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Honor X9a 5G Smartphone Review: Mid-Range Phone With Premium Looks

Honor X9a

The Honor X9a 5G is the company’s latest mid-ranger to arrive on our shores. Equipped with the Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, a large 6.67-inch OLED curved display, 13GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, how will the Honor X9a fare in the competitive mid-range smartphone market in 2023?

Before we continue with our review, here are the specifications of the Honor X9a.

Honor X9a 5G Specifications

ModelHonor X9a 5G
Dimensions161.6H x 73.9W x 7.9D mm
Weight175g
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
2.2Ghz Cortex-A78 x 2 + 1.8Ghz Cortex-A55 x 6
Qualcomm Adreno 619
RAM13GB (8GB + 5GB)
Storage256GB
Display6.67-inch OLED curved display
1.07 billion colours, 100% DCI-P3
120Hz refresh rate
2400 x 1080 pixels
800 nits peak brightness
Camera (Front)16MP, f/2.45
Camera (Rear)64MP main camera, f/1.8
5MP wide angle camera, f/2.2
2MP macro camera, f/2.4
Operating SystemAndroid 12, Magic UI 6.1
Battery and Charging5,100 mAh battery
40W Honor Supercharge
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/ 5G
Bluetooth 5.1
USB-Type C
BiometricsIn-screen fingerprint unlock
Face unlock

What’s In The Box?

  • Honor X9a 5G
  • USB-Type C charging cable
  • 40W Honor Supercharge charger
  • USB-Type C to 3.5mm audio dongle
  • SIM tray removal tool
  • Protective casing

Design

Honor X9a Curved Screen

The Honor X9a 5G comes in 3 colours: Titanium Silver, Emerald Green and Midnight Black. The review sample we received comes in Emerald Green, which features a metallic green back in matte finish. The screen edges are curved, making the phone feel thinner to hold.

Honor X9a camera

At the bottom, you get a SIM tray, USB-Type C port, and a speaker. There SIM tray does not support expandable storage and only holds one nano Sim, so you have to make do with the internal storage. On the right side, you get the usual power button and volume rocker. The Matrix AI Vision Camera array forms a ring shaped bump at the back. With the phone protective cover on however, the camera bump is no as noticeable as you might think.

Overall, the Honor X9a 5G looks like a premium phone with the curved aesthetics and metallic finish.

Display

Honor X9a 5G Smartphone Review: Mid-Range Phone With Premium Looks 11

The Honor X9a 5G is equipped with a 6.67-inch OLED curved display, capable of displaying 1.07 billion colours at 100% DCI-P3 colour gamut. It has a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, and a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen has also received the TUV Rheinland Low Blue Light Certification. The screen has a 93% screen-to-body, leaving only narrow bezels at all sides.

The visuals look detailed, and colours are vivid. Definitely one of the best screens I’ve seen in a mid-range phone. Sunlight legibility is decent too, with a peak brightness of 800 nits. The screen also feels responsive and peppy, especially when Magic UI heavily relies on gesture controls instead of on-screen buttons.

User Experience

Coming from a stock Android experience, Magic UI 6.1 took me a while to get used to. By default, Magic UI has an interface similar to iOS, but you can always change it to a stock Android app drawer interface style via the Settings.

While the gesture and swipe based navigation would not register occasionally, having the extra screen space which used to house navigation buttons improves the overall viewing experience. Do keep in mind due that the large screen size, single handed gesture operation does feel a tad janky at times.

Performance

Honor X9a gaming

Being a mid-ranger in 2023, the Honor X9a 5G is quick enough for most applications I could throw at it. The Snapdragon 695 5G with a combined 13GB of RAM is more than sufficient for most users, and combine that with a fast response rate of 120Hz, I could barely notice any stuttering or jerking while switching apps.

Running Geekbench on the phone resulted in a single-core score of 666, and a multi-core score of 1,918. While benchmark scores are not a definitive measure of performance, it is comparable to the Redmi K20 Pro in single core performance, and even outperformed the Pocophone F1 in multi core performance.

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Honor X9a 5G Smartphone Review: Mid-Range Phone With Premium Looks 12

Gaming on the Adreno 619 GPU is just alright. While it can run most mobile games such as Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile, the GPU does start to show its age. On Genshin Impact, the phone experiences occasional stutters even at low settings.

Camera

The Honor X9a 5G sports a triple camera setup with a 64MP main shooter, a 5MP ultra wide, and a 2MP macro camera. In ideal lighting conditions, the main shooter yields sharp and detailed pictures with natural looking colours. In darker scenes, noise does become an issue, but you can compensate with night mode, where the image quality drops in exchange for better exposure.

However, there is a slight over-sharpening with the AI mode on. Also, in AI mode, it takes the phone a while to process the pictures after shooting, do expect some delays if you want to view the results after shooting.

The ultra wide and the macro cameras are there if you really need to use them. It could work in certain scenes, but the main camera is more than sufficient for day to day use.

Audio

The Honor X9a 5G has a single speaker located at the bottom. The audio is loud and clear, but be aware of how you orient or hold the phone as the sound is not beamed towards you.

Mids are warm, highs are balanced, but the mid-bass sounds tinny at maximum volume. While there is no 3.5mm audio jack, Honor is kind enough to include the USB-C to 3.5mm DAC just in case you want to plug in wired earphones.

Battery

Battery life of the the Honor X9a 5G is excellent, easily lasting me more than a day with moderate use. It could last for two days if I was more conservative, such as turning off GPS, using dark mode, lowering the brightness etc. Turning battery saver mode also gave me similar results.

Charging is one of the X9a’s strong suits. The included 40W charger easily charges the phone from zero to full in a little over an hour.

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Honor X9a 5G Smartphone Review: Mid-Range Phone With Premium Looks 12

Final Thoughts

Honor X9a 5G Smartphone Review: Mid-Range Phone With Premium Looks 28

Priced at RM1,499, the Honor X9a 5G is a good looking phone with a display to match. While the Snapdragon 695 5G chip is not the fastest, it delivers sufficient performance for most users.

All in all, if you want a phone that could perform your daily tasks, such as social media, video streaming, and light gaming, the Honor X9a 5G should be in your shortlist for 2023.

Written By

Part-time gamer, writer, & full time weird coffee person.

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