Honor may have been in a fairly tense situation since last year, and more precisely since the application of Donald Trump's decree, the firm continues to launch new models of smartphones. And the time has precisely come to talk about the Honor 9X Pro .
Honor was on track to establish itself in the telephony market over the long term, but the firm suffered the full brunt of Trump's presidential decree early last year.
Since then, he has been prohibited from launching devices equipped with Google applications or services.
However, this did not dampen his enthusiasm and Honor therefore continues to launch new models from time to time. The Honor 9X Pro is one of the latest and the brand gave me a copy for my tests.
But this video won't just show you its strengths and weaknesses. It will also be an opportunity to answer a question that probably burns your lips: is a future possible in Google?
Design & Ergonomics
Honor has always paid great attention to the design of its products, especially in terms of the colors and patterns embedded in the backplate of its devices.
And if the Honor 9X Pro is obviously no exception to the rule, its back plate is fortunately not its only asset.
The Honor 9X Pro surprises first of all by its dimensions. The device is indeed quite imposing in hand. Fortunately, the weight remains contained. The Honor 9X Pro is therefore lighter than an iPhone 11 Pro Max or a Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro.
The screen occupies a good part of the front of the device and it is especially devoid of notch or punch. The front camera has indeed been placed in a motorized room located at the level of the upper edge and it will appear as soon as it is requested by you or your applications. Be careful, however, because the deployment time of the camera is quite long and it will therefore need a good two seconds to be able to capture images.
The back clearly does not go unnoticed. Honor has indeed dyed the plate in a gradient ranging from mauve to purple and there is a bonus of a luminous "X" directly engraved inside the glass. The effect is quite successful, but the terminal also has the annoying tendency to attract fingerprints. I would have preferred a matte finish.
The grip is quite good and it is modeled on that of the other devices of the brand. All the buttons are therefore grouped together on the right edge. The two volume keys at the top and the power button a little lower.
This power button has two functions. It will of course allow you to wake your phone or put it there, but also to identify yourself. It indeed incorporates a fingerprint reader.
Honor was very generous in terms of connectivity. In addition to the USB Type-C connector, we will therefore find a headphone jack on the lower edge.
The card door is at the top and it can accept two Nano SIMs or one Nano SIM and a micro SD. It will therefore be possible to have two lines coexist on the telephone.
As for the rear photo module, for once it does not protrude too much from the shell and therefore will not affect the stability of the phone when it is placed on a table or desk.
Screen, Processor & Autonomy
The Honor 9X Pro has some aesthetic arguments to make, but is it the same for the technical side?
It would appear that this is the case. The screen, to begin with, reaches 6.59 inches and if we are not in the presence of an OLED panel, we still find good contrasts and a rather convincing colorimetry, with the added bonus of a very good definition since the slab tends towards Full HD +.
And that's good news for video buffs, of course, since the quality of the screen will be sufficient for us to get the most out of our films and series.
For the technical part, Honor has chosen to rely on a Kirin 810, a chip that has proven itself. It is supported by 6 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. That you can expand with a micro SD card.
And in fact, it works quite well. The Honor 9X Pro is very responsive and it responds well to requests, even when juggling a lot of different applications.
The observation is also valid for the game. Of course, the device is limited to 60 Hz in terms of refresh rate, but it is quite capable of running large titles very greedy without difficulty. I even found that he had a response. More importantly, the heating is under control and we feel that the integrated liquid cooling system is doing its job well.
Autonomy side, there is a 4000 mAh battery. It is not the biggest on the market, far from it, and we find better on Xiaomi's side, but the terminal will be able to take the day without difficulty. Even a little more while being careful.
I obviously didn't just use my personal judgment to assess the battery life of the Honor 9X Pro and I also ran PC Mark on it. It lasted no less than 12:20 hours on average with the latter's battery life test.
Photo, Video & Sound
The Honor 9X Pro has a certain charm, it has a decent spec sheet, but what is it worth in the photo field?
There, unfortunately, the results are a little more mixed.
On paper, the offer is not devoid of charm.
The Honor 9X Pro indeed embeds a main sensor of 48 million pixels with a wide angle opening at f / 1.8. This sensor is supported by a second 8 million pixel sensor, this time accompanied by an ultra wide angle opening at f / 2.4.
The third sensor, finally, reaches 2 million pixels and it focuses only on the calculation of the depth of field.
The Honor 9X Pro therefore does not shine with its flexibility. The telephoto lens goes by the wayside and that means that the proposed zoom will be of the digital type.
In full light, it must be recognized that the Honor 9X Pro is quite surprising. The device is indeed able to take out very sharp shots, with a nice dynamic as a bonus. The colorimetry is pretty good, as long as you turn off the AI. The latter actually tends to saturate the colors too much.
Unsurprisingly, the photo quality of the Honor 9X Pro drops as soon as the light starts to fail. We then end up with more muddled images.
To make matters worse, focusing becomes more and more complicated as the light goes down.
Switching from one focal length to another is quite smooth, although there is some waiting time before the phone is fully operational.
