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Honor 7X review: The new mid-range smartphone A contender for budget king

The Honor 7X was officially announced on December 5, 2017, for its European launch. We had the chance to preview the smartphone that “democratize the screen 18: 9” according to Honor. Is the promise kept while many competitors have already made it? Answer in our comprehensive test.

Honor 7X review: The new mid-range smartphone A contender for budget king

Behind its looks of Honor 8 Pro, the 7X has something to appeal to users looking for a good value for money. Screen 18: 9, dual photosensor, premium design, the Honor 7X has more of a trump card. Honor seems to have a special affection for French consumers: while 7X is marketed at 299 euros in Europe, it is available at 249 euros in France (after 50 euros refund offer). In this way, the manufacturer keeps the price of  Honor 6X, his big brother.

With this model, Honor explains that he wants to democratize the borderless smartphone. Other manufacturers like Wikio or Echo have already started, but not with the level of finishes of the 7X ensures Honor. We were able to check this out first, as Honor provided us with her last baby a few days before the official announcement. Here are all our impressions in our comprehensive test.

Technical sheet

Designation Honor 7X
Screen 5.93 inches 18: 9 2.5D Full HD + (2160 x 1080 pixels or 407 dpi)
Processor Octa-Core Kirin 659 (4 x A53 to 2.36GHz + 4 x A53 to 1.7GHz)
GPU Mali T830-MP2 GPU
RAM 4 GB of RAM
Storage 64 GB
Micro SD Yes up to 256 GB
Rear photo sensor Dual 16 megapixel sensor with LED flash + 2 megapixels
Front photo sensor 8 megapixels
Network 4G all frequencies
connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b / g / n, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, GPS, GLONASS
ports Micro USB connector 2, dual SIM (nano + nano or nano + micxroSD) + 3.5 port
sensors Fingerprint reader, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity switch, compass, barometer
Autonomy 3340 mAh
Water resistance No
color Dark blue
Dimensions 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6mm
Weight 165 grams
BONE Android 7.0 + EMUI 5.1

Design

Like the Honor 6C Pro, the Honor 7X is aesthetically inspired by the Honor 8 Pro. The manufacturer explained that we worked for 15 months on the design of the 7X to meet the expectations of users. Thus, the Honor 7X is a kind of Honor 8 Pro finer and longer with the borderless screen.

Design - Honor 7X review: The new mid-range smartphone A contender for budget king

The aluminum shell is still very neat and marks fewer fingerprints that model glass, widespread in late 2017. The double photosensor was placed at the top left. The fingerprint sensor is located just below, in the center. The Honor logo is discreetly placed at the bottom.

On the lower edge Honor housed a speaker, the jack, and a micro USB port. To the question “why not USB Type-C? “  Honor replied that he had to make choices to contain the price. On the left border is the slot nano SIM / microSD (two SIM or a SIM and a microSD card). On the other side, Honor placed the on / off and volume buttons. Important point: Honor has reinforced the rounded corners of her smartphone to resist falls. Depending on the brand, the corners are the areas on which the smartphone falls most often.

We had fun letting go of our Honor 7X test on different surfaces. If indoors it is rather resistant (on parquet, carpet, tiling it comes out unscathed) better not to try the experience of concrete. It’s still an aluminum smartphone. If it does not break or warp, the paint marks the shocks. But Honor did not lie, the Honor 7X is solid and the reinforcement in the corners is effective.

The major aesthetic change of this 7X is its front end. The integration for the first time at Honor of a screen called “borderless” is the originality of the 7X. The manufacturer has chosen a rectangular format 18: 9. With the target being mainly video and game bulimics, Honor felt it was the best format for an optimized experience. We validate.

The integration of this screen is quite successful with very thin side edges. The bands above and below the screen are also fine, just enough to integrate the sensors at the top and the logo at the bottom. The integration is however not comparable to an Essential, LG V30 or Galaxy S8 / Note 8 but these models are not in the same price range.

In hands, the Honor 7X is very comfortable. The rounded edges promote a good grip even if the aluminum tends to be slippery. This is true especially when we handle it in cold weather. One-handed use is tricky, as in most 18: 9 formats. On these products, the interactions on the top of the screen require the use of the second hand. Good point, the Honor 7X is quite heavy and therefore holds well in hand.

Screen

The screen is the big novelty of the Honor 7X. For the first time Honor incorporates a screen in the format 18: 9, the great trend of late 2017. Here, the manufacturer incorporates a slab of 5.93 inches in a format of 5.5 inches. The LCD IPS screen is 2.5D and thus slightly marries the borders of the smartphone. Honor has chosen a Full HD + definition (2160 x 1080 pixels) or a resolution of 407 dpi.

