Xiaomi has already established its foundation with its Mi A2 smartphone in the budget segment. With the launch of the Honor 8X, is Huawei over-saturating the market with “similar but different” smartphones or is it experimenting a hit and miss policy to solely compete with Xiaomi in the budget category?
Huawei sub-brand Honor has launched the Honor 8X in India for a starting price of Rs 13,999. The handset will be available in 4GB + 64GB, 6GB + 64GB and 6GB + 128GB configurations for prices of Rs 14,999, Rs 16,999 and Rs 18,999 respectively; all of which will depend on Huawei’s latest Kirin 710 chipset for performance.
For precisely the same price, Xiaomi has already established its foundation, having launched the Mi A2 Android One smartphone earlier this year. The device comes with a stock Android experience with guaranteed future updates directly from Google, mid-range specs and a dual camera setup at the back for an asking price of Rs 14,999. With the launch of the Honor 8X, is Huawei over-saturating the market with “similar but different” smartphones or is it experimenting a hit and miss policy to solely compete with Xiaomi in the budget category? Let’s talk about that.
While the Honor 8X in first glance looks similar to Huawei’s other budget smartphones, the Chinese company has surely cut a few corners. Though sturdy, the Honor smartphone features a plastic back instead of a Gorilla Glass. The rear panel consists of different textures with a darker less glossy portion adorning one-fourth of the rear plastic that also has the dual cameras. The rest of the phone features a glossier finish and has a circle at the centre for the fingerprint scanner. The device is available for purchase in Blue, Red, Black and Pink colours.
The Xiaomi Mi A2 comes with a metal unibody with gentle curves around the edges, making it easier to hold. While metal makes the Mi A2 more durable against drops, the irony comes down to the fact that the same brushed metal design makes the A2 slippery. In contrast to this, the Honor 8X with a plastic back is quite reliable to hold in your hand.
Winner: Mi A2 for Durability, Honor 8X for comfort grip.
The Mi A2 features a 5.99-inch Full HD+ display with a screen resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels that gives a pixel density of 403ppi. However, the bezels on the device aren’t the most attractive kind with the bottom chin being as thick at the top portion of the display. Though the Mi A2 earns brownie points for being symmetrical on the front and would please anyone who hasn’t grown used to the idea of notched displays, the same reasons come back to haunt the phone. For a phone released in 2018, the A2 only has a screen-to-body ratio of 77.4 percent.
Flipping the Hood 8X around, the first thing we notice is the bezel-trimming effort from Honor’s side to expand the screen real estate of the phone. This is also helped by the small notch at the top of the 6.5-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display which has a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. While the display is larger on its own, the Honor 8X offers more screen real-estate with its 84.4 percent STB ratio due to its thinner chin where Honor no longer adds its branding.
Winner: Honor 8X
The Honor 8X runs Huawei’s relatively recent octa-core Kirin 710 chipset with 4x2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 and 4x1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 units. The phone comes with 4GB RAM in the vase variant and can be configured to up to 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The phone can perform well as a mid-range which is daily rough usage and moderate gaming and it’s probably the Mali-G51 MP4 graphics unit which is the weakest link of the smartphone. However, the problem is resolved as the device comes with Huawei’s GPU Turbo technology to make the in-game experience smoother with hardware + software optimisation.
Xiaomi’s Android One specialist is powered by the octa-core Snapdragon 660 processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. This configuration makes the Mi A2 a dependable performer but it remains to be seen how the devices perform when compared side by side as the SND 660 is an older processor. While gaming performance on Xiaomi’s Redmi note 5 Pro shines, the more powerful SND 660 on the Mi A2 will make games run smoother and lag free which is also helped by the clean Android skin on the phone.
