Honor 9 Lite Review


There are very few smartphone makers who cater to all the three segments – Entry-level, Mid-range and High-end. One such company among them is the Huawei’s online brand Honor. A couple of weeks before the launch of Honor 9 Lite, the company pulled the wrap off its flagship smartphone in India dubbed as Honor View 10 equipped with Artificial Intelligence. Last week Honor launched the Honor 9 Lite with brilliant build quality, quad-camera setup and Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. We got hold of this device for more than a week and here is our review.

Unboxing

Box Contents

  • Honor 9 Lite in Midnight Black color
  • 2-pin charger (5V-2A)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • SIM Ejector tool
  • Quick Start Guide, Warranty information

Video Review

Display, Design, and Hardware

The Honor 9 Lite sports a 5.65-inch (2160 x 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 18:9 2.5D curved glass display featuring a pixel density of 428ppi. There is no information about the Corning Gorilla Glass or any kind of screen protection though. In our observation, the screen is vibrant with punchy colors, has good viewing angles and texts looks sharp too. The sunlight legibility is good when the brightness level is set higher.

The Honor 9 Lite smartphone comes with an all-glass body with metal frame, which is a rare sight in mid-range smartphones. It feels compact, premium and lightweight in hand. Even though it looks good, the durability is questionable considering its build. It is better to put a case on it before start using it because a slight fall easily leads to crack. Having said that, the rear side of the device is a fingerprint magnet and scratch-prone as well.

Moving on to the placements, on the top of the display, we have dual camera setup with 13MP primary and 2MP secondary camera, earpiece and the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors along with magnetic sensor (magnetometer) and gyroscope so you can use the phone with VR headsets. It also has notification LED. This device has on-screen buttons and the small bezel has Honor branding.

We get the volume rocker and the power button on the right side, hybrid SIM tray on the left. The bottom of the device houses the micro-USB port, a speaker grill, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Turning back, we have dual camera setup with 13MP + 2MP along with LED flash. Fingerprint scanner has been placed under the camera module and as you’d expect it is quick to unlock the phone.

Performance

The Honor 9 Lite is powered by Octa-Core Kirin 659 processor (4 xA53 at 2.36GHz + 4 x A53 at 1.7GHz) with MaliT830-MP2 GPU under the hood. In our usage, the device performed smoothly without any hang or lag. The 4GB RAM compliments the hardware in making multi-tasking easier than ever. Even the games like Subway Surfer, Riptide GT ran well without any frame drop. Overall, this smartphone excels in casual usage and occasional heavy usage. Check out the synthetic benchmark of the Honor 9 Lite below.

Camera

The Honor 9 Lite is the second smartphone in the Honor portfolio to launch with quad-camera setup next to Honor 9i. It comes with a 13-megapixel front and rear cameras along with a secondary 2-megapixel rear camera to capture depth information for portrait shots.

The UI of the camera is relatively simple and easy to operate as well. The top consists of toggle for flash, wide aperture mode, portrait mode, moving picture mode and camera option. The bottom side has a gallery, shutter button, and video mode. Users need to swipe right to access various modes — Pro photo, HDR, Night shot, Panorama, Light paint and more.

Coming to the image quality, the daylight shots and the Macro shots were good. During Macro shots, the mobile struggles to focus on the subject. The same problem persists during low light conditions as well. The image quality under low-light shots had noise and comes out pretty decent when Night Shots feature is selected. Images with flash were good and the flash is not overpowering even in closeup shots.

The front camera is good for selfies under daylight conditions too. The front camera performs well and makes use of portrait mode very well. When it comes to portrait modes, it processes the borders in a neat way and up to the mark. You can also adjust the beauty mode on the app to remove the blemishes on the skin.

Check out some of the sample pictures below (Click the image for full-resolution samples).

Wide Aperture

Dual camera Portrait

Software

The Honor 9 Lite is one of the few mid-range smartphones that come with Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box and it has Android security patch for December 2017. Having said that, it is topped with Honor’s EMUI 8.0 out of the box.