Honor perfectly masters IPS LCD technology. The brand benefits from the expertise of Huawei and therefore offers a very successful screen. The contrasts are marked without being coarse, the colors remain natural. If it is not one of the brightest screens on the market, it is still very pleasant to use in conditions of high brightness. The glare management is quite good even if the level of finishes does not reach (and it makes sense) the quality of the most expensive models on the market.

Screen - Honor 7X review: The new mid-range smartphone A contender for budget king

The choice of a rectangular slab makes it possible to benefit optimally from the video content and the game. Honor explained to us to have forged partnerships with Gameloft for the gaming part. Some games are optimized for the 18: 9 format. This allows displaying more elements on the screen (and incidentally to cheat a little since we can see the enemies approaching in advance). For the video part, compatible apps can fit in the 18: 9 format. For others, Honor has incorporated a feature to display content in full screen. It’s actually a zoom on the video.

For a first step in the wonderful world of 18: 9, Honor is doing very well with a screen balanced and well-integrated design. Small bonus: a real reflection has been made at the level of the contents to offer the best possible experience to the users. At 249 euros, the screen of the Honor 7X is the best in its class.

Performances

The Honor 7X incorporates the Kirin 659 octa-core processor (4 x A53 at 2.36GHz + 4 x A53 at 1.7GHz) along with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory (expandable up to 256GB via microSD). Suffice to say that for 249 euros, the smartphone is rather well equipped. Our benchmarks are unmistakable: without reaching the scores of the best in the market, the Honor 7X shows much better performance than its direct competitors like the Huawei P8 Lite for example.

test honor 7x benchmarks - Honor 7X review: The new mid-range smartphone A contender for budget king

In use,  the Honor 7X behaves very well. The experience is fluid, the animations are not jerky and crashes and freezes are absent. We have tried some games with greedy graphics and the smartphone is effective. We have not faced any slowdown. However, we pointed out that the smartphone tends to heat up fast enough (especially in the game) but it stays warm and stabilizes. At no time do we have an unpleasant feeling of warmth.

Interface

Unlike the Honor View 10 which ships Android 8.0 Oreo and EMUI 8, the 7X runs Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1. This configuration is the one we have seen on all Honor smartphones launched in 2017. Nothing new, therefore. For those who do not know EMUI, it is for many of the most successful overlay of Android. It brings together the best of the Google OS and iOS in one and the same software. We can use a simple OS while enjoying the openness of Android.

Honor offers some nice features every day. For example, the eye protection mode can be set automatically. Modes of energy saving or performance optimization also have their effect. Finally, it is possible to configure gestures that serve as quick access to certain applications or functions. That’s what Honor calls “Smart Assistance.” A handy everyday feature that we miss when using a different OS from EMUI.

Network & GPS

Honor taking advantage of Huawei’s network expertise, we are rather pleased with the 7X’s behavior. The hook is good, both for phone calls for data uses. The smartphone stifles the noise conversation, sometimes a little too much according to the interlocutors, but nothing nasty. WiFi is also effective. As for the GPS, it was fast in its synchronization and precise. Even in pedestrian guidance, the Honor 7X is a good companion.

Camera

Honor had democratized the dual photosensor with the Honor 6X. It is therefore logical that we find it on the 7X. Honor’s new toy features a 16-megapixel autofocus sensor with phase detection and a second 2-megapixel sensor for better bokeh. At the front, an 8-megapixel front sensor will allow you to take better

honor 7x test appareil photo - Honor 7X review: The new mid-range smartphone A contender for budget king

As always, it’s not necessarily the photo quality as such that is important for Honor. This is especially true that this is a model for less than 300 euros. The Honor 7X’s camera is on the whole rather uneven. Generally, clichés lack details even if it is already very good for a smartphone at this price. The color treatment is also quite irregular. They are more or less pale according to the colors in the photo.

In low light useless to expect miracles. The 7X is not a smartphone that will be used in this context. Like most of its competitors, Honor’s smartphone has a hard time managing low light conditions. We always get clichés with a lot of noise. We will avoid the evening photos with the 7X.

Like other functions, the bokeh mode is unstable. According to the subjects, the light, the angle, one can obtain either superb photographs or completely missed photos with effects of blur distributed a little randomly. It should be noted, however, that in general, the different photo modes can improve the whole. The artistic effects and other artifices make it possible to overcome the sometimes average quality of the clichés.

The good surprises come from the front sensor of the Honor 7X. The portrait mode invites itself into your selfies thanks to software processing. The results are amazing. Another small novelty that will probably appeal to the youngest: filters “Snapchat” are pre-installed on the Honor 7X. Finally, it is possible to shoot in 1080p, no more.