At its average asking price, the Honor Pad X9 looks great, feels great, and performs a little better than expected in its price bracket. It’s a solid general-use tablet with a fast screen that’s suitable for most applications, but its pushy first-party apps could scare off inexperienced tablet users.
- Fast 120Hz screen
- Great minimalist design
- Solid performance
- Not the sharpest display
- Pushy bloatware
- Speakers distort at higher volumes
- A super-fluid displayA 120Hz refresh rate helps animations like scrolling and appear smoother, making the user experience feel faster and more fluid.
- Landscape selfie cameraA selfie camera positioned on the long side of the device lets you carry out video calls in a more natural position.
- Surround sound speakersLarge tweeters on three sides of the device help to pump out loud, powerful audio.
Things are starting to heat up in the budget tablet space, and the Honor Pad X9 is the latest to enter the field. At under £180, this slab ups the ante by packing a 120Hz screen, helping it feel faster than benchmarks would otherwise suggest.
Focusing on sleek looks, there’s a lot to like in this modern portable computer if you’re after a decent brand without the high cost. It’s not going to compete with the average iPad or a mid-range Android from Samsung or OnePlus, or even the versatile Pixel Tablet with its included speaker dock, but it’ll also only set you back a fraction of the cost.
If you’re looking for a low-cost tablet to take the edge off your phone for couch-bound web surfing, the fast and fluid screen of the Honor Pad X9 could make a lot of sense. It forgoes a few bells and whistles to avoid dragging the price up without good reason, but it doesn’t skimp out on the design details that help it feel premium when out and about.
There are tablets out there with more raw power for less money, like the step up from the Teclast T40S, but it’s also a clear example of making certain sacrifices to hit a desired price point, with the emerging brand typically offering more bang for the buck. If you know how to strike a perfect balance for your lifestyle, the Honor Pad X9 could be one to consider.
Design and screen
- 2000×1200 11.5” display
- Minimalist design
At a glance, the Honor Pad X9 looks like a premium tablet. At least from initial impressions. It’s a gorgeously smooth and refined slab, with little in the way of egregious branding on the back, or any two-tone design philosophy. Instead, it keeps things simple, with a uniform grey rear with silver Honor lettering in a clear, sleek font. It looks the part.
Around the machined edges, you’ll find a slew of small speaker holes that play a large part in the tablet’s audio chops. More on those in a bit. A volume rocker and the power button are found on the longest edge above the wisely positioned front-facing camera, ensuring they won’t get in the way when you’re grasping the device for landscape gameplay or movie watching.
In portrait, you’ll want to hold it the opposite way to keep them out of the way at the top – though you will cup the tweeters in such an orientation, distorting the audio in a way that won’t be too detrimental to most of what you’ll want to experience in that position. It’s just something to keep in mind.
At 499 grams, it’s a little on the heavy side, but fatigue was never an issue. Again, it’s just something to think about if you’re giving this to kids, the elderly, or anyone with decreased dexterity.
When you’re viewing content, that’s all coming from the 11.5-inch 2000 x 1200 display. That’s FHD+ where it counts. Equalling a 16:10 aspect ratio, you’re looking at the sweet spot between prime content consumption and simple productivity. Black bars are kept to a minimum – but not altogether absent – and the leftover pixels give you a little extra wiggle room for side-by-side apps in landscape view, or news articles, YouTube shorts, and TikTok zaniness.
The lack of an anti-glare coating means it’s up to the tablet’s average brightness to keep outdoor viewing viable, which can be a struggle even for expensive devices and ultimately a quick way to drain charge. A reader mode toggle is available, but don’t expect it to rival something like a Kindle.
The screen isn’t the crispiest you’ll find at this size, with app icons and text not the sharpest, but the clean logos and UI elements still give it an air of punching above its weight. And if none of that bothers you, you can enable dynamic resolution and refresh rate options to potentially get more out of the battery.
Performance and software
- Pushy setup
- 4GB memory
- Google Services support
The main selling point here is that the Honor Pad X9 packs a 120Hz display. A rare find for the price. When backed up with a chip that can handle it reliably, you’re looking at a tablet that feels more expensive than it really is.
With 4GB of memory paired to its Snapdragon 685 chipset, general performance sings. Websites are smooth once all the detrimental ads have loaded in, and multi-tasking with side-by-side apps shouldn’t pose a problem. It’s just a real shame you can’t even use the typical down swipe to search for apps without Honor trying to force its own search alternative on you.
Gaming is surprisingly solid. It could handle Diablo at medium settings with a 30fps cap, and the High preset barely changed performance, but higher resolutions and frame caps were locked by the game due to the underpowered processor.
Don’t expect a premium gaming experience here unless you’re streaming through services like Xbox Game Pass, but modern 3D titles will run at lower settings, and simple social games should fly just fine.
