HONOR X8b review and price and specs via Revu Philippines

HONOR X8b review: 512GB of storage and more without the flagship price

In Phones by Ramon LopezLeave a Comment

HONOR Philippines recently made two big smartphone announcements, with the HONOR X8b and HONOR Magic V2 officially joining the company’s local offerings. The latter debuts as its first foldable phone sold in the country.

The X8b, meanwhile, replaces last year’s HONOR X8a and is an all-around upgrade, especially in terms of native storage. Though it costs more than its predecessor at P12,999 (roughly $232 converted), the latest X series model also arrives with a whopping 512GB of storage, a sleeker design with a faux-leather version, an AMOLED display with ultra-slim bezels and a 50-megapixel punch-hole camera, and more processing power, among other things.

With plenty of options available, and considering how tight the competition is on the local market, does the HONOR X8b have a place under the warm Philippine sun? Read our review to find out.

The HONOR X8b is available in Titanium Silver and Midnight Black colors, but if you really want to stand out, you may want to pick up the Glamorous Green variant, which, as the name suggests, looks absolutely stunning, especially with its leather-like texture and diamond stitching pattern. It even sports a color-matching plastic frame with a metallic finish that adds to the device’s premium aesthetic.

Its profile is pretty slick, too, coming in at only 6.78mm without the camera bump at the back. It’s not as sleek as the recently announced HONOR Magic V2, which is one of the thinnest and lightest vertically folding smartphones around, but we’ll happily take it.

HONOR X8b review and price and specs via Revu Philippines
Pretty slick profile

According to the brand’s website, the HONOR X8b weighs about 166 grams. Its compact and lightweight build means you’ll probably have no issues carrying it around without a purse or bag. And while the X8b doesn’t share the Ultra-Bounce Anti-Drop display glass of the HONOR X9b 5G that launched earlier this year, it does come with a five-star drop-resistance certification courtesy of Switzerland’s SGS, one of the world’s leading inspection and certification companies, for your peace of mind.

Not that we’ve tested HONOR’s claim by dropping our unit on concrete repeatedly. If anything, we were a bit more careful than usual with our green unit, because it would have been a waste to put a ding on its gorgeous rear panel. The back feels nice, too — and best of all, it doesn’t pick up fingerprints or smudges at all, meaning it stays pristine even after being passed around during a photo walk.

Now, onto a couple of nitpicks as far as the hardware is concerned. First, the HONOR X8b’s mono speaker isn’t fantastic and lacks fullness compared to some of its contemporaries in the price segment, though it can get pretty loud and is fine for playing background tracks on YouTube Music or streaming a movie or TV show.

We’d definitely advise using headphones if you’re picky about audio quality. You should go with wireless cans, too, since the HONOR X8b doesn’t have a 3.5mm jack for wired listening. That’s a bit of a bummer considering the handset’s target demographic.

HONOR X8b review and price and specs via Revu Philippines
The fingerprint reader is fast and mostly accurate, even going the extra mile of identifying similar fingerprints

The home button, located just below the volume rocker, doubles as a fingerprint scanner for biometrics. It’s fast and mostly accurate, even going the extra mile of identifying similar fingerprints. Normally, we’d dock some points here, because the company could have opted for an under-display sensor, but considering how well the side-mounted fingerprint reader works, we’re not really complaining.

Like the X9b — and unlike the X8a before it — the X8b has been kitted with a bright and reasonably responsive AMOLED screen. It’s flat, though, and packs fewer pixels with its FHD+ visuals. Still, HONOR deserves heaps of praise for how slim the bezels turned out. They’re unbelievably slim across the entire front panel — as slim as we’ve seen on any midrange device, and that’s saying something given the X8b’s aggressive price point.

Thanks to the 6.7-inch flat display, the bezels are almost uniform all the way around. The chin, which is usually prominent on most smartphones, is barely noticeable, resulting in an impressively high screen-to-body ratio of 93.7%. HONOR claims 2,000 nits of peak brightness under ideal conditions, along with 3,240Hz high-frequency PWM dimming to reduce eye strain and headaches when using the screen at lower brightness levels.

HONOR X8b review and price and specs via Revu Philippines
The bezels are almost uniform all the way around

The 90Hz refresh rate could be higher, but we’re not really complaining because the X8b lacks the firepower to run games at a stable 120 FPS, anyway. The display options are many and include toggles for enabling Circadian Night Display that adjusts the screen’s brightness to match your circadian rhythms and help you get a good night’s rest, filtering out blue light, activating eBook mode, lowering the resolution to save battery power, and more.

