Our Verdict

Honor has cemented itself as one of the world's best budget phone makers with the Honor 6X, but a few little problems still hold it back from the perfect five-star review.

For

  • Premium build
  • Gorgeous, large display
  • Powerful processor set up

Against

  • Outdated software
  • No USB-C
  • Limited storage options

The Honor 5X from early 2016 was one of the best low-end phones you could buy last year – we even gave it four out of five stars.

Honor wants to replicate that success in 2017 with the Honor 6X, with a few minor improvements and a similarly low price point to encourage you to go with the up-and-coming Chinese brand.

There are a lot of specs here that not so long ago you’d have expected to only feature in upper mid-range to high-end phones, yet Honor has managed to pack them into something substantially cheaper. 

But things progress quickly in the world of phones, and these days there's strong competition at this end of the market from the likes of the Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus, so can the Honor 6X compete?

Honor 6X price and release date

  • The Honor 6X costs a little more than the Honor 5X did this time last year
  • It's still not expensive at $249.99 (£229, about AU$390)
  • Out now in the US and UK, no sign of Australia

You can buy the Honor 6X now in the UK and US while it's not currently clear if Honor will be bringing the phone to Australia in the foreseeable future.

Pricing-wise it’s only $249.99 (£229, about AU$390), which is more than the launch price of the Honor 5X, as that cost just $199.99 (£189.99, about AU$275).

In the US, you'll be able to register for a $50 discount in flash sales every Tuesday between January 10 and January 31. That'll bring the phone down to $199.99, but there's no sign of the UK getting a similar discount.

Given that the Honor 5X is now even cheaper than it was at launch it’s a shame Honor has decided to raise the price of its new handset, but the flash sale pricing is impressively low.

Key features

  • Limited key features compared to flagship phones like Honor 8
  • Useful fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone
  • Honor's signature dual-lens camera, but not as we've seen it before

The Honor 6X isn’t packed full of the latest smartphone features, but it has a few key highlights that mean it stands out against a lot of the competition.

One of these is the fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone. Phones at this price point still don’t all have the added security of a fingerprint scanner, but this one does and it's one of the speediest around.

Being on the back means it’s in a useful position for when you have the phone in your hand, but it can get irritating if you put your phone down a lot on desks.

Another key highlight is the camera – there's a dual-sensor shooter on the back of the Honor 6X and this is one of the first times we have seen this kind of setup on a budget phone.

It means you can use the wide-aperture mode to focus your shots on objects in the foreground and blur the background of each photo. It’s a great little trick and one you won’t be able to get on any other modern smartphone that costs as little as the Honor 6X.

Design and display

  • Metal unibody design, but may be too big for some people
  • Full HD 5.5-inch display offers a bright and clear picture

Unlike most of the phones at this price point, Honor has managed to include a metal unibody design here that gives the 6X a slightly premium feel.

The build quality isn’t fantastic and it doesn’t sit as comfortably in the hand as the Honor 8 or Huawei Mate 9, but it does still feel more premium than, say, the plastic-backed Moto G4 Plus.

Those with small hands may find the Honor 6X a little difficult to hold with its 5.5-inch screen in the middle, but we enjoyed using it.

It’s a touch thicker than we’d hoped for at 8.2mm, but it’s not unweidly at that thickness.

The power button on the right hand side of the phone is easy to reach with your thumb, while the volume rocker sits just above it and again is easy to tap. 

There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone and the dual camera sits just above that, jutting out more than we'd like.

It means the phone doesn’t sit flat when placed on a surface, but it’s a better choice than making the entire handset thicker.

The corners of the phone are rounded off well and don’t feel uncomfortable when you hold it. It’s also worth noting the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top right of the handset.

This is in a good position for when you’re listening to music on the go and want to keep your phone upright in your pocket.

Color-wise you’ve got three options on the Honor 6X. There’s a silver, a gold and a gray version. The differences between gray and silver are minimal though and the gold version isn’t particularly eye-catching.

That's not necessarily a bad thing though. For the purposes of this review we had the gold version of the 6X, and it never felt embarrassingly flashy like some gold or rose gold colors can on phones.

As for the Honor 6X's screen, for what it costs you'll likely be happy with the setup.

It's a large screen at 5.5 inches, offering up a 1080p resolution. You could get a slightly clearer image by opting for a phone with a QHD display, but that's not going to happen at this price point.

The Honor 6X has a nicely bright screen with good viewing angles. Colors look OK and the brightness can go up to a great level.

Auto-brightness on the Honor 6X works well too and we found it best to just leave that on and let it do its thing.

The bezels around the screen on the Honor 6X are quite thick, but this doesn't make it any more difficult to use the phone and only impacts upon the look of the handset rather than how it works.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

James is Phones, Wearables and Tablets writer for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making gadgets for your palms, wrists and face. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest phones, smartwatches, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.