Huawei launched the Mate 30 Pro in several countries recently, using its own mobile services in lieu of Google Play Services due to a trade ban. Now, it’s Honor’s turn to launch a phone without Google services as it launches the Honor 9X Pro globally, following a Chinese launch way back in July.
Much like the global versions of the Mate 30 series, the Honor 9X Pro doesn’t come with the Google Play Store pre-installed and lacks popular Google apps like Gmail and Maps. These can’t be easily installed from other sources either, as was temporarily the case for the Mate 30 Pro.
Instead, you’ll need to make do with Huawei’s apps and services, such as the App Gallery, Huawei email client (which still offers Gmail connectivity), and third-party mapping services. Honor says the phone also features Huawei Assistant, a virtual assistant that also delivers contextual cards for the likes of sport and stock markets. Additionally you can use the service to get insights into data consumption, your calendar, weather, missed calls, and more, with Honor saying more services in other categories will be added down the line.
This will nevertheless limit the Honor 9X Pro’s audience, as Google services are the go-to option for the vast majority of Android smartphone users in the West.
What else does the Honor 9X Pro offer?
The global version of the Honor 9X Pro is unchanged from its Chinese counterpart for better or worse. It’s still using the 7nm Kirin 810 processor, which is essentially a Snapdragon 675 rival. The Kirin 810 is still a capable mid-range chipset, but Qualcomm has launched newer chips since the Snapdragon 675. Phones powered by these new chips generally offer 4K recording and Bluetooth 5 — two features missing from the 9X Pro for some reason.
Other shared specs include a 4,000mAh battery with 10W charging, a 16MP pop-up selfie camera housing, and a full-screen LCD panel (6.59-inch FHD+).
The Honor 9X Pro also serves up a triple camera setup, featuring a 48MP primary shooter, 8MP ultra-wide camera (120 degrees), and 2MP depth sensor. You can also expect 256GB of expandable storage, USB-C, a headphone port, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and EMUI 9.1 atop Android Pie. It’s disappointing to see Android Pie here, some six months after Android 10‘s release.
There is one minor tweak compared to the Chinese model, and that’s the switch to 6GB of RAM rather than 8GB. Hopefully this doesn’t have much of an effect on multitasking, gaming, and everyday usage.
The Honor 9X Pro will be available from March 2020 at a recommended price of €249 (~$269) in Midnight Black and Phantom Purple. The phone is confirmed for Egypt, France, Germany, Malaysia, the Netherlands, and Saudi Arabia.
Honor also announced that the Kirin 990-powered Honor View 30 Pro would land in Russia soon, but didn’t reveal any info regarding other markets. You can check out our hands-on over here.