But how does it fare in real life? Is it worth buying? Should you rock it without a case? Let’s find out in this review.
Design & Display
The HONOR X9b 5G is built to withstand not just bumps and scratches but drops from significant heights. This is achieved with HONOR’s Ultra-Bounce Anti-Drop Display which offers several layers of protection, including a shock-resistant design, a reinforced frame, and other reinforcements to provide a 360-degree resistance for the screen. For this, it received a five-star overall drop resistance certification from Switzerland’s SGS.
We tested the claim by dropping the phone several times on hard granite flooring. It proved its durability and survived the abuse with an intact screen, and some minor dents and scratches on the frame’s edges. Everything else is also working fine with no issues. You can watch our drop tests here.
However, we did receive reports from our media friends who managed to crack and break the screen after dropping the phone a couple of times. While that might not always be the case, it does mean the HONOR X9b 5G has a higher chance of survival compared to other devices, should you accidentally drop it.
That being said, we do not recommend you drop the X9b on purpose. HONOR issued a warning, saying that while they are “confident that it will survive intense pressure, intentional dropping and smashing might still cause physical damage to the phone.”
Aside from its toughness, the HONOR X9b 5G is also an eye-catching and beautiful phone. This is not the first handset to use the Sunrise Orange and vegan leather combination, but they did it elegantly. It has a circular camera island with thick black bands, gold trimmings, and a gold ring, housing triple cameras and an LED flash. You also have a thin frame with a smooth, gold finish, matching the rest of the phone’s design.
The phone itself has quite a solid build. It weighs 185 grams with a slim 7.98 mm thickness. It feels comfortable in the hand and the leather feels nice, adding texture and protection. The HONOR X9b 5G also comes in two other color options: Emerald Green and Midnight Black.
The front of the X9b is dominated by a 6.78-inch curved AMOLED display with a resolution of 2652×1220 pixels, a 120Hz refresh rate, and a max of 1200 nits. The display is bright, sharp, and colorful, with excellent viewing angles and contrast. It also has a 1920Hz High-frequency PWM Dimming and low blue light emissions. The display has a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera, and it has thin bezels on all sides.
The HONOR X9b 5G has the power and volume buttons on the right, a secondary mic at the top, and the SIM tray, the USB-C port, a mono speaker, and a microphone on the bottom. Like most phones nowadays, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack, but you can always use Bluetooth or a USB dongle for your headphones.
The phone doesn’t have an IP rating, but it can survive drops from up to 1.5 meters.
The HONOR X9b has a triple camera setup on the back, consisting of a 108MP main camera, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP macro camera. The main camera has an f/1.75 aperture. It also supports 4K video recording, night mode, and portrait mode.
The ultra-wide camera has a 120-degree field of view and an f/2.2 aperture. It also doubles as a depth sensor, which helps to create a bokeh effect in portrait mode. The ultra-wide camera, however, suffers from some distortion and noise, especially in low light.
The macro camera has a 4cm focus distance and an f/2.4 aperture, which can be used to capture close-up shots of small objects or textures. However, it has a low resolution and a fixed focus, which limits its usefulness and quality.
The selfie camera on the X9b is a 16MP shooter with an f/2.45 aperture, which can take decent selfies in good lighting conditions. The selfie camera also supports 1080p video recording.
Overall, the X9b is a capable shooter, performing above its price. It is capable of creating pleasant photos and stills with decent sharpness and good colors.
Here are the test photos.
The HONOR X9b is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, which can be expanded via a microSD card. It runs on MagicOS 7.2, based on Android 13.
The X9b can handle most tasks and apps smoothly, with no noticeable lag or stutter. It can also run most games at medium to high settings, with a stable frame rate and smooth gameplay.
Honkai: Star Rail is playable under medium graphics settings at 30fps, but you’ll get smoother results at low graphics. CODM, PUBG, and Mobile Legends, on the other hand, ran quite well on medium to high settings and high frame rates. The phone does get noticeably warm while gaming, so keep that in mind.
Here are the benchmark scores.
The HONOR X9b has a massive 5800mAh battery, all the while maintaining a slim profile. It can easily last for two to three days, depending on your usage.
It also supports 35W fast charging, which can charge the battery from 0% to 50% in about 30 minutes, and from 0% to 100% in about 2 hours.
The HONOR X9b 5G is a tough and practical smartphone that offers a durable design, a large battery, and decent performance. It also has a great display, a good main camera, and a fast charging speed.
Compared to the HONOR X9a, the X9b is a big upgrade all around, offering improved drop resistance, a better display, a better main camera, a newer processor, faster RAM and storage, and a bigger battery.
The HONOR X9b 5G is priced at ₱16,999, similar to the X9a when it launched. Pre-orders start from January 12 to 19, 2024, bundled with a free HONOR Gift Box and HONOR Choice X5 Earbuds worth ₱4,000.
It’s a good choice for anyone who is looking for a smartphone that can withstand some rough usage and last for a long time. The X9b is also a good alternative to other mid-range smartphones from other brands, such as Samsung, OPPO, and realme.
The HONOR X9b is available in the Philippines through HONOR’s official online store, Lazada, and Shopee, as well as selected retail stores.
HONOR X9b 5G specs
|6.78-inch 1.5K OLED display, 2652×1200, 120Hz refresh rate, 1920Hz High-frequency PWM Dimming
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1
|108MP main, f/1.75
5MP ultra-wide, f/2.2
2MP macro, f/2.4
|5G, 4G LTE, dual nano SIM
|Wi-Fi 5 dual-band, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS
|In-display fingerprint scanner, USB-C
|MagicOS 7.2, Android 13
|Sunrise Orange (Vegan leather), Midnight Black, Emerald Green
|5800mAh battery, 35W fast charging