MP ultra wide angle sensor
– 2 MP ToF sensor
|Front camera||– 16 MP|
|Software||– Android 9.0
– Magic UI
|Dimensions||– 163.3 × 77.5 × 8.8 mm|
|Weight||– 212 grams|
|Fingerprint sensor||– Yes (integrated into the home button)|
|Connectivity||– USB type-C port
– 3.5mm jack
– Wi-Fi 802.11b, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Wi-Fi 802.11g, Wi-Fi 802.11n
– Bluetooth 4.2
– 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900 MHz Mhz
|Price||– 249.90 euros|
Where to buy the Honor 9X Pro?
Honor’s new smartphone is officially available for 249.90 euros.
Design, Screen and Audio
The first thing you can notice about this smartphone is above all its looks. On our side, we found this smartphone simply superb, with this magnificent back, its reflections in shambles and its particularly well chosen colors. But if tastes and colors necessarily vary from one person to another, we can only admire the level of finish offered by Honor on the 9X Pro. The materials used are noble and inspire solidity, with its brushed aluminum edges of the color of the chosen model, this glass back slightly curved on the edges for a better grip and its reflections of beauty, and especially this superb screen edge to edge. No OLED point here, but a 6.59 inch LCD panel (2,340 x 1,080 pixels, 391 ppi, 60 Hz) very bright and perfectly calibrated, surrounded by fine borders and a slight chin, but above all, without notch or punch of any kind. The Honor 9X Pro is indeed equipped with a motorized retractable camera system that comes out as soon as you switch to a selfie camera. The full borderless display is, therefore, clearly immersive, perfect for playing mobile video games or watching movies and series, especially when you consider the 256 GB of storage provided by default, a bargain on this price range !
This is all the more relevant since the audio part is particularly neat, with good quality stereo speakers with rather neutral sound, and a low tendency to saturation. Anyway, the most audiophile will gladly turn to headphones or earphones to enjoy a better experience. Again, the Honor 9X Pro hits the bull’s eye, as it is also well equipped with WiFi 4.2 to connect wireless headphones, but above all with a jack, a feature that has become very rare on smartphones these days.
Performance and Autonomy
The Honor 9X Pro has one of Huawei’s latest house chips: the Kirin 810. It is an octa-core SoC composed of two Cortex A76 cores clocked at 2.27 GHz, six Cortex A55 cores clocked at 1.88 GHz, and finally a Mali G52 MP6 GPU. The whole is engraved in 7 nm, and also has an NPU (Neural Processor Unit) which will be used for artificial intelligence. On the Honor 9X Pro, this Kirin 810 is associated with 6 GB of RAM by default, which promises a responsiveness of the smartphone to any test. In fact, this mobile chip works miracles on the Honor 9X Pro. It’s very simple, we have performance worthy of a high-end smartphone, and it will perfectly hold the road on the most demanding tasks, as in game on Asphalt 9, for example.
Above all, as always with Huawei, the autonomy of this smartphone is surprising. If the Honor 9X Pro is equipped with a very traditional 4000 mAh battery, the aggressive energy management of the Kirin 910 does wonders and the smartphone has proved surprisingly enduring. It is very long lasting, and may even last two full days in the event of moderate use. Of course, these results should be put back in the very specific circumstances in which this test was carried out, which does not really allow to measure precisely the autonomy of the smartphone in current use, since we carry out these tests at home. Certain times of the day that have become nonexistent today, such as moments spent on public transport, for example, and this therefore does not allow us to fully measure the full potential of the autonomy of the telephone in conventional use. This is also the case for the photo and video part, yet full of promise.
Photo and Video
As we said earlier in the section on autonomy, this test was carried out under very specific conditions, in full containment. By this fact, we had to adapt to try to offer you a relevant critical approach, despite the difficulty of offering you decent images outdoors. Despite everything, with elements of comparison available, we can tell you all the same: the Honor 9X Pro is an excellent photophone, and even more so when you consider its low price.
