Quite lately, Honor has been doing a good job in the Indian smartphone market. Huawei’s online brand has been churning some quality Value-For-Money (VFM) smartphones focused mainly on the mid-range segment. The recent one to hit the market is the Honor 9i, which was introduced as Maimang 6 in China and as Nova 2i in Malaysia. This device also comes equipped with dual camera setup on both front and rear to capture depth information. We have come up with the review of Honor 9i considering various factors. Now let’s get into it.
We recently unboxed the phone. Check out the video below.
- Honor 9i smartphone in Graphite Black
- 2-pin charger (5V-2A)
- Micro USB Cable
- SIM ejector tool
- Clear case
- Quick start guide and warranty information
Display, Design, and hardware
The Honor 9i sports a 5.9-inch Full HD+ 18:9 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. Surprisingly enough, the display is bright with good color reproduction, blacks are deep and the sunlight legibility is good too. When it comes to watching videos or reading books, the Honor 9i just aces it. There is a factory fitted screen guard on it. So you don’t need to shell out money for it.
Moving on to the design, the Honor comes out with a refreshing metal unibody design for its new series. With 18:9 display, the Honor 9i looks bit tall, sleek, lightweight and offers good grip when held. The rear side of the device is a fingerprint magnet, whereas the top and bottom are the bare minimum. Moreover, the Honor 9i measures 156.2 × 75.2 × 7.5mm and weighs about 164 grams.
Talking about the placement, we have flash, usual set of sensors, earpiece, and a 13MP + 2MP front cameras on the top. It also has notification LED and has magnetic sensor, but lacks gyroscope.
The right side of the device has the volume rocker and power button. On the left, we have Hybrid Dual SIM slot that accepts two nano SIMs or a nano SIM and a microSD card. The bottom where it gets busy with 3.5mm audio jack, primary microphone, MicroUSB port and a speaker grille. The top just has a secondary microphone. Turning back, we have a dual-tone LED flash, dual rear camera setup with 16MP primary and 2MP secondary camera and a fingerprint scanner aligned perfectly right below each other.
The Honor 9i is powered by Octa-Core Kirin 659 processor with Mali T830-MP2 as GPU under the hood. Talking about the real world experience, the performance is smooth and snappy as we experienced no lag or hang. Surprisingly, the graphics demanding game also ran fluidly without a single frame drop. Having said that, we do experience a bit of warmth on the rear side of the device during gameplay and video shooting for a longer period of time. Check out some synthetic benchmark below.
The Honor 9i runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1 on top. Unlike other Honor smartphones running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, this device comes with two home screen style — Standard (shows all apps on the home screen) and Drawer (shows all app on drawer screen).
Also, you can choose several combinations of navigation buttons from the settings. Under the display option, you also get an “Eye Comfort” option, which filters out the blue light to prevent your eyes from strain. You can also schedule the start time and end time and can adjust the color temperature as well.
Under Smart Assistance app, you can turn on floating dock to access Back, Home, Recent tasks, Screen lock and One-touch optimization. The dock can be dragged to the left or right edges of the screen. Moreover, you also get voice control for quick calling using voice commands, and there are voice broadcasts for incoming calls when connected to the headset. Like other smartphones, it also has a one-handed mode. There is also a scheduled power on and off option so you can turn off the phone during the night and turn it on in the morning to save battery.
The Honor 9i comes with 4GB RAM, 64GB inbuilt memory, with an expandable memory up to 256GB via microSD. Out of 64GB, the user will get around 51GB free space and out of 4GB RAM, the user will get around 2.3GB RAM generally.
You can also slide down on the fingerprint sensor to display the notification panel. In addition to that, you can also browse photo by swiping left or right on the fingerprint sensor when viewing in full screen. The fingerprint is quick to unlock the phone within seconds. Furthermore, you can add 5 different fingerprints on this device.
Apart from unlocking the smartphone, you can use the fingerprint scanner for various gestures including taking photos and videos, answering the call, Stopping alarms, and much more.
Connectivity and call quality
The Honor 9i supports connectivity options including WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS / GLONASS. It has 4G connectivity with support a lot of bands and also has Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) support for Reliance Jio.
The dialer and messaging UI is similar to that of other Honor smartphones. It comes with Swiftkey keyboard by default, but I later changed to Gboard. Moving on, the call quality is good and we did not face any call drops and earpiece volume was loud as well.
Coming to the USP, the Honor 9i comes equipped with 4 cameras. To be precise, it has dual camera set-up on both rear and front. Specs-wise, the Honor 9i sports a 16-megapixel rear camera with a 2-megapixel secondary camera to capture depth information and a 13-megapixel front camera with a secondary 2-megapixel camera.
When it comes to the rear camera, you get lots of options including Moving picture mode, portrait mode, and wide aperture mode as well to play with. In addition to that, you also get a range of modes to experiment with including Light Painting, Pro photo, Night shots, Slow-mo, time-lapse and more. Moving on to the front camera, the option you get is few including portrait and moving picture mode. This means you can get professional bokeh style effects from both fronts as well as rear cameras.
Talking about the real world usage, the output under the daylight condition turns out to be good with fine details and natural color reproductions without any artificial processing. Various mode present in the device works well according to the situation most of the times. But at some point, the light painting mode do let us down. If you are a photographer or an aspiring one, you will enjoy using these modes. Moving on to the low light mode, the picture quality turns out to be average than what we expected. Most of the low light pictures come out with grain and fewer details.
On the whole, the rear camera of Honor 9i is definitely good. The front camera performs well and makes use of portrait mode very well. The device processing the borders is up to the mark and neat. You can also adjust the beauty mode on the app to remove the blemishes on the skin. Below are the sample picture shot on Honor 9i (Click the image to view full resolution samples)
The Honor 9i is powered by 3340mAh battery under the hood without any fast charging technology. With casual usage, the device can take you throughout the day with ease. But, when it comes to heavy usage, we would suggest you carry a power bank.
In our One Charge rating, Honor 9i scored 15 hours 49 minutes, which is pretty impressive for a mid-range device. It also takes around solid 2 and half hours to charge from 0 to 100%. We will bring you the complete set of battery life test results soon.
Overall, the Honor 9i is quality outing from the company that will surely give other devices in this range, a run for its money. The Honor 9i has the blend of a great display, snappy processor, solid build quality and dual camera setup on both front and back that takes some good shots. If the company had priced around Rs. 15,000, this smartphone would’ve been a game changer. The Honor 9i comes in Graphite Black and Prestige Gold colors, is priced at Rs. 17,999 and is available exclusively on Flipkart.
- Full-screen display is good
- Dual front cameras are good
- Good performance
- Good build quality
- Hybrid dual SIM might not be preferred by everyone
- No fast charging