Honor X9b review: Tough display, long battery life makes it a contender in mid-range arena

Announced earlier this month, the Honor X9b enters the Indian market with a bold proposition: a stylish flip phone with a tough build and long battery life. Promising a snappy processor, a decent camera system, and an impressive design, it offers some unique features that users will not find in other phones in its price segment. In this review, we’ll thoroughly evaluate if the Honor X9b delivers on its promise and how it stacks up against competitors.

Honor X9b

Honor X9b review: Study build, impressive display

The Honor X9b boasts a splash-resistant build (IP53-rated) with a slim 7.98mm profile and a weight of 185 grams. It features elegantly curved edges on both the front and back. While the Midnight Black variant’s polycarbonate shell can feel a bit slippery, the Sunshine Orange option offers superior grip thanks to its vegan leather back.

Honor touts the X9b as the first smartphone with a five-star drop resistance certification from Switzerland’s SGS. It features a unique “Ultra-Bounce Anti-Drop Display” with double-strengthened glass and shock-absorbing materials, designed to withstand drops of up to 1.5 meters. I’ve purposely tested this claim by dropping the phone screen down on hard surfaces like marble and cement, and impressively, the screen remains functional with no need for a tempered glass protector.

Honor X9b

While the Honor X9b doesn’t include a charger in the box, first-time buyers will receive a complimentary 30W charger. The retail box also contains a transparent case, a USB-C to USB-A cable, wired earphones, a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, necessary documents, and a SIM pin.

The Honor X9b offers a gorgeous 6.78-inch curved-edge AMOLED screen with an impressive 1.5K resolution—a rarity in its price range. While it lacks HDR and Dolby Vision support, it handles streaming content from Netflix and Prime Video smoothly. The screen offers a high refresh rate of 120Hz and 1920PWM dimming, along with features designed to reduce eye strain and harmful blue light emissions. However, the audio output through the single bottom-firing speaker is merely satisfactory; a top speaker for a true stereo setup would have been a welcome addition. For security, the device is equipped with an under-display fingerprint scanner, which works flawlessly.

Honor X9b review: Performance

The Honor X9b is powered by the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1, making the Realme 12 Pro its direct market competitor. This chip handles everyday tasks smoothly and can even manage games with medium graphic settings. I didn’t experience any significant overheating issues during my usage. The haptics offered on the device is good enough for navigation and typing, but not for gaming.

The X9b comes in a single configuration with 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. It also features 8GB of virtual RAM (which expands RAM capacity by using storage space), but unfortunately lacks a microSD card slot for expandable storage.

Honor X9b

While some Samsung phones feature 6,000mAh batteries, few brands offer such large battery capacities. The Honor X9b distinguishes itself in the Indian market with its substantial 5,800mAh battery. Supporting up to 35W fast charging, it reaches a full charge in around 2 hours. Impressively, this battery provides over two days of typical usage, setting the X9b apart from its competitors.

While the Honor X9b would ideally have launched with Android 14, it currently runs Android 13 with Magic OS 7.2. Thankfully, Honor has committed to two years of Android OS upgrades and three years of security updates, ensuring the device stays current. The software experience is streamlined, avoiding excessive bloatware and focusing on useful Honor productivity apps. While it lacks a traditional app drawer, this design choice might appeal to users seeking a simplified interface. The Magic OS 7.2 offers handy productivity features, such as multi-screen collaboration with other connected Honor devices. In addition, the device ships with the Microsoft SwiftKey keyboard. One of its major highlights is that it is equipped with the Copilot-powered Editor feature, which allows users to get AI-generated text. Here is a look at how the X9b performs on benchmarking apps.

Honor X9b review: Photography

The Honor X9b features a triple rear camera setup housed in an eye-catching circular module with luxurious gold accents. This includes a 108-megapixel main camera (likely a Samsung sensor), a 5-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 2-megapixel macro camera. For selfies, the device sports a 16-megapixel front-facing camera. While Honor hasn’t disclosed the specific models of the other sensors, their origins could potentially be traced to other common smartphone camera suppliers.

The Honor X9b’s primary camera excels in daylight, delivering realistic colours, crisp details, and a well-balanced dynamic range without HDR issues. Performance decreases in low-light or indoor scenarios, with increased noise and occasional overexposure.

The 108-megapixel camera offers decent 3x in-sensor zoom, though the lack of OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) becomes evident when zooming in. Portrait mode performs well for both people and objects, offering good subject detection and background blur, but you might need a few tries for the perfect shot. The 5-megapixel ultrawide camera produces less consistent results than the main camera but delivers acceptable shots in good lighting. The 2-megapixel macro camera is underwhelming, while the 16-megapixel front camera suffices for selfies, portraits, and video calls in well-lit environments.

Honor X9b price in India

Honor X9b Sunshine Orange

The Honor X9b is currently listed for Rs 25,999 on Amazon. It can also be purchased through Explore Honor (official website) and offline stores. Including the bank offer, the X9b can be purchased for as low as Rs 22,999 on Amazon. In addition, users can also benefit from up to Rs 5,000 off on exchange.

Honor X9b review: Verdict

The Honor X9b boasts several strengths: an attractive design, a durable display, snappy performance, a feature-rich OS, and exceptional battery life. While its primary camera is decent, it faces strong competition from the Redmi Note 13 Pro, Poco X6 Pro, and Realme 12 Pro. However, the Honor X9b distinguishes itself with its toughened display and lightweight build, which is impressive considering its huge battery. If your priorities are durability and long-lasting usage rather than the absolute best camera and raw power, the Honor X9b is worth considering.

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