This HONOR X9b 5G review was done after a week using the smartphone, with my self taking a break from my HONOR Magic5 Pro smartphone which is my main photography phone.
During this period, I was able to test this new smartphone according to my usual schedule, and hence able to see how does it fare in comaparison to ther smartphones I’ve tested before.
That said, this review is my personal experience on the HONOR X9b.
Design & Body
Specs: 163.3mm x 75.5mm x 7.98mm, 185g
The design and body of the HONOR X9b isn’t far from it’s predecessor, the HONOR X9a, but I appreciate the fact HONOR made the X9b more professional looking, which is something rare in a smartphone within this price range.
I’m not a huge fan of orange, but the Sunrise Orange version of the smartphone which is in Vegan Leather looks pretty classy, while the black looks perfect for those seeking simplicty.
Compared to its predecessor, the X9a, the HONOR X9b is slighty thicker, heavier and wider at 163.3mm in height, 75.5mm in width, 7.98mm in depth and 185g in weight.
I do however see this as a plus point because I like my phones a bit on the heavy side.
In front, the phone has a punch hole to house the front camera, with the screen curved like what you get on most premium Android smartphones these days.
At the back, the Matrix Star Ring remains to house the triple camera set-up on the rear of the phone, with the lower chin still housing the only speakers the phone has, as well as the USB-C port and SIM tray.
On the top chin of the phone there’s nothing to see, with the left side of the phone having the the volume and the Google Assistant button.
In the palm, the phone feel just nice with its slight weight, and is comfortable to navigate.
The Titanium Silver colour I got looks good as well and the rear back doesn’t attract fingerprints. I think out of all the HONOR smartphones I’ve reviewed so far, this X9b 5G is the best looking in terms of colour.
You can read my first impression review of the X9b if you want to know how I felt when I just unboxed the smartphone.
All-angle Ultra Tough
Interestingly the X9b body (and screen) is also recognized, and has received, the world’s first 5-star Overall Drop Resistance certification from Switzerland’s SGS.
This means that the smartphone will withstand normal drops, or so I thought.
Apparently, the body and screen of the phone can withstand more than a normal drop.
I tried breaking the screen and even accidentally dropping the phone over 10 times, and the phone held through, much to my delight.
To me, this means just one thing; which is I can do away with a phone case. This is very welcomed because I hate phone cases as they make my phone bulky.
Screen & Display
Specs: 6.78-inch AMOLED, 1.5K Retina Resolution Display, 1.07B colour, 120Hz refresh rate, 1200nits
The curved 6.78-inch AMOLED screen is bigger than the previous model, hence giving it more resolution than before. It still keeps that 1.07B colour capabilities and has an aspect ratio of about 20:9.
This translates to a 92.8% body to scren ratio which is generous as well.
The display provides a very good screen for movies, games and videos as colours really pop out.
Under the sun, the 1200 nits peak enables me to see what I am doing despite the bright sun, and the support for 120Hz refresh rate means gaming is indeed enjoyable. This is a flagship level display for a phone that cost a fraction of the price.
To unlock the phone, the under-screen fingerprint scanner as well as its facial recognition works like a charm, with the phone also supporting multi-screen gestures, and up to 10 touch points.
Also, HONOR decided to include all the eye protection genes they had for a smartphone in the HONOR X9b 5G.
This includes the 1920Hz PWM Dimming (where flickers are minimized), Circadian Night Display (use of warmer colours), Dynamic Dimming (reduce eye fatigue).
The PWM Dimming is not as high as the HONOR 90 5G, but it’s still higher than industry standards.
The company also obtained the TUV Rheinland Hardware-Level Low Blue Light Certification which confirms the the phone has low blue light emission.
Speaking of the screen, the HONOR X9b has the strongest screen in a phone by far that I know off. Not only that, the phone’s frame is also really solid and reliable.
The video below shows durability test I’ve done with the phone to prove how strong it is.
To be very honest, I was surprised myself at how the HONOR X9b managed to withstand such force because not only did the phone hit the plank I tried to break, but also the hard table, resulting in double blows.
The phone itself survived all test I’ve done with just slight scratches, which were later easily wiped off. I wished most phones were built this way.
Screen cracks are troublesome, so having a phone that doesn’t get damaged easily is important because it minimizes costly repairs and replacements, not mentioning data migration if there is a need for warranty claims.
Nonetheless, if there is an instance the X9b 5G screen does break, HONOR is willing to take full responsibility with their 365 Days Front and Back Crack Replacement warranty, a first for any smartphone or brand.
This coverage enables the screen to be replaced for free within a year of the phone’s purchase.
The previous X9a had a 180-days similar warranty, so HONOR technically expanded such protection to a whole year, covering also the rear (back) screen this time around.
Specs: Supports all major audio sound
Audio on this smartphone is loud, but it is down firing. This is consistant with most mid-range smartphones which only offer audio from one end.
The audio however is clear and crisp, enjoyable to say the least, with little to complain if you are just listening to songs or taking a call.
However, when playing games, the same problem of having one sided speakers persist, which is the sound can be muffled by hand as it grips on the speaker area.
Taking calls pose no problem because the voice is clear and loud through the earpiece.
