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Honor 9 Lite Review

Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has finally released their smartphones in the Philippines and one of them is the Honor 9 Lite. We’ve released a sneak peek of the Honor 9 Lite a few days ago and now, here’s our full review. Let’s start!

Before anything else, you can watch our unboxing and hands-on for the device here:

Design and Construction

The Honor 9 Lite is eerily similar to the Nova 2i not just with the specs but also with the design. It has an aluminum frame that’s sandwiched between glass gives it a premium and elegant look. Amplifying its aesthetics is the Sapphire Blue color which looks cool and nice to the eyes.

At the front, the dual 13MP and 2MP cameras are placed on top of the 5.65-inch screen while located at the bottom is the Honor brand name. The secondary front shooter assists in providing bokeh effects to selfies.

On the right are the standard volume rocker and power button. All of the buttons are sturdy and can easily be pressed without putting much effort. It also doesn’t have much resistance so users can accidentally press them while the device is inside of their pockets.

On the left is the lone hybrid SIM tray that accommodates either two nano SIM-cards or one SIM and one microSD card. We were disappointed since it does not have a dedicated microSD card slot. There are no holes nor sensors on top of the Honor 9 Lite which is nice and simple.

Cramped at the bottom are the 3.5mm audio port, main microphone, micro-USB port, and loudspeakers.

Lastly, the glass-covered back panel houses the dual 13MP and 2MP rear cameras with LED flash while sitting just below them is the circular fingerprint sensor.

In the hands, the Honor 9 Lite feels light and slim but solid and sturdy. The grip of the device is good but what we didn’t like is the glass back panel which attracts a lot of smudges and fingerprints. Thankfully, there’s an included case to remedy that problem.

Display and Multimedia

The Honor 9 Lite has a 5.65-inch 18:9 IPS Display with 2160 x 1080 resolution. At 427ppi, it is sharp and gives a nice viewing experience. Viewing angles are good while color reproduction is accurate and looks natural. The phone can be used under direct sunlight even at just 70% brightness.

Moving on to the audio department, the volume of the Honor 9 Lite sounds average and not that impressive. The highs and mids are clear but like with most smartphones, it’s weak with lows. What we also didn’t like is that there are no earphones included in the package so you’ll have to spend extra for those.

OS, UI, and Apps

The Honor 9 Lite runs on EMUI 8.0 that is based on Android 8.0 Oreo. It looks nice, simple, and easy to navigate. Long pressing the home screen will bring up the page settings so users can tweak the home screen to their liking.

Navigation is done by the usual in-display navigations but users can also activate the Navigation Dock which functions similar to AssistiveTouch on iOS. Some major features include Eye comfort, adjusting screen resolution, Simple mode, Battery optimization, MirrorShare, and Printing. You are also given the option to go into full-screen view as long as the app supports the 18:9 ratio.

Built-in applications for the Honor 9 Lite include Social media apps like Messenger and Instagram, the usual Google applications, Honor app, Health, Game Suite, HiCare, Mirror, Phone Clone, and Phone Manager. Out of the 32GB of claimed storage, there is a 22.85GB usable space for users to put their files on.

Camera

Just like the Huawei Nova 2i, the Honor 9 Lite has a quad-camera setup with secondary lenses that help in the implementation of bokeh when depth effect is enabled. Both the rear and front have a 13MP + 2MP configuration.

The features include Pro mode, Video, Pro Video, AR lens, HDR, Panorama, Light painting, Time-lapse, Filter, Watermark, and other downloadable ones. The immediate options that users can enable are the flash, wide aperture, portrait, and moving picture mode. In order to access the bokeh effect and beautify of the camera, you will need to enable portrait mode.

When it comes to quality, the photos have good detail under bright lighting. Colors are good too but some shots we took tend to have oversaturated colors like with the snowman’s scarf and the sign stand for example. Under low light conditions, images get pretty muddy with noticeable noise.

For the front cameras, it has Panorama, Video, AR lens, Time-lapse, filter, Watermark, and other downloadable ones. The same immediate options mentioned above can also be found here.

The photos produced have the same quality as the rear. Shooting in low-light is not really recommendable as photos tend to have a muddy and grainy result. Other than that, the photos are good enough daily social media posts.

