Honor X7b review: It’s a looker but …

Honor X7b Review
Honor X9b Ad
Honor X9b Ad

I have been reviewing phones in the 20-30,000 brakcet for a bit now. And, dare I say the newly introduced X7b from Honor is definitely that ‘handsome’ friend in the group. Though the front is nothing special — relative to its elder brother (Honor X8b), the shimmering back commands attention. 

In this review, let me talk in-depth about my experience with the Honor X7b and if it’s worth consideration for a phone in that 20-30k price range. 

Honor X7b Review: Specfications

  • Display: 6.8 inches TFT LCD, 90Hz, 8-bit, 850nits peak brightness
  • Resolution: FHD+ (1,080 x 2,340)
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 680 (6nm mobile platform)
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x Cortex-A53)
  • Memory: 8GB RAM, 256GB UFS 2.1
  • Software: MagicOS 7.2, Android 13
  • Camera: 108MP main + 2MP depth camera
  • Sefie: 8MP (hole-punch cutout)
  • Security: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 2D Face Unlock
  • Battery: 6000mAh with 35W fast charging
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 5, USB Type-C, GPS
  • Color options: Flowing Silver, Emerald Green, Midnight Black
  • Learn the full specifications of Honor X7b here.
  • Price in Nepal: NPR 23,999 (8/256GB)
  • Buy Honor X7b here

Honor X7b Review:

Design and Build 

So, the first thing I noticed about the Honor X7b is its inspired design. The phone borrows its back aesthetic from Honor’s last-gen star – the Honor 90. Both feature shimmering backs with featherlike patterns and multi-color aesthetics but (of course) it’s executed a bit more elegantly on the latter. 

 Honor X7b Review design comparision with Honor 90
Left: Honor X7b, Right: Honor 90

Honor’s X7b is still a looker though and it flaunts its charms with every gaze I try to sneak on it. And unlike normal phones that look normal and do normal, the X7b changes colors with every new light. 

Even as I am writing this piece, the X7b is teasing me with a new look that I hadn’t seen yesterday. If nothing else, it’s quite entertaining and you won’t get tired of its glossy back any time soon. But if you decide to slap a case on it like most do, you’ll find the rest of the phone not very unusual. 

The build is full plastic and the buttons don’t inspire confidence. The front bezels and chin are also not as appealing as the ones on the X8b. And although I do prefer the look of the Honor X7b over the competition, you do not get any sort of IP rating or official glass protection. It’s not much but Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 13 (4G) features a Gorilla Glass 3 display and an IP54 dust and water rating for about the same price. 

Display 

  • Type: LCD, 90Hz, 850 nits (peak)
  • Size: 6.8 inches, 111.3 cm2 (~87.3% screen-to-body ratio)
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2412 pixels (~389 ppi density)

Before going on a long rant about the display, I’d like to establish some context. 

It’s common to see phones around that 20,000 rupee mark (~150 USD) rock IPS displays with not super high refresh rates! In fact, phones like Vivo’s Y36, OnePlus’s Nord N30 SE, and Infix’s Note 30 with LCD panels are still somewhat popular. That being said, AMOLED on a smartphone is (almost) always going to be superior and that should have been the pick for the x7b. 

 Honor X7b Review Display

Honor likely shipped the X7b with a 90Hz LCD screen to differentiate between its models but that greatly stunts the phone’s potential. For starters, you don’t get as good colors out of an LCD screen and neither do you get completely dark pixels. I immediately noticed this the first YouTube video in the afternoon and it only became more offputting when I tried to use it before sleep. The grayish tint just made everything look dull and washed out and if you use most apps in dark mode like I do, the overall experience there felt more tiring on the eyes. You will get used to it, but an LCD panel is not something that’ll go unnoticed as time passes by. The cons will always be there. 

