Now the Honor brand of Huawei has tried to give a more powerful option to the customers by introducing the Honor 9 Lite. Let us tell you that this is an affordable handset that comes with four cameras. This is not the company’s first smartphone with four cameras, the company had tried something similar through the Honor 9i. However, this time the company has kept a new option for the bigger market by keeping the price of Honor 9 Lite at Rs 10,999. The specialty of Honor 9 Lite is not just limited to the camera, its specifications are also worth noting. At first glance, this phone made a positive impression. Now it has to be seen whether Honor 9 Lite can give a new definition to the budget segment in terms of performance.
Honor 9 Lite Design and Build
Honor 9 Lite is very similar to Honor 8. This was the company’s first flagship smartphone in 2016. Due to the 2.5D curved glass, the back gives a mirror-like feel. However, it has been clarified on Honor’s website that this effect is limited to only Sapphire Blue and Glacier Gray variants. No such effect will be found in Midnight Black. It is very similar to the Moto X4. The glass of the display is curved at the front as well. For this reason, the grip of the phone becomes good. Well, this feature has a drawback too. The phone slips easily in the hands and fingerprints are also left on it. The frame is of plastic. This has been done to keep the price low. Due to this the phone becomes light and many times you will feel that the phone is not in your pocket at all.
According to our wishes, the SIM tray should also have been the color of the rest of the phone’s body. But as it is not, it looks different. Apart from this, we have no complaints with the build quality and finish. The volume and power buttons are plastic, but they respond well. The SIM tray is hybrid. That is, you can use two nano SIM cards at the same time, or a microSD card up to 256 GB with one SIM card. The 3.5mm headphone socket and micro-USB port are on the bottom of the phone. This is where the speaker grille has also got a place. Once again, it’s frustrating when Honor doesn’t use the USB Type-C port. It seems that the company wants to limit this hardware feature only to expensive phones.
We really liked the display of Honor 9 Lite. You will get full-HD + IPS panel. The screen is 5.65 inches and its aspect ratio is 18: 9. This type of display is now in trend. Due to the long display, the edges have become very thin, which increases the beauty of the phone. Despite this, there is space for the selfie camera above the screen on the front panel and the company logo on the bottom. The brightness of the panel is adequate and the color reproduction is also decent. It’s not easy to reach every edge of the tall display with the fingers of one hand, but there are a number of gestures to help you out. For example, you can open the notification shade by swiping down the fingerprint sensor. There’s also a navigation dock, much like iOS’s Assistive Touch. One-handed mode will also be available.
Honor 9 Lite has a circular fingerprint sensor at the back. It quickly recognizes fingerprints. Apart from unlocking the screen, you can use the fingerprint sensor to protect apps and create a virtual safe for private files. This sensor can be used for a variety of gestures, such as taking a photo, taking a phone call or browsing a photo. These gestures will work with any finger. You will get charger, data cable, sim ejector tool in the retail box. The phone does not come with a headset.
Honor 9 Lite Specifications and Features
Despite keeping the price low, Honor has not compromised on the specifications of the 9 Lite. Many of its specifications are those of Honor 7X and Honor 9i which are expensive in comparison. The phone has used Huawei’s own octa-core Kirin 659 processor. There are two variants of the phone based on RAM and storage. One of these is with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage. The second one is with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage, which we have reviewed. While using the phone, we found that only 2 GB RAM works throughout the day. You will get 2 GB free all the time. Other specifications include FM radio, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi b/g/n, 4G VoLTE, USB OTG, ambient light sensor, proximity sensor, accelerometer and gyroscope.
The interesting thing is that the Honor 9 Lite gave better results in benchmark tests than the Honor 7X and Honor 9i.
Like the recently launched Honor View 10 by Honor, the Honor 9 Lite also runs on Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. By the way, the company’s skin EMUI 8 is available on the latest version of Android. It has a feature called Huawei Share which works like Apple’s AirDrop technology.
The Wi-Fi+ feature automatically switches between Wi-Fi and mobile data. This will depend on the status of the connection. When we restarted our router, the Wi-Fi + feature of this phone started working. This feature was trying to check which internet connection is strong in mobile data and Wi-Fi. Finally after checking it connected the phone to Wi-Fi.
The design of the Settings app is good. You can back up contacts, calendar, Wi-Fi credentials, SMS messages and call logs. However, it is not yet clear how much storage you will get for free. You will not be able to backup data from third party apps.
