I’ve been enthusiastic about the Huawei Honor line for a while now.
The Honor 8 wowed me back in 2016. While I eventually moved on to other phones (lots of other phones), the Honor 8 became my daughter’s daily phone and she loved it. Recently, however, it died a rather slow and painful death. Which is fine, because Huawei has moved on to the Honor 7x . Yes, I know. The numbers go down. I found that interesting too. Anyway, we were sent a review unit to try.
The first thing to note is how far the Honor line evolved in just a little over a year. (The 7x was technically released in Q4 of 2017.) You can certainly see that the 7x evolved from the 8. You have .7″ more screen and a really solid body. The glass/plastic of the 8 was slippery. The body of the 7 feels better in the hand. I would argue that it’s the “best feeling” of any budget phone I’ve used this year.
All in all, it’s a refinement of what worked the first time… with one curious mistake
Not Just Any Port in a Storm
The Honor 7x has much the same layout as the 8x and, as most Huawei phones, volume, power, and a snappy fingerprint scanner on the rear. It also boasts dual cameras, no notch on the front, and virtual nav buttons instead of physical ones (which makes for a thinner bezel at the bottom). The good news is they included a headphone jack. The bad news is that it has a MicroUSB port.
Sorry, but once the Honor line went to USB-C, it should have stuck with it. Even considering that this is not a brand new phone, it feels like a huge step backward to go to an older port
They also bafflingly left out an NFC chip. I know they’re hardly the only company to do this on an entry level phone, but it is a bit of an annoyance. NFC is now in most shops, plus it works really well for transferring files to a new phone. Instead, my daughter used Wi-Fi. Now, once she got a good connection it only took 14 minutes, but think how much easier it would have been with NFC
Shoutout to the Speakers
My daughter was extremely impressed by the sound quality on the Honor 7x. It gets loud and stays clear. Coupled with the sharp 1080 HD screen, you’ve got a media powerhouse. No, it’s not 4k. Protip: No one needs a 4k phone. Ever.
With 32 GB of storage plus a MicroSD slot that takes up to a 256 GB card, you can watch videos for hours. Or at least until the 3340 mAh battery gives out. In real-world testing the battery did ok. It wasn’t the best battery but far from the worst and better than the 8. The real issue with the battery is that amazing screen—it guzzles power
Skip If You’re Tired of My EMUI Rant
The Honor 7x originally shipped with Android 7, but thankfully now has Android 8. Sadly, it also has Huawei’s EMUI skin. Android makers need to stop reskinning Android to look like iOS. It’s annoying and insulting to their users. Thankfully, EMUI is lighter this time around, and you can always use a custom launcher, but it offends me. Also offensive is the “value added” (read: bloatware) that most users will waste precious time deleting.
Actual app use was snappy. The teenager is a heavy social media user (shocking, I know) and didn’t feel lag. She had some slight issues app switching in the end, but clearing out the RAM helped.
The Honor line was one of the first with dual cameras and the fact that the twin 16 MP shooters on the 7x disappoint isn’t a bad thing—it shows how much we’ve come to expect. If you’re using to a flagship level camera, you might not love how the camera handles low-light photos. My daughter enjoyed the “moving capture” setting (ie make your own GIF). Other reviewers have had issues with the camera and action shots, but not the daughter.
The front-facing camera is on portrait (“bokeh”) mode by default. Thankfully, you can shut it off. My daughter loves the setting and I hate it. Hate it so much.
Cost and Summary
With a list price of $200, I would lean away from the Honor 7x for being a bit less than I would want for a bit more than I want to pay. The older port and the lack of NFC make this not as appealing to more of a power user. Oh, and don’t forget that while unlocked it will not work on Verizon or Sprint. However, it does regularly go on sale for $180 or lower. (Like all summer, which is why I was sent it to review. Oops). At those prices, I’m a bit more game. Yes, $20 does make that much of a difference.
The daughter personally feels that the 7x has the sleek look and great experience she has gotten used to from Huawei, and they’ve earned her brand loyalty. While we had to send the 7x back, it’s one of the phones she is considering spending her own hard-earned money on.
That’s some high praise.
Note: We were lent a 7x for review purposes. It was returned, but not before we shared a bond that neither it nor I will ever forget. Well, not until it gets formatted.