The Honor 9 Lite can record videos at a maximum of 1080p resolution at 30fps. The colors are punchy but seem artificial. There’s no video stabilization so movements, even the slightest ones, will cause the video to shake.

Performance and Benchmarks

The Honor 9 Lite is powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor paired with a Mali-T830 MP2 GPU and 3GB RAM. Basic navigation, app launches, and features such as fingerprint and face unlock are smooth and responsive. Playing Graphics-intensive games like PUBG mobile on Medium and Balanced settings is no problem. The performance is good but with noticeable frame drops every now and then. We noticed that the Honor 9 Lite warms up easily but doesn’t reach a level where it is uncomfortable in the hands.

Antutu v7: 88,558
PCMark: 4,888 (Work 2.0), 6,233 (Work 1.0)
Androbench: 268.05 MB/s (Sequential Read), 123.6 MB/s (Sequential Write)
3D Mark: 327 (Sling Shot Extreme), 361 (Vulkan)
Geekbench 4.1.3: 933 (Single-core), 3,725 (Multi-core), 3097 (Renderscript)

Connectivity and Call Quality


The Honor 9 Lite comes with a hybrid dual-SIM tray with both slots supporting 4G mobile data. Users can expand the storage up to 256GB if they wish to put a micro-SD card into the SIM 2 slot. Other connectivity features such as Bluetooth, WiFi, and GPS connection is strong and accurate. The gyroscope is also available which is good.

Taking and making calls is not a problem as well as they’re loud and clear and didn’t have any interruptions or call drops.

Battery Life

The Honor 9 Lite has a 3,000mAh battery capacity which is an average capacity. In PC Mark’s battery test, it yielded a 8 hours and 35 mins which is decent. In our video loop test (1080p movie with 50% brightness and sound in Airplane mode), it lasted for 9 hours and 40 mins which is not bad but not impressive as well. Charging the smartphone took us around 2 hours from 0%-100%.

Under normal usage(browsing social media applications, messaging, and listening to music), it can last up to 1 and a half days without charging. If it includes long gaming times and taking photos, the Honor 9 Lite can last up to almost a day.

Conclusion

The Honor 9 Lite is the phone for those who are looking for something stylish and premium yet doesn’t cost much. It’s not a lightweight in terms of performance as it is good and responsive and can handle graphic-intensive games. Camera quality is okay but don’t expect a lot when shooting in low-light. If you want something that is premium and almost in the same league as the Huawei Nova 2i but for a lower price of Php9,999, this is the one to get.

 

Honor 9 Lite / Honor 9 Youth Edition

specs:

SpecificationHonor 9 Lite  /  Honor 9 Youth Edition
Display5.65-inch 18:9 2160 x 1080 IPS display, 428ppi, 2.5D Curved glass
ProcessorHiSilicon Kirin 659 2.36GHz octa-core CPU
GPUMali-T830 MP2 GPU
RAM3GB RAM
Storage32GB internal storage, microSD up to 256GB
Rear Camera13MP + 2MP rear camera w/ LED flash
Front Camera13MP + 2MP front camera
Sim Card SlotDual-SIM
Connectivity4G LTE
Wi-FiWiFi 802.11 b/g/n
BluetoothBluetooth 4.2
GPSGPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
SensorFingerprint sensor
OSAndroid 8.0 Oreo w/ EMUI 8.0
Battery3,000mAh battery
Dimension151 × 71.9 × 7.60 mm
Weight149 g
ColorSapphire Blue, Glacier Gray

What we liked

  • Stylish design
  • Premium look
  • Lightweight
  • Bright display
  • Good color reproduction
  • Smooth performance
  • Good camera quality under good lighting
  • Reasonable price

What we didn’t

  • Fingerprint and smudge magnet
  • Subpar playback time
  • Average sound quality
  • Easily warms up when using the camera or playing games


Vaughn is your go-to person when it comes to comparing gadgets especially smartphones. He's also a gamer by heart and the "Hackerman" of the team.

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4 Responses

  1. Mark says:

    Is the frame plastic or metal?

  2. Vin says:

    Is it worth it for its price? can it go toe to toe with Nova 2i?

  3. Paul says:

    Does it android version is always updated?

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