Huawei-owned Honor isn't trying to battle the iPhone X ($900 at Boost Mobile) or Galaxy S8 ($230 at eBay) with its latest phone. Instead, the Honor 7X is aimed squarely at those of you who don't want to splash the cash on elite handsets, but still want some of the pizzazz that comes with them.

With an expected price somewhere under the £300 mark, the 7X is more closely related to the similarly affordable Moto G5 Plus ($150 at Amazon). While the G5 has a water resistant design (which the 7X does not), the Honor's great screen and slicker overall design makes it the more compelling choice. How the two truly stack up remains to be seen in our full review.

There's no official price as yet, but it's expected to be below £300 (the previous Honor 6X ($299 at Amazon) went on sale for £225). There's no word on when the phone will land in the US or Australia, but for reference, even an estimated £280 price converts to $369 and AU$485.

The screen is where the excitement lies. It's a massive 5.93-inch affair, with tiny bezels on all sides. With a fingerprint scanner on the back, rather than the front, the display has been able to take up all available room in the chassis. Sure, the Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 XL ($151 at eBay) and Huawei Mate 10 Pro ($750 at Amazon) have all done that, but they'll both cost you hundreds more.


Honor 7X

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And you get a lot of phone for that money.

First off, those slim bezels make it look like a much more premium device than the affordable price suggests. It's wrapped in a full metal shell,  which looks slick and feels great to hold. The deep blue colour stands out nicely against the slew of black and silver phones knocking about. The 2,160x1,080-pixel resolution makes text look pin sharp and it's easily bright enough to use under our harsh office lights.

It's loaded with a quad-core, Huawei-made Kirin 659 processor with 4GB of RAM. It's certainly no match for the S8 or Pixel 2 ($100 at Amazon) in benchmark scores, but in my tests I found it to be perfectly nippy enough for all your everyday emailing and Instagramming. It handles demanding games like Riptide GP: Renegade and N.O.V.A Legacy well enough for casual gamers too.

The rear 16-megapixel camera takes colourful shots with plenty of detail. Colours can be on the cold side, but there's a manual camera mode where you can adjust the white balance to get a nicer tone.

A second lens provides depth information, letting you capture photos with shallow depth of field, and indeed there's a 'Portrait Mode' just like you'll find on the iPhone 8 Plus ($549 at Amazon) and X. It does a decent job of isolating your subject by giving the background an attractive blur. The cut out of your subject isn't as neat as the iPhones ($600 at Boost Mobile) manage, but it's more than good enough to add some cool effects to your portraits on Instagram.


Honor 7X

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The 8-megapixel front-facing camera takes sharp shots and has quite a wide angle of view so you won't need to squash your friends in too closely to get everyone in view.

What you won't find on the 7X is any kind of water resistance, something that is becoming a standard on higher-end phones. Keep it away from any potential splashes and be careful taking calls in the rain. It charges using the older micro USB, rather than USB-C, which isn't much of a problem as it means you can keep using the charging cables you had from your previous handset.

It also launches with the older Android Nougat software, rather than Oreo. It's a shame not to see the latest version on board, given that it's been available for some time, but I can just about forgive it, given the price of the phone. Honor is currently looking at early next year for an update to Oreo. 

The 3,340mAh battery (non-removable) is pretty sizeable, although that large screen will be an energy hog. I would expect to get a day of power with careful use, but we'll test that fully in the review.

Huawei Honor 7X specs comparison

Honor 7X Motorola Moto G5 Plus Samsung Galaxy J3 (2017) Samsung Galaxy S8
5.93-inch; 2,160x1,080 pixels 5.2-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels 5.8-inch; 2,960x1,440 pixels
407ppi 424ppi 293ppi 570ppi
6.1x2.95x0.27 in 5.9x2.9x0.3 in 5.6 x 2.8 x 0.34 in 5.86 x 2.68 x 0.32 in
155x75x7mm 150.2x74x7.7 mm 141x71.1x8.6 148.9x68.1x8 mm
5.92 oz; 168g 5.5 oz, 155g 5.2 oz; 147g 5.5 oz; 155g
Android 7.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
16-megapixel (plus depth-sensing lens) 12-megapixel 5-megapixel 12-megapixel
8-megapixel 5-megapixel 2-megapixel 8-megapixel
4K 4K 1080p 4K
Kirin 659 quad-core 2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 1.4GHz quad-core Samsung Exynos 7 Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz+1.9GHz) or Octa-core Samsung Exynos 8895 (2.35GHz+1.7GHz)
64GB 32GB (UK & US), 64GB (US only) 16GB 64GB

2GB on 32 GB (US model), 3GB on 32GB (UK model) or 4GB on 64GB (US model) 1.5GB 4GB
Up to 256GB 128GB Up to 256GB Up to 2TB
3,340mAh 3,000mAh 2,600mAh (removable) 3,000mAh
Back of phone Below screen None Back
Micro USB Micro-USB Micro-USB USB-C
Yes Yes Yes Yes
Depth sensing lens allows for portrait mode photos Dual-SIM, splash-proof Outdoor mode Water-resistant (IP68), wireless charging, Gigabit LTE-ready
Converts to $395 $229 (32GB); $299 (64GB) $180 AT&T: $750; Verizon: $720; T-Mobile: $750; Sprint: $750; U.S. Cellular: $675
Under £300 £249 (32GB) Converts to £138 £689
Converts to AU$521 Converts to AU$300 (32GB) and AU$390 (64GB) Converts to AU$227 AU$1,19