Honor X9a review: a strong competitor in the mid-range market

The Honor X9a, launched in South Africa in February, aims to bring a premium experience to a mid-range price point.

But how well does it achieve this? I spent some time with the smartphone and here’s what I can tell you.

Honor X9a smartphone features

The Honor X9a includes a slim design, a robust 5100mAh battery, and a triple-lens main camera setup. It comes equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor and 8GB of RAM.

For its display, the smartphone carries a 6.67-inch curved AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Among its main camera lenses, it sports a 64MP main lens, a 5MP wide-angle lens, and a 2MP macro lens.

You can see a summary of the phone’s specs below:

  • Display: 6.67-inch AMOLED (1080 x 2400 pixels) display with 120Hz refresh rate
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 695
  • Main camera: 64MP main lens + 5MP wide-angle lens + 2MP macro lens
  • Selfie camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 5100mAh
  • RAM: 8GB
  • On-board storage: 256GB

All-in-all, the phone includes a balance of mid-range hardware with a premium design philosophy.

Here’s how it stood up to daily usage.


honor x9a screen

The Honor X9a has a decidedly premium feel right out of the box. The first thing you’ll notice when you have the device in hand is how thin and light it feels, without appearing cheap or flimsy.

Rather it feels solid while also incredibly lightweight. This is thanks to its 7.9mm thick body and the 45-degree angle of the curved display.

This lightweight form factor feels comfortable in hand, while the minimal bezels and curved edges make the 6.67-inch display feel immersive. Its in-display fingerprint sensor makes unlocking the device seamless and adds to the premium feel.

I reviewed the Emerald Green version of the phone, with the colour giving the phone an elevated finish.

back cover design honor x9a smartphone

If you’re looking for a phone that stands out, the camera housing of the Honor X9a definitely makes a statement. Honor dubs this the Dynamic Eye design. While availability hasn’t been confirmed for South Africa, Honor also makes stickers that can be placed within the Eye’s circle to add a personal touch to the device.

Opinions on the rounded camera housing design might differ, but Honor has definitely created a mid-range phone that stands out from the pack in terms of design.


The display’s 120Hz refresh rate, paired with the processor of the phone, results in seamless performance and smooth visuals when using the device for daily tasks.

There is a bit of bloatware in terms of pre-installed apps, but these can be easily uninstalled or deactivated.

honor x9a performance benchmark results

In a Work 3.0 performance benchmarking test on PCMark for Android, the Honor X9a scored 10,325.

Looking at scores for other Android 12 devices, this puts the X9a within a similar performance range as the Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro, the Huawei Mate 40, and the Oppo Reno 8 Pro.

Overall, you can easily multitask on the app, switching between different apps and windows. And while it isn’t a gaming-first phone, it performs admirably with casual mobile games.

Honor X9a Camera

The Honor X9a comes equipped with a triple-lens main camera that performs well, especially in brightly lit environments.

The camera is able to reproduce colour well, but doesn’t deliver the same level of saturation or contrast as some other popular phone cameras.

But if you’re mainly using the camera for daily snaps, the Honor X9a will serve you well. Its software is snappy and images come out clear and balanced.


The Honor X9a sports an impressive battery life. Its 5100mAh battery lasts well over a period of two days with general usage.

When running the device through the PCMark for Android battery benchmark, it lasted nearly 17 hours.

This means with 50% screen brightness, it took 16 hours and 57 minutes for the device to drain from 100% to 20% battery by running through a variety of tasks with the screen constantly on.

honor x9a battery benchmark score

Paired with 40W charging, this makes for a device you can enjoy using without depleting your battery too quickly or waiting too long for it to charge up.

Review verdict: Is the Honor X9a worth it?

With a launch price of R11,999, the Honor X9a manages to achieve the right balance between a mid-range and premium device.

In a market where smartphone prices seem to be surging, this is a welcome addition for consumers.

The Honor X9a achieves a premium design without cutting corners. While it won’t necessarily compete with the performance of ultra-premium flagship competitors, it offers the value-for-money many locals will be looking for.

When it comes to daily usage, the phone provides a great experience with a stylish, slim design and balanced hardware.

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