Winner: Honor 8X
The Mi A2 is the second smartphone from Xiaomi powered by Google’s Android One initiative. This simply means that this phone will give you pure Android experience and it promises faster updates that will come straight from Google. The user interface is virtually bloatware-free, with only a handful of Google apps and some basic Xiaomi applications. The navigation is pretty simple: swipe to reveal the app drawer, swipe to open notification panel, left and right for scrolling between different home screen. Another thing to note is that stock Android is sheer lightweight of an interface, meaning it’ll tale lesser memory resulting in smoother performance.
The Honor 8X runs on EMUI 8.2, based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The interface does come loaded with some interesting features and offers users an option to choose between iOS-like home screen style or an app drawer. While the customisable skin goes deep enough to occupy a substantial memory space, GOU Turbo helps in optimising the performance of the device. There are AI enhancements in the camera which like on any other Honor/Huawei phone offers algorithm generated modifications when clicking photos.
Winner: Mi A2
Primary imaging on the Honor 8X is possible through a dual camera setup at the back which consists of a 20MP, f/1.8, 27mm equivalent wide-angle lens alongside a 2MP depth sensor. The portrait mode through the bokeh effect from the 2MP sensor seems to work almost every time with the main lens capturing wider details in sharp detail and colour saturation. Booting up the camera app instantly kicks in the AI camera algorithms which will be able to detect both objects and scenes between 500+ scenes, spread across 22 categories. Honor has also put a 16MP, f/2.0, fixed-focus snapper on the front that offers a rather toned down set of images compared to the one at the back.
Xiaomi has upgraded its cameras in Mi A2 to 12MP + 20MP as compared to last year’s 12MP + 12MP setup found in Mi A1. The camera UI lets swipe left or right to toggle between different modes with additional options for flash, HDR, filters and Settings menu. The result - good in the well-lit conditions and colours were pretty close to the source with a good amount of detailing, which is obvious since Xiaomi uses sensors with larger pixels in the main camera setup than the one on the Honor 8X. The same can be said about the selfie camera which is a 20 MP, f/2.2, 1/2.8", the 1.0µm sensor on the Mi A2.
Winner: Mi A2
The Honor 8X comes with a significantly larger 3,750mAh battery compared to the rather standard 3,000mAh power unit on the Mi A2 and thus provides as much as a whole day of juice on a single charge. However, where the Honor phone takes a beating is charging capabilities as it’s only bundled with a 5V/2A 10W charger in the box. The Mi A2, on the other hand, has support for Quick Charge 4.0 which is faster and more efficient.
Winner: Honor 8X
|Honor 8X||Xiaomi Mi A2|
|Processor||Kirin 710||Snapdragon 660|
|Display||6.5-inch FHD+, 1080 x 2340 pixels||5.99-inch Full HD+, 1080 x 2160 pixels,|
|Memory||4/6GB RAM + 32/64/128GB storage||4RAM + 64storage|
|Camera||Rear: 20MP (f/1,8, PDAF)+2MP depth sensor, LED flash, panorama, 1080p@30fps, HDR; Front: 16 MP (f/2.0), 1080p@30fps,||Dual: 12MP (1.25µm, f/1.75 aperture) + 20MP ( 1.0µm pixel size, f/1.75 aperture), 20MP front (20MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.2 aperture), 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps (gyro-EIS), 720p@120fps, HDR|
|OS||Android 8.1 (Oreo), EMUI 8.2||Android 8.1 (Oreo)|
|Price||Rs 14,999, Rs 16,999, Rs 18,999||Rs 14,999|
The Honor 8X is a milestone in Honor’s focus toward offering smartphones with more value for money factor. It’s a solid mid-range smartphone packed inside an attractively designed case and has a decent set of cameras to go with it. The Kirin 710 chipset outdoes any other smartphone processor in this price range and is only slightly behind Huawei’s Kirin 970 chip which was the company’s last year flagship. If the custom-heavy skin and the lack of quick charging technology don’t make you whine, the Honor 8X is surely a good deal for the price you pay. If not, you can look at the Mi A2 or Asus’ Zenfone Max Pro M1 which offer worthwhile competition to the Honor smartphone.