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Honor 9X Pro Review - The phone without Google!

Test report prepared by Timo on October 13, 2020

We tested the technically promising Honor 9X Pro! At the same time, it is also the first Honor smartphone to completely do without Google Apps and Google Play services. Instead, there is the Huawei App Gallery and other app creations from Huawei.

In this test you will find out whether we can make a recommendation for the Honor 9X Pro despite all of this.

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7.8
Our rating
6 € amazon
Price Comparison
Specifications
Overview
Manufacturer

Honor

Model

Honor 9X Pro

Specifications

 Processor and memory 
CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 810
GPU: Mali G52
RAM: 6GB / 8GB (LPDDR4x)
Internal memory: 128GB / 256GB (UFS2.1)
Memory expansion: yes (hybrid)

 Display 
Display diagonal: 6.59 inches
Display resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
Display type: LTPS IPS
Screen Protector: Unknown
Multitouch: 10 fingers

 cameras 
Main camera: 48 MP Sony IMX 582 (f / 1.8 aperture)
Ultra wide angle: 8 MP (f / 2.4 aperture)
Depth sensor: 2 MP (f / 2.4)
* AI mode
* PDAF (autofocus)
* LED flash

Front camera: 16 MP (f / 2.2 aperture)

 Mesh 
Dual SIM: Yes
SIM size: Nano SIM
eSIM: No.

GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8
WCDMA: B1 / B4 / B5 / B8
LTE FDD: B1/B3/B8/B20/B28
LTE TDD: B38 / B40 / B41

 wireless 
WiFi: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
Bluetooth: 4.2
GPS: Yes

 Sensors 
* Ambient light sensor
* Accelerometer
* Proximity Sensor
* Hall sensor
* E-Compass
*Gyroscope
* Fingerprint Sensor
* NFC

 Accumulator 
Battery: 4.00 mAh
Quick charge function: No (10 watts)
Qi store: no

 other 
Operating system: Android 9 (EMUI 9)
Connection: USB-C, 3.5 mm audio
Size: 163 77 x x 9 mm
Weight: 210g

What's in the box

1x smartphone
1x SIM needle
1x charging cable
1x charger
1x protective cover
1x user manual

Test: Honor 9X Pro

The effects of the US embargo pronounced in 2019 have hit Huawei and the subsidiary brand Honor particularly hard. Google also has to follow the tough course of the US government, which is why all new smartphones from the Huawei Group have to do without Google support.

A look at the display of the Honor 9X Pro.

This affects not only Google and Huawei, whose business has become more difficult globally, but also customers. An Android without Google Play Store, Google Apps and Google services is hard to imagine for many users.

Design, workmanship and delivery

Dual 3D glass back

The Honor 9X Pro shows an extravagant look that is primarily tailored to a younger audience. The back is adorned with “dual 3D glass”. Colored light reflections provide our Phantom Purple test device with a dazzling look that converges in the middle to form an X.

The smartphone from the side from above.

The glass is slightly curved towards the sides, which in turn ensures a comfortable grip. An aluminum frame holds the back of the glass in place. Unfortunately, the gap is a bit big, so dirt can easily get stuck in it. There is no water protection. The smartphone is available in the colors "Phantom Purple" and "Midnight Black".

48 MP triple camera

The vertically arranged triple camera is located on the top left on the back. In order, the camera is divided into a 2 MP depth camera, a 48 MP main camera and an 8 MP wide-angle camera. An LED flash is located directly below the camera system.

The frame with the pop-up front camera and the SIM slot.

Side fingerprint scanner

The fingerprint scanner is not on the back or under the display glass. Instead, the fingerprint scanner is integrated into the side power button. The position is well chosen so that the smartphone can be unlocked in no time. The scanner's detection rate is good and you quickly land on your home screen.

The volume rocker is located above it. The right side of the housing frame remains empty. The USB-C socket, a microphone, a 3.5 mm headphone jack and the mono speaker are located at the bottom. Another microphone, the hybrid SIM slot and the 16 MP pop-up front camera have been placed on top.

