HONOR X9a 5G is for users who like to sport their phone without the need of a case. It has a decent chipset and camera that's great for everyday use.
The HONOR X9a 5G comes in full throttle as the first device released by the company in 2023. Its force-resistant chassis is making waves on the internet as it's being marketed to be a very tough smartphone in its segment.
Honor X9a Review
The smartphone is quite unique in the mid-range segment as it packs several premium features which includes the curved edge display, stunning frosted glass finish, 5G chipset, and more. In this review, we'll explore how will the company position the handset in the highly competitive mid-range segment, and we'll also answer who is it for.
- Matrix Star Ring Design
- Curved edge display
- Tough, Slim, and Lightweight
Our review unit dons the Emerald Green colorway, while other options include the Titanium Silver and Midnight Black. I personally like this variant which pops a subtle personality. In fact, this is HONOR X9a's signature color. The phone's backing comes with a frosted glass design with silky matte finish. This makes fingerprints less obvious which is a good thing as I don't need to wipe it very often.
There's the familiar circular camera module, quite protruded by the way, like what we had seen in Huawei Mate 50 Pro's Space Ring design. However, HONOR implements its own unique take on this ring module design and calls it the 'Matrix Star Ring Design'. This module houses three cameras and the LED flash. I'm okay with this aesthetics in a way that it's premium-looking to me.
The rear panel transitions to the curved edges which is a thumbs up. It is supported with matching side railings but of different texture. You can find the usual ports and buttons on the sides: volume rocker and power button (right); secondary mic and IR blaster (top); SIM tray, primary mic, USB-C port, and speaker grille (bottom). There's no 3.5mm audio jack which is now becoming common with new releases.
Flipping the device, I can revel in the fact that this handset equips a 45° curved OLED display which is quite an eye candy for me. It implements a hole-punch design for the front camera sensor, centered on the top portion of the front panel. Though, it's obvious when you look at it but aesthetically, I would prefer this one over the highly overused bothersome notch.
You can be at ease with the phone's screen as it adopts a 0.65mm deeply reinforced glass with enhanced stress of over 900MPa2. I performed a drop test where I dropped the phone at a little more than one-meter height at five-time frequency, and I have to say I'm quite impressed. The phone did not accumulate scratches and dents either on the front or rear panel. This commendable durability gives me a level of confidence that I can rock this beauty in the wild even without a case.
You will love the feel of this smartphone on the hands; it's also thin and lightweight. The phone has a dimension of 161.6 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm and weighs only 175 grams. Don't get me wrong, it also packs a beefy hardware.
- OLED panel
- 120Hz dynamic refresh rate
The HONOR X9a sports a 6.67-inch FHD+ display which is treated with an OLED panel. Its marquee feature is the curved glass design, which is curved up to the edges. Not only that, it's also durable as it can withstand hard drops that are inevitable in everyday use. You can check out our drop test here.
The screen supports up to 120Hz dynamic refresh rate coupled with 300Hz touch sampling rate. In addition, it comes with sub-pixel fine control. This combination gives me smooth graphics performance and great gaming experience.
Being an OLED display, colors pop on the screen, it shows deeper blacks, and comes with great contrast as well as color saturation. I also like the fact that it is supported by tiny bezels to offer more screen real estate for content consumption. The tall and curved edge display is a joy to use, either in portrait mode when I'm checking my social media feeds or reading news, or in landscape when I'm watching videos or playing Mobile Legends. It's a gorgeous display, no doubt about it.
- Triple rear camera setup
- 16MP front camera
The HONOR X9a 5G's camera module is defined by a triple camera system. The 64MP leads the pack as the main camera with f/1.8 aperture and a beefy suite of camera features like the Super Night Mode, Portrait Mode, and more. It's coupled by a 5MP wide-angle sensor with f/2.2 lens, and another 2MP sensor for the macro camera. On the flip side, the handset comes with a 16MP front camera with f/2.45 aperture.
Shots from the primary camera are great especially when taken in ample lighting environment. Colors are accurate with just the right amount of saturation. Details and contrast are also crisp, and the dynamic range is on point.
