Last year’s Honor 7X quickly became one of our favorite budget phones thanks to its appealing design, great specs, and price of just $200. Its successor — the Honor 8X — has already been revealed in China, but we’ve been waiting for an international release with bated breath. Well, the wait is over. The Honor 8X is now available in select markets, and it’s looking like an incredible budget phone.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Honor 8X.
Design and display, and specs
The Honor 8X is a seriously stylish-looking smartphone, despite its adoption of a notched display. Honor’s focus this year has been updating the range’s design to a more modern look — and Honor has brought artist Sei Smith and German designer Dieter Rams on board to accomplish this.
The Honor 8X is made from 2.5D textured aurora glass over an aluminum frame. This glass back is a first for Honor’s X-range, and is comprised of 15 layers of glass which catches light and refracts it, sending shimmering patterns across the back of the phone. It’s a similar effect to that on the Honor 10, and it’s utterly stunning, whether in black, red, or blue variants. A quarter side of of the glass looks a little more matte, giving off a unique two-tone look. The eye-catching glass back sports a fingerprint sensor in the middle of the frame, with two camera lenses on the top-left. The glass folds neatly into the metal frame, and you’ll find the power and volume keys on the right side of the phone.
Flip the phone onto its back and there’s a huge 6.5-inch LCD display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a maximum resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels. Honor has managed to slim down the bottom chin by bending the display into the frame at the bottom of the phone — a similar process that took out the bottom bezel on the iPhone X. Honor is calling this design the “FullView Display 2.0,” and it claims the Honor 8X sports a huge 91 percent screen-to-body ratio — one of the highest we’ve ever seen on a smartphone.
It’s also the first smartphone screen to be certified as having excellent blue-light filtering by TÜV Rheinland. Blue light is suspected to keep you awake at night, and while some of the claims that it causes blindness are unsubstantiated, it’s still something that many people are interested in cutting down on.
Finally, Honor has also redesigned the antenna on the Honor 8X to have up to 9-times stronger connectivity, and faster reconnecting after losing network access. Unfortunately there’s no USB-C port, so you’re relying on a MicroUSB port and standard charging speed, but there’s a headphone jack to numb the pain. As we mentioned, the Honor 8X does have a notch — but Honor has confirmed it can be hidden with software, so notch-haters can more easily ignore it.
Specs and battery
The Honor 8X’s specs are quite close to the Honor Play, but there are some tweaks and improvements that may make the Honor 8X more compelling for bargain hunters.
You’re going to find the octa-core Kirin 710 chipset inside the Honor 8X — the same chip that’s in the Huawei Mate 20 Lite. This processor packs four Cortex A73 cores — the same high-power cores you’ll find in the powerful Kirin 970 from the Huawei P20 Pro — while the other four are lower power A53 cores that handle smaller tasks to save power. Honor said the Kirin 710 will pack 75 percent better performance on a single-core, and 68 percent better on multi-core performance.
Huawei’s GPU Turbo mode is onboard too, which should boost gaming performance hugely. That hefty processor is backed up by 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and there’s also space for a MicroSD card to expand that memory, along with dual SIM capabilities too.
There’s an enormous 3,750mAh battery inside the Honor 8X, and with the four energy-sipping cores inside the Kirin 710, it can probably be expected that the device will make the most of this hefty amount of power. Unfortunately, as we mentioned before, there’s no fast charging on this device, and a MicroUSB port. NFC is included, but it’s currently unknown whether or not this feature will be making its way to U.S. models of the Honor 8X.
Software and special features
You’ll find Huawei’s EMUI 5.2 custom Android skin running on the Honor 8X, laid over the top of Android 8.1 Oreo. Android 9.0 Pie might come later, but don’t expect it any time soon.
Honor is also including A.I. noise cancelling for phone calls. This software will intelligently identify a caller’s voice and dampen down as much background noise at it can.
You’ll find a dual-lens camera set-up on the back of the Honor 8X, and single selfie-shooter around the front. The rear-facing camera suite is comprised of a 20-megapixel main camera lens paired with a secondary 2-megapixel lens that’s used for depth-sensing and “bokeh” background blur. The front-facing camera is alone but not much less powerful — it’s a 16-megapixel monster.
The Honor 8X’s camera also benefits from A.I. boosted capabilities. Like many of Honor’s recent phones. the 8X will be able to recognize various categories of scene and apply tweaked settings to match the shot being taken. The Honor 8X will be able to recognize 500 scenarios in 22 different categories, and will even be able to recognize multiple scenes in a photo. The A.I. will also work to keep your image stable, thanks to A.I. image stabilization (AIS) that will also feature heavily in the phone’s Night Mode — a feature ported from the Huawei P20 Pro.
It’s not just a great phone for shutterbugs either — the Honor 8X will have support for taking slow motion videos of up to 480 frames-per-second, up to a resolution of 720p.
Release and pricing
The Honor 8X went on sale in China on September 5 for 1,399 Chinese Yuan, and it will come to a global market on October 2, with prices starting from 999 AED (around $280/235 Euros). It will likely land in the U.S. later this year or early 2019.
We’re keen to see if the Honor 8X can live up to its predecessor and claim a place on our best cheap phones list. Stay tuned for a full, in-depth Honor 8X review, which will be coming very soon.
Updated October 2, 2018: We’ve added more details coming up to the Honor 8X’s global release.