 Honor X7b Review Video Playback

The 90Hz refresh rate is okay-ish but 120Hz should have been a no-brainer here. Since we are already using an LCD panel, why limit it to a mere 90 refreshes a second? Maybe the processor can’t really push 120 consistently, but I am still disappointed with the display panel. Even more so when you consider more nuanced factors like low overall brightness and lack of basic Widevine L1.

Performance 

  • OS: Android 13, Magic OS 7.2
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 680 (6nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.9 GHz Cortex-A53)
  • GPU: Adreno 610

The disappointment continues when talking about the overall performance of the X7b. It houses an old and basic Snapdragon 680 SoC with older A73 and A53 cores. That guy gets the job done for basic everyday use like browsing the web, making phone calls, and streaming content but the occasional jitter and slowdown is very obvious over a long period of use. I wouldn’t say it’s a terrible deal but spending a little extra will get you a snappier feeling phone in the long run. 

Games run like you’d expect them to. PUBG Mobile can play at Ultra FPS at ‘Smooth’ graphics while you can hit 60 fps on Call of Duty. Even at ‘Ultra’, Mech Arena managed a respectable 51 fps but games like ‘Genshin’ will be out of reach even at ‘Low’ settings. There’ll be noticeable chops and drops in games so don’t expect smooth sailing here. Heating might be an issue too but I guess that’s somewhat expected given the slim profile. 

Honor X7b Review Gaming Casual

Speaker, Haptics, and Minor Gripes

  • Stereo Speakers
  • Z-axis vibration motor

There are a few other things that I noticed during my gaming session that range from a gripe to a dealbreaker, so let’s talk about it. Firstly the speakers, they are loud, they are stereo, and although not very balanced, they are decent for the price. The problem I have is how they rock the phone. When listening to something, be it a song, or a YT video, the entire top left of the device starts to vibrate. Lowering the volume helps tone it down a bit, but the phone still feels hollow while holding on during a watch. It’s not the end of the world, but things like these make the device feel cheap and unthought-out. 

Haptics are handled by a Z linear motor and are buzzy as you’d expect. And there’s no proper gyroscope so playing FPS was kind of a bore. 

Software 

  • MagicOS 7.2 based on Android 13

Moving on to the software, you get Honor’s MagicOS 7.2 skin based on the last generation of Android which is another bummer. But looking past that, there are indeed some features that I do enjoy like the long swipe to immediate call, and the big folders. There are no ads either, and I didn’t notice any system crashes or bugs in the OS. 

 

That’s all well and good but a few things did leave a sour taste on my tongue. The inability to see my display’s refresh rate via developer settings, the left/right notification and control bars, how I can’t remap double click on volume buttons to anything except the flash, and the hoops I had to jump around for my benchmarking tools to work. These plus the fact that you’ll likely only get updates up to Android 15 didn’t appeal a lot to me on the software end. 

Camera

  • Rear: 108MP, f/1.9, 1/1.52″, 0.7µm + 2MP depth + 0.08MP
  • Front: 32MP, f/2.2, 1/3.1″, 0.7µm

Daylight

You get a 108MP main sensor coupled with a 5MP ultrawide and a 2MP depth sensor on the back of the Honor X7b. In my review, I found that the main camera clicks decently sharp, and passable photos in daylight scenarios. They are a little cool, white-balance-wise, but I really don’t mind the processing and the look Honor is trying to go for here. 

The shutter speed is a bit slow, and its ability to focus isn’t the most reliable but these issues aren’t exclusive to the X7b in this price bracket. So, I am willing to let it off the hook there. 

Indoor conditions or insufficient light causes a great loss of sharpness in most cases likely due to the small size of the sensor. Photos get hazy, lose details, and sometimes look like paintings on close inspection sometimes. 

Ultrawide

The ultrawide camera isn’t really worth talking a whole lot about. The details are minimal, the colors different, and the appeal zero (personally). 

