Honor X9b First Impressions


The new Honor X9b is a good blend of what many expect from a budget smartphone. Priced at Rs. 25, 999 the X9b is the second smartphone from the brand after its recent revival. This one aims for a segment just below the Honor 90, which was introduced as a premium smartphone but currently retails at around Rs. 25,999 in India, which now makes it a mid-range device. I have been using the Honor X9b for a while, and here are my first impressions.

The Honor X9b is available in single 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage options. The phone’s design has some similarities with the Honor 90, which appears more premium, but goes with a slimmer and sleeker appearance overall.

The Honor X9b does not come with a charger in the box

 

It is available in two finishes. There’s Sunrise Orange which has a vegan leather rear panel in orange, and a toned-down Midnight Black, which is the one we received for review. The device weighs 185 grams, which is quite light, and its curved edge front and rear panels give it a very slim profile, measuring just 7.98mm at its thinnest point. Honor also claims that its phone has an official IP53 rating for dust and water resistance.

I like the gold ring around the large camera module. The circular camera module is quite flat and rises just by a few millimetres, helping the phone maintain its overall slim profile.

The 6.78-inch 3D curved-edge display with thin bezels gives the phone a premium look. It’s of the AMOLED variety and offers a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Honor has utilised its patented Ultra-Bounce technology, which uses a shock-absorbing material at the back of the display (along the sides) to absorb impacts from drops of up to 1.5 metres.

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The Honor X9b looks quite sleek and stylish and offers an IP53 rating for dust and water resistance

 

Honor provides a transparent TPU case in the box, wired earphones, a Type-C to 3.5mm adapter (for the earphones) and a Type-A to Type-C charging cable. Sadly, there is no charger provided in the box.

The phone has a large 5,800mAh battery, and Honor claims that it can be charged at 35W using its own charging adapter (not provided in the box).

The Honor X9b has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 SoC, which was designed for mid-range devices and is manufactured using the 4nm fabrication process, which also makes it efficient. This, combined with the large battery and the AMOLED display, should see some impressive battery life figures.

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The Honor X9b has a very slim profile

 

Magic OS 7.2, which is based on Android 13, powers the phone’s software experience. It’s similar to Huawei’s HarmonyOS in terms of appearance, but it is a bit disappointing to see a smartphone launched in 2024 with Android 13. Honor claims that it will provide 2 years of Android updates and 3 years of security updates, which does not seem like much given that it is already one milestone update behind the rest.

The phone has a 108-megapixel primary camera which the brand claims also offers lossless 3X zoom, reducing the need for a dedicated telephoto camera. There’s also a 5-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera and a 2-megapixel macro camera. Selfies are handled by a 16-megapixel front-facing camera.

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The Honor X9b has a 3D curved edge AMOLED panel

 

While the Honor 90 had a lot going for it in terms of hardware at launch, it makes better sense today after a price cut. This puts the new Honor X9b in an odd space, given its price tag. Also, there’s no telling if this smartphone will also receive a massive price cut a few months after launch, which will surely anger early adopters once again.

While the rest of the phone seems to check most boxes for a budget device, the competition in the Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000 segment is quite cutthroat, offering good value with the latest processors and camera hardware. Will Honor’s Ultra-Bounce tech prove its worthiness in a competitive market segment? Stay tuned for our full review to find out how the Honor X9b performs and whether it offers better value than the competition.


Will the Nothing Phone 2 serve as the successor to the Phone 1, or will the two co-exist? We discuss the company’s recently launched handset and more on the latest episode of Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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