The shimmering glass back of the Honor 9X Pro.

Notch-less display

The display of the Honor 9X Pro measures 6.59 inches diagonally. Punch-hole or notch are no longer necessary thanks to the pop-up front camera. The display edges are pleasantly rounded off by the curved glass. A notification LED is missing.

Processing and delivery

The smartphone offers a pleasant push of a button and feels high-quality. The high weight of 210 grams also contributes to this. Except for the unsightly gap between the glass back and the aluminum frame, the workmanship is impeccable.
The accessories included in the scope of delivery include a charger, a USB-C cable, a protective cover, a SIM needle and a quick start guide.

Honor 9X Pro scope of delivery with the smartphone, the charging cable, the charger and a silicone case.

Display

Let's take a closer look at the Honor 9X Pro's display. As already mentioned, it is a 6.59 inch LTPS IPS panel without a notch and without a punch hole. The resolution is 2340 x 1080 pixels, which in turn corresponds to a razor-sharp 391 DPI. The aspect ratio is 19.5: 9.

display measurement

The display measurements were made with the aid of a colorimeter. The tests were carried out in the standard color mode as well as in the vivid color mode.

Starting with the display brightness, the maximum value is up to 515 cd / m². Spread across the panel, the luminance fluctuates by 12 percent depending on the measuring point. The highest values ​​were achieved in the upper section of the display, the lowest in the lower section. These deviations are not visible to the naked eye. The average luminance is 491 cd / m². The contrast ratio is 1005: 1.

In the standard color mode, the Honor 9X Pro is largely based on the sRGB color space. An average Delta E of 2.58 and a maximum Delta E of 5.25 were measured. In the vivid color mode, a high proportion of blue is added. In this mode, the deviations from the sRBG color space are clear. An average Delta E of 6.02 and a maximum Delta E of 10.98 were measured.

Display brightness distribution (vivid) - Calman Ultimate by portrait.com

Display brightness distribution (vivid) - Calman Ultimate by portrait.com

Display in everyday life

By default, the display is in vivid color mode. The high proportion of blue, which can already be read from the display measurement, is also clearly visible to the naked eye. The display delivers a cool note with strong color rendering and a bright white tone. This matches the blue background image that greets you when you start your smartphone for the first time, but in the long run it is extremely stressful on the eyes.

The display settings can help. In addition to the color mode, the color temperature can also be adjusted as required in 3 stages or using a color wheel. Flat viewing angles do not change the contrast, color intensity or sharpness. The display is largely legible in the open air.

Display settings and functions

In addition to the settings for color mode and color temperature already mentioned, there are additional setting options that affect the display. The brightness can be adjusted manually or automatically. The brightness change in the automatic brightness mode takes place without a noticeable delay.

The "Smart Resolution" mode automatically reduces the display resolution. Instead of FHD + (2340 x 1080 pixels), the resolution is reduced to HD + (1560 x 720 pixels). If you use this function, you save electricity and gain a few battery minutes. There are also setting options for the idle state, the font and display size and the full-screen display. An eye-friendly blue light filter is of course also on board.

Touchscreen

The touchscreen recognizes a maximum of 10 simultaneous inputs. Input recognition is precise. It is not known which type of display glass was used. A particularly thin screen protector is on the display at the factory.

Performance

Kirin HiSilicon 810

Disregarding the Chinese Honor 9X, the Honor 9X Pro is the first Honor smartphone with a HiSilicon Kirin 810 mobile processor. The mid-range system-on-chip from Huawei is manufactured using the 7nm process and is a significant upgrade compared to the Kirin 710.

The CPU has 8 processor cores, which are divided into 2 Cortex-A76 (2.27 GHz) and 6 Cortex-A55 (1.8 GHz) cores. The GPU is a Mali-G52. This is supported by 6GB or 8GB LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB or 256GB UFS2.1 data storage. If you want more data storage, this can be expanded using a microSD memory card.

