Honor X9b review

Tough nut to crack

₹ 25,999

Honor is not an unfamiliar name to Indians, but in this second incarnation, the brand is taking some rather quick strides to make it count in the cutthroat smartphone market that evolves as fast as some recent viruses. We are as puzzled as you might be about the somewhat bland name of this device, considering that the X9b’s almost 99 percent identical twin is called the Magic Lite in global markets. Well, let’s leave the naming controversies to the Indian forest department and dive into what we are significantly better at.

Design and build

The first thought that comes to your mind when you see the X9b is… “I have seen this before”, especially if you are a reviewer or a crazy smartphone aficionado. More so, if you happen to see the Sunrise Orange version, finished in vegan leather. While Realme’s colours are called Mars Orange and Cosmic Black, Honor calls these Sunrise Orange and Midnight Black, shedding all hints of an intergalactic connection. The ring-shaped camera placement also looks similar to the Narzo devices, barring the luxury watch-inspired embellishments around the camera housing, which could be considered original since it’s not in stadium shape.

The phone is light and slim with curved edges and looks quite good with a textured matte back for the Midnight Black version we received. The device is quite comfortable for single-hand operation. The phone weighs 185 grams and is 7.9mm thick.

The X9b’s claim to fame is its five-star rated ‘drop-resistance’ or if we are allowed to correct the terminology, shatter-resistance on all fronts when dropped from up to 1.5 metres. The certification comes from SGS Switzerland. This has been achieved with the addition of a shock-absorbing material between the structural layers. The screen features a three-layer protective structure, which is claimed to resist damage when dropped on surfaces as hard as marble. Its adhesive sealing makes it IP53-level dust-proof and water-spray-resistant.


The phone uses a 6.78-inch 1.5K (1200 x 2652 pixels) curved AMOLED display offering 429 ppi pixel density, 1200 nits of peak brightness and 120 HJz variable refresh rate. The display is capable of reproducing 100 percent DCI-P3 colour gamut. With 1920 Hz PWM dimming and circadian night display, the screen brings some eye-care technologies to the device. We found the display bright enough for daily tasks with a reasonably smooth touch response. There are ample controls for display parameters including colour mode and colour temperature, refresh rate, and eye comfort. The screen houses an in-display fingerprint scanner along with a central punch-hole camera that supports face recognition and unlock, which, worked flawlessly during our loan period.


The Honor X9b uses a triple camera system at the rear with a 108MP main camera, a 5MP wide-angle camera and a 2MP macro snapper, complemented by a 16MP front camera. The rear camera can record 4K (3840 x 2160) videos at up to 60 fps. The main camera reproduces good images under proper lighting if you ignore the over-saturated colours. However, in bright light, we found the dynamic range to be extremely low with blown-out highlights in most images and the images lacking contrast. The wide-angle camera had extreme levels of distortion even close to the centre and under low light, the images turned quite noisy. We have never been fans of the 2MP macro cameras that don’t serve any practical purpose, and this doesn’t change that perspective.

Other features

Powered by the dated Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen1 octa-core chipset, the device comes with 8GB LPDDR4X RAM, which can be expanded by another 8GB with RAM Turbo or what we generally call virtual RAM expansion. The device comes with 256GB UFS3.1 internal memory and houses a 5800 mAh battery supporting charging up to 35W. You won’t find a charger in the box, but Honor will ship a 30W adapter free of cost as an introductory offer, post which you will have to purchase it separately. Honor claims a three-year life for the battery.

The phone runs on MagicOS 7.2 based on Android 13, which provides a smooth scrolling experience and touch response. The UI is cleaner than most phones at this price, with minimum bloatware. Those who want these non-standard apps can install them via the Honor App Market.


The Honor X9b performed remarkably well for an under-30k device. It could handle resource-intensive games with graphics set to high, though not as smooth as with medium settings. The battery lasts for a day and a half with moderate use and the supplied charger tops it up in about two hours.

Sound quality is quite underwhelming with a mono speaker system and audio lacking any depth. There are a few nifty and functional features like noise cancellation during video recording, which you will find helpful for vlogging, but we wish the camera performance was equally good.


The sleek and lightweight design, combined with the claimed damage protection against accidental drops make the Honor X9b appealing to many users. The clean UI further serves to enhance this appeal. The device can even handle games with some decent level of graphics and battery life is quite impressive too. However, the phone fails in the all-important camera performance front, while the dated OS could also be another damper. And unlike buyers of premium phones with wireless charging, the customers in this segment would expect a charger inside the box. There are more capable phones in this range that take care of these crucial elements.

Stuff Says

This phone relies too much on its impact cushioning for success but fails in other crucial features.
Good stuff
Bad stuff
  1. Slim and lightweight design

  1. Clean UI

  1. Good display

  1. Excellent battery life

  1. Disappointing cameras

  1. No charger in the box

  1. Underwhelming audio

Display: 6.78-inch Curved Amoled
Refresh Rate: 120Hz
Rear Camera: 108?MP (Main), 5MP (Wide Angle), 2?MP (Macro)
Front Camera: 16MP
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen1
RAM: 8GB + 8GB Virtual RAM
Battery: 5800?mAh
OS + UI: Android T 13 | Magic OS 7.2
Storage: 256 GB
Video: Maximum 3840x2160 pixels
Thickness: 7.98mm
Weight: 185g