Honor V9 Review
Back in February, Huawei’s Honor brand launched a new smartphone for the Chinese market that packs a 5.7-inch QHD display, Kirin 960 CPU, up to 6GB RAM, dual 12MP rear cameras, and 4,000mAh battery – the Honor V9. It’s not officially available locally but it has made its way here through online stores. With smartphones wielding dual rear cameras becoming more common, does the PH market still have room for the Honor V9? Let’s find out.
Design and Construction
Right off the bat, the Honor V9 is more like a mix of what is beautiful about the Huawei P10 and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. It has a metal unibody that curves on corners and sides. It only measures 6.97mm thick which is impressive considering it has a 4,000mAh battery.
On the front is a 5.7-inch QHD LPTS display, which equates to 515ppi, and pretty slim side bezels. Placed above it is the receiver with a notifications light, sensor, and 8MP front camera. Down below is the honor logo. There are no capacitive keys here since the V9 uses on-screen navigation buttons. Protecting all of it is Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3.
At the left is the hybrid SIM tray, while on the right are the metallic volume and power/lock keys.
Found at the top are the Ir blaster and microphone, while down below is the 3.5mm headset port, microphone, USB-C port, and loudspeaker.
Turn it on its back and you will see the dual 12MP cameras with dual-tone flash, and the round fingerprint scanner. Also visible here are two antenna bands.
The V9 is thin and easy to pocket and feels very premium. It’s just glass and metal on the hands despite being a bit wide which makes it a bit cumbersome to navigate with one hand. It’s also hefty at 184 grams which add to that solid feel. All in all, the V9 is a pretty luxurious device.
Display and Multimedia
If you like smartphones with large high-resolution displays, the V9 won’t disappoint. It has a 5.7-inch LTPS display with Quad HD resolution or equal to 515ppi. Colors are very punchy with deep blacks that it can be mistaken for an AMOLED screen. It also has great viewing angles and vibrant enough for outdoor use.
The down-firing speaker, on the other hand, can produce good sounds. It’s loud and clear even at high volumes. Like with most smartphones, the bass is lacking but it’s good enough for some casual listening or hands-free voice calls. For wired listening, the V9 still features a 3.5mm headphone port which is a good thing for those who want to use their favorite wired headphones or earphones.
The camera is one of the strongest selling points of the V9. For starters, it has dual 12MP rear cameras consisting of a monochrome and an RGB sensor. It also has a f/2.2 aperture, Phase Detection and Laser Autofocus, and dual-tone flash. As for selfies, it’s handled by an 8MP shooter.
It has plenty of in-camera features which include, Pro Mode, Monochrome, HDR, 3D Creator, Night shot, Panorama, Light painting, Time-lapse, and Slow-mo, to name a few. Placed conveniently on the left side of the camera UI are the Wide-Aperture mode and the Beauty mode. Tweaking the levels for the said modes is easy as all you need to do is slide the adjuster.
So far camera performance is good as it is quick to lock on the subject and shoot. Like with most smartphones, it works best in bright environments. Quality degrades when in low-light but even then, it is still capable of producing decent images granted that you have steady hands as it doesn’t have OIS.
As for the Aperture Mode, it can produce that “bokeh” effect if you place your subject properly on a distant background, however, it’s not always perfect and often looks artificial. For those who are fond of selfies, the 8MP sensor proved to be capable as it can produce crisp images as long as there’s plenty of light. However, it’s smudgy in low-light even with the on-screen flash.
Video recording performance is good as well as it can shoot videos at up to Full HD at 60fps and UHD 4K at 30fps in stereo sound quality. It even comes with a Pro Video mode and Slow-mo. Watch the samples below:
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software department is Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1. The UI let’s go of the standard app drawer and places all installed apps in multiple home screens.
It comes with plenty of pre-installed apps including games but can be uninstalled. Huawei’s own apps are also present like Huawei Health which monitors your physical activities and can sync with fitness devices, HiCare, HiGame, Vmall, and Jaunt VR. And since there’s an Ir blaster, there’s a Smart Remote app so you can use the phone to control your appliances.
Storage-wise, the V9 starts at 64GB. A sizeable 11.34GB is taken up by the firmware, leaving the user with 49.21GB. It can be further expanded using a microSD card but at the expense of the SIM 2 slot.
Performance and Benchmarks
Performance shouldn’t be a problem with the V9 thanks to the 2.4GHz HiSilicon Kirin 960 octa-core CPU, Mali-G71 MP8 GPU, and up to 6GB of RAM. The chipset may be from last year but it has proven to be capable as it is the same engine that runs the Huawei Mate 9.
Navigation is smooth, apps launch fast, and we never experienced any crashes or random reboots. Multitasking is a breeze and can run the games we throw at it, although we noticed some warming at the fingerprint scanner area while playing games. Nothing serious though but it’s warm enough to make your palms sweat. Check out the benchmarks below:
AnTuTu – 123,684
Geekbench – 1,852 (Single-Core), 4,989 (Multi-Core)
Vellamo – 3,632 (Multicore), 2,746 (Metal), 6,275 (Chrome)
AndroBench – 755.17 MB/s (Read), 182.14 MB/s (Write)
Connectivity and Call Quality
The Honor V9 is almost completely equipped with connectivity features like WiFi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, USB 2.0 Type-C, Fingerprint scanner, and Ir blaster. There’s 4G LTE with support for VoLTE but limited to these bands: 1(2100), 3(1800), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 20(800), 38(2600), 40(2300).
Call quality and mobile data work well as long as there’s good telco coverage in your area. GPS also works fine and can lock into your location with ease.
For a smartphone with this caliber, we’re glad that it is equipped with a large 4,000mAh battery, the same capacity as the Huawei Mate 9. Using PC Mark’s battery test, it was only rated at 9 hours and 12 minutes, while the video loop test only got us 11 hours and 50 minutes. Those are good numbers actually, but we were expecting a better result given the capacity.
Still, these are synthetic benchmarks, and what matters the most is how it performs in real life. So far we get a day in a half with mixed usage which includes heavy WiFi and social media, and a few hours on gaming and mobile data. We can even make it last longer by activating its Power saving modes or the low-resolution power saving function.
All in all, the Honor V9 is a strong offering from the Huawei sub-brand. It packs a high-resolution display, powerful processor, large RAM, a pair of good cameras, Android Nougat, and a large battery. The only downside is that it’s not officially offered in the country which is understandable considering that Huawei’s offerings like the P10 already have a strong presence in the PH market. If ever you get the chance to acquire one through unofficial channels, the Honor V9 won’t disappoint.
The Honor V9 is available at Widget City for Php24,500 (6GB + 64GB). See listing here.
Honor V9 specs:
5.7-inch QHD LTPS display, 515ppi
2.4GHz HiSilicon Kirin 960 octa-core CPU
Mali-G71 MP8 GPU
4GB RAM + 64GB storage
6GB RAM + 64GB / 128GB storage
microSD up to 128GB (via SIM 2)
Dual 12MP rear camera PDAF + Laser AF, dual-tone flash
8MP front camera
4G LTE, VoLTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
USB 2.0 Type-C
Android 7.0 Nougat w/ EMUI 5.0
4,000mAh non-removable battery
157 x 77.5 x 6.97 mm
What we liked:
* High-res display
* Nice design
* Premium build
* Good performance and camera
* Long battery life
What we didn’t like:
* Not officially offered in the country