Benchmark

If you run the usual benchmark tests on the Honor 9X Pro, you will quickly see that the smartphone is currently equipped with one of the fastest mid-range system-on-chips. To name a few values, 304.144 points are achieved in the AnTuTu Benchmark. Only the Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G is a bit faster here with around 320.000 points. The memory that Honor has built in is also fast. Our 6 + 256GB test device achieved a RAM speed of almost 22 GB / s. The UFS2.0 data memory achieves speeds of an average of 450 MB / s for reading and 180 MB / s for writing.

Performance in everyday life

Without first looking at the lack of Google support, the Honor 9X Pro does not have to hide from higher-priced smartphones in everyday use. Although the smartphone does not offer any performance reserves like a high-end device, it is sufficient to run all current apps and games smoothly.

 Multitasking works smoothly and the smartphone can be operated smoothly overall. Apps are permanently stored in the memory and are available in no time even when you are constantly changing. Even if you start an app for the first time, long loading times are not to be expected. The combination of powerful processor and fast memory types shows what it can do not only in the benchmark, but also in everyday life.

Gaming

Demanding mobile games can be played smoothly with the Honor 9X Pro. High-resolution textures can be activated in most games without hesitation. A liquid cooling system prevents thermal throttling and thus ensures constant performance. After half an hour of PUBG, a demanding game that definitely demands a smartphone, the measured maximum temperature was 35 ° C.

user interface

Honor smartphones use what is known as the EMUI user interface. In contrast to Stock Android, the user interface has been heavily modified and expanded with numerous functions. Nevertheless, the design remains minimalist and the operation remains comfortable.

The problem with the updates

Although Huawei's Android license has been revoked, EMUI is still based on Android. On the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which is not affected by this restriction. Huawei also obtains system updates and security patches through AOSP. However, new system versions and security patches are integrated into the open source code with a time lag, which is why you have to wait longer for updates. This is also shown by the Honor 9X Pro, whose EMIUI 9 is based on Android 9 and only uses security patches from November 1, 2019 (as of April 2020). Whether the smartphone will even get a system update to Android 10 is still in the stars.

The problem with the apps

Another limitation is the lack of Google Apps and Google Play services. It is not possible to just load an app from the Google Play Store. Instead, Huawei has developed its own apps and its own app store. The so-called Huawei AppGallery, however, cannot hold a candle to the Play Store. The selection of apps is (still) very limited and the store as a whole can be expanded. Most used apps like WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram are missing. These apps can be installed via APK, but you have to laboriously find them online and it is not uncommon for the app to be downloaded from a dubious source. It will be exciting to see how the AppGallery will continue to develop.

More serious are the lack of Google Play services, which are required by many apps. This also includes non-Google apps. For example, if you want to stream Netflix, you will fail because of Google's Widevine DRM, which Netflix requires. It is the same with many other apps. If an app developer uses the play services in his app, it will not run on the Honor 9X Pro. Instead, the developer would have to offer an additional, play service-free app.

Google Play Store via detours

With detours it is possible to get Google Apps and the Google Play Store on the smartphone. How exactly this works can be read in the numerous instructions on the net. We don't want to go into that here.

There are many ways to get there, but you should keep in mind that this is a game of cat and mouse. Nobody guarantees that the "Google Modification" will last. In addition, you fall back on unofficial installation packages, where you never really know which hands they went through.

Camera

The rear triple camera of the Honor 9X Pro is divided into a 48 MP Sony IMX582 main sensor with f / 1.8 aperture, an 8 MP sensor with an ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2 MP depth sensor.

The 48 MP main sensor makes use of Quad-Bayer technology. Thereby 4 pixels are interconnected to one pixel, which in turn results in a higher color resolution per pixel. At the same time, the image resolution is reduced to 12 MP. The sensor of the pop-up front camera has a resolution of 16 MP and uses an f / 2.2 aperture.

Practical test of the main camera

12 MP pictures

In normal photo mode, photos can be taken at 12 MP, 48 MP and 48 MP AI Ultra Clarity. The 12 MP mode is active by default.

