Interface and reliability

  • Runs the equivalent software of Android 6 called Emotion UI 4.1
  • Android 7 will come in Emotion UI 5 later this year
  • No app drawer, unlike most Android devices

The Honor 6X is running its own Emotion UI 4.1 software, which is built on top of Android 6 Marshmallow.

Android 7 Nougat has been out in the wild for quite some time now, so it’s a little disappointing Honor hasn’t launched this phone with the latest software on board.

Honor has confirmed it plans to update the phone by March 2017 with Emotion UI 5 though, which comes with all the features you’d expect from a phone toting Android 7 software.

If you’ve used Honor or Huawei phones in the past, you’ll know what the software is like. There are a lot of big, bright colors and Honor has its own apps to take over a lot of tasks, such as playing videos or music.

In previous iterations, Honor included a lot of bloatware apps on its phones, but the Honor 6X is rather light in terms of software.

It has Twitter and Facebook pre-installed, alongside a few games, but compared to the mass of apps we’ve seen on previous handsets this is quite an improvement.

Unlike a lot of other Android devices, the Honor 6X doesn’t include an app drawer. That means all your downloaded apps appear over a series of pages on the home screen. If you’re switching from iOS you may find this software easy to get used to as it works in a similar way.

If not, you may miss being able to search for your apps with ease in an app drawer.

Honor includes a lot of features a lot of other phones don’t though – the customization in the software is second to none and you’ll be able to benefit a lot from the changes you can make to it.

There's an app called Themes that allows you to change the whole look of the software from color, to design of apps and your background pictures.

Music, movies and gaming

  • There's still a 3.5mm headphone jack, but you can also use Bluetooth
  • Speakers are OK - but nothing too exciting
  • 32GB of storage, which offers 21GB after software is included

Honor has included its own Music app on the 6X, and that’s there alongside Google Play Music, so anything you upload directly to the phone is going to be easy to play.

The Honor-made Music app doesn’t add much to the music playing experience, but it works perfectly functionally and is easy to use.

There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the phone so you can use wired headsets, but you can also connect via Bluetooth with wireless headphones.

The process is simple and we found Bluetooth devices connected up well and didn’t break off without warning like they can do on some phones.

The speakers on the Honor 6X aren’t anything that phenomenal, but they will do the job if you’re listening to music or podcasts as you walk around your home. They won’t be impressing anyone at a dinner party though.

Watching movies on the Honor 6X is an enjoyable experience with the large, bright display and OK speakers. Again, the phone won’t give you incredible sound quality, but it’s suitable for watching movies and TV on.

For your own videos, if you store them locally you’ll find the Videos app is the best way to play them.

All of the features are simple to find and a tap on the screen while you’re watching will bring up the option to scrub through the TV show or movie you’re watching.

We’d also recommend downloading Netflix or Amazon Video onto this phone if you want to watch a lot of movies, as you can now download TV shows and films to your internal storage.

The Honor 6X is advertised as having 32GB of storage, but you won’t have that much to play with. We found that we had 21.4GB of space to use ourselves after software and bloatware apps.

That’s about the same as most modern smartphones, and 20GB of space should still go quite a long way. If you need any more room, you’ll need to buy a microSD card to expand the storage.

This phone only supports cards of up to 128GB, which is a bit of a shame when many modern smartphones now stretch to 256GB, but it’s still plenty.

As for games, Honor has included a few on the 6X to get you started. There’s Asphalt Nitro, Dragon Mania and Spider-Man: Ultimate Power, but the Google Play Store is full of much better games for you to play.

We found ourselves playing Real Racing 3, Reigns, Pokemon Go and The Trail on the Honor 6X, and each worked well without any stuttering or bad performance.

In fact Real Racing 3 worked fantastically considering the price of this phone. It booted up quickly and entering a race took no time at all.

Pokemon Go proved a little bit slower than we’d hoped for, but being used to flagship phone performance it’s no surprise the Honor 6X didn’t shock us with incredible loading times.

Specs and benchmark performance

  • Debut of the HiSilicon Kirin 655 system on a chip
  • Comes with 3GB of RAM too
  • Has impressive benchmarking scores compared to other phones in this price range

Honor has used its parent company's own chipset for the Honor 6X, specifically the Kirin 655 - an octa-core system on a chip clocked at 2.1GHz.

That's paired with 3GB of RAM, which is more than enough to be able to handle your favorite apps and games. There are plans for Honor to launch a 4GB of RAM version of this phone, but 3GB should be plenty for most buyers.

We pitted the Honor 6X against the Moto G4 in our video speed test - check out the results below.

In terms of benchmarking, the Honor 6X unsurprisingly beat the Honor 5X - that phone scored 3105, while the 6X came out with an average multi-core score of 3275.

A close competitor phone, the Moto G4 Plus, got a score of 3047 in the same test - a touch lower than the Honor 6X.

When putting the phone through its paces we found there weren't any stuttering issues and while it may not move as fast as a flagship phone, the Honor 6X will go quick enough that you shouldn't be disappointed.

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.