Huawei Honor 6X; CES 2017

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Editors’ Observe: This overview has been up to date to replicate modifications to the Huawei Honor 6X’s software program since we reviewed it in January 2017. Its rating stays the identical.

At $249, the 32GB unlocked Honor 6X launches at a worth $50 increased than final 12 months’s Honor 5X, however brings with it a number of enhancements which can be price the additional coin, like smoother total efficiency and a greater digital camera with a novel secondary lens for bokeh. The UI layer remains to be heavy, nevertheless it’s free from the slowdown we skilled on the earlier cellphone. That makes Honor 6X a worthwhile enchancment, however relying in your price range, the Moto G5 Plus and ZTE Axon 7 are additionally price trying out.

Design, Options, and Show

The design of the Honor 6X hasn’t modified a lot from the earlier mannequin. The brushed end is gone, the fingerprint sensor is round as an alternative of sq., and there are two digital camera sensors on the again. Nevertheless it’s nonetheless a steel unibody slab obtainable in gold, grey, or silver.

The cellphone measures 5.9 by three.zero by zero.three inches (HWD) and weighs 5.7 ounces, almost an identical to the 5X, and much like the Axon 7 (6.zero by 2.9 by zero.three inches, 6.2 ounces) and Motorola Moto G5 Plus (2.9 by 2.9 by zero.three inches, 5.5 ounces). Like these telephones, it is a bit too large to achieve throughout along with your thumb, however there is a Mini Display mode that allows you to shrink what’s proven and transfer the keyboard to at least one aspect to make use with one hand simpler.

The quantity rocker and energy button can each be discovered on the precise, a three.5mm audio jack is on the highest, and the underside holds a micro USB charging port sandwiched between a microphone and speaker grille. The left aspect has SIM and microSD card slots. The latter labored fantastic with a 256GB card, and may also take a second SIM as an alternative, if you wish to use two totally different numbers.

The fingerprint sensor on the again is as quick and responsive because the one discovered on the Honor eight. It has an identical set of programmable options that assist you to contact and maintain it to take a photograph when the digital camera app is open, or swipe left or proper to browse photographs.

The entrance is dwelling to a 5.5-inch, 1,920-by-1,080-pixel IPS LCD, the identical decision because the Moto G5 Plus and Honor eight. It really works out to 403 pixels per inch (ppi), so it isn’t as sharp because the Axon 7’s Quad HD panel (538ppi), however textual content and video nonetheless seem fairly crisp. Colour replica is sweet, and likewise extremely customizable, letting you select between heat and chilly coloration temperatures. Viewing angles are good, and the cellphone has a setting that additional improves brightness below daylight. There’s additionally a blue mild filter that may be enabled to cut back eye pressure at night time.

Community Efficiency and Connectivity

The Honor 6X is an unlocked GSM cellphone with LTE bands 2/four/5/12/20/38, just like the Honor eight. The one key omission is band 17, which improves constructing penetration for AT&T customers. The cellphone confirmed sturdy community efficiency on T-Cellular all through my testing in midtown Manhattan, registering a prime obtain pace of 16.6Mbps. Different connectivity protocols embody Bluetooth four.1, however there is no NFC or dual-band Wi-Fi such as you get on the Axon 7.

Name high quality is sweet. Voices come throughout with a transparent, pure tone free from any robotic edge. Earpiece quantity is loud sufficient to be heard in noisy settings, however the speakerphone is not very sturdy even when Loud Voice mode is enabled. On the opposite finish, noise cancellation is sweet, blotting out site visitors noise, although occassionally the sound of wind brought about some crackling.

Honor 6X right

Processor and Battery

The 6X is powered by Huawei’s proprietary Kirin 655 octa-core chipset clocked at 2.1GHz. It is a succesful processor, scoring 56,602 on the AnTuTu benchmark, which measures total system efficiency. That places it under the Snapdragon 625-powered G5 Plus (63,845) and the Kirin 950-powered Honor eight (91,712). It is also no match for the Axon 7’s superior Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (141,989).