Procesor, RAM & Storage
Specs: Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 (4nm), so (12+8)GB RAM, 256GB Storage
The smartphone is also the first to be equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset.
HONOR claims that this makes the smartphone faster by up to 40% compared to the X9a.
I tried both the X9a and X9b, and felt there was a slight speed bump in the newer X9b 5G smartphone although it’s not obvious.
However, the boost in RAM definately makes multitasking easier and faster with the phone having up to 20GB of it.
This is possible as the phone adds an additional 8GB of virtual RAM, to the physical 12GB RAM.
When gaming, the phone feels like any other premium smartphone in terms of loading speed and gameplay. It’s responsive, enjoyable and without any lags. Note, this is not a premium phone, but a mid-range one, so that’s a huge bonus.
In terms of storage, HONOR claims that the phone is now using the newer LPDDR4X and UFS 3.1 which offers faster writing speeds.
This change is noticable when launching the camera and downloading games and apps.
In terms of storage, I think 256GB is adequate for storage though having 512GB would be much preffered. There is no way to increase storage for this phone as there is no extra memory slot.
Specs: MagicOS 7.2
The operating system (OS) of the HONOR X9b 5G is the MagicOS 7.2 which is based on Android 13.
MagicOS 7.2 is a very capble OS and it is lightweight to use. There’s not much I can say about the OS since it does what it needs to do and functions smoothly.
In general, the MagicOS 7.2 works effortlessly, and is a joy to use.
The downside? It does come with some default bloatware but these are generally neglectable.
Specs: 108MP (f/1.75) Ultra-Clear Main Camera, 1/1.67″ Sensor, 5MP (f2.2) Ultra-Wide Camera, 2MP (f2.4) Macro Camera, 16MP Front Camera
The triple camera set-up of the X9b 5G smartphone isn’t its strongest point. It does take decent video and photos.
It also offers 3X optical zoom, and another 8x digital zoom with AI vision.
In general, photos taken using the X9b 5G are good for a mid-range phone, but was not able to compete with premium or high-end smartphones like the HONOR Magic5 Pro.
The photos below show how the photo performs when taking photos in good light using the 0.6x, 1.0x, 3x and 8x zoom.
I personally feel that the photos look good when there’s ample light, with zooms up to 3x. However, the photos become quite grainy once I go beyond that.
Indoors, the AI does quite a bit of autocorrection which may cause images to turn lighter than it should be.
Sample of indoor shots can be seen below.
At night, the are not so impressive in my opinion, unable to deliver that ‘ wow’ factor. These are the photos taken using the phone at night with zooms of 0.6x, 1.0x, 3.0x and 8.0x.
As you can see, the night photos are okay, but if you are used to better quality images, you will be quite dissapointed.
For selfies, the best ones were taken during the day, or when there’s ample light, as you can see below.
As you can see above, the bokeh effects make the selfie really pop up and I think the colour tone and the skin colour is as close as the real thing.
In really poor lighting, the screen will turn on a special light to enable selfies to be captured but with such poor lighting, the selfie result is expected.
It is also worth noting that the smart capture feature makes selfie taking easier as well.
Food photos as well as close up photos appear to turn out nicely as seen below.
In terms of videography, the smartphone has all the perks one needs to capture vlogs, including the multiscreen feature.
The video below was recorded to show how the phone performs in videography.
I think the video recording is good, and suitable for making most vlogs with audio also clearly capture by the phone without the help of an external or 3rd party microphone.
Specs: 5,800mAh, 35W SuperCharge
HONOR also upgraded the battery fited in this phone to a massive 5,800mAh battery.
HONOR said the battery could last for three days on typical use, and about 17 hours on video watching, they also claim the phone has a 12 hour non-stop gaming session on a single charge.
Aside from that, HONOR claims that the battery can still retain 80% charge capacity after 1,000 charge cycles.
I can’t verify all of those claims because I can’t spend more than an hour playing games on the phone.
I can however verify that the battery management of the X9b 5G smartphone does smart power-saving features as much as it can to conserve energy, and hence push the duration a single charge can last.
During my normal day use, I didn’t need to charge the X9b for more than 78 hours.
Unfortunately, once juice runs out, charging the smartphone will take slightly longer than last model’s X9a as HONOR decided to reduce the supercharge power to 35W in this durable smartphone, lower by 5W if compared to the X9a 5G.
Specs: IP53, HONOR ultra-Bounce Anti Drop display
Aside from the HONOR ultra-Bounce Anti Drop display which I had already mentioned above, the HONOR X9b is also IP53 rated.
This means the phone is water and dust protected, but not enough to be submerged in water for a long period of time.
The SIM tray has a green rubber attached to it, likely to enforce this IP53 rating.
HONOR X9b review conclusion, price and availability
In general, I think the HONOR X9b 5G is a smartphone that is perfect for those who do not like to use a case (which bulks up their phone), is clumsy to always have their phone drop when in use, and does not like charging their phones often.
If I had it my way, the smartphone’s durability should be a standard all smartphone manufacturers follow in their smartphones.
The camera of the phone is adequate, and the phone has a very smooth system and hardware which supports enjoyable gaming experience.
Consider all those with the retail price of RM1,499 and I feel the X9b 5G is a steal.