I did not notice any obvious differences in the colorimetry and we keep colors very close to each other when switching to the wide angle or the ultra wide angle. The sharpness also remains homogeneous. And not surprisingly, the focal length that poses the most problem is of course the zoom. Digital technology has its limits, of course, but it is above all the focusing that is the problem.
The Honor 9X Pro often fell by the wayside during field tests.
The video remains anecdotal. The quality of the sequences leaves much to be desired. If the colorimetry remains correct, it is above all the sharpness and dynamics that are the problem. The results are very average and we immediately feel that the Honor 9X Pro is not at all made for this use.
On the audio side, we will therefore find a headphone jack and two speakers. The quality of the sound delivered by the headphone jack will of course depend on what you plug into it.
As for the speakers, well they're not bad. They are arguably not the best on the market, but they are still able to deliver full, full sound thanks to good bass management. The highs and mids may be a bit too pronounced, but it's still okay.
Platform & Functions
The Honor 9X Pro is delivered under EMUI 9.1 and therefore under Android 9. A platform that we already know, but which has an important limitation: it bypasses Google applications and services.
This limitation is not wanted by the brand. It is imposed by the presidential decree taken by Donald Trump at the beginning of last year. A decree mainly targeting Huawei, but also all of the group's subsidiaries. Which includes Honor.
Technically, Honor therefore no longer has the right to offer Google's applications and services on its phones. The Honor 9X Pro is therefore delivered without the Play Store, without Gmail, without Google Maps, without Google Docs, without Google Chrome and ultimately without all the applications that we all use every day on Android.
To replace the Play Store, Honor has therefore decided to bet everything on the AppGallery, its own application store. And if the latter begins to seduce publishers and developers, it is still very far from reaching the level of the Play Store.
The situation will undoubtedly improve eventually, but at the moment there is a huge lack of tools. Netflix is not present, nor is Twitter, Spotify or even Call of Duty Mobile.
There will of course be solutions to get around these limitations. The most obvious will be to go through the web versions of all these services, but this is clearly not the ideal since web services go much less far than applications.
The other solution therefore consists of using APK files which work a bit like executables and which allow applications to be installed directly by retrieving their installer.
If you've learned a little about the subject, then you probably know that Huawei has an application that makes this task easier. It's called TrouvApp and it's supposed to be directly available from the AppGallery.
Supposed, because it is not on mine at the time of making this video.
I know I am not the only one in this case. Brandon (the Proktor), for example, has it in the AppGallery of his P40 Pro. And the only difference between us, ultimately, comes from the version of the platform and the store. Huawei's flagship runs on EMUI 10 and with the tenth version of the AppGallery. Fortunately, there are once again alternatives.
The first of these is quite recent. This is Petal Search, a tool developed by Huawei and available on the AppGallery. The latter works as an APK file meta search engine and therefore allows you to find applications hosted at APK Mirror or even APK Pure.
APK Pure that I used a lot during these weeks of testing. The service works like a catalog, so you can find and install APK files directly without having to go to the publishers' site. Better yet, the catalog is offered in the form of a service, or an application.
With a lot of choice. All the big names respond indeed present and the APK files work well. At least for the most part. Netflix, for example, did not want to run on the Honor 9X Pro despite my attempts.
The APK file alternative is therefore interesting, but it is not without flaws.
And in reality, there are even three drawbacks to this solution.
The first relates to security. Downloading an APK file that has not been validated by the Google teams obviously involves security risks.
And this is the reason why you should not download anything just anywhere.
The second disadvantage of this solution relates to updates. You will have to install them manually, which can be particularly annoying when juggling dozens of applications.
The third fault is arguably the worst. The Honor 9X Pro does not embed Google mobile services. So if you install an app like Google Maps or Gmail, it won't work.
The time has therefore come to conclude this test.
I'll be blunt with you, the first few hours with the Honor 9X Pro were extremely frustrating. Just not being able to identify with your Google account and having to fall back to your Huawei account when initializing the phone was a big blow.
The second slap, I took it while exploring the AppGallery for the first time. For me, the store is really not up to par, and it makes you wonder what publishers and developers are doing. That a company like Twitter is unable to offer an application on the Huawei store is completely beyond me.
Fortunately, the Honor 9X Pro is saved by all the alternatives that we have just mentioned and which allow, ultimately, to regain control of the phone.
The problem is that these alternatives are not intended for the average consumer and I have trouble seeing my mother-in-law installing APK Pure and installing APK files on her phone.
But that, of course, is not for Honor. The mark is simply a collateral damage to the protectionist policies pursued by Trump since the start of his mandate. Now, I also cannot recommend buying a phone whose platform is stripped of most of its functions. Not to just anyone anyway.
And I think that's ultimately what you have to remember. The Honor 9X Pro, at the top of its 250 €, offers very good value for money, but it is not intended for all audiences.
And if you want to take the plunge, then it will be better to know the Android universe well and not be afraid to get your hands dirty.
Honor 9X Pro
8.5 / 10
Design & Ergonomics
8.5 / 10
Power & autonomy
8.0 / 10
Photo & Video
8.0 / 10
5.0 / 10
- Modern design
- A screen without a notch or punch
- A versatile device
- Improved autonomy
- A fairly massive phone
- No apps and services from Google