The test shots convince with strong color rendering and a good dynamic range. The HDR mode hardly ever has to be switched on. One weakness is the image sharpness, which is not always constant. The main camera is quickly overwhelmed, especially with fine structures. Details tend to appear muddy due to the strong noise reduction. The camera AI reacts quickly and in most cases recognizes the subject.

48 MP AI Ultra Clarity

In 48 MP AI Ultra Clarity mode, it takes about 5 seconds for the recording to be in the box. In order to get a clean photo, it is important to keep as still as possible during the recording. In addition, this mode only works in very good lighting conditions. In contrast to the 12 MP mode, the recordings are actually more detailed.

Zoom and wide angle

Optical zoom is also not possible without a telephoto lens. The enlargement is done purely digitally. With 2-fold magnification, subtleties in the image can still be seen clearly. Photos stay pleasantly sharp. As the magnification increases, the image details also decrease. Images with 10x magnification are hardly usable.

The 8MP wide-angle shots are acceptable. In contrast to normal photo mode, the dynamic range is slightly lower, details are weaker and the lens correction results in a visible blurring on the sides.

Portrait mode

 Portrait mode works a little imprecisely. In most cases, portrait mode clearly separates people or objects from the background. However, subtleties such as hair are not infrequently affected by the blurring effect. In addition to the standard blurring effect, there are 7 other effects (hearts, circles, etc.) to choose from.

Nachtaufnahmen

The Honor 9X Pro can take detailed, sharp and colorful photos in poor lighting conditions. Provided you approach the matter with a steady hand. Because of the lack of image stabilization, even small wobbles quickly lead to blurred images.

A special night mode is available. The smartphone takes several photos in a row with different settings and automatically merges them into one recording in post-processing. In this mode, wobbles are more likely to be forgiven and details come into their own.

video mode

The smartphone records videos in maximum Full HD resolution. Right, there is no 4K mode! The frame rate can be changed in the settings between 30 and 60 frames per second. Electronic image stabilization is active by default at 30 frames per second and cannot be switched off. Details are lost a little as a result.

More details can be achieved with 60 frames per second. Image stabilization is not active in this mode. Overall, the recorded videos convince with a pleasant sharpness, good color rendering and enough details. The sound quality is good.

Practical test of the front camera

The 16 MP pop-up front camera is able to take good selfies. But it takes a while before the camera comes out of its hiding place and is ready for the snapshot. The selfies taken with the Honor 9X Pro are particularly impressive because of their natural coloring.

A portrait mode is available, but just like the main camera, it struggles with detail extraction. What you should also pay attention to is the beauty filter. By default, it is active at level 5 and leads to unnatural blurring. In the settings, the beauty filter can be completely deactivated or raised to level 10. The front camera records videos in 1080p or 720p.

 You can find these and other test recordings in full resolution under this Link

connectivity

Telephony

The Honor 9X Pro has a hybrid SIM slot. The smartphone can be equipped with two nano-SIM cards or one nano-SIM + microSD memory card. The 2G, 3G and 4G mobile radio bands common in Germany are available. Here is an overview:

GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8
WCDMA: B1 / B4 / B5 / B8
LTE FDD: B1/B3/B8/B20/B28
LTE TDD: B38 / B40 / B41

However, the smartphone is not suitable for worldwide use, as some country-specific bands are missing. LTE is supported on both SIM slots. Unfortunately, VoLTE and VoWiFi or WiFi calling did not work in the test.

The reception quality is decent. The smartphone has a strong reception and enables good cellular reception even in places with weak cellular communications. The voice quality is clear and what is spoken is transmitted in both directions in an understandable manner. The noise-reducing microphones are very good at blocking out background noises.

The Honor 9X Pro with hybrid SIM slot.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

A fast WLAN connection is achieved through Dual-AC WiFi. The data throughput in the immediate vicinity of the router is 270 Mbit / s. Reception remains largely stable through several walls. Bluetooth is only available in version 4.2. In the Bluetooth network, the smartphone behaves inconspicuously and impresses with its good transmission quality.

