fbpx Press "Enter" to skip to content

HONOR X9b 5G Review: Too Tough To Ignore

Jullian Robin Sibi 0

I can still remember the viral campaign that HONOR Philippines did for the HONOR X9a 5G at the start of 2023. That encouraged a lot of people who owned that phone to test out its durability. We’re now in 2024 and HONOR Philippines is making an even bigger deal of the durability of the X9a’s successor. My question now is: Does the phone have more to offer beyond its toughness? Here’s my HONOR X9b 5G review.

Disclaimer: HONOR Philippines sent me the HONOR X9b 5G review unit in Sunrise Orange. It arrived on January 2, and I’ve been using it as my main Android phone for around two weeks.

Unboxing Experience

HONOR X9b 5G Review - Unboxing Experience
Inside the box: HONOR X9b 5G in Sunrise Orange, 35W power adapter, USB-A to USB-C cable, jelly case, SIM ejector tool, manuals

HONOR pretty much kept the same unboxing experience for this phone as the X9a. The one thing I want to highlight is the 35W power adapter that’s included in the box. While it may be a downgrade from the 40W charging of its predecessor, I found that this phone was able to do fast charging using USB PD chargers. It’s so convenient to not have to bring a specific charger for a specific phone.

Design and Build

HONOR X9b 5G Review - Design and Build

Stop me if you haven’t seen this design before. Yes yes, the HONOR X9b 5G closely resembles its predecessor. You get almost the same phone if you go for the Emerald Green color. (Even the Titanium Silver X9b that’s not locally available is almost the same as the X9a 5G.)

It’s only when you get the Sunrise Orange color that you get this nice vegan leather back. I wish that HONOR used this back on all the available colors because it helps with the grip a lot. This back also feels way better in the hand. (The X9a slipped through my fingers more often than I’d like.)

While this phone still feels slim and light to me, it’s a bit taller, a bit wider, and a bit heavier than the X9a. You don’t notice that difference though, even if you happen to hold the X9a at the same time as the X9b.

I was gonna talk about how durable this phone is, but that aspect is closely related to the…


HONOR X9b 5G Review - Display

At first glance, the display of the HONOR X9b 5G looks like its predecessor. From having fewer bezels to its curved nature, I don’t blame you if you think there isn’t anything new here. It’s a good thing that HONOR made big changes here.

We get a slightly bigger 6.78-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2652 x 1200 (or what HONOR calls 1.5K). It still keeps that 120Hz refresh rate, as well as that 1920Hz PWM dimming for better eye health. There’s a bump in peak brightness to 1200 nits, which I did notice while using the phone outdoors.

The best thing about the HONOR X9b 5G’s display? Its durability. If you’ve seen every viral video featuring this phone, you probably saw the multitude of ways people tortured it. I even did a video of me dropping this phone on some stairs.

The one thing I didn’t show right away afterward was this small dent on the top right of the phone. I didn’t expect this phone to come out unscathed after more than 20 intentional drops. In my opinion, this is probably the toughest phone I’ve ever used. I wouldn’t even dare drop my iPhone in the way I dropped the X9b!

There’s a lot of good in the display of the X9b. Not only does it look good, but it’s more durable than most phones out there.

Performance and Software

The HONOR X9b 5G uses a Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor and comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. You even get an additional 8GB of virtual RAM via HONOR RAM Turbo. Unlike other virtual RAM or other RAM expansion features, there is no option to disable HONOR RAM Turbo though.

All I can say about its performance is how smooth the user experience is. While its 120Hz refresh rate helped, I’m pretty sure that the processor, RAM, and storage mainly contributed to this experience. Having max settings on Pokémon UNITE and getting Medium settings at 30 fps on Honkai Star Rail gives me confidence that I can run many mobile games at max settings and graphics-intensive ones at reasonable settings.

If you still need those AnTuTu benchmark results, here they are:


HONOR X9b 5G Review - MagicOS 7.2

The HONOR X9b 5G runs MagicOS 7.2 based on Android 13. It’s the same experience as previous HONOR phones that run MagicOS 7. The only highlight features of this new version are easier face unlock when wearing a face mask and Magic Text. With the latter, you can select text found in images. These are features that we’ve found in other Android skins and even iOS, but they are welcome.

HONOR X9b 5G Review - MagicOS 7.2 Magic Text Feature
Magic Text on MagicOS 7.2

All in all, I’m happy that HONOR made a big upgrade in the performance department with the X9b. People were already opposed to the Snapdragon 695 in the X9a, so seeing the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 along with more RAM is a nice thing to see.