Portraits

Taking portraits, you’ll notice a lot of inconsistencies with highlight control and edge detection but that’s something we’ve been seeing on budget phones for a while now. Honor gives you the option for a 2x portrait which, while being just a crop-in, looks more pleasing to the eye in most cases. Human subjects do look a bit yellowish so I’d guess that X7b is borrowing some of its processing from the X8b plagued with the same problem.

Selfies

Selfies aren’t too bad but without sufficient light, they aren’t very sharp or striking. The yellowness is noticeable here too with a similar problem of blown-out skies and painting-like properties. 

Videos

Videography-wise, you are limited to 1080 30fps on both lenses without any form of stabilization. Stills look decent enough but it gets shaky when you try to walk around or shoot from a moving vehicle. 

Lowlight

As I previously stated, less light means fewer details for the X7b which leads to soft images during the night. Night Mode helps a lot in most cases bringing light sources under control, brightening the whole thing up, and adding a hint of extra sharpness (artificially) but it can go over the top sometimes and churn out worse photos.

Battery Life and Memory

  • 6000 mAh and 70W charging

Finally that brings up to battery life where the Honor X7b makes somewhat of a comeback. The company claims 3-day usage with its 6,000 mAh battery but you are pretty set with a 1.5-2 day endurance on the X7b. I generally plugged in the phone overnight the day after with about 10-15 % remaining on moderate usage. So, even as a heavy user, expect a solid battery backup of more than a day. 

Honor X7b Review charging

Even if you do kill it, the X7b goes from 10% to ~95% percent in less than an hour so filling up with the 35W adapter is a breeze as well. 

Memory-wise, you are pretty set as well as the device ships with 8GB of RAM with 256GB of UFS 2.2 storage. Apps mostly stay in the memory (except for some big games) and loading and switching between programs are generally fluid.

Honor X7b (4G) Review: Conclusion 

Given my experience, the X7b from Honor isn’t a bad phone by any means. It has a charming back, clicks decent photos under the sun, and gives me peace of mind in the battery department. Having said that, its value propositions just fall short of the competition at the moment.

The Redmi Note 13 (review) from Xiaomi is the X7b’s greatest competitor both in terms of specs and pricing and offers a better overall value in my opinion.

Starting off with similarities, you are going to get about the same raw performance on both devices with their Snapdragon chips but Redmi’s 120Hz refresh rate is just going to make everything feel smoother. And since it’s AMOLED, the display contrast, colors, and viewing experience are going to be better on the Note as well. Its stereo speakers also sound a bit more balanced and you are getting a slightly better ultrawide too.

Honor X7 Review competition comparision
The Note 13 and Galaxy A15 are the X7b’s major competition

Camera-wise, both Honor X7b and Note 13 rock a 108MP main sensor but they aren’t super reliable to shoot with. In this price bracket, I find myself leaning towards Samsung’s A15 (review) instead. Despite its higher price, A15 clicks more pleasing photos with consistent colors and better dynamic range in general. So, I’d recommend going with that if you are looking for reliable cameras under 30,000 rupees.

Endurance-wise, the Honor X7b is unrivaled with its 6,000 mAh cell but most competitors offer a reliable full-day battery anyway. So, I don’t think you are losing much there. Since Samsung also includes chargers now, the fast charging proposition also kinda balances itself out.

All in all, the competition is tough in that 20-30,000 rupees segment and the X7b falls just short of earning an open-hearted recommendation.

Honor X7b Review: Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Appealing Design
  • Generous Memory (8/256GB base)
  • Decent 108MP main camera
  • Lasting endurance with fast top-ups

Cons:

  • 90Hz LCD display
  • Basic Chipset
  • Runs on Android 13
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
8
Display
7
Performance
7
Back Camera
7.5
Front Camera
6.5
Software and UI
7
Battery
8.5
Value for Money
7
honor-x7b-reviewHonor's latest budget offering tries to bring elegance and endurance into the play with a eye-catching design and a 6,000 mAh battery. But compromises have been made in terms of display and performance which might not sit well with everybody. Though the 108MP main camera takes decent photos, the software could do with some extra love.