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Wait, the Honor 9X phone is running Android despite the Huawei ban? No, it's not a loophole

Honor is subject to the same Android ban as its parent brand Huawei. The 9X could be the company's last phone to use the software.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Honor is a sub-brand of Chinese firm Huawei, meaning it's banned from using Google services (including Android) just like its parent company. Why, then, has the new Honor 9X arrived in Europe running Android 9? Honor hasn't found a cheeky loophole, it's actually that the phone was in development (and indeed on sale in China) before the ban was fully instated, meaning it's not subject to the same rules.

So the 9X has just managed to limbo under the bar and onto store shelves. But it's more than likely to be one of the last Android-running phones from Honor or Huawei we see any time soon -- unless there's an agreement between China and the US to resolve their current trade disputes.

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Politics aside, the phone itself isn't a bad bit of kit for what will likely be an affordable price. Its shimmering blue color scheme looks snazzy, for one thing. And it's got a dual-camera setup on the back, featuring a super wide-angle lens and a regular zoom lens that uses an additional depth sensor for portrait mode. The front-facing camera pops up from the top edge in that neat way we've seen on recent OnePlus phones, which also means there's no notch cutting into the 6.59-inch display.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

There's no official word on exactly how much this phone will cost, but given the Honor 8X ($220 at Amazon) is currently on sale for around £200 in the UK, it's safe to assume the 9X will be roughly in that area. The phone is due to go on sale in the UK, wider Europe and Australia later this month, but other locations are yet to be announced. For reference, that potential £200 price converts to about $260 or AU$380.

The phone will be joined by two wearable devices, the Honor Band 5 and the Band 5 Sport. Both will track your heart rate and count your steps. There's also the Honor Sport Pro wireless headphones.

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Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Honor 9X specs

  • 6.59-inch display
  • Dual rear camera (a normal 48-megapixel lens with depth sensor for portrait images and an 8-megapixel super-wide lens)
  • Pop-up front-facing camera
  • 4,000-mAh battery
  • 6GB RAM
  • USB-C charging
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Rear fingerprint scanner

Originally published earlier today.