The camera can also take decent photos at night. When the Super Night Mode is activated, saturation kicks in and the sensor recovers some of the dark parts of the frame through time exposure. The wide-angle sensor is a welcome feature but there's nothing special about it; it can take wide-angle shots with significantly less detail compared to the main sensor. The macro camera, on the other hand, shoots decent portrait shots.
The selfies are okay, especially when taken with good lighting. There's also a Beauty mode that you can toggle in 10 levels. However, the camera software does not give you many options in customizing specific facial features.
Check out our sample photos below:
Performance and Usage
- Snapdragon 695 chipset
- HONOR RAM Turbo feature
- 5G connectivity
The HONOR X9a 5G is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor that's fabricated using a 6nm process which makes it power efficient. It operates on an octa-core CPU with 2 cores of Kryo 660 Gold clocked on 2.2 GHz and 6 cores of Kryo 660 Silver clocked on 1.7 GHz. With the 8GB RAM on board plus the fact that it can harness another 5GB via HONOR RAM Turbo feature, the device could handle most of the demanding tasks.
I normally juggle between several tasks like checking and answering emails, creating/editing content and posting them on social media, etc. In short, there are a lot of apps I'm working with simultaneously and it didn't show any degradation in the performance. In my experience, the phone is quite zippy in terms of multitasking. Likewise, there's no noticeable lag or stuttering on whatever task thrown at it.
The handset also comes with 256GB of internal storage, but it doesn't have a microSD card slot. I think most people are already fine with this amount of storage, but an expansion option would have been great especially for heavy multimedia users like me.
In terms of gaming, the HONOR X9a is a performer with its 120Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling rate, and sub-pixel fine control. It can handle casual, MOBA, shooting or any type of games well. I enjoy playing Mobile Legends with this phone and it also supports up to Ultra graphics which elevates my gaming experience. Likewise, high-graphic games like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9 are very playable with this smartphone; graphics render quickly without lag, the screen is very responsive to touches, and the movements are quite smooth.
In terms of connectivity, it's a 5G-capable smartphone which makes this a great device in today's time and requirements. Most of us depend on higher level of internet connectivity to go through our day-to-day tasks and routines while also being able to enjoy entertainment in between using our smartphones without worrying about it slowing down. We tested 5G speeds in our residence within Metro Manila, here's the results:
Speed is not consistent (from 'very fast' to 'fast') in our location on two test outcomes above. Other connectivity features include dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, USB Type-C, and OTG.
There's nothing special about the single-firing speaker on the bottom side of the phone. It would have been great with stereo speakers to elevate the audio experience for a midrange smartphone. However, it settles with, let's be honest, a mediocre mono speaker. If you want to enjoy the sound, I suggest you use either wired or wireless headphones; it's Double Hi-Res Gold-certified to give you a better audio sound experience.
If you're keen in benchmarks, here are some of the results we've tallied:
- AnTuTu: 405421
- Geekbench 5: 662 single-core and 1895 multi-core scores
- PCMark Work 3.0: 10363
- Magic UI 6.1, Android 12
- 5100mAh battery
- 40W HONOR Supercharge
The HONOR X9a 5G ships with Magic UI 6.1 based on Android 12 OS. The interface is quite familiar as we have seen similar layout of squarish icons with curved edges before. However, I love how responsive the whole system is; the toggles for settings are also easy to use. All in all, the software is quite decent for a mid-ranger.
In terms of battery, the smartphone is equipped with a 5100mAh battery. In our PCMark battery life test, it scored 12 hours and 33 minutes. We also performed a charging test using the 40W wired charger; the battery can be fully charged in 1 hour and 20 minutes. In addition, the phone comes with software optimizations designed to extend the battery lifespan, e.g., smart charge and smart battery capacity.
The HONOR X9s 5G is quite an interesting smartphone. It is priced at Php 16,990 which is quite a bold offering for a handset with so many premium-grade features like the curved edge display, 5G connectivity, high-grade display panel and chassis, and more. And with this selling point, the HONOR X9a 5G could be a hit. The handset is for users who like to sport their smartphone without a case. It's also for someone who want to have a very dependable device that could resist drops and external forces.
In the Box Items:
- 40W adapter
- USB Type-C cable
- SIM eject pin
- Quick Start Guide
- TPU Protective case
- Screen protector
- Warranty card