Honor 6X review: Solid performance at a hard-to-beat price

Price when reviewed

Huawei release a lot of smartphones in any given year. The Chinese manufacturer has been getting steadily better with its releases while other manufacturers plateau, but its Honor brand comes without any traces of Huawei’s name.

Hopefully, that’s a sign of wanting to avoid brand saturation rather than any kind of shame, because the Honor 6X is a phone to be proud of. While nobody is likely to confuse it with a top-of-the-range Samsung or Apple model, it’s a fine-looking phone, packing a surprising amount of punch for the price.

Honor 6X review: Design

You’d hardly expect a design revolution in a £225 on Amazon UK (or about $250 via Amazon US) smartphone, and Honor meets those expectations head on. Still, there was a time when metal designs were the preserve of phones costing upwards of £400, so it’s pleasing that the Honor 6X is giving the budget end of the market the same luxury option, especially when Huawei’s other recent budget offering (the P9 Lite) eschewed metal for a plastic back. The metal back here is pleasingly curved, with an (extremely fast) fingerprint reader nestling just below the twin-lens camera.[gallery:3]

Note that I didn’t say “all-metal”: in fact, the front of the handset changes colour and material, with our model sporting a white plastic front bookending its generous 5.5in display. It’s fairly minimalist, with just the Honor branding embossed on the bottom of both sides. 

Budget does mean you’ll be settling for micro-USB charging and data transfer, though. I say “settling” – to me that’s a plus. There are still far more micro-USB cables to nab at a pinch than there are USB Type-C – something that will probably take another 18 months to balance out.

Honor 6X review: Screen

For the price, you won’t be surprised to hear that the Honor 6X doesn’t have an AMOLED screen. What you’ve got here is a pretty solid 5.5in, 1080p IPS LCD display. It’s very bright, with a peak measurement of 502cd/m2 (you won’t have trouble reading it unless you’re in a very bright environment), and stark contrast of 1,694:1.[gallery:1]

On the negative side, its large size means that a 1,080 x 1,920 resolution is stretched over 5.5in, delivering a relatively low pixel density of 403 pixels per inch. This doesn’t compare too favourably with other handsets, but it’s fine for anyone who doesn’t insist on holding the phone right up to their eyes, or plan to spend a load of time using VR apps. More concerning is that its colour reproduction isn’t great. Our tests showed it covered only 89% of the sRGB colour gamut, which isn’t a good sign when more and more handsets nowadays are getting close to the magic 100%.

What is worth highlighting, though, is Honor’s “eye comfort mode”. Not only does this automatically filter out blue light in the evenings – a fashionable move that supposedly helps improve sleeping patterns for those in the habit of fiddling with their phones in bed – it also adjusts brightness and colour temperature depending on ambient light.

Honor 6X review: Performance

For £225, the Honor 6X packs a punch in terms of specifications. For starters, it manages to match the RAM (4GB) of some of the current generation of flagships including the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G4 and HTC 10. Not a bad start. However, unlike those phones, Honor has overlooked Qualcomm for processing duties, instead going for an octa-core 2.1GHz HiSilicon Kirin 655 chip. That’s 100MHz faster than the P9 Lite, for those keeping track, which uses the Kirin 650 chip.

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