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HONOR X7b Review

The HONOR X7b, a recent addition to Honor’s lineup this 2024 and the successor to last year’s X7a is already officially available across authorized physical and online stores. 

At a starting price of PHP 8,999 and positioned as an entry-level device, let’s find out how far that nine-thousand smartphone peso budget can go.

Read on to find out.

Design and Construction

Our HONOR X7b is in its flowing silver colorway and the rear panel and sides are primarily a metallic baby blue.The rear panel features a holographic sheen with metallic sparkles from top to bottom with a blue to periwinkle gradient under it all. 

The rear also features flowy lines that sort of dance when tilting the device around, and is probably why it’s called flowing silver.

In our opinion this colorway is on the loud-end of the smartphone rear aesthetic spectrum, and if you guys think the same, the X7b is also available in Emerald Green and Midnight black (both of which do not feature sparkles.)

While we’re here at the rear, it also features HONOR branding on the lower left and a 108MP highlight right below the main triple camera system housed in two very circular housings.

Found on the left side is the dual nano SIM card tray.
The second slot is of the hybrid variety, which means users may sacrifice a second SIM to utilize a microSD card for expandable storage.

Situated on the right side are the volume rocker and power button that also doubles as a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor. We also noticed more button wobble than we’re used to from these buttons but that doesn’t destroy the whole experience either way.

Up top is a light sensor, so the phone can figure out how bright the display should turn when in auto brightness mode, and a noise canceling microphone for calls.

At the bottom is where we can find a 3.5mm audio jack, the primary mic for calls, a USB Type-C port for charging and wired data transfers, and a speaker grille that houses 1 out of 2 stereo speakers.

The other one is in the call earpiece within the top bezel of the display, above the in-display selfie camera. 

So all in all for design, it’s pretty solid considering how much the device costs and it’s a good improvement from entry-level devices of 2019.

Those wobbly side buttons aren’t the most reassuring in terms of build quality, but for the most part it’s still quite the solid smart-brick to one day use as a projectile to throw at somebody who’s done you wrong.

The HONOR X7b does not feature an IP rating so I wouldn’t think of washing this in the sink either.

 

Display, Multimedia and Biometrics

It does however feature a nice-enough 6.8-inch FHD+ IPS TFT LCD panel that features a 90Hz refresh rate, with a peak brightness of 850 nits, which was the minimum flagship standard 5 years ago!

We shouldn’t let the marketed “1000+ nits of peak brightness” we see in more expensive phones today make us think that 850 nits isn’t bright.

Although we could assume that all these higher and higher peak brightness’ could be for longevity when factoring in display brightness degradation, but we can save that for a different discussion altogether.

–All I’m saying is 850 nits is still pretty bright and it allows the HONOR X7b’s display to be viewed under direct sunlight. 

If you know of last year’s HONOR X7a, you may have noticed that in this iteration the selfie camera is now of the punch-hole variety, compared to the dew drop one prior.

Along with this, the display is BIGGER and the bezels around it have shrunken. Which totally gives end-users a more immersive viewing experience. 

Contrast is also good for an IPS panel but if you really wanted an AMOLED one at practically the same resolution you could just add a few thousand pesos, and find one those in the market.

The problem I’m noticing with the displays from this general price range is that there always seems to be some sort of sharpness issue, most noticeable when playing stuff on youtube at low resolutions. 

Which is super evident when comparing it to something more expensive at the same resolution. (which again, doesn’t really break the experience as a whole for most people just wanting to purchase a phone.)

We also get dual stereo speakers on board and the mids are very strong and the loudness gets pretty high, we don’t get a lot of points for clarity and it does sound kind of tinny.

But I have personally watched a bunch of videos on the device and if you aren’t switching between phones a lot, end-users most likely won’t notice this much either.  

For biometrics, it does not feature an in-display scanner but we’re keeping this part here anyways, because it does have face unlock under the display.

Those of you who care about my opinions know that I’m not fan of optical face unlocking because we know there are more secure standards for this security feature, BUT for this phone I need it.

Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything wrong with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. But for lefties like me, those side-mounted on the right side of a device can sort-of be.