GPS and sensors

The smartphone finds a GPS fix in a very short time. The position is determined precisely. There were no serious deviations during a one-hour test navigation. Changes in direction are quickly recognized by the e-compass. In addition to the usual smartphone sensors, the Honor 9X Pro also offers NFC. Mobile payment is basically possible. However, Google Pay users are looking down the tube.

Audio

The mono speaker delivers an average sound. Weaknesses show up in the lows and heights that are neglected. The Honor 9X Pro's speaker is more than sufficient to just play a song or watch a video.
Honor has not done without a 3.5 mm jack socket despite the USB-C connection. There is nothing wrong with the playback quality via both connections.

Accumulator

The Honor 9X Pro's battery has a capacity of 4000 mAh. In the test, we achieved a continuous screen-on-time of 14 hours on medium display brightness. If you use the smartphone on average for phone calls, surfing the web and social media, then the battery has to be recharged every 1 ½ days. With intensive use it is over after one day.

The battery is charged by approx. 55 percent after one hour using the charger supplied. A complete charging process takes two hours. Qi contactless charging is not supported.

Price Comparison

iconGerman warehouse
iconDelivery time 2-5 business days
5,89€
Rating
Positive

Colorful design
Display with precise color rendering and brightness
Fast Kirin 810 mobile processor
Cameras in good lighting conditions
Good cellular reception and good voice quality
3.5mm headphone jack
Good battery life

Negative

No notification LED
Huawei AppGallery can be expanded
No widevine, no netflix
Hybrid SIM slot
No 4K video recording
No quick charge function

Summary

The Honor 9X Pro is a good mid-range smartphone from a visual and technical point of view. The lack of Google support is, however, a difficult hurdle for Honor. Most Android users have gotten so used to an Android with Google that it is impossible to imagine the user-friendliness of Google services without it.

Huawei's AppGallery, which the Huawei Group is promoting as a "new user experience", is not doing that either. At least at this point in time, the AppGallery is still too deep in its infancy.

How Huawei or Honors independence will develop in the coming months remains exciting. If you want to follow the development live and don't mind the lack of Google support, the Honor 9X Pro gives you a lot of performance for little money.

7.8
Our rating
Overview
Manufacturer

Honor

Model

Honor 9X Pro

Specifications

 Processor and memory 
CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 810
GPU: Mali G52
RAM: 6GB / 8GB (LPDDR4x)
Internal memory: 128GB / 256GB (UFS2.1)
Memory expansion: yes (hybrid)

 Display 
Display diagonal: 6.59 inches
Display resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
Display type: LTPS IPS
Screen Protector: Unknown
Multitouch: 10 fingers

 cameras 
Main camera: 48 MP Sony IMX 582 (f / 1.8 aperture)
Ultra wide angle: 8 MP (f / 2.4 aperture)
Depth sensor: 2 MP (f / 2.4)
* AI mode
* PDAF (autofocus)
* LED flash

Front camera: 16 MP (f / 2.2 aperture)

 Mesh 
Dual SIM: Yes
SIM size: Nano SIM
eSIM: No.

GSM: B2 / B3 / B5 / B8
WCDMA: B1 / B4 / B5 / B8
LTE FDD: B1/B3/B8/B20/B28
LTE TDD: B38 / B40 / B41

 wireless 
WiFi: 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac
Bluetooth: 4.2
GPS: Yes

 Sensors 
* Ambient light sensor
* Accelerometer
* Proximity Sensor
* Hall sensor
* E-Compass
*Gyroscope
* Fingerprint Sensor
* NFC

 Accumulator 
Battery: 4.00 mAh
Quick charge function: No (10 watts)
Qi store: no

 other 
Operating system: Android 9 (EMUI 9)
Connection: USB-C, 3.5 mm audio
Size: 163 77 x x 9 mm
Weight: 210g

What's in the box

1x smartphone
1x SIM needle
1x charging cable
1x charger
1x protective cover
1x user manual

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