Battery Experience

HONOR highlighted the X9b’s “3-Day Battery Life” in its marketing material. While it’s easy to prove this phone’s durability, I can’t say the same for its battery.

On paper, its 5800 mAh battery has the potential to reach that claim. I already doubted this, especially after reviewing a phone with a bigger battery that realistically lasted at most 2 days. There is a silver lining in all this though.

While I did get 12 hours and 41 minutes in the PCMark Work 3.0 battery life test, that was when its brightness was higher than how I usually test this. I can safely say that this phone can last a day, even a day and a half with lighter use.

Here’s a snapshot of a day of use for me. I got a screen-on time of 6 hours and 5 minutes! I honestly didn’t get this with the X9a. This was a day where I did multiple Pokémon UNITE matches, watched countless YouTube videos, and scrolled through Lazada and social media apps a lot.

What was kind of disappointing to me was the slight decrease in charging speed (from 40W on the X9a to 35W on the X9b). It took almost 2 hours to fully charge its 5800 mAh battery. A feature I didn’t expect: I was able to get around the same speed when using a USB PD charger! While the charging got slower, at least I didn’t need to use the included charger in the box.


HONOR X9b 5G Review - Cameras

One thing I did remember when reviewing the X9a was how disappointing the rear cameras were. It took reviewing the HONOR 90 for me to see good-quality photos out of a HONOR phone. The cameras were the one aspect that I looked forward to the most in this HONOR X9b 5G review. Did HONOR do better this time?

This phone now has a 108MP main camera. It’s the same Samsung HM6 sensor that we saw in other midrange phones last year. Alongside it are a 5MP ultrawide camera and a 2MP macro camera. I just wish phone makers would ditch that 2MP camera and get a better ultrawide camera instead.

Are the photos any good? Let’s find out together!

Click on the photos for full-resolution versions!

It seems that HONOR learned from their experiences with the HONOR 90 here. I like the overall look of the photos coming out of the X9b 5G. I unfortunately still see that slow image capture due to the post-processing.

Indoor shots are a standout here, especially when it comes to food. The colors shown in these photos are almost as accurate as when I saw them in real life.

One feature I appreciate is the 3x Lossless Zoom with the main camera. While you can’t beat a good dedicated telephoto camera, it’s a nice tool to have when you need to get closer to a subject. This feature surprisingly works even in low-light shots, though the photos can get soft there.

Even in more challenging lighting, the X9b’s 108MP main camera holds its own indoors. I wouldn’t trust it with challenging lighting outdoors though since it doesn’t have OIS.

Front Camera

The HONOR X9b 5G has a 16MP front camera. I’m happy to report that whatever black magic HONOR did with the HONOR 90’s front camera is here. Yes, it’s a different sensor and the photos wouldn’t be as detailed. But I can see the better image processing here.

I even like how it handles group photos! So much so that I decided to share all the group photos I took during the launch event 😀 (Shout out to everyone who was there!)

Should You Buy the HONOR X9b 5G?

HONOR X9b 5G Review - Conclusion

On the surface, it may seem like HONOR just focused on making the X9b more durable than its predecessor. (It also doesn’t help that the marketing surrounding the phone focused on its durability.)

It’s a good thing that the HONOR X9b 5G is too tough to ignore, especially at its P16,999 price tag. Almost every aspect of this phone got an upgrade which is a rare thing to accomplish. Its display, battery experience, and cameras are standout features to me.

The X9a was a smashing success in the Philippines to the point where its 2-month stock was gone in a few days! It remains to be seen if HONOR can duplicate its success. Whatever happens, I’m confident that HONOR has a better phone this time around with the X9b.


  • That beautiful vegan leather back on the Sunrise Orange color
  • A sharper and tougher 1.5K display
  • The Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 is a better performer than the Snapdragon 695
  • More RAM for almost the same price is welcome (12GB on the X9b vs 8GB on the X9a)
  • Better battery life thanks to 5800 mAh battery
  • Support for USB PD charging
  • A good 108MP main camera for most scenarios
  • 3x lossless zoom is useful


  • No headphone jack and microSD card slot
  • MagicOS could use a redesign
  • Slower charging speed (35W on X9b vs 40W on X9a)
  • 108MP camera has no OIS
  • Subpar 5MP ultrawide camera
  • The “Why does this still exist?” 2MP macro camera
  • No 4K video recording

The HONOR X9b 5G retails for P16,999 and is available in HONOR Experience Stores and authorized retailers nationwide. It is also available online via Lazada, Shopee, or TikTok Shop.

Follow Utterly Techie on social media for updates!
Facebook | Instagram
Twitter | YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.