HONOR X9b 5G Review: It’s unbreakable but is it enough?

Is the durability of the HONOR X9b enough to justify its worth?

Is the durability of the HONOR X9b enough to justify its worth?

HONOR Philippines is getting ready to drop its newest smartphone, and people are buzzing about its durability. Meet the HONOR X9b 5G—a real game-changer in the world of tough smartphones, taking the legacy of its predecessor to a whole new level with a nearly indestructible display. But that’s not all! They’ve beefed up the insides too, making it one of the best bang-for-buck mid-range phones out there.

Back in the day, Nokia was the king of unbreakable phones. That reputation stuck when they came back in 2016, now rocking Android. But you know what? Despite that solid rep, it wasn’t enough to skyrocket them to the smartphone throne.

HONOR, though not new to the game, made a comeback after splitting from HUAWEI back in 2020. They’re using a similar playbook, trying to win us over. You know, durability’s a big deal, but with everyone slapping on cases and using high-tech screen protectors like dome glass, you might wonder if durability alone is enough to seal the deal.

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Is the HONOR X9b 5G solely focused on durability? Let’s take a closer look.

Build & Design

The design of the HONOR X9b 5G follows the same approach as its predecessor, the X9a. Compared to its forerunner, the X9b slightly increases in thickness, weight, and width, measuring 163.3mm in height, 75.5mm in width, 7.98mm in depth, and weighing 185g. The screen elegantly curves at the sides, enhancing both comfort during use and grip.

On the rear, the Matrix Star Ring continues to house the triple camera setup, while the lower chin accommodates the phone’s speakers, USB-C port, and SIM tray. The Sunrise Orange variant, crafted in Vegan Leather, adds a touch of sophistication to the smartphone’s overall aesthetics.

The glossy finish intensifies the color depth, and its special coating prevents fingerprints or smudges from easily showing.

The phone’s display integrates HONOR Ultra-Bounce Anti-Drop technology, ensuring exceptional durability against drops from a height of 1.5 meters and all angles. Additionally, the brand claims a brand-new three-level protection system that reinforces the screen, frame, and internal compartments.

honor x9b 5g

You know, that 360-degree Ultra Bounce Anti-Drop feature isn’t just a bunch of words on a page – they’ve put it to the test in drop and smash videos released by HONOR and other creators. It’s a real game-changer, especially for folks like me who tend to be a bit clumsy. Now, I can go case-free without constantly stressing about accidental drops. It’s a relief, to be honest!

Once and for all, it is not waterproof!

It’s surprising that a super tough phone like this only comes with an IP53 rating. Sure, it can handle some dust and a bit of water spray, but don’t think it’s waterproof. Don’t take it for a swim or let it dance in heavy rain—it’s not built for that. I wish it had at least an IP67 certification for better water resistance.

IP53 isn’t water-resistant, so if it takes a dip, it’s not covered by the warranty. Just a heads-up to keep it away from water!

Editor’s view

We’ve stumbled upon a video claiming the X9b can handle a 15-second dip, but let’s be real—that’s playing with fire.

According to its IP53 rating, it’s a no-go for submersion at any time. Risk it, and you’re on your own; the warranty won’t have your back, whether you hit that 15-second mark or not. And hey, this holds true for other water-resistant gadgets too, like the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S23, or GoPro.


The HONOR X9b 5G rocks a sleek design with those classy rounded corners. But hey, the real star? That dazzling 6.78-inch AMOLED display! It’s got a wide spectrum of 1.07 billion colors and a killer 1200×2652 super captivating pixel resolution. And get this—it responds to your touch like a champ, handling up to 10 touchpoints at once!

honor x9b 5g

But wait, there’s more. That screen hits a peak brightness of 1200 nits, making it crystal clear even when the sun’s beating down on it. Plus, with that 1.5K resolution, every detail pops, giving you an immersive visual treat.

And here’s the cool part: They’ve brought in the 1920Hz High-frequency PWM Dimming from the HONOR 90, teaming it up with Dynamic Dimming. What does that mean? Well, it’s all about your comfort—less strain on your eyes during those long screen sessions. Nice touch, right?

AMOLED displays are popping up more in budget midrange smartphones these days, and they’re a game-changer for media. You get vibrant colors and those deep, true black backgrounds that LCD screens can’t match. And let me tell you, when it comes to gaming, AMOLED makes things seriously immersive—I love it!


