Chinese tech giant Huawei gave an impressive showcase of mobile technology in the year 2016. The Shenzen based company introduced some stellar devices- Huawei P9 in flagship category, Honor 8 in mid-range flagship category and a slew of budget handsets such as Honor 5X, Holly 3, Honor 5C, etc. to take care of the needs of price conscious Indian market, and they also did quite well.
Fast forward to 2017, the company has launched its latest budget smartphone- Honor 6X in the first month itself and it will be available at Rs. 12,999 for 3GB + 32GB RAM variant and at Rs. 15,999 for 4GB + 64GB RAM variant, exclusively on Amazon.in. It is the successor to Honor 5X and was first unveiled in China in October 2016.
It has been launched in one of the most competitive price segment and has a lot on its shoulders. The smartphone will compete with the recently launched Coolpad Cool 1 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 that also offer similar specifications and are priced quite aggressively.
So in this review we are going to find out whether Honor 6X has what it takes to be the best Android smartphone in sub Rs. 15,000. Let's get started.
Camera- Probably the best camera in the sub Rs. 15k price-point
Let's start this by addressing the highlight feature of the handset, i.e. the dual-lens camera setup. As noted, Honor showed us the power of dual-lens camera when the company first introduced Huawei P9 and Honor 8 last year in premium and mid-range segment respectively.
The company now wants to give price conscious consumers a taste of dual-camera technology.
Honor 6X features a 12MP primary sensor along with a 2MP secondary camera. The secondary camera is provided to capture depth information to create bokeh effects. The camera's software does all the magic here, which sometimes messes up with the background blur but it's still manageable.
The aperture goes from as low as f/16 to as wide as f/0.95 and the camera app also allows you to set the focus area after you click a picture.
We managed to get some really amazing shots with the dual-lens camera setup, which is hard to believe have come from a smartphone of this price-point. The camera locks a subject quickly and there's no shutter delay. The images captured have natural colour tone and looks quite pleasant on 5.5-inch full HD screen.
The low-light performance is also fairly decent for a smartphone priced this low. We found the images displaying less noise compared to other handsets of the same price point.
Besides the camera app is very well designed and has all the required modes and filters to please the shutterbugs. There is Pro camera, pro video, slow motion, HDR, time-lapse, background blur, various filters and some others to let you tweak with the images you capture.
For selfie lovers, Honor 6X has an 8MP front camera, which is also a decent performer. The camera app offers beautification modes and has a wide angle lens to give a wide angle perspective.
Overall, Honor 6X punches more than its price point and is one of the best camera smartphone in sub Rs. 15,000 price-point.
Design- Pleasing but nothing exceptional
Time has changed and so does the smartphone market. You can now easily get an inexpensive feature loaded handset that also does not compromise on design. Honor 6X is one such example.
Crafted out of metal and high quality plastic (on top and bottom of rear side), the smartphone is pleasing to look and feels quite sturdy in hands. The slightly curved metal back with rounded corners makes the smartphone comfortable to operate even with one hand.
The right side of the handset has the physical buttons, which are placed ergonomically so that your fingers don't need to struggle to find them. The hybrid SIM card slot sits at the left side. A 3.5mm headphone jack along with a microphone is placed on top and the micro USB charging port rests at the bottom.
Two speaker grills are also provided on either side of the charging port, however only one of them, the one on the right is functional. The left one is just put to add symmetry to the design.
A fingerprint sensor is positioned at the bottom of the dual-lens camera setup, which unlocks the handset in a jiffy, works as shutter button to click pictures, brings down the notification tray and also allows you to scroll the pictures in gallery.
While the overall design is pleasing to eyes and practical in everyday usage, it has one problem, Honor 6X resembles most of the smartphones launched previously from Chinese smartphone companies such as Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, Lenovo K6 Power and even its predecessor Honor 5X.
The only differentiating factor is the dual-lens camera setup at the rear side that gives Honor 6X a distinctive look in sub Rs. 15,000 price-point.
