If not for the steep price tag.
- Rear panel looks good
- Excellent battery life
- Minimal number of pre-loaded apps
- Decent camera performance in daytime
- Uses a 3-year-old processor
- Poor performance
- Takes very long to recharge
Design and Build Quality
The HONOR X7a is a two-faced device – it looks like a bit more expensive from the back, with its camera module that provides a good contrast to the rest of the panel, and the matte metallic finish. At the front, you get the expected thick bezels, and the front camera on a middle notch, typical for a budget device.
At least, there’s a headphone jack and a side-mounted power button which also works as the fingerprint scanner, but it can be a challenge to press thanks to its recessed design. Thankfully, this also uses a USB Type C port.
The 6.75-inch TFT LCD has HD+ resolution, and is okay for media consumption, but don’t expect anything stellar in terms of colors.
By now, the smartphone market has become so competitive that even budget devices can deliver decent performance. Unfortunately, the HONOR X7a seems to be one of those left behind as it uses a 3-year-old Helio G37 processor. It’s one of those decisions that will really make you go… why?
I mean, even if you’re not into gaming and you just want to use a phone for taking photos, updating social media, watching videos, and listening to music, there’s just so many devices out there that offer more, at a similar or just slightly higher price tag.
Even when just swiping through the pages, opening apps, and scrolling through menus, and this phone will throw occasional stutters, and that, alone is a red flag.
If you’re going to play anything more demanding than Mobile Legends, forget it. No, really. Well, at least you get 128GB of storage, which is good for a budget phone.
In fairness, the brand was able to equip the HONOR X7a with four rear cameras – including a wide-angle lens.
In daytime, the quality is decent, say a bit more than what is expected of a phone in this price range. In low light, you get tons of glare, but some shots are probably usable for social media, and there’s the noticeable loss in detail.
Selfies are somewhat the same quality. Sharp enough, detailed enough for social media, but no more than that.
At the time of writing, HONOR X7a runs Magic Ui 6.1 on top of Android 12. It’s pretty much the same with what you’ll find in other recent HONOR devices, feature-wise.
That means, Cards or basically, widgets, are at your disposal, and you have access to all biometric options – fingerprint and face unlock, as well as the more traditional ones. It’s pretty much a simple UI with a minimal amount of pre-installed apps, which is good for an entry-level device.
The HONOR X7a’s main selling point is its 6,000mAh battery which the brand claims can last up to 3 days in a single charge. I’m not so sure with the conditions that have to be met to achieve that, but the device was able to run for almost 21 hours playing a YouTube video at 1080p 60fps continuously with its brightness at 50% before running out of battery. That’s impressive.
Of course, there is a price for that. Charging from zero to full using the brick that came with the box took an agonizing 2 hours. At this price point, I guess that’s a fair trade-off.
The HONOR X7a is priced at PHP7,990, which I think is a little too steep for what it offers. I mean yes, it has decent cameras at least when shooting during daytime, 90Hz refresh rate, and excellent battery life. But it’s running on a 3-year-old processor with performance so bad that it definitely ruins the experience. I mean, this didn’t need to have the best chip, but they could’ve at least put something more decent there.
And it becomes even less compelling when you look at competing devices that cost almost the same or just a bit more. If the brand can lower the price to a more reasonable amount, this would be a decent choice for those who aren’t into gaming and just want a basic smartphone for light use.
Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.