Honor 9X Pro Performance Preview

GameBench Labs has just tested the brand new Honor 9X Pro, producing the first real-world gaming benchmarks for this device. If you'd like to see an early preview of how this mid-tier phone handles real games, and how it compares to similarly-priced rival handsets, please read on. 

Device and Game Comparisons

Since the Honor 9X Pro is launching first in China, we've focused this preview on Chinese games and competitors. We'll add Western comparisons for a fuller Performance Profile once the device is available elsewhere. For now, the games we picked are: 

  • Honor of Kings (王者荣耀, aka Arena of Valor in the West), tested at max quality settings;
  • QQ Racing (QQ飞车), tested at max quality settings;
  • Game for Peace (和平精英, aka PUBG Mobile in the West), tested at with "balanced" quality, "super-high" frame rate, anti-aliasing on..

In terms of competitor devices, we've looked at two mid-tier contenders. One is based on the Snapdragon 710, which our previous tests have already shown to be a strong gamer. The other is based on the Snapdragon 675, a slightly older chipset but one that has specific optimisations for gaming. Here are the Honor 9X Pro specs versus its competitors:

  • Honor 9X Pro - 6.49-inch 1080p display, Kirin 810 with Mali-G52 GPU, 8GB RAM, 4000mAh battery, Android 9;
  • Oppo Reno - 6.4-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 710 with Adreno 616 GPU, 8GB RAM, 3765mAh battery, Android 9; 
  • Vivo X27 - 6.39-inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 675 with Adreno 612 GPU, 8GB RAM, 4000mAh battery, Android 9.

Top Level Ratings

As usual, we'll start with our badge ratings which provide a simple colour-code summary of the quality of the game experience on each device:

Ultra Smooth Basic Poor
1 - Ultra copy 2 - Smooth copy 3 - basic copy 4 - Poor copy
Represents a 60fps experience (or very close to it) with no sacrifices on visual quality. Represents an experience that at least sticks to the 30fps threshold for good playability; Represents an experience of at least 20fps  Represents everything below 20fps

  Honor 9X Pro Oppo Reno Vivo X27

Honor of Kings

(王者荣耀, aka Arena of Valor)

1 - Ultra copy 2 - Smooth copy 2 - Smooth copy

QQ Racing


1 - Ultra copy 1 - Ultra copy 1 - Ultra copy

Game for Peace

(和平精英, aka PUBG Mobile)

2 - Smooth copy 2 - Smooth copy 2 - Smooth copy


The first thing the table shows is that while these are all good gaming devices, there's a key difference with Honor of Kings. The Honor 9X Pro is the only device in this comparison to be able to play the game at a solid 60fps with max settings, (It is however not the only device in this price tier that achieves this - our previous tests have shown that the Realme X can play Honor of Kings at Ultra too.)

Beyond Honor of Kings, our ratings don't show much difference. QQ Racing / QQ飞车 plays at Ultra fluidity on all devices. PUBG / 和平精英 is capped at 40fps on all devices (the "super-high" frame rate setting in the graphics menu), which rules out an Ultra badge across the board.  However, if we dig into the raw metrics we can find further interesting results, especially in terms of the "choppiness" or variability of the frame rates delivered by each device. These smaller differences may not affect all gamers, but they could be a significant concern of highly competitive or eSports players.

Average Frame Rate Comparisons

Since our games contain a mix of 60fps and 40fps target frame rates, there's no point comparing plain average frame rates. A perfect device across these three games would get an average of 53.3fps, which is not representative. Instead, if we want to use frame rate stats but still get a top-level view, we can look at the average choppiness of each experience, which we call variability. Regardless of the target frame rate (whether 60, 40, or 30), a lower variability is always better as it means that the animation of the game will be smoother and its touch responsiveness will be more consistent.

The variability results in the chart below show that the Honor 9X Pro is best optimised for a fluid and responsive gaming experience, compared to the other devices in our test sample. On average, the frame rate across all three games jumps around by less than 0.5fps, whereas it moves by almost 1fps on the rival devices (similar to the results we achieved on the Snapdragon 710-powered Realme X we achieved a while ago):



We can also compare choppiness by looking at the average worst frame rate drop. This is the typical size of the drop down from the median frame rate during the worst performance bottleneck in the game experience -- which often happens when there is the most action on screen and therefore when solid performance is most critical. Again, our results show that the Honor 9X Pro stands out for its consistency, dropping less than 5fps on average, whereas the other two devices drop closer to 10fps during the worst bottleneck: 


Raw Metrics

For those who don't want a top-level view and would rather see raw stats for each game individually, please get in touch using the form below and we'll send you the full details of our report: