Our review of the Honor 6X from Huawei is in! Is it the best budget Android smartphone?
These days, the flagship market is predictable and arguably stale. Though the mid-range pool and market of smartphones is one of the most exciting and fluid markets around, which leads to devices like this one: the Honor 6X from Huawei, a 5.5-inch, 1080p smartphone for $250. Welcome to my review of the Honor 6X.
The Honor 6X is the next generation from the 5X we saw last year at CES. Packed with new hardware, a slight redesign, constructed with higher quality materials, is the 6X a worthy replacement of the 5X? Well, let’s first take a look at the design.
The 6X is constructed completely out of aluminum. Unlike the 5X, which was more of a hybrid of plastic and metal, design language fits the Huawei family very well. It looks very similar to the popular and more expensive Mate line of devices. At the front is a 5.5-inch 1080p display with a relatively low brightness of around 350 nits. There’s an 8-megapixel front-facing camera along with all of the sensors. Flip it over to the rear and you’ll find a 12-megapixel camera next to a 2-megapixel camera for a dual camera setup for focus augmentation and that delicious Bokeh effect.
Around the phone, you will find your 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro USB port, not sure why they won’t like Type-C but I would really like to see USB Type-C.
Internally, the Honor 6X features a Kirin 655 octa-core processor and a Mali GPU. RAM is 3GB and there’s 32GB of built-in ROM with microSD card expansion on the SIM tray. That’s a fairly impressive amount of power and flexibility for a sub-$300 device. Though the software is really the true test.
The 6X runs Android 6.0 and EMUI (Emotion UI) 4.1 out of the box. This is pretty disappointing that it doesn’t have Android 7.0 but it will be arriving at some point to this device via an update, just not clear when that will happen. The older version of Android when paired up to an older version EMUI, the 6X feels very out of date right out of the box. The skid of the EMUI is one of the heaviest in the market and the lack of having a proper app drawer just reminds you of how budget this smartphone really is. All this can be cured with Google Launcher and I’ll definitely do that in a heartbeat if I own this device. Perhaps the 7.0 update will bring more life to the stock setup. The performance though is really good. It’s quick, doesn’t really stutter and does everything you ask of it. It’s honestly all the power you need to do normal everyday things. Gaming is fine, browsing is fine, doing just about anything is fine and I never really wished I had a flagship device… until I pressed the home button and saw that terrible UI again but we’ll gloss over that.
One big feature on the Honor 6X is the dual camera. Taking a more HTC approach rather than the iPhone approach or even their own Mate 9 is a dual camera setup with one high megapixel sensor and another low megapixel sensor. Essentially, the 6X uses its 2-megapixel camera for depth information, which allows you to refocus later and create very creamy Bokeh in your shots.
Overall, it’s alright. I mean, don’t expect iPhone 7 Plus results, in terms of image quality and Bokeh quality. But it will do just fine. But when you compare it to other devices in the same price range, then this camera definitely comes up to the cream of the crop.
One big downside of the Honor 6X is video quality. Video is actually only limited to 1080p, which is a pretty big bummer for the 6X.
The last thing I want to talk about is the battery. The battery’s a fairly large 3,340 mAh unit, which delivers pretty good battery life around 5.5 hours of screen on time with moderate to heavy usage. This exceeds a lot of current flagships on the market today.
Overall, the Honor 6X is one fantastic device. It’s built very well, has great hardware, a decent camera but it’s let down with an out of date clunky software. But for $250, you can easily overlook a lot of that and see it for exactly what it is-- one of the best $250 devices money can buy. And let’s face it, $250 is a very low and on the budget scales for smartphones these days.