Honor X8 is the return of the wandering son to the budget-friendly market with Google services (review)

It’s been a while since I’ve heard that name. A reputable brand that used to be owned by the Huawei conglomerate, Honor remained fairly silent when it announced its break-up with its parent company on November 17, 2020. The manufacturer, once known for its mid-range products for young audiences, has come under fire. Shenzhen Zhixin’s wing. A year later, on January 21, 2021, Honor launched its first non-Huawei phone, the so-called V40, after a rather torturous period due to the ban on the use of Google services.

Time flies fast, so look how another year has passed and we found another smartphone from the manufacturer, but this time we are witnessing the rebirth of GMS, ie the holy Google Mobile Services. It is a spectacular comeback, which has the potential to bring the brand back to the market of affordable phone providers. It’s time to dump her and move on. The phone is meant to be a tempting offer if you are looking for a mid-range that knows how to balance the value for money, so let’s see how it looks.

Design, construction, emphasis on simplicity

I don’t know if this is a trend of phones in this category or a voluntary choice, but Honor X8 comes with a clean and neat look. I noticed in the first instance how well the camera module rests. We have four sensors wrapped in a fine and not very bulging bump, and the simple and symmetrical way in which they are arranged is more eye pleasing compared to other models we have tested.

Obviously, the back is a magnet for fingerprints…

This square and simple arrangement highlights the modest and beautiful character of the body. In the version I received, this gorgeous black offers elegant accents, and the slightly rounded corners don’t even cause me any visual discomfort, despite my obsession with literally edgy brutality. At 177 grams, the phone is light and thin, at 7.45 mm, and the uncluttered frames house on the left side the power button / fingerprint sensor and volume keys, the SIM tray on the left side and the speaker combination + headphone jack + USB-C on the bottom edge.

HONOR X8 Review

In its simplicity, the Honor X8 is beautiful, but the quality of the construction emphasizes its character as a budget terminal. Somehow, the hand feels slippery and greasy, and the back looks like it’s made of cheap plastic that gathers more fingerprints than any object you touch with Cheetos’ dirty fingers. It’s one of those cases where I strongly recommend that you use a case, not only to protect your phone from fingerprints and scratches, but also to have it in your hand.

Decent screen, but it could be better

The Honor X8’s frames frame a 6.7 IP FullView IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 2388 x 1080. Physically speaking, we’re talking about a great body-to-screen ratio of about 93.6%. That means the edges are almost non-existent, please, except for the lower lip, which seems to be haunting more and more phones. With these strengths, Honor could have gotten even more involved on the display side, but it didn’t, most likely because of the trade-offs that need to be considered if you want to make it available to the public. a cheap phone.

As general properties, it is not bad. The screen has an adjustable refresh rate of 90Hz, which conserves energy and provides the fixed rate you need in certain situations. In games, it will obviously switch to 90Hz, but if you read the Bible in PDF, you don’t need that. Personally, I’m not a fan of dynamic adaptation, so not infrequently you will see me unchecking the box in question. It seems to me that this dynamic adaptation makes transitions and animations somehow… noisy and dirty, which is why I would recommend switching manually to either the maximum rate, ie 90Hz for games and videos, or the standard one, which is limited to 60Hz and does not consume as much battery.

HONOR X8 Review

And we’re still on the screen, it may be cool as a refresh rate, but it’s not very responsive. In some cases, it’s a bit clumsy and unpleasant to scroll and swipe, and if you get your hands on an Honor X8, you start rubbing the screen with your finger and you feel a little laggy, you’re not alone. And it’s a shame, because in this area there are some alternatives that eat it alive both in terms of speed and responsiveness, as well as in terms of colors. After all, what to do with it is an IPS, not an OLED, but it still enjoys a very useful small brightness when you have to bask in the sunlight.

HONOR X8 Review

However, I like that in addition to the eye comfort setting, there is also that mode for eBooks, a way that changes to a monochrome preset only good for reading texts and documents. As an avid reader of such formats, tormenting your eyes on various screens can be a chore, but introducing such an option is a more than welcome gift.

Motorization and performance

This model comes with 128GB of storage, a more than satisfactory value for the segment that Honor X8 is targeting, I say. To this is added 6GB of RAM from the factory, which you can expand by another 2GB through the HONOR RAM Turbo mode. Not great, not terrible, but I’m more worried about the rickety processor that Honor X8 houses in its bowels. A little over the price of the X8 you can find terminals with Snapdragons that easily outperform this solution. It’s also a Snapdragon, a 680 that has no place in a potential phone.

