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HONOR X9a Review: Budget Premium Experience

HONOR X9a Review: Budget Premium Experience

HONOR guarantees premium design, premium display, and premium experience with the newly launched, budget-friendly HONOR X9a.

For people who keep on dropping their phones or had cracked LCDs, HONOR released a phone just for you. Advertised as the “toughest curved OLED display”, HONOR X9a might just be the most durable phone ever. Tech reviewers on YouTube put the phone to a stress test by dropping and smashing it, but the screen remained free from cracks.

I had the opportunity to check what the unit has to offer after using it for a week. Here is my experience:

First Impressions: Unboxing and Design

HONOR X9a's Unboxing

The box comes with HONOR X9a, a type C charging cable, an adaptor, a clear phone case, a sim ejector pin, and a manual. 

I received the emerald green version and the color looks neat. The first thing I noticed is the curved display the unit is known for, but the design of the back camera is what struck me. There are three lenses and a flash in a circle with the text “MATRIX AI Vision Camera” in the center. Its unique and sleek design catches attention in a good way.

Bad news for wired earphones user, HONOR X9a doesn’t have an audio jack like most new phones. It also doesn’t come with a home button or a home page.

HONOR X9a Quick Specs

HONOR X9a comes in three colors: midnight black, emerald green, and titanium silver. 

Here’s a list of its general information: 6.67” OLED display, 5100 mAh battery, 8 MP front camera, and 64 MP rear triple camera, Magic UI 6.1, Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 Processor, 8 + 5 GB Ram, 256 GB internal storage, and 2400 x 1080 resolution.

Display: Tough, Curved, and OLED

HONOR X9a Display

The problem with phones from other brands with curved displays is that once you place a screen protector, the design loses its purpose. HONOR solves this by developing a phone with a tough display. This way, you won’t have to use a screen protector.

When it comes to durability, HONOR X9a’s screen doesn’t disappoint. I did multiple drop tests, the highest being four feet fall, and the screen remained intact. No scratch, no crack, and no damage, both in the front and back.

If you wish to know how durable it is, tech reviewers put it on several stress tests. Myke Soon even tried running the phone with a car and it survived.

The OLED display really makes a difference and has a huge impact on your phone experience. When I was checking out the interface on the day I received the unit, the default, vivid wallpapers stood out. Combined with the curved design, it definitely has a premium display especially if you’re going to use it for multimedia.

Multimedia: Watching and Gaming Experience

To test out the 6.67” OLED display that can read up to 1.07 billion colors, I rewatched scenes from Demon Slayer and Wednesday. I wanted to see how the colors would translate, given that the former has vivid colors and complicated action scenes while the latter has mostly dark tones. In both shows, the colors felt alive. 

I took advantage of the 256 GB storage and 8 GB RAM (with an additional 5 GB of HONOR RAM Turbo) when I picked a game to play. As of date, Honkai Impact 3 takes almost 16 GB of storage. It’s notorious in the mobile gaming community as one of those apps that would make your phone heat up. But with my experience using HONOR X9a, the phone stayed cool after an hour of gaming. Aside from a few hiccups, I commend its performance.

HONOR X9a Curved

The sound quality is decent but with or without a phone case, the vibrations at the back of the phone distracted me. If you’re holding your phone while watching or gaming on speakers, I recommend not putting it on a high volume. Otherwise, at some point, the vibrations might get annoying both on the hands and ears.  

Camera Quality: 8 MP Front and 64 MP Rear Triple Camera

HONOR X9a Camera

HONOR X9a’s camera has many modes:
1. Regular night, portrait, photo, and video modes.
2. Multi-video that allows you to take both the front and the back at the same time
3. F4 aperture to blur the background and emphasize subjects
4. Pro mode lets you manually change camera settings such as ISO, shutter speed, exposure, focus, and white balance

See Also

Given its iconic rear camera design, I expected the photos to be high quality. But after capturing photos on .5, 1x and 2x distances, I find the quality lacking. Without editing, the photos appear highly contrasted and it doesn’t show the actual colors of the images taken. 

HONOR X9a Selfie
Selfie using HONOR X9a’s Front Camera

The front camera appears quite decent. There’s an option of adjusting the beauty levels but even without that, the photo already looks “beautified”. Especially with good lighting, acne and pores fade, and lips appear slightly redder. 

Overall, the camera quality is decent at most but I wouldn’t call it premium.

Price and Availability

Designed for a style-conscious audience, the HONOR X9a 5G is available in two stunning colors: Titanium Silver and Emerald Green. HONOR X9a 5G will be available to purchase via all HONOR kiosks and partner online stores –  Lazada, Shopee, Tiktok Shop, and Home Credit.

Get FREE HONOR Earbuds X3 Lite

HONOR fans can finally avail the HONOR X9a 5G via Home Credit, for as low as Php 661 per month with insurance, Php 765 without insurance, and on a 0% interest installment payment. 

HONOR X9a 5G is priced at ₱16,990 with FREE HONOR Earbuds X3 Lite worth Php ₱3,999 if you purchase it from January 20 to February 3.

HONOR X9a Overall Experience

HONOR challenges the concept of premium through HONOR X9a by bringing qualities that are good for a budget phone. The unit’s selling point would definitely be its durability: it’s not often that you would see screens that won’t crack after being dropped or smashed. 

What’s “premium” for me about this phone would be the display. The tough, curved, and OLED display brings an immersive experience. The design and performance are also more than decent, but unfortunately, the camera felt short. If you’re good with average photos, then I recommend HONOR X9a. The unit’s durability and display are top-tier. These features let you save money because it means you would be keeping your phone for a few years.

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