Making the HONOR X8a my work buddy: first few impressions

I used to handle PR efforts for a certain smartphone brand, so I thought that reviewing the HONOR X8a was going to be quite a familiar experience.

A few days ago, HONOR reached out to us about their upcoming smartphone launch for the HONOR X8a. Positioned as a DSLR-like phone, the model promised an upgraded camera experience—what with its 100MP main shooter—and the brand wanted us to get first dibs on the experience before the X8a’s official launch on March 14. 

I used to be on the opposite side of this working transaction: representing a smartphone brand, I’d get in touch with selected media and offer lend-out units for review. I’d provide comprehensive brand guidelines to direct the editors and writers as they create their articles and multimedia content.

So, when I received the phone and the brand guidelines earlier this week, I figured that I could navigate my way around the task with ease.

However, I couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

HONOR X8a
Taking the HONOR X8a at work. Alongside my daily driver, I’ve used the phone to cover a few events in the past week.

Overthinking started settling in. How should I take photos with this camera phone? What subjects should I focus on? Am I even configuring the settings correctly? Then there’s that creeping thought that I’m not that much of a pro when it comes to smartphone photography, so the specs might just get wasted on me.

Eventually, when I started bringing the HONOR X8a to events, I convinced myself that I should just feel at ease snapping away. The specs already are quite impressive for the phone’s price range anyway, and I could always just learn how to take better photos as I go. Let the phone do its magic!

whisky take with HONOR X8a
Luckily, I had a whisky tasting event the day I received the HONOR X8a. The weather cooperated that afternoon, so I got to take shots of glistening whisky bottles basking in the sun. The camera did quite well adjusting to bright conditions. Photo taken with the HONOR X8a
Mansion Sports Bar taken with HONOR X8a
Considering that this secluded bar section at Mansion Sports Bar is quite dark, the HONOR X8a did a good job with low-light photography. A part of me thinks, however, that I could have configured the settings better. Photo taken with the HONOR X8a
Edwin Coscolluela's works taken the HONOR X8a
Edwin Coscolluela’s works lean toward crisp and precise details, which you can see in this photo. With the indoor lighting, I had to find a way to keep the sharpness in the photos without compromising visibility. Photo taken with the HONOR X8a
low-light shot of Food For The Gays taken with the HONOR X8a
Another low-light shot capturing dreamy colors and ambient lighting at Food For The Gays. Photo taken with the HONOR X8a

It was after I got over my hesitations that I got to appreciate (and critique) other aspects of the phone. For now, all that I could talk about is that gorgeous expansive display (I do love a smartphone that has an almost edgeless design). I have other notes about its ease of use, but that can wait until the phone is officially launched to the public on March 14.

If you want to stay updated on official news regarding the HONOR X8a, you can check out their official Facebook and Instagram accounts or visit their official website.

The new lifestyle.