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HONOR X9b 5G Hands On Experience

HONOR X9b 5G Hands On Experience

by Low Boon ShenOctober 23, 2023
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HONOR invited us last week to the Nemesis Legion Paintball Academy in the outskirts of Shah Alam to check out their second generation of the ‘rugged’ smartphones – the HONOR X9b 5G. The first model, X9a, touted its toughness against drops and features a big battery – on top of that, they’re guaranteeing its quality by offering a free screen replacement if you somehow managed to break it. So what does its successor improves on? Here’s our first impressions.

HONOR X9b 5G First Impressions

HONOR X9b 5G Hands On Experience

The model we have is the Sunrise Orange variant, which unlike the other two colorways available, is covered in a vegan leather material. Certainly a different look and feel compared to its predecessor – though that’s pretty much where the difference ends in terms of designs. This colorway also have a touch of golden-tinted accents around the metal parts of the chassis, which does complement the color better than say, plain silver color from the aluminum chassis.

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The same “halo ring” camera array prominently sits on the top half of the rear side, with the main camera of the three now getting the upgraded 108MP sensor (alongside the same 5MP ultrawide + 2MP macro). What can you do with the 108MP camera, you may ask? HONOR says you can do 3x digital zoom, which punches into a resolution of 4,000 x 3,000 pixels from the original sensor resolution of 12,000 x 9,000 pixels. If you intend to use the entirety of the sensor, it’s only available through a special “High-Res” mode in the camera app.

Another big upgrade on the specs is the battery – it now comes with a sizeable 5,800mAh battery that based on my initial experience with it, the endurance is looking very good. That may be thanks to the new Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chip, and it sips so little power on standby I can left it for days and still see the battery using just 8% after 48 hours of runtime (though with network and sensors off). I’ve seen other phones that does much worse than this, so it’s a very good start for the X9b 5G.

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And let’s talk about the selling point of the X9b 5G: toughness. So what did the guys over at HONOR do to show us the capabilities of this phone at the event? By subjecting these phones to some rather brutal impacts in two scenarios. First is using the phone itself to chop the wooden block in two halves – no phone case involved here. Members of the media has tried all kinds of angles and forces trying to break it head-on, side impact, you name it: the phone simply didn’t budge.

Oh, and if you’ve figured out the nature of the location (which is a paintball arena) , yes – the second one involves putting the phones onto metal boards with a cutout that multiple X9b 5Gs are situated in, for allow us to open fire with our paintball guns. According to the instructors on-site, these guns can shoot projectiles up to 300ft/s (that’s around 330km/h or over 200mph). Let’s just say that after perhaps hundreds of direct hits combined and very painted phones afterwards, none of them has broken whatsoever. Impressive showing, HONOR.

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HONOR X9b in max brightness.

That being said, since we’re outdoors – naturally the brightness performance of the display will be immediately apparent as we try our hands on these devices. That is perhaps one downside of the X9b 5G I can immediately tell right out of the box, which is a bummer given that this phone already have the most qualities that can qualify it as a “ruggedized” smartphone that can deal with the harsh environments mother nature can throw at it.

In any case, we’ll be putting the HONOR X9b 5G through our usual suite of tests – at this point you should have a good idea what to expect out of this smartphone. For more detailed reviews and benchmarks, stay tuned for the full review here at

About The Author
Low Boon Shen
Is technology powered by a series of tubes?