Honor made a big song and dance about its 6X smartphone 'launch' at this year's CES in Las Vegas. Which was a bit odd for a phone that's been available in China since the later part of 2016. George Zhao, Honor CEO, took to the stage and spent far too long reassuring us that Honor is the number one selling online-only phone brand.
Peel back the hefty marketing speak and shovel-loads of reassurance about sales volumes, however, as it's largely irrelevant. Let the Honor 6X speak for itself and, as we found upon slipping our gold finish (with white front) model out of its box, the quality is immediately tangible. For a £225 phone this is one well made and good-looking device.
It's also got its share of gimmickry, though, in the form of dual cameras on the rear: a 12-megapixel main snapper, accompanied by a 2-megapixel companion which is designed for depth-mapping so you can apply a pseudo-bokeh effect for ultra-blurred backgrounds.
This feature is the same as you'll find in the Huawei P9 (minus the official Leica partnership and software), meaning a software-based f/0.95 can fake shots into looking all arty and pro. Often it doesn't work well, though, which is the gripe we've had with all these kinds of systems - from HTC to Apple and everything in-between. Just go take a normal photo, no?
That point aside, we're rather taken by the Honor 6X's looks. It's like a Huawei Mate 9 in mini form, with a 5.5-inch LCD screen (not the 5.9-inch scale of the Mate 9), which ought to give it wider appeal. The resolution is Full HD (1920 x 1080) which is ample at this price point and scale and there's plenty of brightness available.
The finish is similar between Huawei and Honor too: both have protruding camera units and a well-positioned recessed fingerprint scanner beneath (which operates brilliantly). The difference in colour between the main back panel and top-and-bottom bands (for the antennas and, therefore, reception) isn't particularly well matched, but that becomes an aesthetic feature all of its own. Those soft curved edges and chamfered finish not only looks good, it makes for a comfortable hold too.
The £225 price tag is around £35 more than the previous 5X model, which is a small jump, but there are some additional features. NFC has been added so fingerprint payment systems ought to now work. The mid-level octa-core Kirin 655 processor is also under the hood, paired with either 3GB or 4GB RAM for the European model. We believe the lower RAM capacity will come with the 32GB storage model, the larger with the 64GB model (the latter which we have).
Unlike the Huawei Mate 9, the Honor 6X doesn't run Android Nougat and the company's EMUI 5.0 re-skin. Instead, the 6X comes loaded with Android 6.0 and EMUI version 4.1. If you're an Android die-hard its software tweaks and nuances might take some getting used to.
Battery life looks set to be decent, too, with a 3,340mAh battery keeping things ticking along. We've only been using our review device for all of 15-minutes, so whether that'll mean a decent day-and-a-half of use we'll find out as we review the phone over the coming weeks.
The Honor 6X is available to buy from 4 January in the UK and will be available from Three later in the month. Whether you're into the dual camera arrangement or not, at this price and with this level of build the 6X is a great mid-level entry to the phone market.