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Honor sharpens its midrange blades

The Honor X9b features significant improvements over its predecessor with a small price increase, writes JASON BANNIER.

What is it?

The Honor X9b smartphone is a midrange device that stands out with a distinct camera array and vegan leather back. It features significant improvements when compared to its precursor, the Honor X9a.

The X9b features a curved 120hz AMOLED display that delivers vivid and smooth visuals, like its predecessor. However, the new model is slightly larger (6,78 inches) and significantly brighter (1200 nits). It also has a better screen-to-body ratio at about 91,2%, contributing to an excellent display. The device delivers loud and clear audio but lacks stereo speakers. Despite this, it provides an exceptional video streaming and gaming experience with Bluetooth earbuds.

PUBG Mobile, a somewhat demanding multiplayer game, ran smoothly on the device. It did not heat up or exhibit any performance drops after approximately an hour of testing on high graphics and maximum brightness. The vegan leather back makes it comfortable to hold. Impressively, the battery only dropped by 11% in one hour.

Honor claims that the device’s 5800mAh can last up to 3 days. However, I was unable to achieve three full days of use with my frequent usage; nonetheless, it comfortably lasted for two days. According to DxOMark’s battery test, it boasts a 0% to 80% charge time of about one hour, and takes almost two hours to charge to 100%. This places the X9b in 10th position on their global ranking for battery score, a notable accomplishment.

This device features a 108MP main camera, and can record video in 4K at 30 frames per second delivering superb quality. This marks a significant jump in the device’s camera performance compared to the X9a’s 64MP and 1080p video. The distinctive golden outline of the circular camera array stands out elegantly, and adds to the overall aesthetic appeal. Although, the 16MP selfie camera captures somewhat average quality images.

Honor claims this device has a three-level protection that provides multiple screen reinforcements with a cushioning material that can absorb up to 1,2 times of the impact of a drop. However, no water dust/resistant protection is specified.

Why does it matter?

The Honor X9b smartphone delivers an excellent experience when watching videos and playing games. Its main camera array captures photos and videos with good quality. Its battery life is impressive with a fast recharge. It delivers strong performance with its internal 12GB of RAM, and 4nm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset. This device is a mighty midrange contender.

What does it cost?

The Honor X9b is available at a recommended retail price of R12,999 in sunrise orange and midnight black.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • Somewhat average selfie camera.
  • No stereo speakers.
  • No water dust/resistant specifications.

What are the biggest positives?

  • Excellent display.
  • Long battery life.
  • Superb main camera array.
  • Tough, durable screen.

* Jason Bannier is a data analyst at World Wide Worx and writer for Follow him on Twitter and Threads at @jas2bann.

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