Packed with the mighty Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1, the HONOR X9b is a powerhouse. Its CPU gets a massive 40% boost, and the GPU? A 35% surge in strength! This 4nm advanced processor laughs in the face of heavy tasks—it’s a total champ. And let’s talk memory: a huge 20GB (12+8) RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage means all your content finds a comfy home, giving you an awesome, smooth ride on this device.

This phone’s got something special—the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset. HONOR might not have FPS meters, but trust me, when I played Genshin Impact at the lowest settings, it was clocking in at more than 30fps only. I didn’t get to do a full gaming test ’cause, you know, life’s hectic, but mark my words: this chipset is seriously power-efficient.

Hey, just a heads-up on the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 – it’s the new kid on the block, but gotta keep it real, it’s not packing as much punch as the Snapdragon 7 or 8 series. The Snapdragon 778G chipset, for instance, still edges it out in benchmarks and overall gaming performance. Just wanted to set the record straight! Check out the comparison here.

Big Storage and RAM

When it comes to storage and RAM, the HONOR X9b steps it up. Packing 256GB of storage, but here’s the kicker—it’s using UFS 3.1, so everything’s opening lightning-fast with write speeds three times quicker! And guess what? They’ve bumped up the RAM game too, now rocking 12GB of actual RAM plus an extra 8GB of virtual RAM—an impressive upgrade from its predecessor.

honor x9b 5g

MagicOS 7.2 is here to make your life easier—it’s all about being user-friendly and intuitive. You’ve got gesture navigation, multitasking with split-screen, and the freedom to personalize your app icons. And hey, if you’re new to MagicOS or haven’t used an Honor phone before, there are some pretty cool built-in features waiting for you to explore. Here are some of our favorite features:

  • Magic Live Wallpaper on MagicOS isn’t your average wallpaper—it’s dynamic and interactive, responding to your touch and adapting to changes in lighting using smart algorithms.
  • Meet YoYo, Honor’s virtual assistant baked right into MagicOS. Need a voice-based search or weather updates? YoYo’s got you covered. Plus, it handles smart home devices, making life a breeze.
  • Then there’s Magic Sound, an AI-driven feature on Honor MagicOS that elevates call and music audio quality. It even throws in 3D surround sound for a more immersive audio experience.
  • Oh, and don’t forget Honor Connect! It’s like a sharing hub where you can seamlessly transfer content between devices—think smartphone to laptop—along with notifications, calls, and messages. It’s got that Samsung DeX or Huawei Share vibe going on.

As we move from UI 6 to OS 7, we’re noticing some small tweaks here and there, but the overall vibe of the Magic overlay stays pretty consistent. The icons haven’t changed much, and even the task switcher and notification/quick settings are just as they were (which is different from the latest EMUI and its Control Center). And you know what? The Settings menu hasn’t had a makeover either—it’s all pretty familiar.


With a whopping 5800mAh capacity, the HONOR X9b 5G delivers an impressive three days of battery life that’s perfect for power users. This ultra-high density battery isn’t just about lasting long—it’s built to last with an outstanding 80% capacity retention even after three years and 1,000 charge cycles, keeping it as strong as new.

honor x9b 5g

In our battery life test, this phone clocked in about 14 hours and 44 minutes—a significant improvement from the X9a’s 12-hour stint—with its 5,800mAh battery.

When it comes to charging, it’s got its 30W charger. Using its fast charger, it hits the full mark in roughly 77 minutes. Honestly, not too shabby!


The HONOR X9b 5G sports a triple-camera setup on its back, though if we’re being picky, it’s technically a duo without counting that 2MP macro camera. The star of the show is the 108MP main camera, sporting a whopping 1/1.67″ large sensor, alongside a 5MP ultra-wide camera.

honor x9b 5g

The camera app offers your essentials like Photo and Video mode, but it also packs in some cool extras. There’s Night mode, Portrait for those stunning shots, Multi-video for director-style views, and a bunch more like Pro, Slo-mo, Panorama, Timelapse, Super Macro, High-res, Story, and HDR Photos. Plus, it’s handy for scanning documents and saving them as PDFs on your device. But for me, nothing beats the good ol’ main shooter for everyday pics!

However, to our dismay, the cameras on the HONOR X9b aren’t exactly its shining stars. Despite the high megapixel count on the main camera, it’s more of a mid-range sensor. Colors tend to be a bit dull, and the dynamic range isn’t all that impressive. Indoor low-light photos often come out with a strong yellowish tint, and when it comes to close-up shots, the edges tend to be on the softer, blurrier side.

