Smartphones boasting “dual-camera” technology gained momentum last year, although manufacturers stuck to their strategy by keeping prices high. This year, however, we will likely see more smartphones with a dual-camera available at more affordable pricing. Towards the end of the year, we saw the arrival of the Coolpad Cool 1 with dual rear cameras at just Rs 13,999.
Now Huawei’s e-brand Honor has announced its highly anticipated Honor 6X at CES 2017, perhaps making it one of the most affordable smartphone having dual rear cameras. I’ve had the opportunity to take a closer look at the Honor 6X ahead of the global launch, and here’s my first impression. For now, the phone is priced at $250, though an India price and launch has not yet been confirmed.
At first glance, the Honor 6X looks like a solid phone, mimicking the Mate 9 and Mate 8 in terms of design. You get the same metal body and chamfered edges, but on a closer look and there are major changes. It isn’t entirely made of metal, though – with plastic caps at the top and bottom on the back and glass on the front.
The Honor 6X weighs 162 grams, is 8.2mm thick, and quite slim bezels above and below the 5.5-inch screen, meaning it is easy to use one-handed. Honor puts the power button next to the the volume rocker on the phone’s right side. On the other side, is a tray that holds SIM card and microSD card. Above the display are the earpiece, proximity sensor, front facing camera and ambient light sensor. There’s a capacitive home key sitting below the display, and micro-USB and a single speaker on the bottom.
Honor 6X is one of the most good looking smartphones I have seen so far. Budget phones usually lack elegance and clean design, but I was surprised to see the Honor 6X. Flipping the phone over reveals the dual-camera setup that obviously makes a huge difference when compared to the devices such as the Moto G4 Plus, Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and Lenovo K6 Note.
The dual cameras – one sensor 12MP colour, the other a 2MP sensor used for depth sensing – are stacked vertically in a single protruding design. The rear also houses the circular fingerprint scanner. I really like the placement of a fingerprint scanner on the back.
I’m not surprised to see that Honor has stuck with a 5.5-inch Full HD display for the 6X. It might be an impressive panel, though I found the display to be slightly dull and less vibrant outdoors. That’s not say the screen is bad, as texts standout on the 5.5-inch Full HD display. The Honor 6X handles colours well and viewing angles are fantastic too.
Hardware, software and battery
Under the hood, this Huawei-made smartphone houses the company’s home-grown processor, the Kirin 655. Paired with that is either 3GB/4GB of RAM, 32GB/64GB of storage with a microSD card slot with support up to 128GB. After using the Honor 6X for a few minutes I didn’t see any slowdown , particularly if the apps were already running in the background. You can expect a smooth performance at all times.
The Honor 6X comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, with the company’s EMUI 4.0 skin over the top. The interface is close to Android, but it has been tweaked heavily. It takes sometime to getting used to the user interface, but I’m highly impressed by Huawei’s unique take on Google’s Android operating system. I also appreciate that the phone comes with no bloatware, or preloaded apps from the third-party developers.
For me, the phone’s battery is very critical. I’m okay if I get less RAM or ROM, but I certainly can’t compromise on the battery front. A 3400-mAh pack should keep the Honor 6X running through the day. I was impressed when I reviewed the Honor 5X, and I’m expecting similar results from the Honor 6X.
The Honor 6X’s highlighted feature is a 12-megapixel camera on the phone’s back with f/2.2 lens, while the other secondary 2-megapixel rear camera handles depth of field and background blur. This is unlike the dual 12MP f/2.2 setup on the Huawei P9 and Honor 8. That’s a trade-off Honor has made to keep the cost of the phone down. Since the lighting conditions at the demo area weren’t ideal, I couldn’t test the phone’s camera the way I wanted to be. The front camera is 8-megapixels.
There’s a lot to explore about the Honor 6X, especially its rear cameras in real life situations. I’m curious to see whether it will be able to challenge the Honor 8 in the camera department, or any other smartphone with the dual-camera setup. Beyond that, I’m looking forward to spend more time with the Honor 6X to see whether it will be able to match other smartphones in the battery department.
For now, Honor 6X seems to be a novel attempt to make affordable dual rear camera smartphones a reality. The company has so far not announced when they will going to bring the Honor 6X to India, but it might be expected to launch later this month, well below Rs 15,000.