Earlier today on the eve of CES 2017, Huawei officially took covers off its newest mid-range Android smartphone, the Honor 6X. The handset succeeds last year’s Honor 5X, and as is the norm, includes several key upgrades over its predecessor. Note that the Honor 6X is not technically a brand new handset. In fact, it’s been some time since the phone went on sale in its home market — China — where it has been available since October 2016. It is only now that Huawei has decided to launch the phone in other markets – including the U.S. (where it was launched today) and India, where it would be available later this month.
Now that we are done with the intro, let’s get straight to the juicier bits. I have been using the Honor 6X for the past few days as my daily driver (primary phone), and here are my initial impressions of the device.
Before we begin, let us take a look at the key aspects of the spec sheet.
Honor 6X First Impressions: Hardware
- Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 655 octa-core.
- Display: 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution IPS LCD, 403 ppi.
- Operating system: Emotion UI 4.1, Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
- RAM: 3GB/4GB.
- Storage: 32GB/64GB with microSD card slot.
- Cameras: Dual camera set up at the back. 12 megapixel and 2-megapixel dual cameras, 8-megapixel front facing camera.
- Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC.
- Battery: 3,340 mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 technology.
Note: The unit I received for review was the 64GB/4GB RAM variant.
Honor 6X: First Impressions – Design/ Hardware
The Honor 6X takes inspiration from its older sibling, the Honor 5X, when it comes to the design of the front fascia. Both the handsets look near-identical from this angle. However, once you look at the handsets carefully, you’ll start to notice subtle differences.
From other angles, both handsets look entirely different. The Honor 6X looks “curvier” than the 5X from these angles. The phone also feels heavier and seems more solidly built when compared to the 5X. The curved sides of the back panel help you grip the handset better – but the metal back panel is still quite slippery. While the front panel retains that cheao plastic look, the back panel does feel more premium compared to the older model.
Staying with the back panel, the major difference here compared to the Honor 5X is the presence of the dual camera setup along with a single LED flash. The fingerprint scanner is located right below the twin camera lenses. The camera hump is quite prominent as well. Huawei has decided against jumping onto the USB Type-C bandwagon with the Honor 6X, and as such the phones comes with a micro-USB port.
Honor 6X: First Impressions – Software and Performance
I had been using the OnePlus 3 as my daily driver before I got hold of the Honor 6X. While “downgrading” to a lower-specced device is not something most of you guys out there would fancy doing, this is a reality that we reviewers have to contend with. However, doing so gives us a look at the tradeoffs you get in the budget segment.
With the Honor 6X now doing duty as my primary handset, it really does not feel much of a downgrade. It takes a few hours to get adjusted from the near-stock Android UI on the OnePlus 3 to the heavily customised EMUI 4.1 atop Android 6.0 on the Honor. However, it is smooth sailing once you get used to it. As is the case with players from the far east, EMUI 4.1 does not get an app drawer. Apps are neatly stacked across multiple screens on EMUI. While this may pose a problem if you have a lot of apps installed, a single swipe down from any part of the display opens a search box that lets you quickly search your apps.
EMUI is highly customisable, and you have lots of themes available to customise the look of your phone. During my usage, I did not encounter any significant lag or slowness with the UI on the Honor 6X. The 3.340 mAh battery easily lasted me an entire day – albeit with nominal usage.
Honor 6X: First Impressions – Camera
The Honor 6X features a dual camera setup at the rear (12-megapixels + 2-megapixels) – an inspiration from its more expensive siblings the Huawei P9, the Mate 9, and the Honor 8. Unlike these devices — where use one of the lenses is used for capturing dedicated monochrome images, the dual camera setup on the Honor 6X is used for depth sensing purposes. The phone, in fact, comes with a dedicated mode where you can see the prowess of the dual camera setup.
In my detailed review, I will take a closer look at the other aspects of the camera as well. Here are a few sample images from the camera so you know what to expect from the handset.
Images captured using the phone, especially the ones in the wide aperture mode do look great. I could not test out the low-light capabilities of the phone yet. As for videos, the handset captures full HD and 720p videos using the rear camera. There is no support for 4K or 1080p 60fps videos.
Honor 6X: First Impressions – Final Words
The Honor 6X seems to be a decent effort from Huawei. While the company is yet to reveal the final pricing for the product in India, in the U.S., the handset has been released for a price tag of $249 (₹16,500). We expect the pricing to be similar in India as well – unless of course, Huawei decides to surprise us.
The dual camera setup at the rear of the Honor 6X clearly differentiates it from the crowd of other offerings that are available in the market currently in its price bracket. However, would it be enough to take on the likes of established titans? The Honor 6X will face formidable opponents like the Motorola Moto G4 Plus, the recently announced 64GB version of the Le 2, and the current king of the ring – the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, which is due for an update later this month.