Honor 9X review

Could it be Honor’s swan song?

(Image: © Future)

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Honor 9X Pro

Four months after releasing the Honor 9X, Honor unveiled the 9X Pro, a newer version of the phone with some tiny tweaks and one major downgrade.

In many ways, the Honor 9X Pro is the same as the 9X - it has the same screen, identical camera arrays, the pop-up segment is there, and its battery pack remains the same; it feels almost identical to use. The one big design change is the relocation of the fingerprint sensor from the back of the phone, in the 9X, to the side of the phone for the 9X Pro.

The side-mounted fingerprint sensor is easy to reach and has the power button built into it, like in the Honor 20, making it super easy to turn the phone on with very little effort. This is an improvement over the Honor 9X, albeit a minor one.

(Image credit: Future)

The other change in the Honor 9X Pro is the chipset - it’s a Kirin 810, which is a step over the Kirin 710F in the Honor 9X, and while that older phone had either 4GB or 6GB of RAM depending on which configuration you picked, this newer phone comes with 8GB of RAM.

When we put the phone through a benchmarking test, it returned a multi-core score of 1,858, noticeably up over the 1,264 presented by the 9X. That’s most similar to the Oppo Reno 2’s 1,739, putting the Kirin 810 in line with that phone’s Snapdragon 730G.

Now onto the bad news - thanks to the Huawei ban (Huawei being the parent company of Honor), the Honor 9X Pro has no Google apps, unlike the non-Pro model. This means no Google Maps, Chrome or Play Store, the latter of which is vital for downloading more apps. Sure, the Huawei AppGallery is present here, but its selection is hugely limited compared to the Play Store.

(Image credit: Future)

There are technically some ways to get certain absent apps onto your Honor phone despite the lack of the Play Store - you can check out this guide to find out how - but this can be quite a hassle, and only works when you’re first setting up the phone. At the time of the Honor 9X Pro’s release, Huawei’s AppGallery doesn’t hold a candle to the Play Store, and as such it’s hard to recommend the Honor 9X Pro.

If the Honor 9X Pro does tempt you, it’s available for £250 (roughly $300, AU$470, though we wouldn’t expect it to be available in the US or Australia). That’s a tiny bit pricier than the launch price of the Honor 9X, and that phone is now more affordable as a result of the 9X Pro’s launch, making it a more tempting buy.

Overall, given the lack of Google Play Store and its apps, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Honor 9X Pro, but there are ways to get around that problem if the better chipset and relocated fingerprint sensor really appeal to you.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.