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Honor 6X vs iPhone 7: Which one should you buy?

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YOU KNOW HOW IT GOES. Just when you think you’ve figured out which phone you want to use your next upgrade on, another one gets announced – and this one’s sparklier, or cheaper, or just plain newer than the one you had your eye on.

If the incredibly inexpensive new Honor 6X (£224) has made you think twice about getting an iPhone 7 (from £599), we’re here to set out the differences between the two and help you make the right call. After all, you’re going to be using this phone every day for a long time – long after you’ve forgotten how much it cost.

So – Honor 6X vs iPhone 7, which one should you buy? Here’s the lowdown.

Round 1: Measurements, weight and design
iPhone 7: 138x67x7.1mm, 138g
Honor 6X: 150.9×76.2×8.2mm, 162g

No doubt about it, the Honor 6X is a considerably larger phone. A lot of that is down to the difference in screen size: 5.5in on the Honor vs 4.7in on the iPhone. That’s a good thing for some people, and less so for others – but which one’s best for you will depend on how you use your phone. Do you keep it in your pocket? Do you watch films and TV shows on it a lot? Do you prefer a lightweight phone or something more substantial?

Both handsets have an appealing design, with the iPhone 7 echoing the usual Apple design language of clean lines and one central home key, with fingerprint recognition built-in. The Honor has a beautifully smooth aluminium chassis and offers a fingerprint sensor, although this time it’s on the back.

There are no physical keys on the 6X, just soft navigation keys, but the fingerprint sensor comes with some smart functionality built-in: you can use it to swipe between photos, open the notification tray or even snooze your alarm.

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Both phones come in silver and gold, with the 6X also offering a grey colour and the iPhone having both black and rose gold options. If you’re likely to put it straight in a case (and you should – even good phones are fragile), this will matter a lot less than if you’re going to carry the bare phone around.

Overall, it’s a difficult one to judge: the 6X and the 7 both offer a premium aesthetic and classy design accents. However, the iPhone has that iconic style going for it, and overall is just a better-looking handset, so we’re awarding this one to Apple.

Winner: iPhone 7

Round 2: Display
iPhone 7: 4.7in 1334×750 resolution at 326ppi, with 3D Touch
Honor 6X: 5.5in 1920×1080 resolution at 403ppi

Purely on specs, you’d have to give this one to Honor, because it’s a higher-resolution screen with considerably more pixels packed in. That means everything’s going to look better, from photos to films. But it’s not quite as simple as it looks on paper, because the iPhone offers extra functionality in terms of 3D Touch, and that kind of tech doesn’t come cheap. If you’re a fan of the extra UI functions that 3D Touch offers, you might miss them on the Honor – phones from parent brand Huawei offer something similar, but it’s not on this handset.

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There’s also the issue of size: not everyone thinks a bigger screen is better. There’s a reason Apple started making smaller phones again recently, namely that a lot of people still prefer pocket-size over phablets.

In our opinion, though, a bigger and more pixel-packed screen is definitely a good thing – especially when it costs less. So we’re calling this one for the Honor 6X.

Winner: Honor 6X

Round 3: Processor
iPhone 7: Apple Fusion A10, quad-core (2x Hurricane, 2 x Zephyr)
Honor 6X: Hisilicon Kirin 655, octa-core (4×2.1 GHz + 4×1.7 GHz)

It’s always tricky comparing Apple processors to the competition because Apple isn’t known for furnishing us with the full details of their architecture. Rather than just giving the specs of the cores, Apple gives them marketing-y names (in this case Hurricane and Zephyr), leaving us to figure out the specifics for ourselves.

In this case, the Apple processor has four cores: two high-performance powerhouses (Hurricane, at 2.34 GHz), and two for lower-intensity, power-efficient processing (Zephyr). The Huawei-made Hisilicon Kirin 655, on the other hand, has eight cores offering a similar choice between high performance and low power use.

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Specs aside, let’s look at the performance. At launch, Apple described its Fusion A10 SoC as “the fastest smartphone chip available,” and it’s certainly the one to beat. In our testing, the iPhone 7 gave a single-core score of 3473 and a multi-core score of 5746 in Geekbench 4’s CPU test, while the Honor 6X came in at 789 and 3286. With AnTuTu, the iPhone scored 177027 and the Honor 6X produced a result of 56213. The Honor doesn’t yet have enough results to appear in AnTuTu’s overall comparison chart, but the iPhone 7 is currently in second place, and our Honor score wouldn’t place in the top 50.

However, this really isn’t comparing apples to apples (pun totally intended). There’s a reason many benchmark creators have separate ranking tables for Android and iOS devices – the setup is pretty different to provide the best experience for that OS. In our day-to-day use, we’ve found both phones offer very good performance, though we’ve had more warming, lags and hangs on the Honor.

Apple is always reticent about how much RAM its phones have, but the smaller iPhone 7 has 2GB (the larger iPhone 7 Plus has 3GB), and the Honor 6X offers 3GB. That’s good to know, but given the benchmark results and our experience, we have to call this one for Apple.

Winner: iPhone 7

Next page: software, cameras, battery, storage and verdict

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