Previously, we shared our first impressions of their titular tough workhorse phone for 2023, the Honor X9b. This time around, we get down to the nitty gritty as to how it performs in the field. Here’s our Honor X9b review where we share if their latest midrange tough phone is worth your money.
Honor X9b Review – Performance and Benchmarks
Table of Contents
The Honor X9b is a midrange phone that has an unusual emphasis on durability. On top of a reinforced display, the phone also has internal shock absorbers to enable it to survive impacts from up to 1.5 metres to the ground, be it face down or face up without a scratch. The phone also has a modest IP53 rating which allows it to be relatively splashproof.
Quaintly, Honor has added a free pre-applied screen protector to our Honor X9b review sample’s display along with a soft TPU casing though this time around, it isn’t necessary seeing how durable the phone is.
Of more practical utility is the provision of a 3.5mm to USB-C dongle and a free pair of entry-level wired earbuds with hard earpieces which get the job done for calls and the odd video or two.
In terms of hardware, our Honor X9b review unit has specifications that fall into the upper range of a midrange phone’s performance envelope.
Running under the hood is a value-optimised Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor of fairly recent vintage built on a 4nm process and which also has 5G connectivity, Bluetooth 5.2 as well as WiFi 6E 802.11ax for fast downloads.
On paper, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 has about 40% better performance than the Snapdragon 695 processor and has AI support via the 7th Gen Qualcomm AI engine to handle selected tasks.
The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 SoC runs the latest Android 13 with Honor’s own MagicOS 7.2 firmware paired with fast 12GB LPDDR4X RAM along with equally fast 256GB UFS 3.1 storage.
That’s not all as Honor’s MagicOS also confers 8GB of virtual RAM Turbo assigned off the onboard storage for a grand total of 20GB RAM on hand for users which easily matches the vast majority of premium flagship phones out there.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to disable or tweak the assignable amount of virtual RAM available for users who want more precise control over their storage; hopefully this feature can be added in the future.
Honor also offers a decent 3 years OS and 5 years firmware update policy which offers some measure of longevity for the phone.
Powering the phone is a generously sized 5,800mAh battery with 35W SuperCharge fast charging. As a concession to cost, the Honor X9b lacks wireless charging and reverse wireless charging options though this isn’t a dealbreaker seeing its intended demographic. Here’s a summary of the Honor X9b’s official specifications:
|Display||6.78-inch AMOLED Curved Display, 2,652 x 1,200 pixels, 1,920Hz PWM dimming, 1,200 nits peak brightness, 120Hz refresh rate, TUV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification|
|Processor||Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 2.2GHz|
|OS||Android 13 w/ MagicOS 7.2|
|Memory||12GB RAM + 8GB RAMTurbo / 256GB storage|
|Camera||108MP F/1.75 + 5MP F/2.2 ultra wide camera + 2MP F/2.4 macro camera [rear] / 16MP [front]|
|Battery||5,800mAh battery w/ 35W SuperCharge|
|Size/Weight||163.6 x 75.5 x 7.98mm / 185g|
When subjected to synthetic benchmarks, our Honor X9b review unit scored the following:
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme||612|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited||604|
|3DMark Wild Life||2,384|
|3DMark Wild Life Unlimited||2,390|
|Geekbench 6 Single Core||931|
|Geekbench 6 Multi Core||2,770|
|Geekbench 6 OpenCL||1,327|
|Geekbench 6 Vulkan||1,639|
|PCMark Battery Life||15 hours 37 mins|
When it comes to synthetic benchmarks, our Honor X9b review unit compares favourably with other phones in its price range and exceeds the performance of the Snapdragon 695 used in its predecessor the X9a with the provision of 12GB of physical and 8GB virtual RAM means that app swapping is a fast and smooth affair.
General tasks like web browsing, emails and the like are handled in a smooth fashion with equally seamless app switching. On the gaming front, the phone is capable of gaming with the likes of PUBG and Call of Duty Mobile on standard settings while Genshin Impact is possible albeit with low settings at 30fps.
If your usage profile primarily veers towards general usage and less on specialised tasks like hardcore mobile gaming, the Honor X9b is more than sufficient for the job.
The 6.78-inch AMOLED 120Hz display on our Honor X9b review unit is of note, offering sufficient brightness at 1,200 nits to make it viewable in daylight conditions with fair legibility even under direct noonday sunlight while offering excellent colour rendition for movies and gaming. Where the display excels is its emphasis on eye comfort and viewability especially in dimmer light conditions.