HONOR X8 Review

It has a poor score of 1567 points in multi-core and sometimes a bit of squeak in games, but you could rebalance the balance if you expand the RAM with that Turbo mode I was telling you about. The processor may not be the most impressive in this situation, but its more modest performance keeps the power consumption under control. Even if the battery is smaller compared to the current standards, the 4000 mAh in combination with the 22.5W charge and the available energy conservation settings ensure you easily two days of moderate use. Frankly, there are no values ​​you would expect from a budget phone, and I’m surprised Honor hasn’t studied the market and competition in more detail.

HONOR X8 Review

Finally, it can be seen that the Honor X8 does not offer consistent performance. Although it has some tweaks and workarounds to optimize some shortcomings, sometimes it can be quite demanding for the small processor to quickly switch from one application to another. In addition, some transitions cut from framerate, either in games or when navigating menus and having many running applications in the background. It is a shortcoming that we must be aware of, but you can live with if you have assumed that you will go on the road with a budget phone.

As an operating system and interface, we are talking about Magic UI 4.2 over the everyday Android. The interface is simple and intuitive, I like that the emphasis has been on a clean and neat look that succeeds and is optimized for everyday use. Unfortunately, there are still small stumbles that I hope Honor will improve with any updates to the interest and the operating system. Because it’s a shame to be left behind in the competition that can keep you in check very easily due to the optimizations and advantages that rival phones have.

Honor X8, however, also has some white balls. I’m really excited about the return of Google services, so the phone market has another pretty popular name that comes with tempting deals for those who rely almost exclusively on the Google ecosystem and platforms like Maps, Drive, Gmail, YouTube and more. also. It is a strong comeback and a remarkable rebirth, especially if we consider the hardships that both Honor and his parents, Huawei, have been subjected to. I would venture to say that such an Honor would be the closest thing to a Huawei with Google that you can get right now.

The room module

We are dealing with a setup consisting of four lenses: a 64MP wide, a 5MP ultra-wide, a macro and a depth, both of 2MP each. Well, somehow this combination was expected, which almost no manufacturer can refrain from including the eternal macro sensor. Personally, I wouldn’t mind getting rid of it permanently, but I found that its results on Honor X8 are really decent and in some places interesting if you are creative with the subject and composition.

The 64MP sensor behaves just as well as the ultrawide, the photos are decent to good, but there is a certain level of noise on them, and this makes the image processor with its AI a bit slower in stabilization and sharpening. the image. Also, I don’t like the fact that the shutter speed is quite slow and it feeds my frustration and anxiety that you feel when the camera is not fast enough for the subject or frame you want to capture and you risk ruining the whole combination or image to be blurred.

Yes, on a budget phone, the cameras are a game of chance in which the stakes are quite high, especially if you are a big fan of posting on Instagram. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average 16MP. All in all, the Honor X8 doesn’t have some really weak cameras, but clearly there was room for improvement, and I don’t think anyone would have died if the price had gone up an idea to cover more powerful technologies.

The video recording isn’t necessarily weak either, but it doesn’t live up to expectations. I like that you can shoot both on the front and on the back, at 720p or 1080p, but both resolutions are locked at a mediocre 30FPS. And it’s a pity, because the year 2022 cries after those 60 frames per second so precious. However, this is not the end of the world, and for everyday use that does not involve professional photography, Honor X8 could thank both young people obsessed with social media in search of a cheap phone, and parents who want to film their adventures from meetings with relatives.

Honor X8 – Price and conclusion

At the moment, Altex is selling Honor X8 for 1300 lei. In terms of money, it’s a bargain. In terms of daily use and performance, eeeh, the phone copes decently to satisfactory, if we refer to this budget. Even so, at just over 1300 lei you will find other offers that are much more powerful and better thought out, both in terms of the screen and in terms of functions, battery and charging.

I think the Honor X8 is currently one of the cheapest smartphones trying to offer more than it can in reality. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but you can’t help but notice those trade-offs that the manufacturer had to take into account in order to offer such a terminal on the market. What are you giving up? With a good screen, a more powerful processor, at least 4200 mAh battery, a better speaker and other premium features such as a fingerprint sensor under the display and solid cameras.

HONOR X8 Review

What do you gain in return? A beautiful phone, simple but elegant, with a neat and clean look. It has an airy and well-organized interface, it has small gimmicks that will help you get through the hardships of hungry applications, decent 1080p footage and the presence of Google services, a key element in these times, just like iOS. All this at a price that seems more than fair to me. Again, it wouldn’t bother me to raise a few extra bucks for a more eastern model, a noticeably better all-rounder. But that’s a subjective matter, so if you’re on a tight budget or just don’t care about more complex technical issues than you need, the Honor X8 is far from a can. It is a satisfactory terminal that deserves the “budget friendly” rating.

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