Honor 9 Lite Performance, Camera and Battery Life
The EMUI of Honor running on Android Oreo works well. But it is not as fast as stock Android. EMUI is quite different from Google’s Material Design Language. But it looks good and works well. Despite having 4GB of RAM, the phone was a bit slow while searching the Settings app. However, we did not get this complaint repeatedly.
The touch response of the display is good. We also have no complaints with the call quality. The processor is fully capable of keeping the multitasking experience good. There was no problem in playing the smooth game. However, in games with powerful graphics like Asphalt 8, the framerate dropped. This phone gets hot easily. For example, the top of the Honor 9 Lite did get a bit hot when downloading the app from the Play Store and listening to its accompanying songs.
The phone played very smooth in video playback with 1080 pixels resolution. Videos with higher resolution than this also played smoothly. In the default video player, you will get the option to stretch the video screen.
Now let’s talk about the most important feature of this Honor phone. The primary camera on both sides of the Honor 9 Lite is 13 megapixels. A 2-megapixel depth sensor has also been given on both sides. With its help, the bokeh effect can be achieved. For this, you have to choose between portrait or wide aperture mode in the camera app.
Photos taken in daylight looked good on the handset’s display. Autofocus is fast and details are clear in landscape mode. However, the colors are a bit dull. Noise is visible in the dark areas when the pictures are zoomed in. In low light, the performance of Honor 9 Lite has the same drawback as the rest of the smartphones in this price range. Focus slows down. The details are not clearly visible. Especially the edges become more sharp.
With the help of wide aperture mode, you get an aperture value of (f/0.95 – f/13), so that you can adjust the depth of field before and after taking the photo. However, the blur effect was not very effective in our investigation, the image blurred with the f/2.0 aperture value looked like Photoshop. Similarly, portrait mode has also been given in it, which works in the same way. In this, you will not be able to apply the blur effect while taking a photo. Also, there is a toggle of bokeh in it but it is not very effective, as photos already come with bokeh effect. The bokeh effect is much better than in the wide aperture mode, but the edges of the subject do not look defined at times. Along with this, it also takes a lot of time to focus.
For photography lovers, it has been given shooting modes like Professional and Panorama. Features like filters and HDR have also been added to the phone. Also the phone will recognize your smile with ‘Touch Capture’ and your picture will be clicked automatically.
Talking about video recording, you will be able to record videos up to 1080 pixels. The video records extremely mediocre. Since it does not have the feature of image stabilization, the video is recorded in motion. Photos taken in low light are not very clear. The quality of selfies taken with the front camera is better. Along with the screen flash, the beauty mode is attractive and you will be able to take good pictures even in low light. You will also be able to record videos up to 1080 pixels from the front camera. If you have turned on the beauty mode, then the quality of the video will be at most 720 pixels.
Some gesture modes have also been given in it for selfie. You can take selfies using your palm or with your voice. Apart from this, if you say ‘thing’ out loud with the phone in hand, then the gesture sensor will click your picture. Talking about the portrait mode, the front camera is also of better quality.
Now let’s talk about the battery. In fact, in terms of battery, Honor’s previous smartphones 7X and 9i were not able to show anything special despite the large size of the battery. In our video loop test, the 9 Lite played 10 hours and 3 minutes of non-stop HD video, which can’t be said to be much better.
We found that using Asphalt 8 for even 10 minutes, there is a 5 to 10 percent drop in battery, which can be a matter of concern. There is no feature like fast charging in the smartphone. The 10W charge that is coming with the phone, it takes an hour to charge 60 percent battery. To reduce power consumption, the user has been given the option to turn on/off HD+ screen resolution.
If you add to the trend of 18: 9 aspect ratios, then the cheaper variant of Honor 9 Lite is currently the best option in the market. The price of this variant is Rs 11,000. One thing to note is that the Honor 7X is currently also in the market, which may not have an extra camera but has been given a metal body, bigger screen and a relatively bigger battery.
The 4 GB RAM variant we tested is a bit expensive according to its specifications. The phone looks good but the battery power and camera quality are not very good. There are already phones like Xiaomi Mi A1 (Review) and Moto G5S Plus (Review) in the Rs 15,000 range. These phones may not have a long screen, which is in trend these days, but in terms of performance, they are more powerful than the Honor 9 Lite.
If you are not in a hurry, then you can wait for the recently launched Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus to come to India, which will also probably be priced around the Honor 9 Lite.