Honor 7X review: Sleek, stylish yet underwhelming
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Alphaneus
Bad Genius


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2,434 posts 17 threads Joined: Sep 2017
12-06-2017, 05:29 PM -
#1
[Image: thumb_559_120617025528.jpg]

The Honor 6X is a popular smartphone that has been well received in India both critically and commercially. In fact, the smartphone routinely makes it to India Today Tech's buying guides. Suffice to say, the Honor 7X has some big shoes to fill.

With a metal chassis and dual cameras, the Honor 7X has all the right ingredients (on paper) to give smartphones like the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Moto G5S Plus a run for their money. More importantly, the Honor 7X comes with a FullView display with an aspect ratio of 18:9 - which is the smartphone flavour of the month these days. But as they say, the proof lies in the pudding. And the pudding here is slightly under seasoned.

Sleek, classy design
On the design front, Honor has been hitting it out of the park as of late. Both the Honor 8 Pro and Honor 9i had sleek and elegant designs - and the same is true for the Honor 7X. The smartphone not only looks and feels premium thanks to its matte back and all metal chassis but is also built reasonably well.

I am a big fan of Huawei's restrained approach to smartphone design - there are no gaudy finishes or tacky paint jobs to be found here. The 7X's curved edges and rounded corners help reduce the bulk of the smartphone and also aid in-hand feel. The only chink in the otherwise well thought out design is the dual camera setup at the back which not only juts out considerably but also looks a bit awkward.

"The Honor 7X not only looks and feels premium but is also built reasonably well"

There is a fingerprint sensor at the back which works fairly well and can be used for a variety of functions such as taking a picture and sliding down the notification panel. The single loudspeaker is pretty underwhelming - especially on a device with a gorgeous display geared towards multimedia consumption. The speakers location is also pretty unergonomic - it gets obstructed while playing games in landscape or while resting the phone on a pillow or your chest whilst lying down.

Display: The star of the show
The resemblance to the Honor 9i is not purely superficial - the 7X has the same internals and a similar 18:9 display that flows from one edge of the device to the other. The 5.9-inch FullHD+ display is unmistakably the star of the show on the Honor 7X - it is bright, vivid and punchy and has good viewing angles. The only chink in the armour is the colour temperature which is a bit too warm.

The tall 18:9 aspect ratio lends itself well to gaming and multimedia consumption. However, just like the Honor 9i, the 7X does not allow YouTube videos to fill up the whole screen - which is quite disappointing to say the least.


Honor allows you to stretch applications which do not natively support the tall 18:9 aspect ratio. I experienced performance issues with many apps whilst running in full screen mode in the Honor 9i. Thankfully, no such issues cropped up in the Honor 7X.

Average performance
The Honor 7X is powered by Huawei's own HiSilicon Kirin 659 chipset paired with 4GB of RAM and a 3,340mAh battery. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat (in a day and age of Android 8.0 Oreo) with the company's custom EMUI 5.1 skin on top. My experience with the Honor 9i was riddled with lags and slowdowns. While the 7X fares better on the performance front, it is still not as fluid as expected.

To be fair, the Honor 7X handles day to day use like casual web browsing, social media use and taking the occasional picture quite well. It is only when you push the phone a little that certain slowdowns come to the fore.

There is an inherent choppiness to the experience - the blame of which lies to an extent in the software which is feature packed but cluttered and slightly heavy. On a positive note, the smartphone does not heat up even whilst crunching through the most demanding games.

While the 7X handles casual games reasonably well, heavy titles like Asphalt 8 witness quite a few frame drops. I also experienced a few stutters whilst playing Subway Surfers - a game which normally runs quite smoothly on most smartphones.

EMUI does have its advantages - certain features like the ability to use the fingerprint sensor to slide down the notification tray and the ability to run multiple iterations of the same app are genuinely useful. However, there is a lot of bloat (three shortcuts for Honor's website on the home page for example), knuckle gestures are un-intuitive, first party apps ask for too many permissions and so on.

"The 5.9-inch FullHD+ display is unmistakably the star of the show on the Honor 7X"

While the app drawer is disabled by default, you can easily enable it via settings. Honor has also thankfully disabled the annoying lockscreen magazine by default on the Honor 7X .

Impressive battery life

[Image: review-mos-2_120617025620.jpg]

Where the Honor 7X succeeds is battery life - I averaged between 4.5 - 5.5 hours of screen on time in the two weeks I used the phone as my daily driver. With a light workload, the Honor 7X can easily last more than a day on a single charge. Intensive use will necessitate a charge by the end of the day though.


There are various power saving features on offer in EMUI 5.1 such as a mode which lowers the screen resolution as required in order to save battery life. I never had the need turn on any power saving mode during my time with the device.

Underwhelming cameras
While the Honor 7X does not follow in the footsteps of the Honor 9i and come with four cameras, it does come with a dual camera setup at the rear. This time around, Honor has paired a primary 16MP sensor with a secondary 2MP sensor - the sole job of which is to capture depth data.

The rear cameras are underwhelming - images taken outdoors and in well lit conditions are usable with good detail and sharpness but the quality really suffers in low light. As soon as the sun sets, noise and graininess creeps in. Shots taken indoors also lack detail and are quite noisy. Colours are oversaturated and slightly off-kilter (which might be appreciated by some).


While autofocus is fast and there is almost no shutter lag that you would expect of a dual camera setup in this price, the camera tends to produce blurry shots at times. There is also a fully featured Pro mode which allows you to tinker with the ISO, exposure, shutter speed and so on. Bokeh shots look decent and are better than those produced by some competitors. However, blurring around the edges of a subject is visible at times.

The 8MP front camera produces images with adequate detail and is good enough for social media use. There's also a beauty mode on offer which diligently removes all wrinkles and scars and leaves you looking a little bit like a ghost. The biggest issue with the front camera is the bokeh mode. As the 7X lacks a secondary front facing sensor, bokeh shots are produced via software algorithms. This feature is extremely buggy and does not work half of the time.

Verdict
At a starting price of Rs 12,999, the Honor 7X has a lot going for it. It has a sleek and classy bezel-less design, solid build quality, a punchy, vibrant display and good battery life. However, the average cameras, middling performance and cluttered UI take the sheen off the 7X a little bit.

If you are looking for an affordable smartphone with an edge-to-edge 18:9 display, the 7X makes a lot of sense. However, If you can live with bezels, there are more well-rounded competitors such as the Xiaomi Mi A1 and Moto G5S Plus which offer a better overall package.



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