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Honor 4X review

Power to the people: a capable phablet that delivers on a budget

Honor 4X
Another low-cost, high power phablet

Most budget smartphones suffer from sluggish overall performance, especially when it comes to multitasking and playing graphically intensive games.

Powerful performance is one of the Honor 4X's most touted features, with the Chinese firm managing to pack in an impressive 64-bit Kirin 620 octa-core processor, 2GB RAM and Mali-450 GPU. In comparison to flagships such as the Nexus 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge these specs may seem rather tame, but for an affordable smartphone they are superb.

Benchmarking results backed up the relatively high specs, with the Honor 4X scoring an average of 1,705 on the Geekbench 3 multi-core test. That trounces results recorded by similarly priced phones such as Moto G (2014) (1,142) and Sony Xperia M2 Aqua (1,133). Even some of the cheaper mid-range devices like the Huawei Ascend G7 (1,398) fall to the might of the Honor 4X.

Huawei Honor 4X review

Consistently respectable Geekbench 3 scores translate into fluid everyday performance.

At times during everyday use you forget that the Honor 4X is an affordable smartphone. Navigating through the Emotion UI is a smooth and snappy experience, app loading times are fair and multitasking is handled competently thanks to the 2GB RAM.

Currently the Honor 4X comes loaded with 4.4.2 KitKat, which does not take full advantage of the 64-bit Kirin 620 processor. Google's latest Android version is optimised for 64-bit architecture and thus with an Android Lollipop update just around the corner, the Honor 4X has the potential to provide even greater performance.

Those looking to enjoy a large number of graphically intensive games on the Honor 4X's 5.5-inch display will probably be disappointed. Titles like Temple Run 2 and Sonic Dash run pretty smoothly and more demanding games such as Real Racing 3 are playable – just be prepared for a few dropped frames.

The main killer here is the lack of internal storage, with only around half of the supplied 8GB available to the user. A further 32GB can be added via a microSD card, but heavy gamers should probably put that extra cash towards a more graphically-capable device.

Battery life

Behind the removable back panel of the Honor 4X lies a hefty non-removable 3000mAh battery. In terms of sheer capacity that's a tad bigger than the 2915mAh unit found in the iPhone 6 Plus and significantly larger than the HTC Desire 820's 2,600mAh power pack.

Both of these examples pack more powerful processors than the Honor 4X, and many high-end phablets, such as the LG G3, also include higher resolution panels. Therefore on paper, the Honor 4X's large capacity battery combined with a low resolution screen and less power-hungry processor should result in great battery life.

On the whole, the battery performance of the Honor 4X was stellar. I found it extremely difficult to drain the battery completely in just one day, and even the heaviest of users will still probably end the day without encountering the much maligned low juice warning.

Huawei Honor 4X review

Battery life on the Honor 4X is so outstanding that the omission of a removable battery isn't too bothersome.

While power users may still need to put the Honor 4X on charge overnight, the vast majority of people (light-to-moderate users) won't need to plug in until later on the following day. Two day battery life is definitely achievable, especially for users who dip into the 'Smart' and 'Ultra' power saving modes built into Emotion UI 3.0.

Those who intend to make use of the Honor 4X's dual-SIM functionality will see their battery life suffer accordingly. However the difference is pretty negligible and not enough to hamper the tremendous longevity of the Honor 4X's battery.

After running the TechRadar test video at full brightness and volume for 90 minutes, the battery level of the Honor 4X only dropped by 22%. That's only 3% worse than the monumental Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and 5% better than the much revered iPhone 6 Plus.

Things also look impressive when comparing the Honor 4X's test result to that of a 720P smartphone with similar specs. The Honor 4X manages to attain roughly the same result as its relative, the Huawei Ascend G7. Both use the same 720P display and 3000mAh battery, yet the Honor 4X packs a more powerful Kirin 620 processor as opposed to a Snapdragon 410.

The aforementioned Lollipop update could yet improve the Honor 4X's battery life even further, with 64-bit optimisation reducing overall power consumption. Now there's a thought.