As somebody who — very naively — asks only two questions when presented with a smartphone (Are there games? Is the camera good?), one can rightly guess that I have a simple make-do-with-what-you’ve-got attitude towards taking photos — and by making do with what I’ve got, I mean my inability to patiently adjust smartphone settings to get that “perfect” shot, as my version of a “perfect shot” is capturing a precious moment as swiftly and genuinely as possible (before they flee the perimeter, especially).
So, when I bounded off to Sumilon Island for the weekend, I took along the Honor 6X (also known as the Huawei GR5 2017 or Mate 9 Lite) to see if it truly lives up to its name.
Setting foot on Sumilon Island
After having seen friends on Instagram happily frolicking and posing on sunny sandbars, I had to admit I was a bit underwhelmed when our boat docked onto Sumilon Island.
To be fair it was cloudy, and the promise of rain was clear against the sky. Props to the Honor 6X for capturing this exact moment though — one of dismay.
Sand and sun
There was better luck with a sunny sandbar the next morning, provided we forego breakfast (noooo!) to get there before large groups of tourists hopped in from mainland Cebu.
We stayed in Bluewater Resort, which had great views of — you guessed it right — the stunning sapphire waters that surrounded the island. Every corner of the resort is decorated to play up the beautiful scenery.
Indoor photo with HDR mode
The Honor 6X did great with outdoor photos under a cloudless sky, but even with HDR mode turned on, indoor photos with that same bright sun gave them a blown out look, taking away the brilliant colors of the background.
Trekking around the island
It wasn’t trekking so much as it was walking around a pristine island on a lazy weekend while overfed on the breakfast buffet. There were yellow, blue, and red trails — beginner, intermediate, and advanced, respectively — and we set off on the blue trail. Sumilon Island is also home to a pretty strong Pokémon Go gym, a Pokéstop set by the ruins of a Spanish-era watchtower at the highest point of the island, and a decent enough Globe signal for data connection. Perfect for a quick quest in between eating and lounging around!
We passed by this fancy little island resident at the beginning of the trail. The Honor 6X’s regular camera pulled off a pretty detailed macro shot of this little fella, but the dual-camera mode indiscriminately blurred out portions of the subject that wasn’t smack dab in the center.
The trail took us all around the island and back to the sandbar for a quick swim with all the manner of resplendent sea creatures in the nearby marine sanctuary. Unfortunately, the Honor 6X had to take a break, as we couldn’t take it with us into the water.
Day and night
As much as it performed splendidly under full daylight, the quality of photos by the Honor 6X dipped as quickly as the sun did into the horizon.
There’s no way to make anything look appetizing with or without the Honor 6X’s flash. The food presentation was lovely, and a great deal of self-control was taken into not gobbling the food once it touched our table just to take a photo, but all in vain.
Honor 6X: With honors, or without?
To answer one of my two questions (with the other cast aside, as there was not a dull moment on the island): Is the camera good? It depends on where you are, and I guess when you are there. The Honor 6X seemed incapable of producing a bad shot under full daylight, which is great news for non-photographers such as myself, but once you duck into the shade or take it out for some night shots, it’s going to take considerably more skill, patience, and not moving your hand around too much.
24 Hours is a series on GadgetMatch.com where we showcase our travels through a smartphone camera’s perspective. It’s also a documented guide on things to see and do in a city in case you happen to plan a trip there.