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The Honor 8X is like a super-cheap iPhone XS Max, in all the best ways

This shiny, cost-conscious phone comes with dual cameras and more trimmings than you'd expect.

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Aloysius Low
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Aloysius Low

Senior Editor

Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.

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The Honor 8X is a good-looking budget phone.

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Huawei knows that not everyone can afford a $1,000 phone, or would want to spend that much even if they could. So the new Honor 8X gives you all the iPhone XS Max's screen size and extra glitz for a budget price.

The new Honor 8X sports a 6.5-inch, bezel-less, notched display and a shiny metallic look in blue, black or red (I saw it in blue). Even though it sells for 1,399 yuan in China -- that converts to about $205, £155 or AU$285 -- it doesn't feel like a budget phone. Its specs and overall look and feel pack a punch.

Phones by Huawei and its Honor sub-brand won't sell in the US, given the US government's stance on the Chinese company's products. But that exclusion hasn't hurt Huawei so far. On the contrary, the Chinese brand's sales have surged to make it the world's second largest phone-maker, behind Samsung, knocking Apple (the most profitable phone-maker) into third. 

Huawei Honor 8X is a budget phone with a punch

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If the Honor 8X's design looks familiar, you may recall the Huawei Nova 3i, which has a similar design, though it has a slightly smaller display at 6.3 inches. 

For those who think a 6.5-inch screen isn't enough, there's also a bigger version, the Honor 8X Max, which has a whopping 7.1-inch panel. Inside, there's a Kirin 710 processor for the 8X, while the 8X Max uses Qualcomm's Snapdragon 636 processor.

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Watch this: Huawei Honor 8X: Looks better than 'budget'

While I didn't get a chance to try out the larger Max, the 8X's Kirin 710 doesn't feel sluggish at all in the short amount of time I got to try out the phone. I liked how the phone feels in my hand, and while the 6.5-inch screen may seem large, the phone's about the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus. When placed side by side, the amount of display really stands out.

As with recent Huawei-made phones, the Honor 8X's dual cameras are AI-powered. Turn on AI mode and the camera will automatically detect what sort of shots it should take, for example, closeups of objects, or switching automatically to portrait mode if it sees a face.

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The camera offers Huawei's standard suite of features, including AI shot detection and a night mode that combines multiple shots into one image.

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It also has a night mode, which combines multiple exposure shots into one image. There does seem to be some noise tradeoff, but the images are slightly clearer, with a little more detail compared to the standard photo mode.

The Honor 8X looks like a compelling choice for those wanting a cheap phone without compromising on quality or performance. It'll be sold in Asia and Europe.

Huawei Honor 8X specs

  • Processor: Huawei Kirin 710, 2.2GHz octacore

  • Display: 6.5-inch full-HD+ (2,340x1,080 pixels)

  • Operating system: Android 8.1 Oreo

  • Memory: 64GB/128GB storage, 6GB RAM or 64GB storage, 4GB RAM

  • Cameras: 20- and 2-megapixel rear, 16-megapixel front