“The Honor 9X will launch in India next month with a 48MP triple camera setup, notchless display and Kirin 710F SoC”

The Honor 9X is launching in India in January 2020 alongside the Honor Magic Watch 2. The company confirmed this while speaking to 91mobiles during a briefing session in Shenzhen, China this week. At the same briefing, we got a chance to play with the Honor 9X for a brief amount of time. The Honor 9X was launched in China earlier this year touting a notch-less LCD display, 48MP triple camera setup and Kirin 710F SoC, among other things. Here our some initial thoughts about the mid-range smartphone as we await its launch in India.

Starting off with the design, the Honor 9X is a fairly large phone to hold. Despite its weight of around 196 grams, the phone feels light courtesy its plastic body. The Honor 9X sports a 3D curved panel on the back with a glossy finish that comes in Black and Blue colours. This makes it quite the fingerprint magnet, especially the black variant. The panel also gets a V-shaped chevron finish much like the Honor View 20 that launched in India back in January.

The Honor 9X gets a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, which may feel odd given how most smartphones, even in the affordable mid-range segment, come with in-display fingerprint sensors these days. But the physical sensor is well located and easy to reach. There’s a vertical triple camera setup on the top left corner, which we will talk about in a moment. Around the frame, the Honor 9X gets a power and volume controls on the right side, a hybrid dual SIM tray along with a pop-up camera on the top, plus a speaker grille, Type-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom.

Coming to the front, the Honor 9X gets a fairly tall 6.59-inch LCD FullView display. This screen has no notch or punch-hole cutout thanks to the pop-camera mechanism. It also makes the Honor 9X the company’s first smartphone with a pop-up camera.

The display looks quite appealing with ample brightness levels for outdoor settings and punchy colours. Since the phone comes with an LCD display, don’t expect the blacks to look deep. Colours on screen looked good with decent saturation levels. The notch-less display should also offer an immersive viewing experience, but we can only talk about the video quality after spending more time with the device, so do stay tuned for our review after the Honor 9X launches in India.

The Honor 9X runs EMUI 9.1 based on Android 9 Pie. Now this may bother some people who were expecting Android 10 out of the box. That being said, you will be happy to know that the phone comes with all Google apps and services, as well as access to Google Play Store. Honor has also confirmed in the past that the Honor 9X will get updated to Android 10. It is unclear when exactly the Honor 9X will get updated to EMUI 10, but it should happen in early 2020.

Powering the Honor 9X is the mid-range Kirin 710F chipset. This is paired with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The processor is slightly dated but it still works smoothly. It utilises 12nm process, and based on prior experience the chipset is quite power efficient. Out of the box, the UI feels smooth and responsive. In our brief time with the phone and limitations of using Google apps in China, we couldn’t test the performance of the phone properly, but we will talk about this more in our review following its launch in India.

Coming to the cameras, the Honor 9X gets a triple camera setup on the back, typical for a 2019 phone. There’s a 48MP primary camera, an 8MP ultra wide-angle lens and a 2MP depth sensor. The pop-up camera offers a 16MP snapper. Based on a few outdoor photos, we found the main camera to offer good detailing and crispness, but some photos looked a little overexposed. The wide-angle lens comes in handy to capture images with a new perspective, which looked decent, but the 8MP sensor won’t offer a lot of details. The depth sensor manages to capture attractive bokeh shots with decent edge detection. Again, we can only know how the cameras perform under different lighting condition once we get the device for a full review.

Lastly, the Honor 9X houses a 4,000mAh battery with support for fast charging. You can expect a day-long battery life out of the box thanks to an efficient chipset and optimised EMUI software with effective battery-saving options. 

Based on our brief time with the Honor 9X, the smartphone looks like a fine successor to the popular Honor 8X. The phone should launch in India under Rs 15,000, which would help it compete against Redmi and Realme in this segment. The notchless display would certainly give it a unique position in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment, but consumers will also be looking for a complete package, which the Honor 9X has the potential to offer.

Disclosure: This writer was in Shenzhen, China on Honor India’s invitation