Honor 4X preview - Hitting the sweet spot more than 4X
Just a few years ago a midrange smartphone would be a rather slow device with equally slow mobile Internet, a 4-inch display, 5MP camera and a price tag well above RM1000. Fast forward to today in 2015 where we were privileged enough to get some preview time with the up and coming Honor 4X which sports a fast 64-bit processor, 4G LTE connectivity, 13MP camera and 5.5-inch display for well below RM1000. The smartphone landscape is rapidly changing as more higher-end features appear in affordable devices for the masses. The Honor 4X may well be one of these devices. As such we're doing a quick preview of the Honor 4X so do read on to find out more.
Design, Tech specs and Features Preview - well balanced 5.5-inch display and EMUI 3.0
Featuring a plastic back cover with cross-thatch pattern and engraved Honor logo the Honor 4X smartphone hits that sweet spot between 6-inch phablet and 5-inch midrange smartphone nicely with it's 5.5-inch display. It feels very balanced with a solid yet removable back cover. Removing this cover reveals an up to 32GB microSD card slot and dual SIM slots which can be accessed without having to take out the battery. Unlike most midrange smartphones (which tend to have the onscreen keys), there are shiny capacitive keys located below the screen for the back, home and current apps functions. Tech specs and features include:
- 64-bit 1.2GHz octa-core Kirin 620 processor
- 2GB RAM
- 8GB storage + 32GB microSD slot
- 5.5-inch display (1280 x 720 pixel resolution, IPS, 10-point multitouch)
- 13MP rear camera (autofocus, LED flash) + 5MP front camera (face detection)
- 152.9 x 77.2 x 8.7mm | 165g
- Supports 4G LTE Cat4 (dual SIM, dual standby, micro-SIM), Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, GPS
- Features active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, suspend button, motion controls (double tap to wake up, flip to mute, draw gesture controls, etc.)
- Android 4.4.2 KitKat + Emotion UI (EMUI) 3.0
- 3000 mAh battery
- Available in black and white
The Honor 4X is powered by a 64-bit HiSilicon Kirin 620 processor
The Honor 4x has nice molded back for a more balanced and comfortable grip
Having tried out EMUI 2.0, EMUI 2.3 and EMUI 3.0, the EMUI 3.0 is very stable, much more so than EMUI 2.0 on the Honor 3C Lite and the EMUI 3.0 on the Huawei Ascend Mate 7. As you can see from the features list above, many of the features you previously had in the Honor 3C are now available in the Honor 4X including double tap to wake up, flip to mute and a 1.3 second quickshot by double pressing the volume key. In addition, there are now draw controls which let you quickly go to a specific function or app from the sleep or standby screen just by drawing a letter or shape on it.
The Honor 4X comes with EMUI 3.0 right out of the box
The EMUI 3.0 packs in all the new features but retains the stability
The display has full 10-point multitouch with 720 x 1280 pixel resolution
Performance preview - Former flagship level
Considering that this is a preview, we won't be touching all of our usual benchmarks but thankfully, the Honor 4X does very good in AnTuTu with a score of 30598, placing it between the LG G3 and HTC One, both of which are more powerful former flagship models. Epic Citadel showed a very good score of 58.7 on the full 1280 x 720 pixel resolution display, which indicates that it should be able to play games smoothly as well (but we'll have to wait for the full review to try out Asphalt 8). We didn't manage to try out some of the other performance benchmarks but for the most part, the Honor 4X does not get hot apart from when using the GPS or if you play 3D intensive games. Even then, it doesn't become too hot that you cannot handle it.
A score of 30598 on AnTuTu places the Honor 4X around the same level as former flagships the HTC One and the LG G3
Running our standard demo video on it reveals smooth playback, clear display and fairly loud audio quality even if it is a bit tinny due to the single speaker on the bottom. We did not test battery life as extensively as we normally do, but 3000 mAh worth of battery should give the Honor 4X around 2 days or so of operation on a single charge. Our one peeve with the device is the 8GB worth of built-in storage which already has more than 4GB taken up by the stable Emotion UI 3.0. Thankfully you can expand memory up to 32GB via the microSD slot (hopefully the Honor 4X will come with a free microSD combo deal). Connectivity was stable and clear with fast 4G LTE in the right coverage area.
The Honor 4X scores highly on Epic Citadel and should do equally well in other games too
Camera performance is very good with very smooth and easy to use exposure controls. We found that the 13MP rear camera delivered very good shots, clear and accurate colour representation and fast autofocus. Like the Honor 3C before it, the 5MP front camera on the Honor 4X is also very good and should satisfy most selfie photographers. As usual, there is a beautify mode, panorama mode and HDR mode along with a refocus mode. The automatic HDR and sharpening modes are usualy spot on and should help you get a fairly good shot. We also liked that the quickshot feature is available on the Honor 4X as well as we used it a lot on the Huawei Ascend P7. This is actually faster than drawing a C for camera but both features work well. Low-light performance is also quite good but we'll be able to test this and other features like panorama and the front camera more in the full review.
Preview Conclusion - Feature-filled midranger with great value
While we'll be able to provide a more detailed review later on, this preview of the Honor 4X reveals a very well-balanced smartphone for those looking for a larger smartphone but don't want to go for 6-inch display models. For the most part, performance and features are excellent and lag free with a very good 13MP rear camera and 5MP front camera for those wanting an affordable but powerful cameraphone. Talking about the price, we still cannot confirm the exact Malaysia pricing details but rumours from an anonymous tipster indicate that the Honor 4X could be priced from RM400 to RM700. Even on our maximum estimate of RM700, the Honor 4X delivers excellent value, so if you're interested in the smartphone you should register your interest on VMALL.my. A specific Malaysia release date is also unavailable yet, but the fact that there is an ROI page already indicates that we could see the Honor 4X very soon or around late March 2015 to early April 2015. If it does, it should hit before the expected implementation of GST, making it more imperative that you sign up for the Registration of Interest page as soon as you can. Stay tuned for the full review soon but do check out the preview hands-on video below: