VP Verdict

As A Biased Apple Fan Of 8 Years, I Gave These Honor Devices 1 Month To Change My Mind

Author’s Blurb: I’ve never used an Android in my life before. When I first got my proper phone that wasn’t a dinosaur brick Nokia, it was an Apple iPhone. Since then, iPhones are all that I’ve known for the past 8 years. I’ve also harboured some prejudices about Androids in general over the years, so I definitely went into this review with doubts.

One of the things that people have told me over the years about Android phones (which I believed because of my bias) was that it had poor privacy security, and that alone was enough to turn me away from them.

I’m not a tech-savvy person at all, so if I can avoid any potential risks with the technology I’m using, best believe that I’ll just not use it at all.

However, when I was given a chance to review the Honor 9X (128GB) and the Honor MagicWatch 2 (46mm) together, I thought this would be the perfect chance to see if my bias could be challenged once and for all.

I’m not going in depth into the technology of these devices, because like I said, 1) I’m not tech-savvy, and 2) I’m just an everyday user, so what you’ll get from me is how well these devices perform during my daily routine.

What I Liked

My current iPhone is the 6s (16GB for RM3,199 when it first came out), so keep in mind that I’m not comparing the Honor 9X to a fancier iPhone X or iPhone 11. That being said, there were definitely a few things that I quite liked about the Honor 9X.

I didn’t find the shiny black of the phone’s back anything special, but I don’t care for pretty phones too much anyway

1. Consent Is Good

One of them was how it kept asking for consent regarding my information whenever I would open up an app. I think this helped reassure my privacy paranoia, as I could just click ‘No’ to every request that popped up.

Whether or not this meant that my information was actually safe, I can’t actually tell, but I just liked knowing what an app was requesting for when I was using the 9X. My iPhone 6s sure doesn’t ask me that, so I’m not quite sure what data each app collects, since like you, I don’t read T&Cs!

2. Pretty Good Graphics

The Honor 9X has 2340×1080 resolution, and as someone who isn’t a hardcore gamer but is a serial YouTube binge-watcher, I’d say that the graphics are pretty crisp and the colours are bright and eye-catching.

I experienced practically no hanging at all throughout my usage of the 9X, probably due to the 128GB model I got (in comparison to my sad 16GB iPhone) and the fact that I don’t run multiple intense apps in the background. (Do note that the 9X isn’t marketed as a gaming phone anyway.)

There were definitely times when the graphics might be a little delayed when too many details are going on in a game, but it never outright lagged or hung terribly to the point where it affected my interaction with the screen.

3. Seamless Pairing Between Watch & Phone

As for pairing the 9X with the Honor MagicWatch 2, it was an easy process, and it stayed connected despite some distance between the devices.

This might be a given as they’re both under the same brand, but I enjoyed using them in tandem: the watch to get real-time updates on how my body was doing, and the phone app to see the overview of my health over the month.

The 3 things that I was really interested in tracking: my sleep, heart rate, and stress levels

I didn’t use the watch to its full potential, as I don’t typically exercise or do much walking in general. What I found interesting to look at throughout the day was my stress levels and heartbeat, and in the mornings, the hours of sleep I managed to get.

I’m a fan of how the design looks, sleek and modern

The fact that I could answer and make calls with the watch was also pretty cool, and came in handy when I least expected it.

At RM699 for the charcoal black edition, I probably won’t be forking out that much for something that obviously has more features than I would use, as it’d just be a waste of money then. However, if you’re a little more active than I am, this watch could serve you well as it also has 15 goal based fitness modes.

4. Great Battery Life

This goes for both the 9X and the MagicWatch 2, with the 9X (4,000mAh battery) lasting for a few days on a full charge with medium usage (mainly gaming and Youtube), and the MagicWatch 2 (455mAh battery) often lasting up to about 2 weeks on a full charge.

What I Didn’t Like

While I’ve enjoyed my month with the Honor 9X and the MagicWatch 2 more than I expected to, there were still a few things that let me down.

1. Camera Quality

I don’t need anything fancy from a phone camera as I’m not an avid phone photographer. All I request for is a crisp and clear image, and none of that overly-done AI beautification stuff that Android is usually known for.

I’m not one to take selfies, so my main concern was with the back cameras. Sure, there are 3 lenses, but none really pleased me.

Pictures I took often just seem oddly coloured, if not a little washed out even. I was excited to play with the ultra-wide lens, but upon actually using it, the photo quality was disappointing.

The edges were usually blurred, which made the ultra-wide feature seem redundant, since if I can’t see the details all around, what’s the point of even taking an ultra-wide picture?

The rest of the modes like Aperture, Night and Portrait I have less complaints about, but nothing really blew me away either. I’d much rather just use my iPhone 6s for pictures, since I could live without the 9X’s ultra-wide function.

2. The Pop-Up Camera

Given that the 9X is notchless, I’m not surprised that the selfie camera is a pop-up one. While a little odd and annoying at times to have to wait for it to pop up or go back down, I wasn’t too bothered by it as I don’t often take selfies.

Definitely not a fan of the pop-up camera

Nonetheless, notches have never annoyed me, so I still prefer having a notch and a non-pop-up camera.

3. Long Charging Duration

By my standards, taking over an hour to get to full charge is rather long, and by taking up to 2 hours to recharge, the Honor 9X’s large battery definitely is slower to charge compared to other phones I’ve used.

I suppose that is simply the trade-off for having a larger battery with decent lasting power. On the other hand, the MagicWatch 2 gets to full charge in about an hour.

Verdict

For RM999, I’d be willing to buy the HONOR 9X. I could live without ever taking a picture on it, but the price tag it comes with is justified to me by how well it performs according to my personal usage.

My main gripes were all camera or photography centred, so if that’s not important to you, you’d find that the 9X is an affordable phone that functions well for basic, everyday usage.

On the other hand, the MagicWatch 2 would be better suited to someone who has a regular workout routine, and who also wants the feature of being able to take and make calls on their wrist in particular.

While its RM699 price tag isn’t Apple Watch levels of high prices, I wouldn’t fork out the money for it as monitoring my stress levels, heartrate and sleeping pattern isn’t essential to me.

One thing that I can’t decide whether is good or bad is the size of both these devices. Being on the larger end, the 9X is heftier than what I’m used to, which somehow makes it easier for me to lose my grip on it at times. It’s a phone that you’d definitely need a gel-like casing for better friction and grip.

As for the MagicWatch 2, it feels heavy on the wrist, and I don’t normally wear watches either, so perhaps I’m still just unused to wearing it.

It’s also bulky, and I’d have trouble sometimes when I try to sleep and have to find a comfortable placement for the arm I wear it on.

However, with their sizes come the benefit of larger screens, and that’s something that I appreciate.

Overall, I’d say that this experience has pleasantly enlightened me to what Android and Honor have to offer, and therefore, I’m no longer as biased against Android products.

ProsCons
Excellent battery life for both Honor 9X and MagicWatch 2Honor 9X can be hefty in the hands
Impressive graphics for basic gaming and Youtube on the Honor 9XPoor phone camera quality, especially with the ultra-wide feature
USB-C charging port for both devices
Affordable pricing for the Honor 9X

Bottom Line: Who knew the day I’d consider purchasing an Android phone would come? Not me, that’s for sure. I’m interested in buying a new phone at the moment, and previously I’d only considered the iPhone 11, since it’s one of the newer iPhones. Now I’m not so sure if I should be limiting my choices anymore.

  • You can read more of our VP Verdict series here.

VP Verdict is a series where we personally try and test out products, services, fads, and apps. Want to suggest something else for us to try? Leave a comment here or send the suggestion into our Facebook page.

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