There’s also the Dynamic Island-like Magic Capsule feature, which shows up as a pill-shaped display on the selfie-shooter cutout. For now, it only supports first-party apps, including Record and Timer, but we’re hoping it will support popular messaging and audio-streaming apps in the near future.

The Apple iPhone-inspired camera block at the back is another major selling point. Improving on its predecessor, the HONOR X8b sees a 108-megapixel ISOCELL HM6 camera sensor joined by a 5-megapixel ultrawide and a 2-megapixel macro, which only exists as filler for the specs sheet. If you need to take a closeup shot, the primary sensor is more than adequate for the job in good lighting.

HONOR X8b price and specs and availability via Revu Philippines
There’s an Apple iPhone-like camera block at the back

The ultrawide is okay when shooting in daylight, but the lack of sharpness is evident in both photos and videos, especially if you’re coming from the main camera. For obvious reasons, Night mode is not supported in 0.6x or ultrawide. That leaves you with the 108-megapixel camera if you’re into night photography, or you simply want to capture brighter images in a dark environment, like a bar or nightclub.

Which brings us to our next point: The HONOR X8b works surprisingly well for “nightography,” as another brand likes to call it, and you can easily switch between 1x and 2x zoom with a tap when shooting in Night mode. Plus, the tap-to-focus function is not too janky in low light. Aperture mode also works well for non-human subjects, with only the odd detail here and there along the edges of the sharp zone.

HONOR X8b camera night mode viewfinder vs picture result in review by Revu Philippines
What’s in the viewfinder vs the result

We’re personally not fans of the X8b’s HDR effect in photos. Worse still, there’s no toggle for it in the camera viewfinder, so you may want to avoid using the phone in very bright conditions. Both front and rear cameras can record up to 1080p footage at 30 FPS.

The 50-megapixel selfie camera is sharp, as expected, and offers a wider field of view than normal, allowing you to fit more than one person in the frame or capture a group selfie without the need for a tripod or phone stand. It comes with autofocus as well, ensuring clear and detailed selfies even in dim environments.

Other sample shots

Elsewhere, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 680 4G chipset delivers decent performance in just about every usage scenario while maintaining battery efficiency. Opening and switching between apps is mostly a smooth experience with the 90Hz refresh rate enabled, and multitasking feels responsive. It can run demanding games as long as you are willing to sacrifice visuals and/or frame rates, not to mention, your expectations are relatively low.

The local variant arrives with 8GB of RAM, which is expandable via virtual expansion. More importantly, you get a massive 512GB of internal storage. That’s double than what we typically see in this price range, and surely more than enough to run this phone for years. It’s more than what some recent flagship units offer.

Kudos to HONOR for setting the gold standard in the category and offering the market’s most affordable smartphone with half a terabyte of storage.

The 4,500mAh battery lasts a day with moderate usage, which typically involves web browsing, combing through social media, video and music streaming, playing casual games, and the occasional photo taking. And with the HONOR X8b’s support for fast wired charging at up to 35 watts using the bundled charger, it takes roughly 80 minutes to charge from zero to full.

HONOR X8b benchmark scores and battery life test result via Revu Philippines

Final thoughts

All things considered, the HONOR X8b really has three things going for it: a luxurious green color variant with a faux-leather back; a sleek and lightweight build, to go with some of the slimmest display bezels we’ve seen in the sub-P15,000 ($268) price segment; and a 512GB storage option for the local market. The AMOLED screen is not only bright, but also comfortable for the eyes. Meanwhile, the 108-megapixel camera at the back is a solid performer overall, even in low light, while the 50-megapixel front-facer is capable of sharp, detailed selfies, solo or with friends.

HONOR 8Xb specs

  • 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED display with up to 90Hz refresh rate, 2,000 nits peak brightness
  • 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 4G chipset
  • Adreno 610 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
  • Triple 108-megapixel main, 5-megapixel ultrawide, 2-megapixel macro rear cameras
  • 50-megapixel front camera
  • Side fingerprint reader
  • 4,500mAh battery with 35-watt fast charging
  • MagicOS 7.2 based on Android 13
  • Color options: Glamorous Green, Titanium Silver, Midnight Black

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Ramon Lopez

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Reviews editor: Ramon "Monch" Lopez has 16 years of professional experience creating and editing content for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. He headed the gadgets-merchandising division of one of the Philippines’ largest retail operators somewhere in between.