Honor 7X hands-on

Honor 7X hands-on: Bezel-less on a budget

Honor is still a fairly unknown name when it comes to phones, but the Huawei sub-brand has been churning out a number of surprisingly decent devices recently. The Honor 9 particularly offers exceedingly good value for money, and has one of the better cameras at this price.

Sitting below the Honor 9 is the 7X, the first Honor phone to feature the now very common bezel-less screen look.

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The biggest standout here is the display; it’s 5.93 inches diagonally with an FHD+ 2160 x 1920 resolution, and it looks very impressive. I’m not allowed to reveal the exact RRP of the phone yet, but this will be one of the best screens at the price point. It’s a colourful LCD with great viewing angles, impressive outdoor visibility and just a very pleasing look. Plus, it stretches nearly edge-to-edge. Honor told me it’s a 6-inch screen in the body of a 5.5-inch phone, and that certainly seems true.

I’m not exactly won over by how this phone looks, though. It has a whiff of a knock-off iPhone 7 Plus about it, but there are some very odd design choices.

For one, the screen is strangely raised above the body and surrounded by a plastic band – it feels really cheap and unfinished. The two cameras on the back are also far too close to the top of the phone, and I’ve constantly been blocking them when I’m trying to take a picture. Finally, there’s absolutely no need for the Honor logo to be on the front of the phone, which makes it looks so ugly with the thin bezel.

On the back there’s a fingerprint scanner, while the bottom houses a USB-C port, headphone jack and speaker. The camera setup here consists of a 16-megapixel main sensor with an f/2.2 lens, and a secondary 2-megapixel sensor. Instead of letting you switch between the cameras, the extra sensor is simply there for gathering data for the wide-aperture mode. I’ll save my full thoughts for the final review, but it seems an OK camera. Pictures in good light are fine, but things feel very artificial at night.

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Inside there’s a mid-range Kirin 659 CPU and 4GB of RAM powering the 7X, plus 64GB of internal storage. I’ve only been using the phone a few days, but it feels fast. There are a few pre-loaded games – none of which seem optimised for the wide display, oddly – and they all play fairly well. You’re not going to mistake this for a flagship experience, but it’s perfectly adequate.

There’s a 3340mAh battery that should keep the Honor 7X running all day, but the lack of fast-charging is a sore point. Oh, and Honor is still using Micro USB rather than the now much more common USB-C. There’s also no NFC on this phone, so no chance of using it for mobile payments. 

Like all Honor phones, the software is the same EMUI-skinned flavour of Android that you’ll find on Huawei handsets. However, unlike the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro, it’s stuck on Android Nougat rather than Oreo, and doesn’t have any of the clever AI features. EMUI is far from the greatest Android skin, but it’s a whole lot better than it used to be. There are plenty of customisation options and a good battery-saver mode, but there’s way too much bloatware.

First impressions

The Honor 7X might have some strange design quirks, but on the whole it looks to be a decent smartphone with a very nice display for the price.

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