What is the Honor 7X?
The Honor 7X is a mid-range smartphone, with a dual camera set-up, along with a 5.93-inch 18:9 ratio screen. The Honor brand is a sub-brand of Huawei, and as such, many of the features, camera-wise, are very similar to those you might find on other Huawei phones – most notably the double camera (although it should be noted that unlike the Mate 10 Pro, or the P10, the Honor 7X has no affiliation with camera brand Leica).
While the main camera of the two is a 16 megapixel device, the secondary lens has a 2 megapixel sensor behind it which is used for depth mapping to create a shallow depth of field effect.
As Huawei’s more affordable option, the Honor 7X is available to buy for a much cheaper price than its closest Huawei equivalents – you can currently pick it up for around £270 sim-free.
Build Quality and Handling
Despite being one of the cheaper smartphones currently on the market, the Honor 7X still feels solidly built and well put together. The slim chassis has nicely curved edges, while the all-metal design also feels and looks classy. Having an edge-to-edge design on a phone like this is also a bonus, with the vibrant screen doing a good job of displaying your images.
On the back of a phone is a fingerprint sensor, which you can use to unlock the phone. Alternatively, you can enter a pattern or PIN via the screen. However, if you quickly want to launch the camera, rather than unlock the entire phone, you can do so by swiping up from the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
The native camera app is well featured. By default, it will launch in fully automatic mode, which gives you little control, allowing you to concentrate on composition and so on. In this mode, you’ll find that you can alter focus point (and by doing so alter the metering), as well as adjust brightness by simply tapping on the screen.
In this mode, you’ll also find that you can switch on the “wide aperture” mode. This is an effect which recreates the look of shooting with a wide angle lens, and makes use of the 7X’s secondary lens. You can choose from an aperture as wide as f/0.95 (equivalent), and usefully, you can adjust and move and adjust the focus area (as well as adjust the aperture setting) after you’ve taken the shot when playing back your image.
If you swipe left from the main camera screen, you’ll see that there’s a range of different modes you can use aside from the standard “Photo” option. Perhaps the most useful here is “Pro Photo”, which gives you a range of shooting parameters to change, such as shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation and AF mode. Note that despite this more advanced feature, there’s no option to switch on raw format shooting.
When it comes to taking a shot, you have the option of tapping a virtual button (displayed either at the bottom of the screen, or to the right if you’re holding it in landscape format), or using the physical volume button on the side of the phone. The physical button isn’t particularly handily placed, being as it is close to the phone’s camera lenses, but it’s easy enough to get used to a good shooting position.
In good light, the Honor 7X is capable of producing some nice images. While they may not be particularly extraordinary – not that much of a surprise given the wide range of excellent smartphone cameras on the market – for the price you pay for the 7X, you get a well performing device.
Images directly from the camera generally display a pleasing amount of saturation, as well as a decent level of overall detail, but it’s probably best if you keep to viewing photos on a phone screen or similar.
Dynamic range isn’t quite as good as we’ve seen from some other phones on the market, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. We can see some image smoothing when examining shots at 100%, but this isn’t particularly unusual, nor is it overly noticeable in most ordinary shots.
Wide aperture mode is capable of producing some nice shots too. It may not be as convincing as we’ve seen from other smartphones offering similar functionality (the Pixel 2 remains my favourite), the effect is generally quite pleasing.
As the light drops, the 7X doesn’t cope too well, with a loss of detail and some more obvious smudginess – how likely this is to bother you depends on how often you tend to find yourself shooting in low light situations.
Considering the Honor 7X is a mid-range phone, available at a reasonable price, it is capable of producing some very nice shots.
At the moment, there’s a huge amount of choice in the high-end smartphone range, and as such, it can be easy to forget that gems exist at lower price points too. For your cash, you get a camera which is capable of producing some vibrant, well-detailed shots, with the added bonus of being able to take manual control, too.
The design is also very nice, managing to look sleek and classy, arguably looking a lot more pricy than it actually is.
If you like to take a lot of low light shots, want the ability to shoot in raw format, would like a zoom lens, or are looking for something which takes the best possible quality images, the 7X probably isn’t for you – but it is undeniably a bit of a bargain.