Think about it, right-handed users with a right side-mounted scanner would inherently use their thumbs to unlock their phones, whereas I need to use my left index finger, which can usually be hit or miss.  

When constantly reminding myself to use my right hand to pick up the phone and unlock it with my thumb, the scanner’s recognition was flawless. Although, I’m still not a fan of those wobbly buttons.

 

Cameras

For optics, the HONOR X7b features a 108MP (f/1.75) main sensor as the headliner of its triple camera system. This sensor gets paired with a 5MP ultrawide camera (F2.2), and an additional 2MP depth sensor (F2.4).

In front is an 8MP (F/2.0) selfie camera.

The biggest player in this case is the biggest camera sensor.

Most of our sample shots taken with the 108MP sensor are still passable within today’s social media standards.

The camera app gives users a ton of modes to play with, we get the usual portrait mode made for its namesake, but additionally we get a dedicated aperture mode to mess with the depth of field when the subjects aren’t people.

And apart from standard Photo and Video modes, it also features a Pro mode for manual control, Super Macro, Dual Video and High Res mode to name most.

In our opinion, photos taken with the ultrawide sensor really isn’t where it’s at here.

It suffers from a lot of noise in average to dim-light lighting conditions, so much so that sometimes when switching from 1x to 0.6x it feels like I’m taking a photo or shooting videos with a 2012 webcam.

For video, we can shoot at a max resolution of 1080p of FHD at 30 frames per second with both the front and back cameras.

Interestingly, only when shooting at HD or 720p users get access to a 21:9 aspect ratio for video recording.

In general photos and videos taken with the main sensor are still good enough for social media posting, I mean in general all photos are somewhat good enough for social media posting depending on the post..

So I guess, I mean to say, photos taken with the main sensor will always look better than its own ultrawide sensor in all conditions. The ultrawide sensor is nice to have compared to none at all, but could be greatly improved with the next iterations.

Video quality isn’t anything to write home about but should still be suitable for video calls either way. 

 

OS, Apps and UI

Out of the box, the HONOR X7b runs on MagicOS 7.2 based on Android 13. 

MagicOS is a good interface that offers users a bunch of customization options in iOS-like fashion.

–Well to be honest a lot of operating systems are becoming very iOS-like nowadays, except for maybe stock Android.

Of course my favorite things about interfaces are the accessibility shortcuts and with MagicOS it seems we can’t really set one to quickly access the camera without turning on the screen. The power button can only be set to activate Google Assistant, and double pressing the volume down button only turns the flashlight on or off, so why couldn’t we set that for the camera?

UI animations do look optimized especially when setting the screen’s refresh rate to 90Hz but when set to Dynamic, we can see the stutters in animations running at a lower frame rate, especially noticeable when unlocking from a long sleep.

Yes this is a nitpick, but I’m pretty sure adjusting the aggressiveness of dynamically switching between frame rates can be solved with software optimization.

Either way, it is still a very usable experience and if you don’t have the same preferential woes as I just mentioned, you’ll be just fine. 

Plus, users can rest-assured that HONOR has stipulated that devices like the HONOR X7b are promised quarterly security updates. And usually commits to two years of software and security patches.

 

Performance and Benchmarks

The brains behind the HONOR X7b’s operations is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680, a 6nm chipset comprising an octa core CPU capable of 2.4 GHz clock speeds, and features an Adreno 610 GPU.

In the Philippines, the HONOR X7b’s only configuration comes in the form of 8GB of RAM paired with 256GB of internal storage. It also features an additional 8GB of virtual RAM that users cannot add or lessen, which basically sounds like HONOR saying “just deal with it”.

Basic tasks like transferring files wired or wirelessly were really a non-issue here, but don’t expect 1 second installs from this device.

Running productivity apps like Google docs and sheets is a breeze, with no major lags using split-screen views and floating windows.

But when it comes to gaming, the experience can be a little lackluster, especially for the Genshin and Honkai fanatics. 

Technically, Genshin Impact can run on almost any device of today but its performance on said devices can really differ.

On the HONOR X7b, the game recommends setting graphics settings to low by default, but we were able to bump it up to medium at 30fps with the phone getting a little hot to the touch faster.

