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HONOR 9X is a mid-ranger that can take stellar photos!

OPPO
Huawei
One of the key highlights of the HONOR 9X is its cameras and there's a good reason for that.
HONOR 9X is a stellar photography phone for the price!
HONOR 9X camera UI

At PHP 12,490, it is one of the few to highlight a 48MP triple-camera setup.
Triple-cam goodness
Triple-cam goodness

The primary camera that HONOR used is the 48MP f/1.8 Sony IMX582. That's impressive as the said camera sensor is commonly found on higher-end phones. Why? It has near flagship-grade performance.

HONOR also paired it with an 8MP f/2.4 120-degree camera for ultra-wide shots with Distortion Correction and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor to assist its main cameras for taking better portrait shots.

To further optimize its shots, HONOR also included its AI algorithm and several camera features to help you unleash your creativity such as the AIS Super Night Mode, light painting modes, filters, and more.
Pop-up selfie cam!
Pop-up selfie cam!

For selfies, it uses an AI-assisted 16MP f/2.2 pop-up camera with Face Beauty technology.

To see if it is as good as advertised, we tested it and roamed around the streets of Metro Manila.

Here's what we discovered.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1
Daylight 1
Normal vs 100 percent crop
Normal vs 100 percent crop

In daylight, we enjoyed that even with AI mode, the shots that we took are natural-looking and highly detailed. The weather is a bit gloomy at that time and we got a shot that is not that colorful. Noise is visible when cropped, but it is viewable.
Ultra-wide 1
Ultra-wide 1

For the wide cam, I liked that it is still very detailed yet the distortion is that too much. I also like the color consistency between the main cam and the ultra-wide cam.
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Ultra-wide 2

To check if colors are consistent for the main and wide cam, we took more daylight shots. And yes, colors are identical for both the main and wide cameras. Even if it is not perfect, for the price, I am impressed.
Close-up indoor 1
Close-up indoor 1
Close-up indoor 2
Close-up indoor 2

Even if it doesn't have a dedicated macro sensor, 9X can still do close-up shots with sharp details. Also, look at those colors. It has a natural-looking background blur as well.
Portrait mode with regular heart bokeh
Portrait mode with regular heart bokeh
Portrait mode with regular circular bokeh
Portrait mode with regular circular bokeh

With the help of its 3rd camera, the 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor, I was able to take shots with decent depth estimation. Image to background separation could be better, but for a mid-ranger, the outputs I got are decent.

Also, you can customize the beauty level and even the shape of the blur on Portrait mode. On aperture mode, you can adjust the level of blur.
Indoor Night mode
Indoor Night mode

One of the best features of HONOR 9X's camera is the Night mode. It is useful for scenarios with harsh or less lighting. It basically prevented me from taking softer-looking images. It controlled the exposure better than previous Night modes from older HONOR phones too.
Normal low light 1
Normal low light 1
Night mode 1
Night mode 1

There are still artifacts, but as you can see, it doesn't look as cartoonish as other Night modes.

Night mode 2
Night mode 2

As mentioned, details are crisp and exposure is well-controlled. Just take a look at the image above.
Night mode in a dark scene
Night mode in a dark scene

In dimmer scenes, the Night mode is still effective. But I would like it better if they pushed to make the exposure a bit brighter.
Night mode in a dark scene
Night mode in a dark scene

Sadly, Night mode is not available for the secondary ultra-wide cam. I hope that there will be an update to make Night mode available for the ultra-wide cam to prevent soft-looking wide shots in the dark.


Selfie Camera Samples

Well-lit selfie
Well-lit selfie

For selfies, 9X can take detailed shots with good color accuracy. We also like that its field of view is wider than most similarly priced selfie camera phones.
Normal vs Portrait mode
Normal vs Portrait mode

On Portrait mode, the background blur is respectable, but it is still a bit unnatural. Edge detection is not perfect as well. Face beauty is adjustable to your liking. I personally like it at around level 2 or 3 only.

Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Another indoor selfie
Another indoor selfie

Selfies on scenes with unnatural light will be a bit grainy. I still find it respectable though. At least the 9X retained the colors. It is also more detailed than other budget selfie cams we tested in the past.
Selfie at night
Selfie at night

At night, it did fairly well. We noticed that softness is there, but it did better than what we expected. Even the background looks acceptable in low light.

In super dim scenarios, even if it doesn't have a softlight selfie flash, it has a strong screen flash to let you take usable selfies.


Quick thoughts

HONOR 9X is a camera phone that performs well in nearly all lighting conditions. Even in low light, it can take sellar photos, thanks to its improved AI-assisted Night mode.

For me, the combination of HONOR's camera optimizations, 48MP Sony primary camera, high-quality ultra-wide secondary camera, and the selfie-cam with a wide field of view made it a stellar mid-range camera phone.

While it has a few flaws, at PHP 12,490, it is not that easy to see a phone with better camera performance than the HONOR 9X.

See also: OPPO A9 2020 vs HONOR 9X - Affordable mid-range photography battle!

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