At a time when prices of premium smartphones are soaring sky-high, some smartphone makers are finding ways to pack an ensemble of enviable features including dual camera technology into their mid-range variants as well. But what are most of these mid-range phones missing on?
The style quotient is definitely one. Huawei's youth-centric sub-brand Honor seems to be keen on filling this gap with the launch of its 7X smartphone - the successor to its quite successful 6X variant.
The 4GB RAM Honor 7X, launched for the Indian market at an event in London this week, won't cost you a fortune - a maximum of Rs 12,999 or Rs 15,999, depending on the variant you choose from the two on offer -- and yet it could well make you want to display the phone in front of friends or foes with a sense of pride.
This is because of the taller-than-wider frame of the device and almost edge-to-edge display that give it a premium look. It looks like the smaller sibling of the premium Honor 8 Pro from the rear.
The metal unibody design and bigger body-to-screen ratio add to the dashing look.
So much for the appearance. Let's see what works for the phone and what does not.
One big plus is its big screen and a full-HD+ display. The importance of a 5.93-inch screen is not skin deep, as heavy users of smartphones would know.
With 18:9 aspect ratio, which is hardly available on a phone below Rs 15,000, and "Full View" HD+ display, Honor 7X ensures enriching video viewing experience. This is something gamers would also like as they get an edge of a wider view of the plot.
Powered by the 2.36GHz octa-core "Kirin 659" processor, the device runs Android 7.0 Nougat operating system (OS) with the company's custom EMUI 5.1 running on top.
The pricing differentiator of the two variants is the internal storage. The 32GB variant costs Rs 3,000 less than the 64GB variant. But both variants provide the option of expanding memory up to 256GB via hybrid micro-SD card slots.
A big screen and better display would favour long hours of use. But does the battery of the phone back it up? The 3,340mAh battery does a good job in this regard. With 7X, light to moderate users do not even need to charge the phone every day.
In comparison, Xiaomi's Mi A1, which is also a 4GB RAM phone with 64GB onboard storage, packs a smaller 3,080mAh battery.
The Honor 7X has also equipped its cameras with fun and useful features. Clicking a selfie with this phone is all the more easier as its 8MP front camera comes with a gesture control which means you simply have to turn your palm to the camera to trigger a countdown to click a selfie.
The dual-lens 16MP + 2MP primary camera captures images in great detail and depth. It allows you to take pictures in wide-aperture mode, portrait mode, and even to click a moving picture, a feature that we first saw in iPhone 6S.
The pictures also snap colours in their vivid glories.
What makes this dual rear camera stand out is its "Phase Detection Auto Focus" (PDAF) technology which offers ultra-fast focus time, making it easier to take pictures in fleeting moments.
The eye-comfort mode filters out blue light to help relieve visual fatigue. This feature makes reading books on the phone a delight.
What does not work for the phone?
Despite the fancy features on its cameras, the photos come out grainy in low-light conditions, especially with the front shooter.
Surprisingly, the device uses the older micro USB 2.0 connector rather than the newer USB Type-C.
And thanks to its size, some may even find it difficult to navigate the phone with one hand.
Conclusion: Overall, we feel that Honor 7X is a hardy phone with dashing disposition and has the potential to give mid-range phones of other Chinese players, such as Xiaomi and Motorola, a stiff competition. It offers a big screen bonanza for affordable smartphone seekers.
(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)