Huawei’s sub-brand Honor semms to have adopted an aggressive strategy for the Indian market. It is only mid-January and the company has already unveiled its second smartphone for 2018. Honor 9 Lite follows the launch of the View 10, which is available via open sale on Amazon at Rs 29,999.
Honor 9 Lite is a budget device starting at Rs 10,999 for the 3GB RAM and 32GB variant. The phone gets a double-sided glass body design, a first in this price segment, and four cameras like the Honor 9i. Another highlight of the phone is it runs the company’s latest EMUI 8.0 user-interface, based on Android 8.0 Oreo. We spent a few days with the Honor 9 Lite, and here’s our first impressions.
Honor 9 Lite Design and Display
Honor 9 Lite has a stunning 2.5D double-sided glass body design with rounded edges, something which makes the phone look expensive, despite the price tag. Plus Honor 9 Lite is not too heavy as it weighs only 149 grams, which is another great feature. Of course, a glass body design needs extra protection, so a back cover is necessary. Plus, the phone is quite slippery and prone to smudges.
Honor has gone with a minimalist design for the phone, which I liked. The dual rear camera setup is placed at the top left corner on the back of the phone, while a circular fingerprint sensor lies at the center. A micro-USB port along with a 3.5mm headset jack and speaker grille is placed at the bottom. There’s no home button on the Honor 9 Lite.
The display is 5.65-inches with Full HD+ resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio. The screen looks crisp, vibrant and the icons appear sharp. It offers great viewing angles as well. The phone perfectly fit in my hand, enhancing the overall viewing experience. The Full View display is a delight if you like to watch a lot of videos or play a lot of games.
Honor 9 Lite Camera
Honor 9 Lite gets combination of 13MP+2MP lens on the front and back. Camera is a key feature for this phone and it does impress, especially when one considers the price point of the Honor 9 Lite. The rear camera is capable of clicking some great shots in indoor lighting as well as bright outdoors. While the pictures have sufficient details, the colours tend to look a bit too bright in some cases. There is a Portrait mode and Wide Aperture mode for the front as well as back camera, though it takes a little bit of extra time to focus on objects.
I got pretty good and detailed shots from the front camera as well, but the beautification feature somehow manages to make pictures too bright, which impacts details and I’m not a fan of this feature. Beauty levels can be changed from 0 to 10. More on camera performance in our full review.
Honor 9 Lite Performance and Battery
Honor 9 Lite offers a zippy performance when it comes to daily usage. The apps opened quickly and I could easily switch between tabs. There was no visible lag or app crash, even with multiple tabs opened. The phone can handle most basic games like Candy Crush smoothly. Playing graphics-heavy games like Asphalt 8 was not an issue either, though the phone starts to get really hot within two minutes.
Coming to battery, I could easily squeeze out a day with moderate usage, which includes playing games, watching videos, browsing social media and streaming music. The phone takes about two and a half hours to get fully charged from 6 per cent battery.
Honor 9 Lite Software
Honor 9 Lite runs Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0, which is the company’s latest user-interface version. With EMUI 8.0, the focus is one Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it brings AI-powered features like real-time scene and object recognition for the camera, pinned shortcuts, dynamic wallpaper, etc. However, the AI features are more View 10 which has a dedicated NPU (Neural Processing Unit). Android Oreo lets the user experience picture-in-picture mode, split-screen, and more.
Honor 9 Lite first impressions
Honor 9 Lite looks like a pretty good proposition for people who want a budget device with all the latest features. The phone differentiates itself from competition by offering a Full HD+ display, dual cameras on front and back as well as Android 8.0 Oreo experience. The glass design comes as a pleasant break from metal unibody phones that we see in this price range these days.
The Honor 9 Lite will face some competition in this price range from current best-sellers, which includes the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. The latter has a much bigger 4,100mAh battery and is powered by Snapdragon 625 SoC.