Following up with the big-batteried X7a, HONOR expands its budget mid-range line for 2023 in the Philippines with the X8a. As a follow-up to last year’s X8, HONOR wants to position the X8a as a compelling budget mid-range offering with its 100-megapixel main camera—a first for the X-series.
Along with upgrades to the processor and battery, is the HONOR X8a a good budget mid-range offering in the Philippines? We got to use the X8a for a week to give our thoughts on HONOR’s latest offering:
How does the HONOR X8a look and feel?
It’s more solid than the regular X8 despite physically looking similar. The flat frame sides feel more solid and premium with its matte texture that feels like aluminum. Our review unit is in silver, and we like the matte, iridescent finish used for the back panel. We just wished, however, that a matte finish was applied to its huge camera module—the mirror-like finish it has is a fingerprint magnet.
As for the camera module, HONOR kept it simpler this time, ditching one of the 2-megapixel cameras for a more streamlined triple rear camera setup.
Like its immediate predecessor, you get that sleek display with razor-thin top and side bezels, along with the same button and port layout that includes a USB-C port, and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. You do get an IR blaster with the HONOR X8a, allowing you to use it as a remote for some of your appliances at home. However, the HONOR X8a loses the headphone jack, but that’s the tradeoff for the bigger battery inside its slim body.
Is the display any good?
It’s fine for a budget mid-range device, and it’s essentially the same panel used on the X8: an IPS panel with a 90hz refresh rate and a centrally-placed punch-hole for the selfie shooter.
The skinny top and side bezels help in keeping the HONOR X8a compact while offering a relatively large 6.7-inch display. The colors are generally good, though the HONOR X8a appears to have a more vibrant display compared to the X8. While it has a Full HD+ resolution, the HONOR X8a only has Widevine L3, so Netflix streams are limited to SD resolution–we hope HONOR updates this to Widevine L1 via OTA in the future.
For audio, only get a single bottom-firing speaker on the HONOR X8a. The absence of the headphone jack means that you’ll need to use USB-C or wireless earphones if you’re not satisfied with the audio quality of the speaker.
Are the HONOR X8a’s cameras any good?
They are well-optimized for the set of cameras it has on board. The triple rear setup is led by a new 100-megapixel shooter and is accompanied by a 5-megapixel ultra-wide shooter and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.
Compared to the 64-megapixel shooter used on the X8, the camera performance of the HONOR X8a’s 100-megapixel shooter is better when it comes to preserving details and balancing highlights and shadows. The HONOR X8a is conservative when it comes to colors: even with AI on, photos taken using the X8a show colors to be less vibrant compared to the competition, with some instances making the image appear flat.
Low-light performance is fairly good for a budget mid-range phone: while there’s a loss of detail compared to shooting with adequate lighting, photos taken with the HONOR X8a are still serviceable enough to be posted on social media. The HONOR X8a tends to blow up highlights when shooting in low light, and that is remedied by using Night mode–as long as you don’t mind keeping your hands still for a few seconds for a clear shot.
What’s it like to use the HONOR X8a?
Aside from having more RAM than the regular X8, the X8a utilizes a Helio G88 processor and comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal storage. While benchmark scores show that the Helio G88 is superior to the Snapdragon 680 used on the X8, this does not necessarily apply to gaming. Although the X8a did perform well running Asphalt 9 at high graphics, it struggled running Genshin Impact at low graphics.
Based on the results we got on GameBench, we were only getting an average of 22FPS with 90% stability, which meant that dealing with multiple mobs will challenge the X8a’s processing power. Should you really want to run the popular open-world RPG on the X8a, you’re better off toning down the graphics to the lowest settings.
While we think that the Helio G88 processor is not necessarily an upgrade, the bigger 4500mAh battery is a more favorable upgrade. Having an additional 500mAh inside the HONOR X8a (at the expense of losing the headphone jack) translates to better battery life, and the 12 hours 35 minutes we got with PCMark’s battery test means that the HONOR X8a can easily last a day with moderate use.
Should you consider the HONOR X8a?
Despite being similar to last year’s X8, the 100-megapixel main camera, bigger battery, and use of a Helio G88 processor makes the HONOR X8a a suitable upgrade. Its main camera is the biggest improvement over the X8, as it makes the HONOR X8a competitive in the budget mid-range segment in the Philippines.
How much is the HONOR X8a in the Philippines?
The HONOR X8a is priced at Php 10,990. Those who will pre-order until March 24 will get a pair of HONOR wireless earbuds with their purchase. The X8a will be available at all HONOR kiosks, Lazada, Shopee, and Tiktok Shop.