After reviewing the X9a and X7a, we’re back once again to review another phone from the brand, and this time it’s the HONOR X8a.
While the X9a is a premium mid-ranger and the X7a is a budget-friendly device, the HONOR X8a slots right in between them. It has a more affordable price tag than the X9a though it comes with specs that put it firmly above budget phone territory.
Its highlight feature is no doubt the 100MP main camera. Typically, cameras like these are only found in premium mid-range to flagship phones, so it’s interesting how the latest HONOR phone has one. Plus, the X8a has a 6.7-inch FHD+ screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, as well as a Helio 88 processor to power it.
From its specs sheet, the HONOR X8a promises to be a strong mid-range contender. But does it deliver in real-world use? Find out here in our review.
Before we get started on its performance and camera capabilities, let’s first take a look at its design. The HONOR X8a features a glossy-looking back that actually has more of a matte finish. This makes it feel grippy to hold, not to mention that the phone is not a fingerprint magnet — a plus if you like going caseless with your device.
What also help make it fell nice and grippy to hold are the flat edges. While some phones opt for curved edges, the flat edges here mean you get a more stable and comfortable grip, whether you’re using the phone vertically for everyday use or horizontally when gaming.
One thing to note is that the phone has a fairly large camera bump, as clearly seen in the image above. It shouldn’t be a problem for most users though, especially if you use the included clear case as it makes the camera module flush with the rest of the back.
Moving to the front, we have the phone’s 6.7-inch display. While other budget to affordable mid-range phones have slim bezels and small front camera notches, the X8a’s bezels are even slimmer. The front camera cutout is also noticeably smaller than others, making it look more like a premium device a la the X9a.
Speaking of its display, the phone has a 6.7-inch screen with an FHD+ resolution. Take note though that the phone’s screen is an LCD, meaning you won’t get OLED-level vibrant colors and deep blacks with this phone. Though that’s not to say it’s a bad display. For an LCD screen, the X8a’s display is great for binge-watching movies and TV shows as the colors are still fairly vibrant. The screen can also get plenty bright which helps for watching content with bright lights indoors or even outdoors.
A good display isn’t the only thing to consider for binge-watching purposes though as quality audio is also a requirement. For audio, the phone’s internal speaker gets decently loud and has okay quality. Of course, for the best experience, using external speakers or headphones is a must, though sadly, you’re going to need a wireless audio device with the phone as it doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
As mentioned above, the HONOR X8a is powered by a Helio G88 processor that’s paired with up to 8GB of RAM. At this point, the Helio G88 isn’t the newest processor out there, but it is still capable of running today’s popular competitive multiplayer games.
For instance, League of Legends: Wild Rift ran fairly smoothly at the Medium graphics setting. The same can be said for Call of Duty Mobile which also ran at Medium. Though it’s telling that you can only play these games on Medium as it means more hardware-intensive titles won’t be able to run properly.
That was the case for some demanding games. Genshin Impact for example, did not run well, though this is expected given how difficult it is to run for phones at this price bracket. Diablo Immortal also had issues running, with the game not displaying properly despite seemingly running.
While you may not be able to run more demanding games, the X8a should still be a nice partner for gaming if you stick with popular MOBAs and FPS titles.
Geek Photoshoot Capabilities
Now we move on to the cameras, the area where the X8a promises to excel. The phone has a 100MP f/1.9 main + 5MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 2MP f/2.4 macro triple rear camera setup as well as a 16MP f/2.5 wide front camera.
Having a 100MP main shooter is great on paper, but does it actually result in great photos? In our tests, it definitely did.
For outdoor daytime photography, the phone’s main camera was able to capture high quality photos that retain lots of detail. Though what impressed us are the indoor photos.
Specifically, we took photos indoors with warm but dim lighting. We expected the results to be blurry and lacking in detail, but we were impressed to see how sharp the images look, all while having natural colors. This makes the HONOR X8a a great partner for food shots.
The main camera also takes pretty good low light shots with the Night Mode. While low light auto mode shots aren’t the best, when you use the dedicated Night Mode, you’ll get photos that are bright and sharp.
Meanwhile, its 5MP ultrawide is able to capture good photos in daytime, though as expected, there is a dip in quality for low light photography. We also noticed that the phone’s Night Mode doesn’t support the ultrawide shooter, meaning you’re stuck with auto mode if you want to capture wide-angle photos.
The 2MP macro camera performs as expected, with close-up shots being of decent quality as long as there’s enough light. Finally, selfies are nice and social media-ready with the 16MP front camera, though you’ll want to play around with the beautification setting as it is a bit aggressive by default.
While it may not be able to run the most demanding games, for everyday use, you should have no issues with the HONOR X8a. In our time testing the phone, the X8a did no get any major slowdowns while browsing social media, checking emails, and editing some photos, among other uses.
As for its OS, the phone runs Magic UI 6 on top of Android 12. While opinion on its overall look and design may vary, for the most part, users should have no issues with the phone’s UI as it’s fairly easy to use.
Finally, let’s talk battery life. This phone packs a large 4500mAh, and thanks to this, the X8a is easily an all-day smartphone as you likely won’t need to reach out for a power bank if you’re out and about. Even if you play games and watch videos with mobile data on, you should still be able to get home with some charge to spare. And if you’re not a heavy user, you might even be able to stretch the battery life to two days.
If you do need to charge, a quick top-up will give you hours of use thanks to the 22.5W fast charge support. Plus, the fast charger also means you won’t have to wait too long for the phone to reach 100% charge.
Final Geek Lifestyle Verdict
The X8a is HONOR’s third smartphone release of 2023, and it’s a compelling affordable mid-range option for a certain type of user. While it may not be the perfect match for avid mobile gamers, its performance is still pretty good for today’s popular games. It also has a good design and a quality LCD display. Plus, its general performance and battery life should make it a reliable partner for your everyday usage needs.
Though the reason why you should get it is the 100MP main camera which allows you to take quality photos in a variety of lighting conditions. At its price of PHP 10,990, if your priority is camera capability above all else, the HONOR X8a is well worth looking at.
HONOR X8a Specs:
- Mediatek Helio G88 Processor
- Mali-G52 MC2 GPU
- 6/8GB RAM
- 6.7-inch TFT LCD display, FHD+ resolution, 90Hz refresh rate
- 128GB storage
- 100MP f/1.9 main + 5MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 2MP f/2.4 macro triple rear camera setup
- 16MP f/2.5 wide front camera
- 3G, LTE Dual SIM
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, fingerprint scanner (side), USB Type-C
- 4500mAh battery with 22.5W fast charge support
- Android 12 with Magic UI 6.1
- Cyan Lake, Titanium Silver, Midnight Black