That mentioned, with 3GB of RAM, common utilization is a breeze. The Honor 6X has not one of the stuttering or sluggishness of its predecessor. Multitasking is easy, switching between apps is swift, and I by no means encountered any cases of slowdown. The cellphone additionally dealt with GTA: San Andreas and Asphalt eight Airborne with none problem.

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Battery life is also solid, but nothing to write home about. The phone clocked 5 hours, 35 minutes in our rundown test, in which we stream full-screen video over LTE at maximum brightness. That’s less than the Moto G5 Plus (7 hours, 35 minutes) and the Axon 7 (6 hours). It’s enough to get an average day’s worth of use, but probably not the two days Huawei claims. The phone has fast charging with the included adapter, and a built-in Battery Manager that lets you reduce power drain by controlling which apps run in the background. There two different power saving modes.

Honor 6X camera

Camera

The Honor 6X uses a dual-sensor camera setup with one 12-megapixel shooter on the top and a 2-megapixel sensor on the bottom. The camera does a nice job in well-lit settings. Pictures are clear and detailed, and autofocus locks on quickly. Like all midrange phones, shots become grainy in dimmer light, but enabling HDR or Night mode does help reduce some of the muddiness (at the cost of longer focus and post-processing times). However, in more challenging low-light settings, pictures look dull and there’s a fair amount of noise and blur.

The purpose of the secondary sensor is to allow for bokeh in Wide Aperture mode. Wide Aperture shots taken by the 6X worked well indoors and out, successfully focusing on objects in the foreground and attractively blurring out the area behind it, as you can see in the shot below. It’s a fun setting to play with, and you can also use it post-capture by pressing a shutter icon at the bottom of the photo frame and changing the focus point (which brings to mind the Lytro Illum).

R2D2 bokeh

In addition to its various modes and filters, the 6X has manual controls (accessible under Pro Camera and Pro Video mode after swiping left), letting you adjust ISO, white balance, aperture, and focus. It also records stable 1080p video at 30fps, but lower light recording suffers from graininess. The 8-megapixel front-facing camera takes clear shots, but it can be soft depending on lighting.

Software

The Honor 6X shipped running Android Marshmallow, but has since been updated to Android 7.0 Nougat. Huawei’s EMUI 5.0 is a heavy UI layer, but lighter than it used to be in previous versions. The app drawer is removed by default, but it can be restored by enabling the option in the settings menu, giving you a more traditional alternative to the iOS-like interface that splashes all of your apps across the home screens.

Aside from that, animations have been sped up and the notification shade is back to a single pane complete with quick toggles. It’s also fully customizable. Other changes that come with the Nougat update include a simplified settings menu and a revamped background manager to make using the phone smoother, along with a new file system.

That said, it’s not pure Android, and there are plenty of visual changes to remind you of this, like a lock screen that changes to display different images and redesigned app icons. If you prefer the look and feel of stock Android, the Moto E4 and G5 Plus give you a much closer experience.

In addition to Huawei’s Honor Community, Health, Store, and Support apps, you’ll also find a fair amount of bloatware, including Bookings.com, CNN, Lyft, Mopria Print Service, News Republic, TripAdvisor, and Twitter. Fortunately, all of the preloaded apps can be uninstalled, and out of a total of 32GB of internal storage, you’re left with 19.29GB available. You can use a microSD card if you need more space for apps or photos.

Conclusions

At $249, the Huawei Honor 6X is $50 less than the Moto G5 Plus and $150 less than the Axon 7. For the extra $50, the G5 Plus gets you virtually stock Android and compatibility with every major carrier. If you can afford to spend more, the ZTE Axon 7 has a sharper display, a more powerful processor, better connectivity, and high-resolution audio. Both are Editors’ Choice winners. For the price, however, the Honor 6X is a solid buy, especially if you’re a fan of its unique camera abilities.

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