Otherwise, the design format featuring glossy White colored front paired with Gold, Silver or Dark Grey rear panels is getting outdated now. We really expect smartphone makers to try out something new with their upcoming smartphones.
Display- Vibrant full HD screen that delivers good multimedia viewing exprience
Honor 6X flaunts a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display with 2.5D curved glass protection. The screen has good levels of brightness that allows for a comfortable viewing experience even in outdoor conditions.
The display is quite sharp and makes text, images and icons look crisp. Besides the colours look natural and touch response is also very good.
Honor sent us the 4GB + 64GB variant. A lower 3GB + 32GB variant is also available in the market. Both the variants are powered by company's mid-range Kirin 655 chipset, which is an octa-core CPU with four cores clocked at 1.2GHz and the remaining four clocked at 1.7GHz to handle intensive tasks. With 4GB of RAM, the smartphone handled multitasking with no performance slowdown.
At times there were more than 25 apps running in the background and Honor 6X sailed through it without breaking a sweat. The smartphone also handled gaming very well. We played several games on the handset including- Contact Killer Sniper, Marvel Contest of Champions, Asphalt 8, Death Race, etc. and the GPU handled graphics very well.
Although heavy games took some time to load, the game play was quite smooth. Honor 6X also managed to keep the heating effect in control, which is a plus point here as most of the smartphones priced in this category (and some even higher) heats up to unruly levels during strenuous tasks.
Call quality was pretty solid we did not notice any call drops while using the handset for over a week. Audio performance could have been better on the handset as there's a mono speaker at the bottom, which delivers sub par audio.
Overall, the performance Honor 6X offers in everyday usage have made us wonder how far mobile phones have come in last two years. The smartphone can run the most demanding games and apps in the Google Play store and also excels in multitasking department.
Software- Lag free Huawei's Emotion UI
Coming on to software, Honor 6X runs Huawei's custom skin- EMUI 4.1, which is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and like most of the Chinese handsets, offers a single-layered skin sans an app drawer.
The user interface is snappy and screen navigation is pretty smooth. There were no such lags and app crashes during our usage. The level of detailing Huawei has put in stock applications such as calendar, clock, notes, etc. is appreciable.
A dedicated theme store is provided for users who love to change the look and feel of their handset. The theme store offers several custom themes with icons, wallpapers, etc.
We faced some issued with the notifications center that is split into two tabs. One tab shows the regular notifications and a swipe to left displays the quick settings, which is hard to jump onto as the swipe action often dismisses the notification rather than showing the quick settings.
We often ended up dismissing all the notifications to access the quick settings panel, which is quite irritating and seems unwanted. Besides, everything else is smooth and works fine.
Battery- Decent but not the best in the price-point
While Xiaomi, Coolpad and Lenovo are packing powerful 4,000 mAh (some even more powerful) battery units with their budget handsets, Honor 6X runs on a smaller 3,340 mAh battery, which is good enough to last for a day if you are not a power user.
We used the smartphones for music playback, YouTube videos, occasional gaming, web browsing and other everyday tasks, and Honor 6X managed to last for a day. However if you watch movies, stream non-stop YouTube videos and play graphical intensive games on your handsets on a loop, then we advise to keep a charger or a power bank handy with you.
As far as the connectivity options are concerned, Honor 6X offers 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and GPS/ A-GPS. The smartphone has hybrid dual-SIM card slot, which can be used to expand the inbuilt storage to up to 128GB.
Honor 6X is an important handset for Huawei and even for the smartphone market. It is one of those mobile devices that create the foundation of dual-lens camera setup in sub Rs. 15,000 price-point. The camera performance is amazing, processing and multitasking don't slowdown the handset and it also manages to deliver on gaming quite well.
If you are looking for a smartphone that does not compromise on camera, multitasking and computing performance, then Honor 6X is what you need to buy.
Besides, you can read about Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 and Coolpad Cool 1 Dual on GIZBOT to make a final decision. Besides, if you still have any doubts and face any problem in buying a sub Rs. 15,000 smartphone, write us or comment at the end of this review.