Honor packs in a potent mix of beauty and performance in Honor 9 Lite. I think its a smart offering that sets the bar high for competition. With a price starting at Rs 10,999 in India, its no push over for others.
Honor has been resurgent in India with their recent Smartphones gaining good traction and overall positive vibes around the brand now. With back to back releases they are on a high, and the Honor 9 Lite is a confident product and also comes with flaunting four cameras, read on our Honor 9 Lite Review to know our in-depth take on the device.
Out of the box you get:
- Honor9 Lite Smartphone
- Soft back case
- USB Type C charger
- Power adapter
Design and Build Quality
- Double sided 2.5D glass
- Aluminum frame
- 151 x 71.9 x 7.6 mm
- 149 grams
Few seasons back, we had many full glass bodied Smartphones but soon metal became the main stay with glass finding place in premium offerings. Honor 9 Lite makes a bold statement with a mirror-life finish at the back. Available in three colors, Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue and Glacier Grey, they outshine the rest of the competition on style quotient and elegant design. Honor has by now very much owned the Blue color and the Glacier Grey is the new sizzler but they Grey the Honor says is a complicated shade to make and it would be available in limited numbers. A light aluminum frame holds the glass on both the sides and it also helps to keep the phone lighter. The phone has rounded sides and gives a comfortable grip. Having glass rear also means its a bit slippery and the back is also prone to smudges.
The right side has the power button and volume buttons and the left side the SIM tray. Its a hybrid dual SIM and supports 4G VoLTE.
The bottom is populated with a speaker grille, microUSB port, mic and an audio jack.
- 5.65-inch IPS LCD display
- 2160×1080 resolution
- 18:9 aspect ratio
- 75.5% screen-to-body ratio
- 428 ppi density
Full vision displays and 18:9 aspect ratios has changed the way we perceived the display sizes, now the 5.65 inches is the new 5-inch compact phones. The Honor 9 Lite’s 5.65-inch display features it and if you look for a palm fitting phone between the 7x and 9i, the Lite fits your needs. The fullHD+ IPS panel pops colors and has good brightness level. The viewing angles are good and we can safely say the display is one of the strong point of the Honor 9 Lite.
The display settings has eye comfort mode which can be scheduled.
Software Features – Liter Version of EMUI 8.0
Honor 9 Lite is the second device after Honor View 10 to come with Android Oreo and EMUI 8.0 out of the box. But unlike in View 10, the EMUI 8.0 is a bit watered down here. Few features have been left out while the essence of the UI is retained. Honor’s own skin has evolved a lot over the years and is more refined now. For those who long for app drawer, there is a provision for it too. Multi-tasking via split screen is made easy with a long press on the menu button, there is the bells and whistles like app twin that enables to duplicate apps but limited to Facebook, Messenger and Whatsapp, Smart assistance that offers one hand UI, motion control actions etc.
The features of EMUI that has been omitted include private space that enables the user to have a partition and a separate phone within a phone, glove mode, guest mode and the Game suite which I liked in View 10 that offered a DND mode during gaming episodes.
The settings page has a neat layout and then there are few localized customization like in calendar which offers local almanacs. You also have the option to use Huawei’s cloud services for backing up contacts, calendars, Wi-Fi credentials, SMS messages, and call logs but you can’t back up data from third party app.
- HiSilicon Kirin 659
- Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)
- 16nm FinFET
- Mali-T830 MP2
- 3/4 GB RAM
- 10nm processor
- 32/64 GB,expandable.
The part everyone would be more interested at, once the vanity settles down. Powering the 9 Lite is the same Kirin 659 that we have seen already in 7X and 9i, which is not bad at all. Its a good mid-range processor Honor has delivered recently.
The phone perfectly and dutifully does all the demands of the daily grind an average user would put a phone to use. The call quality is good. The speaker is decent and I had no issue with the occasional speaker calls I made. While I don’t use video calls, there are many who do ask if the dialer has a video call option, the answer is no. A software update could fix it though. The 9 Lite has OTG support and is a decent performer at this price level.
Talking about gaming, it could handle most of the games thrown at, though keen gaming enthusiasts will notice few frame drops in heavy graphic intensive games. Glass clad phones tend to heat up a bit more than their metal counterparts and 9 Lite is no exception. On a gaming trip, the phone heats up a bit around the camera module area. You can check the gaming review video below for more details on it and the gaming performance.
The apps load quicker and I didn’t notice any lag in daily use. The RAM management is pretty aggressive and if any apps are idle for a bit longer time, it shuts them down. Overall, the 9 Lite didn’t disappoint me. It also has the Gyroscope, so if you are looking at playing 360 degree videos or VR games, it does handle them.
As always, Honor does a pretty good work with the fingerprint sensor, its quick and highly reliable. You can also app lock and there is the usual bells and whistles that Honor packs in with touch and hold and touch and slide gestures on the sensor area to access notification lights, browse images, take quick snap etc.
The 9 lite has a 3000mAh battery and the Kirin 659 does a good job with the battery optimization inspite of a lighter battery. Putting the phone to a medium use could squeeze out 18 hours of battery life or a bit more. It takes 2 hours or a little more for full charge from 0%.
- Rear & Front: Dual: 13 MP + 2 MP,
- phase detection autofocus, LED flash
- 1080 video capability
The four cameras on the Honor 9 Lite makes for any conversational point when someone asks about your phone. The dual camera on both sides also means you can enable portrait mode on both the cameras. The pictures have a good color reproduction and as expected under good day light conditions, the pictures are really good. What I liked more is the selfies, which come nice especially with the portrait mode turned on. For the rear camera though, I liked the wide aperture mode better than the portrait mode, the wide aperture gives a soft background and you can also fiddle with the aperture later after taking an image. Night conditions suffers a bit of noise but that is the case with most of the cameras in this price range in any case. Having tried the Honor 7X and 9i, I realized the later two did fare a bit better than the 9 Lite when it comes to camera but nevertheless 9 Lite has a decent camera optics at this price range. Videos are decent but there is no image stabilization.
The camera mode as usual squeezes lots of camera modes.There are bunch of shooting modes like professional mode for both stills and videos, good food mode, light painting, HDR etc. You can also trigger the camera with gesture palm control or by a smile.
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The base variant of Honor 9 Lite is a sweet deal. At a price of Rs 10,999 it gives you a beautiful phone with a vivid display complete with 18:9 ratio almost gone bezel-less design and it is also a decent performer at this price.