If you’ve seen HONOR PH’s posts and videos on social media recently, then you have a pretty good idea of what the HONOR X9a is all about — a midrange phone with decent specs and an ultra-tough display that can survive drops and general abuse.

And while that in itself is impressive, we’re here to find out if the HONOR X9a 5G is as good as they claim to be. The smartphone features a sleek design, a 120Hz OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 chipset, and a 64MP camera. Is this the right smartphone for you? Read on and find out.

HONOR X9a 5G specs

Display6.67-inch FHD+ OLED Display, 2400×1080, 120Hz Refresh Rate
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 695
RAM/Storage8GB+256GB
Rear Camera64MP Main + 5MP Ultra-wide + 2MP Macro
Front Camera16MP
Network5G, 4G LTE
ConnectivityWi-Fi 5 Dual Band, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS
OthersIn-display Fingerprint Scanner, USB-C, Hi-Res Audio, Hi-Res Wireless Audio
OSMagic UI 6.1, Android 12
Battery5100mAh Battery, 40W Fast Charging

Design & Display

With Huawei DNA baked into the brand, Honor makes great-looking phones, and the HONOR X9a 5G is no exception. The phone is sleek and trim, with dimensions measuring a slim 161.6 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm, and weighing a sprite 175g. It feels solid in the hand, and, despite the size, is very comfortable to hold.

HONOR X9a review

The back has a matte finish, which is very resistant to fingerprints. Meanwhile, the circular camera module, which reminds me of a Huawei smartphone, is still unique when you compare it to other smartphone models in the same price range.

The spacious 6.67-inch AMOLED display has a 2400×1080 resolution with a long 20:09 aspect ratio and 120Hz refresh rate. The screen has ultra-thin bezels and curves at the sides, giving it an even more slender appearance.

HONOR X9a review

And as AMOLEDs go, this one is bright with up to 800 nits and exhibits over-saturated colors with deep blacks and good viewing angles.

The large display is great for watching videos, but you do get some color fringing on where the curves are. However, you will eventually get used to this and it will become unnoticeable in time.

HONOR X9a review

Part of what makes the HONOR X9a 5G special is because of what it calls Deeply Reinforced Glass. Essentially, it makes the display very tough against drops and scuffs. In fact, we tested this very feature by dropping the phone on granite flooring multiple times.

True enough, it survived without a scratch, but we do caution those to “not try it at home” as we received reports that one of our colleagues managed to break the glass after throwing it with significant force and hitting a corner.

@lukipaltb Drop tested the HONOR X9A 5G and it still works! #HONORX9a5G #2DayBattery #PremiumOLEDCurvedScreen ♬ original sound – evie

One thing that holds the phone back is the mono speaker. In this day and age, I expect midrange phones to at least have stereo speakers, especially with the large OLED display. Still, it does sound good and not tinny, as most mono speakers are.

Cameras

The HONOR X9a 5G is equipped with a 64MP primary camera, supported by 5MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro cameras. While a 16MP punch-hole shooter handles selfies and video calls.

The cameras on the HONOR X9a 5G are actually decent with good colors and details in good lighting conditions. The 64MP primary camera is quite capable of creating pleasant photos that will look good on social media. However, zooming in is a digital crop, which means you lose sharpness and noise starts to appear.

HONOR X9a review

In low light conditions, you will notice some noise. The colors still look good, however. Night mode is also available, but do manage your expectations. There’s an obvious drop in image quality, but at least it’s there when you need it.

Selfies, on the other hand, are okay. Images look pleasant, especially if you are shooting in good lighting conditions.

Performance

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, the HONOR X9a 5G will not disappoint. It’s fast and snappy, and, thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, smooth for the most part. I did notice very minor stutters but it’s few and far between.

The handset comes with 8GB of RAM. It gets a boost with 5GB more virtual RAM via the HONOR RAM Turbo feature, which converts unused storage into RAM. As for the storage, you’re getting a generous 256GB of space. There’s no expansion slot, so you make do with what it came with.

HONOR X9a review

On the software side, the HONOR X9a 5G runs on Android 12-based Magic UI 6.1.0. It’s essentially EMUI, but with Google apps. The UI looks good and clean. It does come with bloatware (which slows down the unboxing experience), but it’s not as much as other brands. Just uninstall or disable those you don’t need.

In gaming, the HONOR X9a 5G is quite capable. It ran Genshin Impact considerably well, in reasonable graphics settings, of course. CODM, on the other hand, fared better with high settings. Gaming does make the phone slightly warm, but it’s not uncomfortable.

Here are the benchmark scores, in case you’re interested.

  • AnTuTu Benchmark (V9.4.4): 402,791
    CPU: 119,653
    GPU: 102,128
    MEM: 72,966
    UX: 108,044
  • Geekbench 5: 665 (single-core); 1,924 (multi-core)
  • 3DMark Wild Life: 1,213
    Average FPS: 7.3

Battery life is quite good. The 5100mAh battery can easily give you a full day’s worth of usage. Charging to 100 percent takes almost 2 hours to complete.

Verdict

The HONOR X9a 5G is a solid smartphone with a tough build made to survive the daily grind. The Deeply Reinforced Glass is a true game changer, in my opinion, which gives the phone an advantage in its class.

But more than that, the smartphone is good value. For the price, you’re getting a 120Hz OLED display, surprisingly good performance from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, and decent cameras.

Price and Availability

The HONOR X9a 5G is priced at Php 16,990 in the Philippines. From January 20 to February 3, 2023, the smartphone will be available in offline and online stores.

The handset is also available via Home Credit for as low as Php 661 per month at zero percent installment.

The HONOR X9a 5G will come with a free pair of HONOR CHOICE Earbuds X3 Lite TWS worth Php 3,999.

Author

Bryan is a tech enthusiast and self-admitted geek who enjoys blogging and watching NBA clips on YouTube. He has over 20 years of experience in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations from different industries such as telecommunications and banking.

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