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Honor 7X review: Better than its predecessor and priced 20 percent less

  • Editors' rating
    8.4 Excellent

Pros

  • High quality design, fit, and finish
  • 18:9 display and minimal bezels
  • Portrait mode for rear and front cameras
  • Fairly stock EMUI 5.1 UI
  • Extremely low price
  • MicroSD expansion card
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • No NFC for wireless payments
  • No water resistance

Earlier this year I posted a full review of the Honor 6X and we now have its successor that offers a better processor, improved dual rear cameras, and large 18:9 display at a price $50 less than the Honor 6X. It's one of my best cheap smartphones for the holiday season.

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The $200 Honor 7X is available now in the US and I've recommended it to several people already. I've been using it for a few weeks and I still cannot believe it's priced at one fifth the price of the Apple iPhone X.

There are a few compromises that are made at this price, but there is nothing major that would prevent most people from being completely satisfied. The pros far outweigh the cons and when you realize the Honor 7X is priced at just $200 it is great to have as a spare or emergency phone.

Specifications

  • Processor: Kirin 659, octa-core with Mali T830-MP2 GPU
  • Display: 5.93 inch 2160x1080 pixels resolution 18:9 LCD (407 ppi) with 2.5D glass
  • Operating system: Huawei EMUI 5.1 based on Android 7 Nougat
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 32GB internal with microSD card slot
  • Cameras: Rear dual 16 megapixel and 2 megapixel cameras with phase detection auto focus and depth of field effects. Front 8 megapixel camera.
  • Battery: 3340 mAh
  • Wireless connectivity: FM radio, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Dimensions: 156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm and 165 grams

Compared to last year's Honor 6X, we see a newer generation Kirin processor, a larger 18:9 format display, a newer version of EMUI with Android 7, and a better dual rear camera setup. The Honor 7X is slightly thinner and just 3 grams heavier too.

There is no NFC radio so you won't be able to use Android Pay and there is no water resistance, but that's about it. Unlike the new flagships, Honor still includes a standard 3.5mm headset jack so that is one benefit over the much more expansive Android phones.

Hardware

Huawei builds gorgeous hardware and their typical design language that includes a brushed aluminum shell, extremely responsive rear fingerprint scanner, curved glass edges, and rock solid construction is present here on the Honor 7X.

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Something you will not find on competing sub-$400 phones is the 18:9 FullView display with minimal bezels. At about the same size as a 5.5-inch phone, you get a 5.93-inch display. The 1080p LCD display looks great with vibrant colors and good viewing angles. Honor implemented curved metal back sides so that the Honor 7X rests very comfortably in your hand and presents a very clean appearance.

The cameras work well with the dual camera setup supporting bokeh effects like we see on higher end devices. Check out my recent portrait mode shootout to see how the Honor 7X stacks up with seven other smartphones. You will also find advanced camera modes, such as light painting, time-lapse, slow-mo, and even manual mode options.

You can expand your storage with a microSD card. The mono speaker blows away what we saw on the low cost Moto devices and lets you enjoy music or make speakerphone calls comfortably.

Honor advertises a two-day battery life and even as a fairly heavy smartphone user I am almost able to go a full two days. We often see claims of multi-day battery, but I tend to kill a smartphone in a day. That just isn't the case with the Honor 7X and the 1080p display, Kirin 659 processor, and large 3,340 mAh battery proves to keep you going through at least a day or two.

Software

The Honor 7X runs EMUI 5.1, based on Android 7 Nougat. This version of EMUI provides a fairly stock Android experience with a few Huawei apps. These include Backup, Email, Calendar, FM Radio, Gallery, Health, Messaging, Mirror, Music, Notepad, Voice Recorder, Weather, Videos, and Themes. Most of these are utilties and other apps that enhance the stock Android experience. Unlike US carrier branded devices, there is no dumb games or excessive bloatware installed.

There are several different options for customizing your experience, including navigation button arrangement, detailed notification and status bar customization, smart assistance settings (double tap to turn on display is one option), and more. I also enabled the standard app drawer home screen setup on the evaluation device.

