Huawei's Honor 4X
Phone strikes right balance between price, size and specs
Ratings BreakdownEditor's Rating:
- Value for money:
Camera: 13 megapixel
Memory: 8GB Storage
OS: Android 4.4
The Honor 4X has taken the phablet concept and run away with it, with an eye on the budget conscious.
FYI, the Honor is a Huawei brand meant exclusively to be sold via online sites. In the UAE, that honour (no pun intended) falls to Souq.com, also the local home of the Honor flagship makes, the Honor 6 and 6 Plus. The low-price online sales strategy has been very successful for Honor and the 4X seems set to continue the success story.
There’s a reason Huawei has risen to become the fourth largest phone manufacture in the world, and fast catching up with the leaders. It’s the Chinese giant’s ability to churn out top quality phones for much lower price points than the other top dogs.
The Honor 4X build is simple without feeling cheap. Though not the metal surround we have come to expect from premium phones, the plastic back with the textured surface has a quality feel to it.
The facade is pretty standard with charging port at the bottom, headphone jack at the top and power and volume rockers on the right. Capacitive navigation keys take pride of place at the bottom. Oddly, there’s also a secondary microphone at the top edge. There’s no Corning Gorilla Glass but Honor 4X comes with a factory-supplied screen protector.
The Honor 4X back panel is removable, revealing the dual SIM and SD cards slots. You also catch sight of the large, albeit non-removable, 3000mAh battery-more on that later.
At the rear is the 13MP camera with single LED flash, with the Honor brand proudly engraved beneath.
The Honor 4X supports not one, but two 4G LTE microSIM cards, a rarity as most dual SIM phones will usually contain a 4G/3G combination SIM card configuration. Internal storage is at a meagre 8GB, so you are probably going to need to expand that, with the Honor 4X supporting up to 32GB MicroSD.
The Honor 4X runs on Android 4.4.2 KitKat. Honor has however promised regular software updates for the 4X, and users should expect to see Lollipop 5.0 on their devices soon.
The screen has resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, HD yes, but not the Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) configurations we have come to love. The pixels are stretched across a 5.5” screen, which means resolution is lower still. “Lower” is the operative word though, as a 1280x720 HD resolution is nothing to sneeze at. Colours are bright and crisp with text and images are vibrant enough for day to day operations.
The 5.5” screen size is a delight, especially when I’m watching reruns of Orange is the New Black during my lunch break (don’t judge), with my IPhone 6 looking puny by comparison.
EMUI is Huawei's own OS, sitting on top of your vanilla Android. The company has done quite some customisation of the OS, so EMUI deserves its own sub heading, I reckon.
Among the standouts in EMUI’s bevy of tricks are motion and gestures features. You can turn on features like Double touch which allows you to turn your phone on by double tapping on the screen. You can also to launch apps by drawing letter-for instance M for music or C for camera from a locked screen.
You can, no, you should, enable Touch Disable mode, which prevents those mistaken operations being carried on your phone when it’s in the pocket or bag-you know like inadvertently calling the guy you owe that overdue soft loan. Also check out One Hand UI which shifts the dialler pad and keyboard to one side of the screen for easier access and typing.
The Honor 4X comes with a lot of native apps so Google apps have been conveniently compartmentalised in their own little folder and so have the utility tools such as notepad, flashlight, recorder, mirror and more.
Huawei invites you to help improve on its offering by allowing the phone to collect data on phone usage so that they can improve on the user experience. Mind you this service is turned on by default, so make sure you turn the feature off if you do not wish to participate.
EMUI doesn’t feel like bloatware, which cannot be said for some other phone makers who have attempted to “improve” on Android; rather it feels like a good butler service. There when you need it, out of sight when you don’t.
The Honor 4X is a powerful phone, no doubt about it. Start with the impressive 64-bit Kirin 620 octa-core 64-bit processor, add 2GB RAM and top it all off with a Mali-450 GPU. Mid-level online gaming, or video streaming should pose no challenge for the Honor 4X.
The battery deserves special mention here. At 3000mAh, this is a beast of a battery, easily accommodating two days of more than average usage-even longer if you activate its power-saving modes. For the first time in a long time, I did not have to plug in a phone each and every evening.
The Honor 4X boasts two powerful cameras, a 13MP primary and a 5MP front. These are enhanced with some cool features, including the All Focus mode, which lets you change the focal point after the photo has been taken.
Other camera enhancements include With Ultra snapshot for those fleeting moments, off-screen photo mode and map view.
There are a lot of smaller-sized smartphones with the same price* tag and a lot of phablets but a lot pricier. The Honor 4X clearly aims to strike that balance between size and affordability.
The Honor 4X offers a large screen, humongous battery and powerful specs for a budget price. The OS is outdated, at least for now, and storage leaves a lot to be desired, but on the whole the Honor 4X is a definite recommended buy.
*Disclaimer: the phone is yet to launch in the UAE at the time of writing this review; I’m using prices for other international markets where the phone is already available for reference.