Could’ve been a better overall package though.
- Good-looking design
- Surprisingly decent performance for an old chip
- Decent camera performance
- Great battery life
- Uses an almost 3-year old chip
- 100MP camera feels unnecessary
- Could've had a better display
Design and Build Quality
From the front, HONOR X8a looks just about what I’d expect from a phone at this price range. A centered punch hole for the front camera, flat display and sides, which I still prefer over curved ones, and a thicker than what I would’ve wanted bottom bezel.
The rear panel, however, seems to be highly inspired by a popular brand with fruit in its name, especially when you look at the camera module. Not that that’s a bad thing, because it does look premium.
Anyway, as usual, there’s no headphone jack, and there’s only a single speaker at the bottom, along with the USB-C port and microphone. There’s no specified ingress protection here, which I feel is a must with just about any phone these days.
Display-wise, you get a 6.7-inch IPS LCD with Full HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. As expected, its colors are inferior to that of AMOLED screens from a liveliness standpoint, but overall, it’s still okay for the daily dose of say Netflix or YouTube.
The HONOR X8a on a Helio G88 processor, a chip that was launched back in March of 2020. While day to day performance has been good so far, it just feels odd that a brand will release a phone with a chip from almost three years ago. Same thing they did with the HONOR X7a. Surely, there are better choices.
That being said, gaming performance is decent. So long as you’re not going to play for too long. Mobile Legends runs well with high frame rate on and also on high graphics setting. Asphalt 8 and Genshin Impact are playable. You can even set the latter to 60 fps, though not without a few stutters, but you’ll have to turn down the presets to get a better experience.
This chip’s thermal performance isn’t impressive with severe throttling within 10 minutes of being subjected to heavy workload. There’s even indication that it had to turn off some of its cores at some point.
HONOR X8a packs 8GB of RAM, which should be enough for light to moderate multitasking, and 128GB of storage. There’s no card slot, which is a letdown.
Perhaps the bread and butter of this phone, is its 100MP main camera, which works alongside a 5MP ultra-wide unit and a 2MP macro lens.
To cut the long story short, photos are more or less what you’d expect for something at this price range. It means decent everything, but nothing excellent. Honestly, and as proven time and time again by other devices I don’t think it needs a 100MP sensor. Oh, and that 2MP macro camera really needs to go.
Video recording on the HONOR X8a is capped at 1080p 30fps, and with no stabilization, you’ll need to have very stable hands if you don’t want shaky videos.
The HONOR X8a is equipped with a 4,500mAh battery with 22.5W fast-charging, and managed to score 11 hours on PCMark’s Work 3.0 benchmark, which simulates tasks such as data manipulation, basic photo and video editing, and web browsing.
Charging the device using the power brick that came with the box, zero to full took an hour and a half. That is okay but given that a lot of brands have been going for faster and faster charging speeds, it’ll be great to see the technology trickling down into the lower mid-range and maybe in the future, even budget devices.
The HONOR X8a offers good looks, decent performance and cameras for its price, and great battery life. On the other hand, it feels underwhelming that a brand would out a phone with processor that’s almost 3 years old in 2023. The chip isn’t a slouch, but its thermal performance leaves a lot of room for improvement.
The 100MP camera looks good on paper but feels more of unnecessarily showing off. What would’ve been nice? maybe a larger battery with an AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a better chip. Sounds like a better deal, right? The silver lining is that it does take some decent images.
If performance isn’t a priority, the HONOR X8a is a good all-rounder for its PHP 10,990 price tag.
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.