Well, here is a surprise – amid the US debacle Huawei somehow managed to launch a new phone with all Google services present and working. We are talking about the Honor 9X – a very anticipated sequel to the bestselling Honor 8X – a mid-ranger that shipped in 15 million units to date.
The Honor 9X seems like a meaningful upgrade over the 8X – there is a larger and notch-free screen, a new triple-camera on the back, a beefier battery, and the captivating glass design stays for another generation.
The Honor 9X seems to lack a chipset boost, in fact – it uses the older Kirin 710 instead of the more current Kirin 810 found in the Honor 8X. But don’t let the numbers fool you – it is still one very decent SoC and should do just fine within the Honor 9X.
Taking a closer look at the Honor 9X, we found that it is identical to the popular Huawei P Smart Z. The 9X even bears the same model number – STL-LX1. It appears that Huawei has swapped the camera on the back and is selling it as a new device under the Honor brand. And this might be the answer how the Honor 9X got its certification from Google – it auto reports itself as the P Smart Z, which was released before the US ban on Huawei.
Huawei has a habit of launching the same device under different names for various marketing reasons. So, selling a slightly modified version of P Smart Z as Honor 9X is a familiar approach. The only inconvenience here is that all Google apps will recognize this device as P Smart Z but this is hardly a huge issue.
Honor 9X specs
- Body: Front and rear glass, aluminum frame, 206g.
- Display: 6.59″ LTPS IPS LCD, 1,080 x 2,340px, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 391ppi.
- Rear camera: Primary – 48MP, 27mm, f/1.8; PDAF; Ultrawide – 8MP, 13mm, f/2.4; Depth sensor – 2MP. Video recording up to 1080p@60fps.
- Front camera: Motorized pop-up with 16MP, f/2.2; fixed focus lens.
- OS/Software: Android 9 Pie, EMUI 9.1.
- Chipset: Kirin 710F: octa-core CPU (4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53); Mali-G51 MP4 GPU.
- Memory: 4/6GB of RAM; 64/128GB storage; microSD card slot (hybrid).
- Battery: 4,000mAh, 5V/2A charging
- Connectivity: Dual SIM; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0; NFC; USB-C, 3.5mm jack.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (rear-mounted).
Slightly different Honor 9X and 9X Pro models exist in China – those are sold there with the Kirin 810 chips and side-mounted fingerprint scanners. The international 9X model we see here has the same camera arrangement as the Chinese 9X Pro. The Chinese Honor 9X lacks an ultrawide shooter.
Despite this case of confused identity, the Honor 9X looks very promising, so let’s see what’s inside the box!
Unboxing the Honor 9X
The Honor 9X comes in a regular-sized paper box and its retail bundle contains the basics – a 10W charger, a USB-C cable, and a transparent silicone case.
Our Honor 9X also has a factory-applied screen protector and we suspect most, if not all, Honor 9X phones should come with one, too.