The Honor 6X was launched today in the US and Europe, it will be making its way to India later this month. We had early access to the device and I wanted to share my in-depth impressions after using the device for the last 10 days to help you decide if you should buy one.
First, let's get the specs out of the way, the Honor 6X runs on Huawei's own Kirin SoC which is built on a nm process, meaning better efficiency from the same Cortex-A53 cores. It has a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS LCD display up front with 2.5D glass for protection. It comes in 3 variants, 3GB RAM with 32GB storage, 4GB RAM - 32GB storage and 4GB RAM with 64GB storage. But it's all about the cameras here, there are three of them on the phone. Two on the back, a 12-megapixel rear camera accompanied by a 2-megapixel second camera used for capturing depth information. Through the magic of software, the Honor 6X is able to manipulate aperture from f/0.95 to f/16.
You also get an 8-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies which takes good shots. You also get a fingerprint sensor on the back just below the dual-camera setup along with a LED flash. Now, let's get to the build of the phone and we will conclude with my final thoughts on the Honor 6X on whether it's a befitting successor to the 5X.
Video: Honor 6X Unboxing and Impressions
Honor 6X Unboxing and Detailed Impressions
- Key Specifications
- Box Contents
- Build Quality and Design
- Camera Review, UI Overview
- Camera Samples
Honor 6X Key Specifications
- 5.5-inch 1080p Full-HD IPS Display, 2.5D Curved Glass, 1920x1080 Pixels, 401 PPI
- Octa-core Kirin 655 Processor, 16nm process, 4 x 2.1GHz + 4 x 1.7GHz
- Mali T830-MP2 GPU
- 3GB / 4GB LPDDR3 RAM, 32GB/64GB Storage, expandable up to 128GB with hybrid microSD slot
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow with EMUI 4.1
- 12MP + 2MP Dual Rear Cameras, 1.25um Pixel Size, PDAF, LED Flash, 1080p Recording
- 8MP Front-facing Camera
- Thickness: 8.2mm; Weight: 162g
- Fingerprint Sensor, Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano+Nano or Nano+MicroSD)
- 4G VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, FM Radio
- 3340mAh Battery, Fast Charging
Honor 6X - Box Contents
The Honor 6X is pretty thin on what you get inside the box. Given the budget pricing we wouldn't expect a lot either. You get the phone in a choice of gold, gray or silver color alongwith a 5V/2A USB Wall Charger and a microUSB - USB charging cable. Then there's some documentation, and that's it. No headset within the box, although that may change based on where you live.
Honor 6X - Build Quality and Design
It follows a similar design as the Honor 5X, but with a matte back cover which is not textured. The Honor 6X has a more natural curve at the back which makes it fit better in your palms. Even the volume rocker and power buttons sit on this curve making them easier to reach. Due this sharper curve, the phone feels thinner than it actually is.
On the right, you will find both the buttons which have good tactile response and don't wobble, always a good sign. Moving further south, you will find the speaker, microUSB port for charging/data transfer and the primary microphone.
On the left you will find the hybrid dual-SIM slot, meaning you can either use two SIM cards or one nano-SIM card and a microSD card. Both slots can use a nano-SIM.
Thankfully, the 3.5mm headphone jack has been retained and you will also find a secondary noise cancellation mic up top which does a fairly good job of isolating your voice when on a call. Moving to the back you will see the dual camera setup with a 12-megapixel main camera and a 2-megapixel unit just below it. On the right, there's a LED flash and just below it a very fast fingerprint sensor.
The back of the phone is made of metal, while the top and bottom parts are plastic for better signal reception.
Getting to the front, most of it is covered by a 5.5-inch full-HD IPS display with 2.5D curved glass which seamlessly melts into the plastic bezels of the device. Above the display, you will find the usual set of sensors, notification LED, and front-facing camera and below it, there's just the Honor branding since you have on-screen buttons here. With soft surfaces and corners, the Honor 6X feel really good to hold. Even with a 3340 mAh battery, the phone doesn't feel bulky. Although not meant for single handed use but the comfortable grip does help.
Honor 6X - Display
This is one very vibrant display. It may not be the brightest display in this price segment, but it is still quite visible outdoors thanks to its excellent contrast. Colors look vibrant and at 401 PPI, it is quite a sharp display as well. The viewing angles are wide, and I didn't notice any color or brightness shifting. Moreover, the color reproduction here is good too although the white point does skew a bit towards the warm side.
The bezels here are quite very narrow too and don't distract from the aesthetic appeal of the phone. The touch response is fast as well.
Honor 6X - Dual Cameras
The 12-megapixel camera has good dynamic range for a phone in its price and colors turn out vibrant. The software trickery with the second 2-megapixel camera does the job well too. Honor has really tuned the camera performance on the 6X. Images have lower noise even in low light and then there's the pro-mode where you can play with manual white balance, ISO and focus.
The best part about the wide-aperture mode, which uses both the lenses, is that you can change the focus later or even the aperture. This variable aperture mode helps in bringing your subject in focus with natural-looking bokeh.
The front camera has a beauty mode built in along with a perfect selfie mode, which captures various images of your face from the front and sides to give you more to play with. The camera interface is easy to use as well, and you can add several filters after the image has been captured.
I liked the Splash mode quite a bit, which lets you isolate a particular color in an image while everything else is rendered in black and white. Very artistic. It's great to see how far smartphone cameras have come in just a few short years.
Here are some image samples, which would better explain what I am talking about.
Honor 6X Image Samples
Honor 6X - Software
The 6X still runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow but with EMUI 4.1 skin on top. The customizable skin brings themes, separate wallpapers for home and lock screen along with the ability to customize even the on-screen buttons. There's no bloatware pre-installed - always welcome.
There are some fingerprint gestures as well, just swipe down and you can bring down the notification shade, no matter which app you are in to get a quick glimpse of what's going on. While you are in the gallery, you can swipe left or right to move through the images. Very neat. I am reviewing the 32GB storage variant out of which you will get about 24GB to install apps or games, and you can expand that with a microSD card. There's 3GB RAM here out of which I had about 2GB free when no apps were running in the background.
It does take a bit of time to get used to EMUI and its quirks but for the most part, you will welcome the customization. You can always switch to the Google Now launcher to bring a more familiar layout to the homescreens. In terms of sensors, you have a magnetic field sensor (compass), gyroscope along with an ambient light sensor and proximity sensor on the Honor 6X as well. You also have the hall effect sensor which can be used by a smart flip cover to wake-up the device.
Honor 6X - Impressions
Over the last week and a half, I have really enjoyed using the Honor 6X. It performs well in day to day use and doesn't hiccup on general tasks. Multi-tasking was smooth and the cameras performed admirably as well. Another good thing about the Honor 6X was battery life. I was easily able to go through an entire day without having to constantly look for a charger.
Priced at $249 for the base variant, the Honor 6X is excellent value for money. It's built well, has good battery life and software you can work with.