Jump to content

Honor Pad X9 Review


Recommended Posts

It’s been a while since I posted a review online, but just recently I got bought a device that inspired me to get to my keyboard and start writing.

That device is the Honor Pad X9.

When planning the review in my head, the opening sentence talked about Honor’s new mid-range tablet, and whether it can punch above its price point. Upon reflection though, the Pad X9 isn’t a mid-range tablet at all. It’s £179.99. That’s before discounts - you can often score 10% off through existing Honor owner or student discounts, and Honor is known to throw in a freebie or discounted accessory too. A Samsung Tab S9 with the same internal storage is £799. Yes, they are targeting different markets but that’s a heck of a delta on price. The Pad X9 is clearly a low-end tablet, at least in price - but what does that 77.5% discount on the Samsung mean in reality?


When it comes to making a low-end or mid-range device, it’s all about compromise. You clearly can’t stuff all of the latest and greatest into something that you’re selling at such a cut-down price, but the key to success is about making compromises in the right place. I would argue that this has become much easier as technology has matured and devices have become more capable, but let’s start by diving into the Pad X9 spec sheet.

Here’s what you get:

  • CPU: Snapdragon 685 4G octa-core
  • Operating System: MagicOS 7.1 (Android 13)
  • Memory: 4GB (+3GB virtual)
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Display: 11.5” 2000x1200 IPS 120Hz 2-400 nits (86% screen to body ratio)
  • WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth: BT5.1 supporting BLE, SBC, AAC, LDAC
  • Rear Camera: 5MP camera (f/2.2)
  • Front Camera: 5MP camera (f/2.2)
  • Speakers: 6
  • Battery: 7250 mAh (typical) with 22.5W fast charging
  • Dimensions - 267.3mm x 167.4mm x 6.9mm (metal construction)
  • Weight - 499g 
  • Charger: No

What stands out as a potential problem here? The Snapdragon 685 obviously isn’t the latest and greatest flagship CPU (it is built on a 6nm process though with 4 x 2.8GHz A73 cores and 4 x 1.9HJz A53 cores and a 1.26GHz Adreno610 GPU), there’s no WiFi 6 and the cameras clearly aren’t going to be brilliant. At the same time, however, there’s a lot there that sounds promising too. A 120Hz screen of that quality at this price? Lots of speakers and a chunky battery? 128GB storage? Let’s dig a little deeper to see if Honor made the right calls.


Design and build

First impressions matter and the Honor Pad X9 makes an incredibly good one. At 6.9mm deep it’s fantastically thin, the metal construction feels fantastic in hand and there is zero movement or flex should you try and twist the chassis. Holding the device in landscape orientation you’ll find 2 speakers on each side and 2 on the bottom, a microphone up top and the volume and power buttons on the top left (or top right when held vertically). Hallelujah, you’ll find the front-facing camera on the long edge, which is where it should be. The USB C port is on the right in landscape and bottom in portrait, which is all good, and the design as a whole is beautifully symmetrical. Flip the tablet over to the back and there’s an elegant Honor logo, the required validation markings at the bottom and the single camera at the top right, flanked by ‘AI Camera’ branding (a bit unnecessary, but broadly inoffensive). There is absolutely nothing about the construction that belies the cost, including the bezels around the display.


Display and Performance

The Honor Pad X9 has a 11.5” 5:3 ratio IPS display, running at a 2000x1200 resolution. The tablet has an 86% screen-to-body ratio. To emphasise how impressive that is, the Tab S9 has a 83.2% screen-to-body ratio. Of course, stats mean nothing if the screen itself isn’t high quality, and in the past, this is where Honor has cut corners (the screen on the Pad 8 for example, while fine, wasn’t brilliant). There are no such concerns here - the panel has impressive brightness with the ability to crank to 400 nits and can drop as low as 2 nits for low-light use. We’ve put the tablet through its paces with all sorts of content indoors and out, and have been impressed by how well it copes.

The real potential piece de la resistance for the tablet? It has a 120Hz screen, something which is unprecedented at the price point. Google couldn’t even put a high refresh rate screen in the £599 Pixel Tablet. My main concern when checking out the pre-release info on the Pad X9 was that a 120Hz screen would mean nothing if the CPU couldn’t drive it. Thankfully, that’s (mostly) not an issue.

