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Huawei Honor 4X review

Huawei Honor 4X reviewThe affordable smartphone market is already crowded with several excellent handsets, such as the second-generation Moto G, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and Micromax's Yu Yureka. And joining their league is the Huawei Honor 4X, the successor to last year's Honor 3C.

The new budget Huawei smartphone has a lot to offer, such as a big HD display, 4G support in India, huge battery, 2GB RAM and high-resolution camera, but then so the rivals. In fact, at Rs 10,499 it is a little more expensive than them. So, does the Honor 4X have enough in its arsenal to beat the rivals at the game they have almost perfected to lure away the buyers? We find out in our Huawei Honor 4X review...

The front of Huawei Honor 4X is dominated by a huge 5.5-inch touchscreen with the usual array of sensors and the front camera. Though there are no physical buttons on the front, you still get the soft-touch Home, Back and Task Switcher keys that offer decent feedback. Sadly, these haptic keys are not backlit, so identifying their location in the dark is a bit of a problem.

The Honor 4X features a white back with a rough texture for better grip with rear camera and LED flash placed at the right corner. The back panel is reminiscent of the material we saw last year on Samsung's flagship Galaxy S5 smartphone. Almost.

The volume and power keys are placed at the right edge, while the micro-USB port and 3.5mm headset jack are located at the bottom and top edge, respectively. Removing the cover reveals two micro-sim card slots and a microSD card slot along with a non-removable battery.

In terms of design, the edges of Huawei Honor 4X are rounded, which render a firm grip on the smartphone. However, the smartphone is on the chunky side at 8.7mm thick. Moreover, it is a pretty big handset, so many people might face issues while operating it with one hand.

The 5.5-inch IPS display of Huawei Honor 4X sports HD (720x1280p) resolution, with pixel density of 276ppi. Though the pixel density is not perfect, you would be hard pressed to notice individual pixels due to the colour saturation. By default, the colours seem a little oversaturated, but you can change the colour temperature to your liking in settings.

The touch-sensitivity of the smartphone is excellent and all taps and swipes are registered immediately. The sunlight legibility offered by the phone is pretty decent, but we have seen better on rival smartphone; the display tends to be a little more reflective than what most people would prefer.

We are a little disappointed when it comes to viewing angles. Being an IPS LCD panel, this smartphone was expected to retain colours even at acute angles, but instead we noticed colour distortion when the screen was viewed at a tilt. This is probably the only major chink in the otherwise sound armour of Huawei Honor 4X's display panel.

Huawei Honor 4X runs Android 4.4 with the company's Emotion UI 3.0 layered on top. The apps in the smartphone are spread across homescreens as there is no app drawer, as is the case with Huawei's Honor 6 and 6 Plus. On the lock screen, an upward swipe from the bottom shows music controls as well as shortcuts to camera, torch, calculator and ultra-power-saving mode.

The phone comes with six themes each of which comes with a different set of icons, wallpapers, font style, sounds, and lock screen styles. Unlike Honor 6 Plus, this smartphone doesn't allow users to download new themes; however the preloaded themes can be customized.

In addition to the regular UI, the phone also offers a 'simple' home screen style that features a minimalist tiles-based interface with rather big app icons and menu options. This screen style offers a completely different interface and gives users a choice to switch between the two.

The Honor 4X also offers motion gestures such as flip to mute, pick up to reduce ringer volume, and shake to arrange icons, among others. Its suspend button enables quick access to Back, Home, Recent Tasks, Screen Lock and one-touch optimization.

The smartphone comes with a Notification Manager that lets you manage notifications for each app; a power-saving mode that offers three power plans for different battery levels; and a Do Not Disturb mode that allows calls and messages only from contacts you have previously selected.

Hardware & performance
Honor 4X smartphone is powered by 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor and 2GB RAM. It comes with 8GB internal storage and also features a microSD card slot that supports cards of up to 32GB capacities.

As the Emotion 3.0 skin is pretty light, we did not experience any lag while navigating through the phone's menu, browsing the web, sifting through multimedia, and scrolling within the apps.
Connectivity features of the device include 2G, 3G, 4G (both sim cards), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB 2.0. The Honor 4X offers good call quality and signal reception and we did not encounter issues while making calls even in areas where cell signal is relatively weaker.
The loudspeaker offers decent audio output, but is a on the tinny side in terms of quality; moreover, we noticed that the sound starts cracking as you crank up the volume.

The 3,000mAh battery of Huawei Honor 4X is one of its biggest strengths. It can last up to a day and half easily with moderate usage, but if you are a heavy user, you will get only one day of juice from this smartphone.

Gaming does not take a major on the battery life, but you will notice some heating while playing games like Asphalt 8 and Real Racing 3. Moreover, the Snapdragon 410's Adreno 306 GPU is ill-equipped to handle such resource-consuming games, thus lag is rather noticeable.

Huawei Honor 4X notched up pretty average scores on popular benchmarks: 20,082 in Antutu, 12,154 in Quadrant, 1402 (multi-core) in Geekbench and 52.3 in Nenamark 2. Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G and Micromax's Yu Yureka have done better in this regard. Though we usually do not recommend a phone based solely on benchmarks as real world performance is different at times, here the results are in line with our observations: Honor 4X lags a little behind the Xiaomi and Micromax models.

The Honor 4X sports a 13MP rear camera (with LED flash) and 5MP front-facing camera. The rear camera supports 1080p video recording.

The camera app offers settings for all optical attributes, HDR, Panorama, Timer modes. It also has smile detection, super focus and personalized watermark. Unfortunately, the camera app takes a little time to focus on the object in question.

Images captured by the camera in daylight turned out well with accurate level of detail, good colour reproduction and decent contrast. However, the images are not perfect, as you can notice some aberrant noise creeping in some photos. Moreover, in some photos, we observed a little haziness at the edges.

The front camera shoots good quality selfies, with the phone offering options to make your face slimmer or your nose slender in the beauty mode.

At Rs 10,499, Huawei Honor 4X offers a good display, high-end hardware and a good camera. It packs the category -- leading hardware, but falls short of what the rivals offer by a (very) small margin.

Micromax Yu Yureka at Rs 8,999 and Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G at Rs 9,999 are clearly the best buys in this range, but if you are willing to delay buying a smartphone, then we suggest that you wait for Lenovo's upcoming A7000 smartphone.

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