Imagine if an iPhone 8 Plus and a Samsung Galaxy S8 had a baby. The Honor 7X mimics Apple’s design language, but adds a larger screen with much smaller bezels similar to the Samsung. We are looking at an aluminum shell in a handsome red color, a 5.97” IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1080×2160, and an eight-core CPU with 4GB of RAM. On a pure spec level, the Honor 7X is a solid device in the year 2018.
Also, it comes with a proper headphone jack, which in 2018 is probably the most impressive feature. Thank you, Honor.
It keeps the hits coming with a rear-mounted fingerprint reader and a facial scanning function that both unlock the phone with lightning speed. Speaking of cameras, on the back we have a dual setup with a 16 MP main sensor, coupled with a 2 MP sensor for depth scanning. On the front there is an 8MP shooter for all your selfie needs. Powering the whole thing is a 3340 mAh battery.
On paper, the Honor 7X is an astonishing device before you ever consider price.
But we’ll get back to that in a minute. Because while the 7X looks great on paper, actually using the device is a different story.
Let’s start with the camera. A 16MP shooter with added depth information sounds great in theory, but in practice we found the results to be a little underwhelming. Often times the depth of field function just wouldn’t work, and in lower light situations photos look washed out and grainy. If you want photos that can even start to compete with your iPhone or Pixel wielding friends, you’ll want the best lighting conditions possible.
Then we get to that octa-core CPU. It’s not a Qualcomm chip like that found in most modern smartphones, it’s a cheaper Kirin 659. While clock speeds are broadly similar to a chip like the Snapdragon 835, the 7X never feels super snappy. Part of the sluggishness could come down to the 4GB of RAM, or it could be due to the skin layered on top of Android, but spend more than 30 minutes with the device and you will encounter multiple instances of hitching and short freezes.
In short, it just doesn’t live up to the performance you would expect given that spec sheet.
But it’s not all bad.
The Honor does begin to redeem itself when it comes to entertainment. The IPS screen on this device looks pretty great considering its price tag, and the 407 ppi density means everything looks incredibly crisp. From watching YouTube to playing games, everything looks great. It’s not quite on the level of Apple’s latest LCDs, and nothing can compare with the pop of colors you get on OLED displays, but I know very few people who would have anything bad to say about the screen on this phone.
And then we have battery life, which is pretty great in our testing. Despite having a big screen packed with pixels, it was very easy to make it through a full day with the Honor 7X. With lots of YouTube, plenty of email, more Snapchat filters than we care to mention, and even a game of HQ Trivia, after 15 hours away from the charger we were still above 25% battery. With lighter use, we even managed to go almost two whole days without hitting a charger.
So the Honor 7X. It looks good, has a nice screen and great battery life. But the performance is poor and the cameras are sub-par. But honestly none of that matters because the Honor’s true ace, it’s biggest winning feature, is the price tag. You can pick one of these phones up, brand new, for just $200. No contracts, no rebates, no funny business. The MSRP is $200. That is utterly staggering. A used iPhone 6S can cost more than that, and that phone is four years old.
Just let that sink in for a second. The new iPhone XR is four times more expensive than the Honor 7X. The XR is certainly a better phone, but is it four times better? That is what we think makes the Honor 7X such an interesting device, and what makes it worth your money. It provides 80-percent of the performance and experience of current flagship devices, but it comes in at 25-percent of the price.
If you want a new phone and can’t swing $1000 for the newest and shiniest devices, the Honor 7X is a damn fine choice. Plus, and we can never stress this enough, 3.5MM HEADPHONE JACK.