Test Honor 9X: the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro in the spotlight

Presentation

Depuis a few months now, Xiaomi seems to be drowning the entry-level and mid-range smartphone market in a constant stream of new references. This does not prevent the competition from continuing to offer terminals in disputed niches. The Honor 9X comes at €249, just opposite the recentRedmi Note 8 Pro. To compete, it puts forward similar weapons, namely its photo performance and licked design.

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Suite to our initial test in which the Honor 9X received a 2 star rating in autonomy, Honor returned a second model. We have renewed our SmartViser procedure and it turns out that the score obtained allows it to finally obtain 5 stars in this part. Its final score is therefore raised to 3 stars and not 2.

Ergonomics and design

Honor 9X succeeds in one of its bets, that of design. It has a very large screen that occupies 85% of the face, without any holes or notches. To achieve this result, Honor has hidden the front photo module in a mechanism housed in the body of the smartphone. This module only shows up when it is in use and takes about 2 seconds to fully exit, as well as to re-enter. Of course, with a diagonal of 6.6 inches (16.76 cm), the 9X is an imposing smartphone, difficult to handle with one hand. Fortunately, the interface can be easily reduced to occupy a surface that is accessible with the thumb.

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face side is rather successful and the stack side is not to be outdone. The back with slightly curved edges allows a good grip of the camera. It also has a glossy finish whose reflections reveal nice patterns. A finish that slightly reduces the perception of fingerprints that accumulate quickly. Still on the back of the smartphone, we find a fingerprint reader that falls easily under the index finger of both right and left hands. The unlocking by this means is efficient and fast. There is still the limit imposed when the smartphone is placed on a table and the reader is not accessible.

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Sur At its lower edge, the Honor 9X can count on a USB-C port, as well as a 3.5 mm mini-jack socket. In addition, the Honor 9X can accommodate 2 nano-SIM cards, if the microSD port is not required. As is almost always the case at this price level, the 9X has no waterproof certification.

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Audio

La headphone output is pretty good. The signal sent is free of audible distortion and has a fairly wide dynamic range. The stereo image reproduction is in the average range of our comparison. It's a pity that the output level is not higher, because it penalizes somewhat the users of greedy headphones.

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only speaker, positioned on the bottom edge of the smartphone, is not famous. It struggles to reproduce more than the voice frequencies and the sound has an unfortunate tendency to saturate as soon as you exceed 60% of the maximum volume. It's hard to see any other use for this loudspeaker other than calling.

Screen

Oled is still a rare commodity in the entry-level segment and the Honor 9X's screen does not turn things upside down. It uses a 6.6-inch LTPS panel with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 px for a very comfortable resolution of 396 dpi, which will suffice for all uses. The contrast ratio of the screen does not reach peaks and is close to 1,000:1. The readability in full sunlight is not ideal, with a brightness that peaks at 388 cd/m² and a light reflection rate of 50.7%.

Par Otherwise, it does not benefit from a faithful colorimetry, the colors are too saturated and the hues are very cold. It is necessary to go through the settings and choose the "normal" color mode and a warm temperature to improve things. After applying these parameters, we obtain an excellent delta E at 1.4 and a temperature of 6,245 K. The Honor 9X is on this point among the very good students in our comparison.

La screen reactivity is average. We measure a touch delay of 96 ms, close to the usual average. The remanence time is displayed at 17 ms, like most screens of the same type.

Performances

Honor 9X is powered by Huawei's in-house SoC, the Kirin 810, with 8 cores (2 x Cortex-A76 and 6 x Cortex-A55) and 4 GB of RAM. Overall, the smartphone delivers satisfactory performance. On our multitasking test protocol, the 9X scored 86.93. This score translates into a good fluidity in the execution of the majority of applications and in the transition from one to the other.

C The Honor 9X is more limited in video games. According to our dedicated protocol, the terminal only obtains an index of 49, which places it quite far from a Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro, whose video game performance index reaches 79. In practice, the Honor 9X has difficulty maintaining good fluidity in titles that are a little too demanding. It will often be necessary to make concessions on the level of graphics, when such an option is available in the game.

Photo

La photo has become the nerve center of the smartphone war, even in the lower ranges. The Honor 9X is therefore equipped with the following weapons:

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Main camera

Honor 9X doesn't do photo prowess. Its main module offers by default to capture 12 Mpx pictures. Like all smartphones using 48 MP sensors, it uses the dupixel binning technique, which combines 4 pixels in 1. The intervention of image processing in this technique does not do any good to the photos of the Chinese terminal. In broad daylight, the comparison between 48 and 12 Mpx is rather to the advantage of the first definition. The rendering is softer and less accentuated in 48 Mpx, but the smoothing is still used, which leaves us a little hungry in terms of level of detail.

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In 12 Mpx, the quality drops very strongly. The lack of precision is blatant, the colorimetry is in the cabbage and the dynamics very low. Facing theRedmi Note 8 Pro, the Honor 9X offers less warm shots. Xiaomi's mobile offers more pronounced colors and a little less detail, but the overall rendering is finally more satisfactory.

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In low brightness, photos of the Honor 9X are poor. The smoothing does not totally eliminate the effects of electronic noise and the color fades even more. Without being a real top performer, the Redmi Note 8 Pro achieves a better result thanks to controlled accentuation.

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Module ultrawide-angle

ultra-wide-angle module has become a must-have on smartphones, even at less than €250. The Honor 9X offers one, based on an 8MP sensor. It's hard to say that this wide-angle camera saves furniture in pictures. In broad daylight, the pictures are both poor and particularly cold. They lack precision compared to those of the Note 8 Pro. The distortion correction suffers from strange behavior and does not do its job completely. In the corners of the image, we observe a marked distortion, which is not very nice to see.

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Les ultra-wide-angle modules rarely excel in low light. The Honor 9X, on the other hand, is particularly bad in practice. It barely manages to reproduce the shape of the elements. The details are lost in the excessive smoothing provided by image processing.

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Mode portrait, video and sensor frontal

On will soon forget the portrait mode of the Honor 9X. Apart from the average image quality, the bokeh rendering is not natural. The cutout of the subject in the foreground is random and elements of the background are regularly forgotten.

Honor 9X allows video recording up to Full HD definition at 60 fps. Unsurprisingly, the quality of the videos is quite low and it's best to stick to well-lit environments. The focus tracking is not very responsive, but the exposure measurement is satisfactory.

La front camera is not there to raise the level in pictures. The rendering of faces is distorted by too much smoothing, even after disabling software processing. The colors are not faithfully rendered and the selfies quickly make us look pale.

Autonomy

We have received a second copy of the Honor 9X to validate the disappointing score obtained in autonomy by our test model. It turns out that this second smartphone delivers a much more solid performance in line with what we could expect. The score in the "autonomy" section has been upgraded to 5 stars.

Honor 9X relies on a 4,000 mAh battery. On our SmartViser test protocol, it lasts 19 h 44 min. It is therefore in front of the Samsung Galaxy A50, but behind the excellent Redmi Note 8 Pro. In practice, moderate use will open the doors to two and a half days. Users who are more addicted to their smartphone will be able to hold out for a day and a half without any problem.

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Il takes a little less than 2 hours to fully recharge the Honor 9X battery.