The recently released HONOR X9a 5G is a mid-range phone with a glass display that is likely the toughest on the market and can crack open practically anything, from watermelons to walnuts. Furthermore, it is the first premium OLED curved screen phone under PHP 20,000 with unrivaled quality and durability. How will the Honor X9a perform in the 2023 market for competitive mid-range smartphones? Let’s examine this review in more detail.
HONOR X9a 5G Specifications
|Display||6.67-inch Super Reinforced Glass 45-degree curved |
10-bit OLED screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling rate,
FHD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution at 395 PPI
|Chipset/GPU||2.2GHz Snapdragon 695 octa-core processor (6nm)|
8GB + 128GB/256GB
|OS||Android 12, Magic UI 6.1|
|Rear Camera||64MP f/1.8 |
5MP f/2.2 ultra-wide
2MP f/2.4 macro
|Front Camera||16MP f/2.45|
|Network||HSPA, LTE-A, 5G|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11 (2.4GHz/5GHz), 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.1, OTG, NFC, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, dual SIM (nano)|
|Battery||5,100mAh Li-Pol w/ 40W HONOR SuperCharge|
|Others||In-display fingerprint sensor, USB-C|
|Dimensions||161.6 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm|
|Colors||Titanium Silver, Emerald Green, Midnight Black|
HONOR X9a 5G Unboxing
Honor opted to go with standard packaging that was simple and basic. The phone, a USB-A to USB-C connection, a 40-watt charger, a protective case, and a SIM ejector are all included in the package.
Like most other smartphones on the market, the HONOR X9a already has a screen protector on it. To better visualize, here’s our full unboxing video:
Build and Design
Three colors—Titanium Silver, Emerald Green, and Midnight Black—are available for the Honor X9a 5G. The review sample we were given is emerald green with a matte-finish metallic green back. The phone feels thinner in your hand thanks to the curved screen borders.
We were astounded by how thin and light the HONOR X9a is. It weighs 175 g and is only 7.9 mm thick, yet it has a tonne of high-end design features, like a symmetrical circular camera setup.
The Matrix AI Vision Camera Array creates a ring-shaped bulge at the back. The camera bump is less obvious when the phone’s protective case is on, though.
A SIM tray, a USB-Type C port, and a speaker are located at the bottom. You must make do with the internal storage because the SIM tray does not enable expanded storage and only carries one nano SIM. The standard power button and volume rocker are located on the right side.
The Honor X9a 5G feels and looks premium overall because of its metallic finish and curved design, which are often found on more expensive flagship phones.
Meet the toughest OLED Curved Screen!
The display of the HONOR X9a provides an excellent viewing experience all around. The screen-to-body ratio of the 6.67-inch AMOLED Curved Display is 93%, and its resolution is 2400×1080 pixels.
The screen has a wide color gamut of 100% DCI-P3, supports up to 1.07 billion colors, and shows pictures, videos, movies, and other media in bright, vivid colors. You can use the display in all types of lighting settings, even when you’re out on the beach in direct sunlight, thanks to its maximum brightness of up to 800 nits.
HONOR says that the 0.65mm deeply reinforced glass used in the screen has been put through a lot of stress tests to make sure that the X9a won’t break if you drop it a few times.
In order to test the HONOR X9a’s screen’s durability, we dropped it onto a variety of surfaces. Honor even dared us to break things with it; as a result, we smashed watermelons with the screen, dropped them to the ground, and performed a number of other stress tests, and not a single scratch appeared. Considering all we put it through, HONOR’s faith in the durability of its screen is fairly justified.
Here is our Durability Test video:
We can confidently state that the HONOR X9a has the most durable screen we have yet to witness in a smartphone.
Additionally, it is TÜV Rheinland low blue light certified and features 1920Hz Pulse Width Modulation Dimming, which reduces variations in screen brightness. You’ll love playing games, watching movies, and generally having a pleasant viewing experience on the display thanks to the 300Hz touch sampling rate and 120Hz screen refresh rate.
Similar to its predecessor, the HONOR X9, the HONOR X9a 5G runs on the same Snapdragon 695 processor. It also has 8GB of RAM, and thanks to the HONOR RAM Turbo feature, you can add an additional 5GB of RAM virtually. Long-term, this can significantly improve its performance, especially when multitasking multiple apps. In addition, it has 256GB of internal storage, skipping the 128GB model.