The provision of 1,920 PWM dimming and its TUV Rheinland Low Blue Light certification makes it easier on the eyes, especially as I tend to read ebooks in all manner of light conditions and especially before I nod off for the night.
There’s noticeably less eye fatigue when paging through a book which makes the Honor X9b appealing for prolific readers. The mono speaker does a decent job with good volume and adequate detail for general use though sound isn’t the phone’s greatest strength.
In terms of battery life, our Honor X9b review sample performed in an exceptional fashion with upwards of two days of battery life edging on to three days with average use on account of aggressive app and battery management in tandem with its large 5,800mAh battery.
In fact, the Honor X9b actually scored a Gold award for battery life from DXOMark and the phone managed a whopping 15 hours and 37 minutes in the PCMark Battery Life benchmark. To date, the Honor X9b is the phone to beat for battery life with endurance that exceeds most flagship phones and earlier endurance-oriented designs.
From a performance perspective, the Honor X9b is more than able to tackle the usual usage scenarios but stands out primarily for its lovely display and ridiculously good battery life which further strengthens its appeal as a midrange workhorse.
Honor X9b Review – Cameras
The Honor X9b hosts a rear triple camera system that revolves around a 108MP F/1.75 primary camera with autofocus and 3x lossless zoom by cropping the feed from the sensor, a secondary 5MP ultra wide angle camera and a 2MP macro camera. This camera setup is capable of up to 8x digital zoom for videos and stills and up to 4K@30fps video capture.
While the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 offers some level of ISP support, you’ll generally get the best results using the 108MP primary camera that can take great shots in daylight that feature great detail and which are well saturated all the way out to 3x zoom.
@hitechcentury The new Honor X9b 5G will be launching in Malaysia tonight! Here’s a quick test of its rear triple camera array! #honorx9b #klcc #fyp #hitechcentury #smartphones #cameratest #malaysiatiktok #news #beritaditiktok #techtok #honor ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim
At its 8x digital zoom limit on the rear camera, shots look a bit soft after dark though if you stick to brightly lit subjects you’ll be able to yield viewable shots.
Shots in dim light using the main rear camera offer good dynamic range and retain good levels of detail for what you pay for.
The ultra wide angle camera offers its best work in bright daylight conditions and has lacklustre results after dark and indoors with noticeable lens aberrations when you encounter bright oncoming lights like street lights or oncoming car headlights. The macro camera unfortunately yields washed out shots that seem desaturated.
The front 16MP selfie camera is able to competently handle mugshots and videocalls with the screen edges turning partially white to act as an ad hoc fill light in dimly lit areas.
In general, the Honor X9b does a competent job in casual use scenarios like social media shots, where you parked your car, the obligatory food shots and whatnot. If you need a more powerful camera you can opt for the Honor 90 or Magic5 Pro.
@hitechcentury Here’s a quick camera test of the new HONOR X9b phone that has a 108MP camera system in the rear and insane durability that lets it shrug off 1.5 meter drops. Coming soon this 1st November 2023 to Malaysia. #honorx9b #tech #fyp #gadget #sembanggadget #techtok #smartphone #malaysia #hitechcentury #longervideo #midvalleymegamall ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim
Should you buy the Honor X9b?
The Honor X9b has unique strengths that make it stand out from the plethora of midrange phones out in the market. You get exceptional durability that lets it shrug off 1.5m drops, a good display with otherwise decent performance for general use and outstanding battery life that can easily stretch to the three day mark with moderate use.
Add in a full suite of accessories including a charger, a free case and wired earbuds and the Honor X9b offers outstanding value for those seeking a sturdy phone on a budget.
Honor X9b review sample courtesy of Honor Malaysia. For more details and to purchase please visit their official website at https://bit.ly/HONORX9bHitechCentury
he Honor X9b is the ideal phone for the accident prone as its armoured chassis can shrug off the vast majority of nicks, dents, dings and drops to the floor with impunity. Add in a vibrant display, long battery life and a decent price to performance ratio and you have a solid midrange phone. Literally.
Impressively tough display and chassis
Vibrant AMOLED display
Excellent battery life
Underwhelming ultrawide and macro cameras
No means to assign amount of virtual RAM Turbo