This is sold as a GSM unlocked phone so it is free of carrier bloatware. It does not support CDMA so it will not work for Sprint or Verizon customers.

Pricing and competition

Flagship smartphones are priced at $800 to over $1,150, but over the past couple of years we have seen lots of competition in the sub-$400 price range. The Honor 7X is even more competitive at a low $200 price.

Looking across the market for phones in this sub-$250 range, we see the Nokia 6 at $150 with a smaller display, single rear camera, and smaller capacity battery, along with the Moto G5S Plus at $240 with a smaller display, better dual rear cameras, and a smaller capacity battery. There is growing competition in this sub-$250 market and that's a great thing for consumers.

Daily usage experiences and conclusions

While using the Honor 7X as my daily driver, I completely forgot it was priced at just $200. It feels like a much more expensive phone and performs at a level competitive with those at $400 or more.

I'm a fan of the 2.5D curved glass on displays and this combined with the curved back metal edges make the Honor 7X a real joy to hold in your hand. It has a bottom-mounted headphone jack and a great sounding bottom mono speaker that I used to enjoy my podcasts and music.

Dual cameras from Honor and Huawei offer some fun effects and once you spend the time to learn some of the different modes you will come to really enjoy using your phone for photography. The quality is not as good as the flagship phones, but at a fourth to a fifth of the cost the camera is good enough for social networks and having fun with your family and friends. The camera and phones are easily much better than the low priced Android phones from a couple of years ago. You can get creative with the camera and the image editing software too.

The Honor 7X provides a large full screen, minimal bezel experience at a killer price. I honestly can't think of one reason not to recommend this phone for just $200. Just the insurance on the Apple iPhone X is the same price as this phone.

Specifications

Details
SAR Value 1.27 W/kg (hotspot), 1.11 W/kg (body), 1.11 W/kg (head)
Body Color Red
Cellular
Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
Type smartphone (Android OS)
Navigation A-GPS, GLONASS, GPS
Mobile Broadband Generation 4G
Phone Form Factor touch
Service Provider not specified
Operating System Family Android
Operating System Android 7.0 Nougat
User Interface HUAWEI Emotion UI 5.1
SIM Card Type nano SIM
SIM Card Slot Qty dual-SIM (SIM1 and SIM2/MicroSD slots)
SIM Card Configuration Details nano SIM + nano SIM/microSD
Input Device Multi-touch
Phone Features
Phone Functions Speakerphone, call timer, conference call, flight mode, vibrating alert
Sensors Ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, digital compass, gravity sensor
Additional Features Split Screen
Security Devices Fingerprint reader
Messaging & Internet
Messaging Services MMS, SMS
Miscellaneous
Sensors ambient light sensor, digital compass, gravity sensor, proximity sensor
Communications
Data Transmission EDGE, FDD-LTE, GPRS, HSDPA, HSPA+, HSUPA, TDD-LTE
Wireless Interface Bluetooth 4.1, IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Processor
Clock Speed 2.36 GHz
Manufacturer Hisilicon
Processor Core Qty 8-core
Display
Display Resolution 2160 x 1080 pixels
Pixel Density (ppi) 407
Diagonal Size 5.93 in
Diagonal Size (metric) 15.06 cm
Smartphone Diagonal Size 5.93 in
Aspect Ratio 18:9.
Color Support color
Features 2.5D Glass, FullView Display
Memory
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSDHC, microSDXC - up to 256 GB
Header
Brand Honor
Product Line Honor
Model 7X
Packaged Quantity 1
CE Input Device
Type touch sensitive screen (multi-touch)
Features
Sensors ambient light sensor, digital compass, gravity sensor, proximity sensor
Phone Functions call timer, conference call, flight mode, speakerphone, vibrating alert
Security Devices fingerprint reader
Additional Features Split Screen
RAM
Installed Size 3 GB
Flash Memory
Internal Memory Capacity 32 GB
Max Supported Size 256 GB
Supported Flash Memory Cards microSDHC, microSDXC
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Full Contract Period 1 year
Front-facing Camera
Sensor Resolution 8 Megapixel
Features Gesture control
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty