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Honor X9b first look: AI in UI, cameras, and even control centre

Honor X9b is a mid-range smartphone with the words 'AI' written all over it. How much of that AI actually works? Let's find out.

Edited By: Manik Berry

Published: Feb 12, 2024, 11:19 AM IST

Honor X9b back
Honor X9b back

Story Highlights

  • The Honor X9b is Honor's latest mid-range smarphone in the Indian market.
  • The phone has AI cameras, AI suggestions on home screen, control center, and other spaces.
  • It is packing Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and 8GB + 8GB RAM with Honor RAM Turbo

The Honor X9b is the company’s latest phone in the Indian market. It is a mid-range smartphone with the words ‘AI’ written all over it. How much of that AI actually works? We’ll find that during the full testing, but for now, let me share our quick first impressions and unboxing experience.

But before we get to the unboxing, here’s what’s special about this phone. Honor X series devices are some of their most feature-packed mid-rangers. From experimenting with screen sizes to giving a pop-up camera in the X10, the X-series has always come up with innovative USPs. Cut to 2024, the latest Honor X9b is an SGS 5-star rated phone, which means it is drop-tested and comes with Honor Ultra-bounce tech to keep the phone intact after a drop.

Honor X9b unboxing and box contents

Right off the bat, this is a fairly standard unboxing experience. While there’s the orange colour on the box, we got the Midnight black variant inside. A smaller box under the phone has a clear case, some paperwork, and a SIM ejector tool.

Then under this small compartment, the box has an empty slot for the power adapter, along with a USB cable, a 3.5mm to USB-C converter, and 3.5mm wired earphones. Now the charger slot is empty because Honor decided to sell the charger separately at no additional cost, which means you can get it if you want.

It also means you’re free to charge the Honor X9b with any other USB-C charger, and in our testing, a 20-watt Apple charger worked fine.

Build and design

Image showing back panel of the Honor X9b

On paper, the X9b is a robust phone, but it is unbelievably light and ergonomic to hold. On paper, this phone is 180 grams, but the weight distribution is on-point, so you can use it for a long time without tiring your arm. This phone is also Switzerland SGS 5-star rated for drop resistance. Honor says that it uses double-strengthened glass at the front, and a patented low-modulus material in the side and corners to achieve this durability

In a nutshell, Honor has put a shock-absorbing cushion on this phone so even if you drop it on a concrete surface, the phone will bounce off of it and minimize the shock.

Display and camerasImage showing the phone's display

Honor X9b has a 1.5k resolution, 120hz display with 1,200nits peak brightness. In real-world usage, this is a bright display with accurate colours and good clarity. While the resolution doesn’t allow you to view 4k or 2k content, the colours are accurate enough to keep you engaged.

The cameras are a different story though. X9b has a 108 MP main camera that allows 3x digital zoom, along with a 5MP ultrawide and 2MP macro. It’s a confusing combo to start with, as you don’t get a usable telephoto camera. While things like video stabilization and detailing look fine, the cameras are generally overcompensating with AI corrections.

Gaming and performanceImage of Honor X9b gaming

Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 is Honor’s choice for the X9b, and this chip is paired with 8GB + 8GB RAM. There’s an Honor RAM Turbo feature that’s on by default, and we couldn’t figure out how to disable it at the time of filing this story. That said, games like Asphalt and BGMI run smoothly once they’re open. However, there’s an initial lag when you open a game or even switch between the wide and ultrawide cameras.

The phone is also heavily relying on AI features, and the Snapdragon chip should be able to keep up with that. From AI widgets on the home screen to AI suggestions in the control center, the Honor X9b can customize itself to suit your usage.

Honor X9b first impressions

Honor is doing certain things right with the X9b. Starting with the build and design, this phone has a tough build and great weight distribution. So, it is strong and feels light in the hand. The phone also has a bright and clear screen that should be good for daily use.

Coming to the weak point, I suppose the cameras and UI could be better optimized. As of now, the current pictures lack detail, and you’ll see some lag when you launch a heavy task. However, our test unit is a pre-sale unit, and phones usually receive camera and performance updates shortly after their launch. So, if Honor can fix the X9b’s current issues, it could be one of the most promising phones of 2024.

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Author Name | Manik Berry

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