This UI gives users an option to choose the home screen style — Standard (shows all apps on the home screen) and Drawer (shows all app on drawer screen). There is a Full-screen display option, which displays non-full-screen apps in full screen. In order to do that, users need to turn on the toggle for the selected app.

Moreover, users can also adjust the screen resolution on this device as per your convenience — HD+ (1440×720) and FHD+ (2160×1080). Users can also opt for ‘Smart resolution’, where it automatically lowers the resolution depends on the battery to save power. 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.

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.

With Honor 9 Lite, you get a couple of options to navigate — Virtual navigation bar (uses on-screen navigation button and you also get to select the combination of buttons) and Navigation dock (Uses a single dock to navigate through your system). Additionally, there is an App twin option, which lets you log into two different accounts for the same app at the same time. However, this option will not be supported on third-party launchers.

Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, it comes with Facebook Messenger, Instagram, UC News, Facebook and few games, but these can be uninstalled easily.

The music player has Huawei Histen sound effects and you also get equalizer when headphones are connected. It also has FM Radio. Audio through the loudspeaker and third-party headset are good.

Storage and connectivity options

The Honor 9 Lite comes in two variants — 3GB RAM with 32GB onboard storage and 4GB RAM with 64GB onboard storage, with an expandable memory up to 256GB with microSD. We got hold of the 4GB RAM variant with 64GB onboard storage. On the first boot, out of 4GB RAM, we got around 2.31GB free and out of 64GB, we got around 53.66GB free onboard storage.

The Honor 9 Lite supports a range of connectivity options including WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS and more. It has 4G connectivity with support a lot of bands and also has Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) support for Reliance Jio, but Airtel VoLTE support is not available yet. Moving on, the call quality is good and we did not face any call drops and earpiece volume was loud as well.

Fingerprint scanner

The Honor 9 Lite comes with a fingerprint scanner placed on the rear just below the camera module. As I mentioned above the fingerprint scanner is quick to unlock the device within seconds. Just like any other phone, users can add up to 5 fingerprints and not more than that. And then there is a Fingerprint recognition option, which helps users to find out which fingerprint belongs which ID. Additionally, users can use the fingerprint scanner for varieties of gesture options including — slide down on the fingerprint sensor to display the notification panel, browse photo by swiping left or right, Answer the call, Stop alarm, take photos/videos.

Battery

The Honor 9 Lite is powered by a 3000mAh battery under the hood without any fast charging technology. In our usage, it got us throughout a day perfectly on casual usage. But this won’t be the case during heavy usage, so we recommend you to carry power bank with you.

The Honor 9 Lite achieved a One Charge Rating of 15 hours 48 minutes, mainly due to good talk time, but this is good for a phone with a 5.65-inch screen and a 3000mAh battery. The phone got charged from 0 to 50% in 57 minutes and 0 to 100% in 2 hours and 24 minutes. We will bring you the complete set of battery life test results soon.

Conclusion

Overall, the Honor 9 Lite is one of the best phones under Rs. 11,000 currently in the market. It has all the features one would expect in a mid-range smartphone and it works well too. At a starting price of Rs. 10,999, the Honor 9 Lite has a gorgeous design, Quad-camera setup, and a good performance, which makes it a compelling device at this price range. Wish it had fast charging and dedicated SIM slots as well.

The Honor 9 Lite comes in Black, Blue, Grey and Black colors, is priced at Rs. 10,999 for the 3GB RAM with 32GB storage version and the 4GB RAM with 64GB storage version costs Rs. 14999. It goes on sale every week exclusively on Flipkart and Honor Store.

Pros

  • Good design
  • Android 8.0 Oreo
  • Light-weight body
  • Quad-camera

Cons

  • Glass back is a fingerprint magnet and scratch-prone
  • Hybrid Dual SIM
  • No fast charging

Images by Siraj

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