We’ve seen a slew of smartphones from Chinese companies in the budget and mid-budget segment in India. Huawei’s sub-brand Honor is one such player, which has been actively pushing devices in the Indian market these days, with its latest offering being the Honor 9 Lite. The phone is essentially a stripped down version of the Honor 9i, which was announced in October.
Featuring dual rear and front cameras, along with a Full View display, the Honor 9 Lite caters to the budget audience with a price-tag starting at Rs 10,999. It sports a dual 2.5D glass design, and runs Android 8.0 Oreo. Another highlight of the Honor 9 Lite is it ships with EMUI 8.0, which is the company’s latest OS. We spent some time with the Honor 9 Lite, and here is our full review.
Honor 9 Lite specifications: Honor 9 Lite specifications: 5.65-inch full HD + resolution (2160 x 1080 pixels) with 18:9 aspect ratio | Kirin 659 | 4GB RAM+64GB storage (expandable to 256GB) | 13MP+2MP rear camera and front camera | 3000 mAh battery | Android 8.0 with EMUI 8.0
Honor 9 Lite price: Rs 10,999 for 3GB RAM+32GB ROM, Rs 14,999 for 4GB RAM+64GB ROM
Honor 9 Lite review: What’s good?
For those who’ve been looking for a budget phone with a design other than full metal body, Honor 9 Lite comes as a refreshing change. Honor 9 Lite looks far more glamorous than most phones in this price range, thanks to its stunning double-sided 2.5D glass design and bezel-less screen. The phone is surprisingly light at 149 grams, which I liked.
Honor 9 Lite features a Full HD+ resolution display, hard to find in the Rs 11,000 price range. The screen looks vibrant, crisp and I did not face any issues while using the Honor 9 Lite display in bright sunlight. I was impressed with the viewing angles as well. A Full View display is fast becoming standard on devices these days, and the feature surely made my viewing experience better, especially while watching videos and playing games.
Honor 9 Lite offers a nifty performance when it comes to daily usage. I could open multiple tabs and switch between them seamlessly on the 4GB RAM variant of the Honor 9 Lite. The phone can handle most basic games like Candy Crush Saga without any hitches. During my review period, graphics-heavy games like Asphalt-8 worked pretty good as well with a very little lag. The fingerprint sensor is fast, as it unlocked the phone almost instantly each time I tried.
The camera on Honor 9 Lite won’t let you down. The rear dual sensors are capable of clicking some great and detailed shots, especially in bright outdoors. It is at par with most other devices in this price-range that I’ve reviewed. There’s a bokeh mode for photos along with a Portrait mode for clicking portrait shots.
Except in cases where pinks and reds tend to look a little too bright, I was satisfied with the colour reproduction in most cases. The camera is quick to focus, but it takes an extra second or two in low-light conditions.
The front also house dual rear camera setup, a combination of 13MP+2MP. The pictures taken using the front shooter should please most selfie buffs as shots look detailed and sharp. The colour reproduction is close to natural, which I liked. Though don’t expect much in low-light as the photos tend to have noise.
Honor 9 Lite runs the company’s EMUI 8.0, based on Android 8.0 Oreo. The user-interface is pretty simple and you can swipe right to access apps. The phone ships with Huawei Share, a feature similar to Apple’s AirDrop, which lets Huawei users seamlessly share files with other Huawei devices. The WiFi+ feature automatically switches between Wi-Fi connectivity and mobile data, whichever is stronger.
What’s not good?
The battery on Honor 9 Lite disappoints, especially when you look at competition like Xiaomi Redmi Note 4. It gives you a day’s worth of life on light to moderate usage and takes a long time (almost two and a half hours) to charge fully from six per cent. My daily usage included listening to music online, streaming videos, playing games, and browsing social media.
Do note that you’ll have to be extra careful with this one, as a slight fall can easily lead to cracks given this is all glass.This is probably the reason why Honor is giving away a free case with Honor 9 Lite. The phone can pick up fingerprint smudges quite easily, something one needs to be careful about at all times.
Honor 9 Lite is a good buy if you want a stylish phone that offers a decent overall performance and a good camera. However, battery is a crucial factor for me when it comes to narrowing down on a phone. While Honor 9 Lite seems like a good deal at Rs 10,999, remember this price is for the 3GB RAM variant and you only get 32GB space, which is low when compared to devices in this price-bracket. You can also look at options like Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, M1 A1, or Moto G5s Plus.