In our usual benchmarking suite, the Honor Pad X9 confidently beat out other tablets within its low-end price range like the Blackview Tab 12 Pro and Teclast T40S. It couldn’t hold a candle to the more mid-range Amazon Fire Max 11 in terms of raw performance, but Amazon’s effort would look sluggish in a simple side-by-side comparison because of its 60Hz panel, which would also leave competitive performance on the table in competitive games like Arena of Valor.
If you’re not after a competitive in-game edge and just something for light content consumption, this one’s a keeper. It’s easy on the eyes, and the six speakers can easily fill a large room with sound. It’ll just be hard on your ears at anything above 20% volume, with details being blown out and the attempted bass hurting performance.
No 3.5mm headphone jack or microSD expansion will be disappointing for some to hear, but the included 128GB of storage should be more than enough for most. Just focus on filling it with videos for offline viewing rather than mediocre shots from its cameras.
For all the ups, however, there are downs. Things take a turn for the worse when digging into the tablet’s included software and how it handles initial setup. It tries time and again to suggest you need to sign up for an Honor account. You don’t. You’re free to if you really want to make use of the included own-brand apps, but it’s really not necessary. Your usual Google account is all you need.
You’ll find enough of the apparent essentials pre-installed like Netflix, Facebook, and all the usual Google apps, but you’ll also find holiday booking apps, WPS Office, and simple (but not stock) apps for things like calculators and calendars.
Other than a widget for Honor’s YO-YO service on the home screen, there isn’t an egregious amount of bloat built into the Honor Pad X9. It’s just far from a stock experience, and a bit too pushy with its data collection endeavours if you’re particularly sensitive to that.
- 5MP front-facing landscape camera
- 5MP rear camera
- No flash
The Honor Pad X9 follows in the footsteps of most other tablets in its price range, packing a 5MP rear shooter. These things are never really designed to capture decent images in anything but bright sunlight in the rarest of moments, but they can work well enough for impromptu video. The best camera is the one in your hands, after all.
In practice, the idea holds true. The 5MP is capable of 1080p video for recording whatever the kids manage to get up to during a garden party. When taking stills, indoor shots are an exercise in disappointment, with auto-focus being slow, any slight motion blurring out, and there ultimately being nowhere near enough light for any detail to shine through at 4pm on a cloudy summer’s day.
The AI tomfoolery it boasts on the back will attempt to boost things like colour for that HDR pop, but the results aren’t worth thinking about. With no flash to speak of, don’t even think about expecting this to capture a moment when the sun sets.
The front camera tells a similar story. Packing most of the same specs, you’ll get clear enough video calls out of this one. Just don’t expect professional selfie shots for your profile picture, or any video recordings worth publishing to anything but your personal social media accounts. The built-in microphone is sensitive enough to both in and out of the house, too.
With the speakers being more than loud enough to hear across the garden, involving a distant family member in a social gathering is plausible with this one. As the front camera is on the long side of the device, you’ll be able to squeeze more people into the frame on both ends of a call. There’s the increasingly popular document scanning feature present as well, so you’ll be able to whittle down your correspondence tasks in a pinch.
- 7250mAh Li-Po battery
- 10W charging
Rewatching an hour-long episode of Better Call Saul on Netflix saw the Honor Pad X9 drop just 6% in a dimly-lit room, suggesting an above-average battery life on this one.
Things will fluctuate with higher (or lower) brightness levels and volumes, but you’ll easily be able to binge a limited series on a full charge without worry. Using the included 10W charger, you’ll manage around 16% on a 30 minute boost, though a full charge will take just shy of 5 hours.
When it comes to gaming, I chose to have the Honor Pad X9 facilitate my current Diablo binge by grinding levels in Diablo Immortal for 30 minutes immediately after the Netflix test. This was running on the medium preset/resolution at the 30fps cap.
Though the Adreno chip isn’t optimized for the game, it put up an adequate effort in the fast-paced action RPG, losing 8% of its remaining charge in that half an hour. That’s on top of downloading some of the resources the game would need a little later in the story, which could have put some extra strain on the parts inside.
Should you buy it?
You want a premium tablet at a low price: So long as you don’t need to deal with extensive professional workloads, you’ll get your odd jobs done with this one.
You want a more powerful tablet and have a flexible budget: With Amazon’s higher-end Fire Max 11 costing around 33% more, saving up to splash out could make sense in the long term.
Though it’s no serious workhorse or powerful, portable gaming machine, the Honor Tab X9 represents one of the better value budget tablets out there, with the 120Hz display keeping general useability feeling fast and fluid compared to the competition.
Already discounted to an even more recommendable price, all it’s really missing is a decent first-party keyboard or pen accessory. Without one, it limits itself to the couch as a family entertainment tab as opposed to a potential back-to-school dream machine. If that’s important to you, maybe consider the slightly pricier Amazon Fire Max 11 or OnePlus Pad.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry-standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product.
Used as a main device for a week
Benchmarked with industry-standard tools
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Yes, you’ll get a 10W charger in the box with the Honor Pad X9.
The Honor Pad X9 boasts an 11.5-inch 120Hz display.