Based on our tests, the phone scored 406098 points via the AnTuTu benchmark, and PCMark Slingshot and Wild Life tests got 4165 and 1201, respectively.
The HONOR X9a 5G, a mid-range smartphone in 2023, is fast enough to do the majority of the tasks I could give it. While switching apps, we seldom experienced any hiccups or stuttering.
Gaming on HONOR X9a 5G
The HONOR X9a 5G is a decent gaming device. Even though it has a Snapdragon 695 chipset that is over one year old, the overall gaming experience is still enjoyable.
We tried playing graphically demanding games like Genshin Impact and Call of Duty Mobile. Without experiencing any issues, we were able to set the visuals to their highest resolution and FPS settings. It does not lag at all and renders graphics swiftly.
We experience no overall stuttering, and the screen is quite sensitive to all touches. Thanks to its sub-pixel fine control and 300Hz touch sampling rate.
Recently, brands such as OPPO and Realme introduced a dedicated gaming feature called HyperBoost, which Honor lacked. This helps mobile gamers have a faster gaming experience. We anticipate seeing this feature in the upcoming Magic UI update.
Overall, playing games on the HONOR X9a 5G is enjoyable.
Magic UI 6.1
I’ve previously used Huawei smartphones, and the Magic UI is very similar to the EMUI user interface. Although there are a few bloatware, the interface is responsive and fluid, and it feels very much like the stock Android experience. The app drawer is by default turned off, but if you prefer it enabled, you can always do so in Settings.
Impressive Battery Life
The brand promises that the HONOR X9a 5G can stream videos for 12.5 hours after just 30 minutes of charging, so users don’t have to worry about their battery.
The phone comes with a huge 5100mAh battery and during our test, it lasts for two full days before needing to be recharged. With minimal usage, we were able to extend it to almost three days. That is quite impressive at this price point and is certainly suitable as a daily driver.
In the PCMark Work 3.0 endurance test, the HONOR X9a 5G was able to last for 12 hours and 21 minutes.
A 64MP primary camera, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP macro camera are all featured on the Honor X9a 5G. The main camera produces clear, detailed images with natural-looking colors in excellent lighting situations. Noise does become an issue in darker environments, but you can fix this by switching to the dedicated Night mode.
There are various modes available in the camera app. Normal capture is the most common, followed by Portrait, Night, Macro, Aperture, Pro, and a few additional modes.
You’ll be pleased with the camera on the HONOR X9a, including the selfie camera, under excellent lighting conditions.
The color balance is excellent, lowlight noise is reduced to a minimum, and each portrait image has good detail. The skin tone is more natural, for example, and the facial features are well-defined.
Here are some of our shots:
In terms of video, only 1080p videos at 30 frames per second can be captured by either the front or primary rear shooters. Although 1080p at 60 frames per second is supported by the Snapdragon 695. This also applies to the Realme 10 Pro, which is restricted to 1080p at 30 frames per second.
In the camera app, there is also a Multi-Video mode where you may record videos of a subject as well as your own reaction video taken with the selfie camera. This is great for content creators because it will make vlogs easier when you need them most.
It is not difficult to recommend the Honor X9a 5G, and in fact, we believe it sets the bar high for smartphones below PHP 20,000. It is a game changer, and HONOR is on the right track.Editor’s View
Should you buy the HONOR X9a 5G?
We were really blown away by how durable the HONOR X9a is. Despite being battered, the OLED curved panel still operates extremely well. Most other premium smartphone displays wouldn’t survive these tests, but the HONOR X9a’s durability is still unrivaled.
But there are some drawbacks, like an average camera and the fact that it doesn’t have water and dust resistance. It is still forgivable given its price.
As a midrange phone, the Honor X9a boasts a number of distinctive advantages. You get a premium OLED display covered in “super reinforced glass”, 5G connectivity, a superb 2-day battery life, and reliable performance for daily use.
It is not difficult to recommend the Honor X9a 5G, and in fact, we believe it sets the bar high for smartphones below PHP 20,000. It is a game changer, and HONOR is on the right track.
Pricing and Availability
The HONOR X9a 5G is available for only PHP 16,990 and get a Free HONOR Earbuds X3 Lite worth PHP 3,999 when you pre-order from January 20 to February 3, 2023.