Night shots are not impressive but it does the job of lowering the noise level. However, we observed that it can hardly keep the subject clear or focused. Not sure if this is something with the sensor or just a bug.

It suffers when it comes to moving subjects, even the Pro mode can’t work its magic on the X9b.

In good outdoor lighting, you can still snag some decently sharp wide shots like most phones. But, oh boy, that 5MP ultra-wide lens—let’s be real here, HONOR dropped the ball on this one. It’s practically unusable; most photos end up a blurry, noisy mess. It’s so disappointing that the lag is noticeable even in the viewfinder and translates into videos that look like they were shot on a security camera.

And here’s a real buzzkill—the shutter lag. Waiting a few seconds before you can snap your next shot? Not exactly what you want in a phone camera experience.

There’s a glimmer of hope here—we’re crossing our fingers that HONOR can sort these issues out with some solid software updates.

The selfies turned out pretty good, capturing nice details and creating a lovely blurred background effect. I noticed that the front camera’s image processing seems to bring out more depth and sharpness compared to the rear camera.

The Competition

Navigating the sea of smartphones can be a real maze! While the HONOR X9b rocks it in durability, its camera might not meet everyone’s expectations. We’ve got a few alternatives up our sleeve to make your choice a tad easier.

Infinix Zero 30 5G

The Infinix Zero 30 5G is a solid option to consider. Its metal build gives it a sturdy feel, and the Gorilla Glass 5 protecting the display is a nice touch. The main camera using the Samsung ISOCELL HM6 brings impressive performance, and it’s been a hit in other mid-range smartphones too. Gaming-wise, it handles Genshin Impact pretty well, hitting high-quality settings at around 60 fps. At a price of only 15,999, it’s one of the top choices among affordable budget smartphones. You can check it via Lazada.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro

The Redmi Note 12 Pro is a real gem for anyone looking for a well-rounded smartphone that nails it in the camera department, performance, display, and battery life, all without breaking the bank. The camera, powered by the Sony IM766, works wonders, capturing stunning photos that you’d usually find in much pricier phones, typically starting at 20,000 and up.

And let’s talk about the display! With Dolby Vision and an OLED screen, your visuals are going to pop. Plus, its gaming-capable chipset ensures smooth performance for your gaming adventures.

Not to forget, it’s not just brains but also beauty – sporting an elegant design that catches the eye.

The cherry on top? It’s available for just 13,999. That’s a steal for all the goodness packed into this phone! You can check the full review here from EveryTechEver.

Should you buy the HONOR X9b 5G?

Ultimately, if you’re prone to phone-dropping incidents or fret about breakage, the HONOR X9b 5G is a solid choice. Heck, you could even use it to break a brick wall or smash some garlic in the kitchen—yeah, you heard it right. It’s perfect for the clumsy or tough secondary phone that won’t break the bank. At just PHP 16,990, this phone’s durability is hard to match—seriously, it’s been through a lot and stood strong.

honor x9b 5g

But let’s be real, smartphones aren’t just about being tough. We rely on them for media, so we also crave a better camera, longer battery life, and smooth performance. So, here’s the deal: If durability’s your top priority, the HONOR X9b is your go-to. But if you’re after an overall better smartphone experience, there are plenty of alternatives out there that’ll make your money worth it.

Price and Availability

The price reveal for the HONOR X9b 5G is just around the corner, set for January 12 during its big launch. In Malaysia, it’s currently tagged at 1,499 RM, but considering the conversion and competition, it’s likely to hit around PHP 16,990, similar to the pricing of its predecessor, the X9a. Let’s cross our fingers!

UPDATE: 01/03: Guess what? The HONOR X9b 5G just got its official price tag, and it’s set at PHP 16,999. Cool, right?

honor x9b 5g
HONOR X9b pre-order freebies

Exciting news though – pre-orders are open now! You can snag yours through HONOR concept stores and other retail spots across the country. And they’re sweetening the deal too! Pre-order perks include a free HONOR Gift Box valued at PHP 1,999 and a pair of HONOR X5 earbuds worth PHP 1,499. Worth jumping on, right?

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RV Cuarto is the founder and editor-in-chief of EveryTechEver and Next Feature PH. His belt of experience spans the industry, from consumer electronics, data operations, and cloud computing, with several brands including Dell, Nokia, Realme, and Huawei. He loves to travel and support local tourism.