• June 25, 2024

True to the fast-paced nature of mobile technology, last year’s flagship phone-exclusive features are now making their way to midrange devices.

Take the new HONOR X8a for example. At an affordable price, this phone offers reliable and all-around performance with some “eXtra upgrades” that include a 100MP triple camera system and a large edgeless display.

We took the new HONOR X8a for a spin and see if it lives up to the hype.

Design & construction

The HONOR X8a has a clean, flat-edge form factor paired with a matte, glittery rear finish. The back panel features the rear camera system on a square, protruded module and an unobtrusive HONOR branding. These give the phone a clean and premium look. We got the Midnight Black colorway for our review unit and we love its all-business, no-frills design. The phone is also available in Titanium Silver and Cyan Lake.

Flip to the front and you’ll see the huge display flanked by the slim top and side bezels. This allows the phone to stay compact even with the large screen. A punch hole, which houses the selfie camera, is located at the top-center part of the screen.

At the bottom is the USB-C port, but there’s no headphone jack for wired audio connection. The left side features the SIM card tray (no microSD slot here, sorry!), while the right houses the volume rocker and lock button, which also doubles as the fingerprint sensor.

Overall, the phone feels solid and sturdy. It’s also easy to hold and navigate even for people with small hands. The buttons are easy to reach and use.

Display & multimedia

As mentioned, the HONOR X8a has a huge display. It uses an IPS panel with a 90Hz refresh rate and Full HD+ 2388 x 1080 resolution. Overall, the images appear vibrant and detailed (but of course not as vivid as when they appear on an AMOLED screen). Text looks crisp, plus the screen remains bright and readable under bright conditions.

This phone only has a single down-firing speaker, which is adequate for the most part but not notable. Without the audio jack, you need to use a wireless or USB-C connection if you want to try other output devices.

Cameras

The HONOR X8a sports a triple rear setup: a 100MP main shooter, a 5MP ultrawide lens, and a 2MP depth sensor. A 16MP front camera is available for selfies.

The 100MP lens ensures that the images captured have enough details, especially under good lighting conditions. One thing we’ve noticed is that the camera doesn’t puff up the color by much. We’ve tried other competing phones that produce way more vibrant photos, typically ready for uploading with zero to minimal editing. That said, we actually liked that there’s not a lot of post-processing going on here as the images appear more natural and are easier to apply filters to.

The ultra-wide, macro, and zoomed-in shots are a mixed bag. Great lighting conditions and steady hands are of utmost importance if you want to get good results. The Portrait mode is actually good, offering accurate depth of field.

The camera’s performance in low light is okay. You’ll notice the quality suffers just a bit, but the night mode function helps improve these. 

Here are some sample photos that were taken using the HONOR X8a:

Performance

The performance of the HONOR X8a is good thanks to the Helio G88 processor paired with a Mali-G52 GPU. Our review unit has 8GB RAM (there’s also a 6GB RAM variant) and 128GB internal storage.

Basic smartphone tasks along with social media and web browsing are generally hitch-free. Playing Rise of Kingdoms and Asphalt 8 was also a smooth experience overall. Go for the lowest graphics settings when running games like Call of Duty: Mobile and Genshin Impact for a better experience.

The 4500mAh battery is one of the pros of the HONOR X8a. This phone lasted more than a day of use (basic tasks with data and/or Wi-Fi always on) before needing to be charged again. With 22.5W SuperCharge, it takes around 30 minutes to go from zero to 50 percent.

Speed says

The price for HONOR X8a starts at P10,990 (base model with 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM). It is available in any HONOR kiosk and partner stores and HONOR’s official online stores on Lazada, Shoppee, and TikTok.

With a sub-P15,000 price tag, the HONOR X8a is one of the competitive midrange smartphones today. Its biggest selling features are its 100MP triple camera system, big 4500mAh battery, and sleek design. An AMOLED screen can elevate the experience further, but the current display is good enough for basic use.

Words & photos Pat Calica

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