At the rear, there is a solid configuration carried by a triple photo module. In this discrete block placed vertically, there is a main sensor of 48 MP (f / 1.8), an ultra wide-angle sensor of 8 MP (f / 2.4), and a last sensor intended to artificially simulate the depth of field , 2 MP (f / 2.4). A configuration proven on many smartphones, and which has largely proven itself. The pictures are perfectly clear, have a remarkable sharpness, and colors that are rather faithful to reality. The ultra-wide angle is still much worse than the main sensor, which offers flawless performance in this price range. This 48 MP sensor also offers a rather efficient zoom, although it is entirely digital, thanks to the various software optimizations of Honor / Huawei and the Kirin 810 chip.
In addition, we find a lot of functionality in the default Camera app, including a particularly efficient “night shot” mode, a portrait mode, an “aperture” mode which makes it possible to accentuate subjects that are not necessarily placed in the foreground, or a “Pro” mode to access manual settings.
On the front camera side, it is housed in a motorized system that activates when it is turned on. If the system turns out to be rather fast and reliable, we note that it produces a small shrill sound which is particularly noticeable in a calm environment, such as in confinement, for example. This front sensor can still count on its 16 MP to produce satisfactory selfies.
Living without Google, is it possible?
For now, Honor’s latest addition ticks all the boxes, especially in this price range. However, the potential user of an Honor 9X Pro may encounter a major pitfall on its way: the lack of Google services. Still caught up in the trade war between the United States and China, Huawei is no longer allowed to collaborate with American companies, and has had to give up Google services on its latest smartphones, like on the Huawei P40 Series. Since the parent company is deprived of it, Honor will also have to be content with HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) instead of GMS (Google Mobile Services). This Honor 9X Pro is also the very first smartphone of the brand to be deprived of it. If the smartphone is indeed equipped with Android 9, it does not therefore have all the services of the Mountain View company.
Concretely, what changes what? Lots of things, starting with the default app store, the App Gallery. This home store from the Chinese manufacturer replaces the traditional Play Store found on all other Android smartphones. If it was still very poor a few months ago, the catalog of the App Gallery now concentrates a large number of popular applications on Android, including Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, Amazon, and many mobile games. Other applications should logically follow soon, like Facebook and its subsidiaries, including Instagram and Whatsapp, but also a plethora of apps of all kinds, since Huawei is betting big to attract developers to its platform. So this is a bet on the future, and things are changing very quickly on the side of Huawei / Honor. However, in the current state of things, there are still too many gaps to recommend that you take the plunge right away unless … you are a little geek (that’s good, you are on the Journal du Geek!)
If you are advised not to use risky methods to install Google services by yourself – since these methods also bring their share of spyware – you must admit that with a little hack, you can install everything what you need to enjoy the Honor 9X Pro very easily. On the App Gallery, there are two particularly interesting applications: TrouvApp and APKPure. These list APK files (the equivalent of an .exe or .dmg file for an Android app) allowing you to install any application simply, without having to search the web to find the desired application . Via these two applications, as well as the App Gallery, we were able to clearly find 90% of our daily uses with this smartphone. Social media is finally ALL available, and for business email, Microsoft Outlook is Google compatible and therefore seems to be the perfect solution for email and calendar, all fully synchronized. For the time being, the only shortcomings remain access to a real Google Maps mapping system, but this will soon be resolved thanks to the partnership between Huawei and TomTom. This should also allow the arrival of VTC applications like Uber, in particular, which previously used Google services. Also, the YouTube application remains absent from the Honor 9X Pro, even if it is possible to go through the integrated browser to take advantage of it.
In short, with a little hack, it is quite possible to find most of its uses with the Honor 9X Pro. If it is not recommended for those who absolutely do not want to bother to configure their smartphone meticulously, users with a minimum of geek will be very satisfied. In fact, we find here a bit the functioning of a conventional computer, on which we will look for the software to install in the form of APK. In fact, it’s even easier than a computer with the App Gallery / FindApp / APKPure combo. If this option does not scare you, the Honor 9X Pro (and all the new smartphones from Huawei / Honor) will then offer you exceptional performance compared to its ultra-content price.
Where to buy the Honor 9X Pro?
Honor’s new smartphone is officially available for 249.90 euros.