But with lighter, less graphically demanding titles like Mobile Legends and Fall Guys, I could easily bag wins no problem. 

Games like PUBG Mobile and Farlight 84 ran on this phone with no major issues with graphics set to Smooth.

Those of you who want to check-out our benchmarks, can find them below:

Antutu v10.2.1317,470
Antutu Storage Test37,896
S.Read – 892.7 MB/s
S.Write – 771.3 MB/s

3D Mark: Wild Life450 (2.7 avg fps)

Geekbench 6
Single: 414
Multi: 1,423

Geekbench 6 GPU Vulkan – 574
Geekbench 6 GPU OpenCL – 348

PC Mark Work 3.0 Performance7,806

Battery and Connectivity

A more standout feature from the HONOR X7b is its massive 6,000 mAh Lithium Polymer battery with support for 35W HONOR SuperCharge, which allowed us to charge the device from 8% to 100% in about an hour. 

In PCMark’s Work 3.0 battery test, our unit garnered a result of 15 hours and 13 minutes, which does seem crazy for something less than 10k.

In our proprietary video loop test, which involves the phone being set to airplane mode, its brightness set to 50% and volume muted to account for mixed usage conditions, the HONOR X7b lasted 15 hours and 37 minutes.

Technically these scores point to average battery life from the handset, although in my real-world testing it it did last very long.

I got one and a half days with my use, allowing me to charge from a low percentage by evening of the second day.

I personally haven’t been gaming on my phone much nowadays unless it’s for Block Blast!, which really isn’t a hardware intensive game, and I didn’t really use Waze much during my testing because I’ve already memorized my route to and from the office by heart at this point.

  

For connectivity options, the HONOR X7b does not feature 5G, since the Snapdragon 680 is a 4G chipset. 

Which means for mobile data it only goes up to  LTE. 

And of course it features the usual dualband  Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, and GPS standards, providing seamless access to general online services and navigation.

Call quality was also pretty good on this device, no major issues here.

Conclusion

Alright, so we already know the HONOR X7b is priced at PHP 8,999 for its only configuration at 8 + 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage. 

So the question remains, how far did the PHP 9,000 go?

–Well the HONOR X7b offers exceptional value for budget-conscious consumers. It gets an impressive battery life, an IPS display with good contrast, and a usable camera system.

It stands out as a compelling choice in the entry-level segment. Whether for just the phone essentials, video or music consumption, or casual photography. The HONOR X7b delivers a satisfying experience without breaking the bank.

 

What we LIKED:

  • Battery life.
  • Good IPS display.
  • Dual stereo speakers.
  • Price.

What we Liked LESS:

  • No 5G.
  • Side-mounted fingerprint sensor.
  • Wobbly side buttons.
  • Software could be a bit better fine tuned.

HONOR X7b specs:
6.8-inch FHD+ IPS TFT LCD
2412 x 1080 pixels, 90Hz refresh
850 nits (peak) brightness
Qualcomm Snapdragon 680
8-cores, up to 2.4GHz
8GB RAM (+8GB extended memory)
256GB storage
Expandable via microSD
Triple rear cameras:
– 108MP f/1.75 main
– 5MP f/2.2 wide-angle
– 2MP f/2.4 depth
8MP f/2.0 selfie shooter (hole punch notch)
Dual nano-SIM
4G LTE
Dual-band Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0
GPS/AGPS/GLONASS/BeiDou/Galileo
USB Type-C (USB 2.0)
3.5mm audio jack
NFC (only CLK-LX1 model)
Fingerprint sensor
Dual stereo speakers, 200% volume
MagicOS 7.2 (Android 13)
6000mAh battery
35W HONOR SuperCharge
~199g
166.7 x 76.5 x 8.24 mm
Flowing Silver, Emerald Green, Midnight Black

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Avatar for Miguel Ty

Miguel Paolo Ty is an Executive Producer at YugaTech. Outside Yugatech he's known as a Content Producer that specializes in video production. He first joined YugaTech in 2019 as a Multimedia Producer for a year and returned in 2023 as a senior member of the team, poised to produce engaging tech content for the Yugatech audience. Miguel graduated with a degree in Digital Filmmaking at the De La Salle - College of St. Benilde in 2018.

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