Huawei offshoot Honor has been making steady inroads in the U.S. over the past year, releasing the Honor 5X and Honor 8 with an eye on bringing premium features to the budget and midrange markets. That strategy seems to be paying off, and now the company is bringing the 6X stateside, too.
Released in China in October, the successor to the 5X brought a number of improvements. Wrapped in the same all-metal body and 5.5-inch 1080p display, the handset included a Huawei-made Octa-core Kirin 655 (with four cores clocked at 2.1GHz and another four at 1.7 GHz), up to 4 GB of RAM, and an 8MP front-facing camera, as well as a dual-camera system, all for less than $200.
The U.S. model, which is available for purchase today, keeps those same impressive specs, including 32GB or 64GB of storage, a microSD slot, and a giant 3340mAh battery. Like the 5X, Honor is targeting “the cost-conscious yet uncompromising Internet-minded millennial” with the 6X, and with a starting price of $249, it’s certainly putting its money where its motto is.
The flagship feature is the dual camera system—rarely seen in a smartphone at this price—that seeks to mimic the iPhone 7 Plus’s lauded portrait mode. However, while the primary shooter is 12MP, the secondary depth-of-field camera is just 2MP, but as the company points out, the system’s wide f/0.95 aperture helps to create “professional-looking background blur to make your subjects stand out.” The camera app also features an array of filters as well as a something Honor is calling Phase Detection Auto Focus technology, a fancy name for fast focusing.
On the software side, the Honor 6x runs the company’s Emotion UI 4.1, which is still built on the Marshmallow architecture. What’s more, Honor is saying that the Nougat-flavored version 5.0 (which is already running on the Mate 9), won’t arrive until the second quarter of 2017.
Why this matters: The U.S. smartphone market is still very top heavy, with flagships like the Galaxy S7 and Google’s Pixel scooping up most of the attentions and sales. However, budget-minded phones like the 6X and the OnePlus 3T are beginning to challenge the notion that you need to spend a bundle to get a great phone.