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Honor 4x first impressions: a mid-range phablet with powerful innards

|March 9 2015 |Mobiles, Huawei, First impressions

"The Honor 4x is a mid-range smartphone with impressive specs and build quality. Our first impressions"

Update: The Honor 4x has been officially launched in India for Rs 10,499.

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The Honor 6 (review) re-established Huawei as a credible contender in the affordable flagship arena, an area which has been recently populated with multiple offerings from rival Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Lenovo and OnePlus, to name a few. The Honor 6 was a very capable device, filled to the brim with top-end specs, and offering powerful performance to boot. Huawei is pushing its Honor series as a standalone brand, and following the Honor 6 and Honor Holly (review), the company is set to launch two new smartphones in India, the Honor 6 Plus and Honor 4x. At MWC in Barcelona, we got a chance to go hands on with both the new devices. Here, we'll focus on the Honor 4x, a loaded phablet with an affordable price.

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There's a real dearth of devices in the mid-range segment, and that's the area the Honor 4x is looking to fill. The phablet features a large 5.5-inch display, but gets only 720p resolution. Despite the pixel density being on the lower side at 267ppi, the brightness and clarity are impressive. The IPS panel ensures good viewing angles, and colours while vibrant aren't oversaturated. Below the display are a row of capacitive backlit Android keys, consistent with Android Lollipop's onscreen controls. It's worth noting though that the Honor 4x currently runs Android KitKat as a base, but we expect a Lollipop update will be available soon enough. Above the screen is the usual placement of the earpiece, sensors, front 5MP camera and notification LED.

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In the middle of the right spine you'll find the rather small power button alongside the volume rocker. The top edge is home to the 3.5mm audio jack, while the bottom holds the loudspeaker and micro-USB port. The Honor 4x is made of plastic and is considerably heavy at 165g, but it doesn't feel cheaply made. The plastic used is of a premium quality, and the back panel features a textured finish that's grippy to hold and easy on the eyes too.

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An oval shaped depression on the top left corner holds the 13MP primary camera and LED flash. The only visible branding on the phone is a Honor logo etched into the back panel. Huawei's own branding is completely missing from the handset. Since this was a display unit, we couldn't remove the back panel to show you the innards, but we can tell you that it exposes the 3,000mAh battery, microSD and micro-SIM card slots.

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The Honor 4x was launched in China with a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 processor, but the spec sheet alongside the display units at MWC mentioned Huawei's own 64-bit 1.2GHz octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 620 processor, with a Mali MP4 GPU and 2GB of RAM. Also on board is 8GB of internal memory, which is expandable up to 32GB via microSD. On our display unit, around 3.19GB was user available. Handling the software is Huawei's own Emotion UI 3.0, which we've covered in detail in our Honor 6 review. Emotion UI brings with it tons of additional features, including a theme store, Do Not Disturb, gestures and more. The Honor 4x is a 4G-enabled device, but from what we can make out, it only supports FDD-LTE (1800MHz spectrum, LTE Band 3), which is expected to be available in India later this year.

[Update: The Honor 4x is powered by the Snapdragon 410 chipset in India, and supports both Band 40 and Band 3 LTE networks. It accepts 4G on both SIMs.]

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During our brief usage of the device, we were impressed not only with how good the Honor 4x looks and feels, but also with the smoothness of operation. The Honor 4x is expected to be priced well below Rs 15,000 when it launches in India, and at that price, it might just be overshadowed by the excellently priced YU Yureka (review) which also packs in a 5.5-inch display and octa-core processor, not to mention support for TDD-LTE and double the storage at 16GB. But we'll have to hold our horses for the official price and our review of the Honor 4x before we make our final call.



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