In use, the Pad X9 is responsive and zipping around the UI, scrolling lists etc. feel as smooth as you’d expect with such a capable screen and smoother than you’d expect from the Snapdragon 695. Apps open quickly (and install quickly) and for the vast majority of users, there will be no complaints at all. 4GB RAM (with 3GB of additional ‘virtual RAM’ (aka swap)) available means that apps aren’t typically dropped out of memory, and multitasking too is a breeze thanks to the software features.


That’s not to say that you can’t get the tablet to show its low-end internals if you try hard enough. I fired up the Insta360 app to do some video editing and had to drop the preview quality down in order for it to comply. The most demanding games will of course also run at reduced framerate or quality compared to high-end phones or tablets, so you’ll need to bear this in mind. Likely to spend most of your time sofa-surfing on the device though? Not a problem.

We were a little disappointed to see no fingerprint reader included, but the face unlock is extremely quick (albeit one could argue that camera-based face unlock is less secure than other authentication methods).


The Pad X9 is the company’s first UK tablet to feature the latest MagicOS build, 7.1, based on Android 13. Android fans of old will recall that Honor (and Huawei) typically had a bit of a reputation for polarising visual design and excessive feature-stuffing in their Operating Systems. I’m pleased to say that the former is no longer an issue, the visual changes from stock Android are kept much more in check nowadays, and on the feature front, there are still lots of additions, but they are genuinely useful and completely inoffensive. There’s no mandatory bloatware at all. It’s pretty refreshing, to be honest.

The Android tablet ecosystem is still somewhat variable when it comes to the quality of available apps, and for this reason, a way to render phone apps on a tablet in a useful way is vital, whether that’s split screening or windowing. In this regard, Honor’s capabilities are up there with the best.

Magic OS 7.1 allows applications to be detached into a resizable floating window which can be easily moved around the screen. Neat. When running in landscape mode, a small bar appears at the top of the screen which provides the ability to select a second app to run alongside the currently running one. As you’d expect, the bar between the two apps can be dragged left and right to resize the halves. One thing I haven’t found yet is a way to add a desktop shortcut that launches two apps side by side, which would be a useful addition.



What is the camera on a tablet for? It’s not for being a tourist and taking pics when out and about. Don’t be that guy/gal, hah. For me, tablet cameras have three main purposes. To snap pics when there really really isn’t anything else to hand, to take images of documents and, for the front-facing camera, for video calling. The Pad X9 cameras are adequate at best. They’re not going to win any awards for quality and the performance of them drops off hugely as the light fades, but they do the job.

IMG_20230807_130459.jpg IMG_20230807_130600.jpg

Battery life

The Pad X9 has a 7250 mAh battery that just keeps going and going, likely another benefit of the lower-power CPU. We’ve been easily getting 10+ hours of screen time between charges, with no specific power-saving optimisations configured, and as an added bonus, the tablet includes 22.5W wired fast charging. There’s no wireless charging, of course, but one day we were out with our tablet and phone and we were able to charge the phone from the tablet, using a USB C cable. That’s pretty handy. Not only is it a very capable tablet, but it’s also a useful power bank too!


Honor talks about the Pad X9 having 6 speakers for surround sound and a small sub at the bottom. Now, given the size of the drivers in a tablet speaker system, I’m not sure what this means in reality, but what I can tell you is that the sound quality is very good and you can crank things up seriously loud with no noticeable distortion at full volume. There’s not a lot of bass, as you’d expect, but the sound is pretty decent on the whole.





We ordered our Pad X9 with the official (£19.99) flip cover. It’s nicely made, attaches well, is soft-touch on the inside and has understated Honor branding on the front flap. It’s not as good as the design of the Pad 8 case in our opinion (being the ‘wrap behind triangle’ type), but it’s a worthwhile purchase to protect your tablet.




We love the Honor Pad X9. It changes the game when it comes to value for money in the tablet space. Unless you are the most demanding of tablet users, this device will do everything you throw at it and amaze you with its prowess. The quality of the hardware and the maturity of the software is a real statement of intent from Honor.

With the brilliant Magic 5 in their line-up and the Magic Fold V2 waiting in the wings, plus a whole host of very capable low and mid-range handsets, I have no doubt the company will continue to grow market share into the void left by the exit of Huawei.

The one thing I’d love to see? A sub £300 tablet with a slightly beefier CPU for the gamers, perhaps with cellular connectivity. Slap a Snapdragon 870 and 5G into this thing at that price and you are on to a surefire winner.



Where to buy

You can buy the Honor Pad X9 from the Honor UK store, or from Amazon (affiliate link) where, at the time of writing, there are warehouse items available to score a discount.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.