HONOR X8a Review: Affordable Camera-Centric SmartphoneMarch 14, 2023
Following the release of the Honor X9a and X7a smartphones, Honor continues to fill its budget smartphone line in the Philippines with the newly released HONOR X8a. Honor positions the X8a as a photography companion with its 100MP quad-camera system. The Honor X8a is one of the most affordable quad-camera smartphones with a 100MP main shooter.
Honor X8A Specs and Configuration
- Chipset – Helio G88
- RAM – 6/8GB
- Storage – 128GB
- Display – 6.7-inch FHD+ HONOR FullView Display
- Battery – 4500mAh 22.5W fast Charging
- Rear Camera –
- 100MP main camera
- 5MP ultrawide
- 2MP macro sensor
- Front Camera – 16MP
- Color/s – Cyan Lake, Titanium Silver, and Midnight Black
Design and Build Quality
The Honor X8a’s packaging design is similar to the X7a with a rear view of the smartphone to highlight its quad-camera setup.
Packaging contents are pretty standard with the X8a as it contains a manual, a type c to c cable, an AC Adapter, a clear silicon cover, and a 3.5mm to type c adapter. The 3.5mm to type c adapter is a nice addition as both the Honor X7a nor the Honor X9a doesn’t come with an adapter.
The Honor X8a boasts a large 6.7-inch HONOR Full View Display with a 93.6% screen-to-body ratio. The LCD panel has a 2388x1080p resolution with a 90Hz refresh rate.
There are three color variants available for the Honor X8A: Cyan Lake, Titanium Silver, and Midnight Black. Our review sample is the Titanium Silver colorway which reflects a gradient hue when light is shined at an angle. The residue on the back part of the device is from the removal of the preattached IMEI sticker.
Unlike most smartphones, the left side only houses the dual-SIM tray as the volume buttons are positioned on the right side of the device just above the power button. If you’re used to having the volume buttons on the left side, then you’re likely to encounter misclicks with the lower volume button when you intend to use the power button. Personally, the position where the volume buttons rest should be where the power button is placed for better ergonomics.
The power button has an integrated fingerprint reader which is sometimes a hit or a miss depending on how you hold and unlock the phone. Its thin nature results in a lesser area of fingerprint reading which makes your finger placement more crucial as your finger is more prone to “overshooting”, especially when gripped with the left hand.
The Honor X8a boasts a 4500mAh battery capacity which is 25 percent smaller than the 6,000mAh battery found on its younger brother, the Honor X7a. Charging speeds are the same for both devices rated at 22.5W with Honor’s Wired HONOR SuperCharge technology.
Display and Camera
The main highlight of the Honor X8a is its quad camera system with the 100MP f/1.9 camera as its main shooter. Apart from the 100MP rear sensor you also have a 5MP f/2.2 Wide & Depth Camera, and a 2MP Macro Camera for a full photography range.
Main Camera – 0.6x | 1x | 2x
HONOR did a great job in maintaining the color profile when switching between camera lenses. There’s a very minimal shift in the colors which isn’t really noticeable especially when there’s a good amount of lighting. That said, the 2x zoom mode produces a grainy shot, it’s better to take a photo at 1x and then crop it to reproduce the “zoom” effect. The bokeh on close subjects and on food is very natural and not aggressively processed via software. Taking landscape photos are also great as you’re getting every little detail thanks to the 100MP sensor.
Night Mode shots
While we do praise the HONOR X8a’s main 100MP camera in taking different subjects, it falls short in dimly lit environments especially when taking photos at night. Taking night pictures in a “point and shoot” style results in grainy, overexposed images. Thankfully night mode makes everything a lot better but you need to hold your phone for about 4 seconds to generate a good image. As for the wide camera, don’t bother using it in night shots unless you really need to capture something in a large FOV.
The front sports an in-display 16MP f/2,45 sensor for taking selfies.
The 16MP shooter does well, especially in well-lighted environments. In these two selfies which are approximately 10 seconds apart, there’s a very noticeable color change in the background and in the sky despite the phone not losing focus on my face as I untied my hair for another shot.
Performance and Battery Life
Powering the HONOR X8a is a MediaTek Helio G88 with either 6GB or 8GBs of RAM. Storage-wise the HONOR X8a is only limited to 128GB which is unfortunately not upgradeable. According to HONOR, only the 8GB+128GB configuration will be avaible in the Philippine market.
Here are some of our benchmarks on the Honor X8a:
3DMark Test Suite
PCMark Work 3.0 Performance
Benchmarks are what you would expect on a Php 10,000 smartphone. What’s good about the Honor X8a is that it didn’t get uncomfortably hot while when we ran our benchmark suite.
PCMark Work 3.0 Battery Life
Battery life on the HONOR X8a is pretty impressive as it lasted 12 hours and 52 minutes in the PCMark Work 3.0 battery life benchmark. The 4500mAh battery paired with a power-efficient MediaTek Helio G88 chip will surely last you an entire workday on average use.
The HONOR X8a is priced at Php 10,990, rivaling most entry-level smartphones. It’s Php 3,000 more than the HONOR X7a and Php 6,000 less than the higher end X9a. Price-wise the premium over the X7a is more than worth it as you’re not only getting a 100MP quad camera system instead of a 50MP+2MP system but you’re also getting better specs and performance out of the box. For Php 3,000 more you’re getting a G88 chipset instead of a G37, 8GB of RAM instead of 6GB, a 90Hz 2388x1080p display instead of a 720p panel and the list goes on. Sure, you’re trading off 1500mAh of battery but the much powerful and efficient is a trade-off I’d take any day.
Going back to what makes the HONOR X8a stand out, it’s 100MP camera. Taking photos with the “DSLR-like” sensor is a delight especially in point-and-shoot scenarios where it’s important to capture “that moment.” But, it greatly falls short when it comes to taking night shots and is compensated by standing still for 4 seconds to get a better shot. To HONOR’s credit, the color science and seemless switching between modes are way better than most smartphones even at higher price ranges. The HONOR X8a is a good starting or training device to shoot pictures with before taking up a professional DSLR or mirroless camera. That said, the HONOR X8a is a great smartphone for those looking to take up professional photography in the long run and those who want to get clear and crisp photos without breaking the bank and without sacrificing on other key specs unlike most smartphones in the market.
If you’re planning to get a new smartphone that not has great camera capabilities, but also a price tag that won’t break the bank, then better check out this new HONOR X-device. It’s now available at Lazada, Shopee, TikTok, and at any HONOR partner stores.