• February 26, 2024

If you’re on the hunt for a smartphone to accompany you not only through 2024 but beyond, consider checking out the new HONOR X9b 5G.

The newly launched midranger offers several updates from its predecessor, the HONOR X9a, which was launched in the same month last year. 

For one, 2024’s boosted edition offers supreme durability with its Ultra-Bounce Anti-Drop Display. There’s also a new vibrant colorway—Sunrise Orange—that adds more flair to the already stylish handset. And let’s not forget: it’s got a bigger-capacity battery that promises days of uninterrupted usage.

Speed.ph took the HONOR X9b 5G for a spin to show you why (or why not) this fresh device deserves to be your new digital companion this year.

Design & construction

With just one look, it’s easy to tell that the X9b’s design is one of the device’s main attractions.  

Like its predecessor, the X9b 5G has a big circular camera module at the back, but this time it’s made to look even better with a gold ring embellishing the setup. The module’s dark interface creates a striking stylistic contrast to the cover of our Sunrise Orange review unit. 

Apart from the eye-catching design, this particular variant sports a cover made out of vegan leather, which makes it feel nice to hold. Despite being lightweight at just 185g, this device, which measures 163.6 x 75.5 x 7.98mm, feels solid and sturdy.

But the X9b’s toughness goes beyond what’s visible, especially for those who couldn’t help but drop their phones every now and then. The handset’s screen is engineered with an Ultra-Bounce Anti-Drop Display tech that offers 360-degree protection for the screen. Not only that, the device has a new cushioning material that can absorb up to 1.2 times the impact of a drop.

Take it from the drop test we did on the device as part of our review. As seen in the video above, we dropped the phone on both tiled and rough cement floors multiple times, yet the phone remained fully intact.

HONOR was definitely serious when it said that the X9b 5G is hard to break, and it is for the same reason that the device earned a five-star overall drop-resistant certification from SGS Switzerland. But here’s the real talk: while this phone is a tank, we can’t guarantee it’ll shrug off every impact every time.

Display & multimedia

In addition to durability, the HONOR X9b 5G has a curved 6.78-inch AMOLED screen that delivers premium picture quality for your viewing pleasure.

The 1200 x 2652px display is backed with a 1.5K resolution and 120Hz refresh rate that enable you to see visuals smoothly with crisp details, vivid colors, and perfect blacks. The same goes when the phone is used under harsh sunlight, thanks to its 1200nits brightness.

Better yet, this display boasts all-around care for your eyes thanks to features such as Dynamic Dimming technology, 1920Hz PWM dimming, and low blue light display.

Binge-watching shows and streaming music for hours on end is pleasant with the X9b’s single down-firing speaker. For an even better audio experience, connect the phone to a Bluetooth speaker or wireless earbuds.

Camera

Another feature that the HONOR X9b prides itself in is its 108MP main camera, which is almost twice the size of its predecessor’s 64MP main shooter.

This massive camera lens produces images that are bright and vibrant with the help of its 5MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro lenses. Details remain sharp even when the photos are cropped and enlarged or when you’re shooting with the camera’s 3x lossless zoom.

In normal camera settings, photos turn out bright no matter the scenario—daytime, nighttime, indoor, or outdoor. Daytime and outdoor photos are more vibrant, though; indoor and nighttime shots tend to look a bit dull. To remedy that, you can use night mode to enhance colors a bit and reduce noise.

Meanwhile, the portrait mode generates photos with good foreground-background separation. 

The X9b’s 16MP selfie shooter is also decent, producing photos that are well-detailed and bright. It captures images in their closest state without the filter that other budget smartphones would have in their front cameras.

And while most of the features of the X9b’s camera are good enough, its shutter has a considerable need for improvement. Because of the camera’s slow shutter speed, taking photos can take a few seconds longer than usual, especially in night mode. 

Check out the photos we captured using HONOR X9b’s camera below.

In addition to taking vivid photos, the HONOR X9b’s camera can capture good videos with a resolution of 1080p @ 30fps. The quality remains the same when using the phone’s multi-video feature that enables you to record clips using the front and back cameras at the same time.

Performance

Under the hood, the X9b is packed with a 4nm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset that delivers speedy and smooth performance when playing graphics-intensive games like Asphalt Legends to more casual ones like Subway Surfer

The device’s speed and responsiveness remain fast despite other apps running in the background, thanks to its robust processor paired with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.  

Binge-watching Netflix shows, installing apps, and doing everyday tasks like scrolling through social media and chatting through messaging apps are likewise seamless. And with the device’s RAM Turbo feature, you can increase your X9b’s virtual RAM to 20GB.

Enhancing the performance further is the smartphone’s MagicOS 7.2 which offers software optimization in addition to a clean and user-friendly interface that’s a delight to use.

Battery and charging

Another impressive feature of the HONOR X9b 5G is its large 58000mAh Li-Po battery, which the brand says can run for up to three days with 19 hours of video playback and 12 hours of playing online games.

In our tests, the phone still had 55% battery left after two and a half days. This was after we had it charged up to 100% and used it to watch episodes of our fave series and play mobile games in the last 48 hours.

It’s not just the battery that’s interesting, though, but the device’s fast charging capabilities as well. With the use of HONOR’s SuperCharge adapter, we were able to juice up the X9b 5G from 63% to full in about 15 minutes.

In addition, HONOR guarantees X9b 5G owners that the battery’s health will stay above 80% after three years of use or 1,000 charging and discharging cycles.

Speed says 

Every new year brings new challenges and opportunities, and if you’re looking for a smartphone to help you ace the tests of everyday life, you can bet on the HONOR X9b 5G.

This stylish handset is tough enough to withstand multiple falls that are common as one goes through their tasks, and is guaranteed to run for more than 24 hours on a full charge using the HONOR SuperCharge adapter.

Although the camera may need some improvement, particularly on its shutter speed, the smartphone is a good daily driver for its 6.7-inch AMOLED screen and smooth and fast performance.

All these and more prove that the HONOR X9b is a clear display of how pro-grade toughness meets slick performance. It’s definitely worth considering, especially with its competitive price of P16,999.

Want to get yourself one? You can pre-order the HONOR X9b 5G from January 12 to 19 (Shopee, Lazada, or TikTok Shop) and get a free HONOR Gift Box and HONOR Choice X5 Earbuds worth P4,000.

Words and photos Justine Ruth D. Punzalan

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