Huawei Honor 9 Lite Review: Four cameras and stunning looks
Huawei-owned Honor is on quite a roll, of late, with the sub-Rs 15,000 Honor 7X and flagship Honor View10 launching over the past couple of months. Following up on its momentum, the company has announced the Honor 9 Lite, it’s latest mid-range phone, which will go on sale on January 17 in India.
Although pricing hasn’t been announced yet, it’s likely that the phone will be priced somewhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000. There are a couple of key USPs in the Honor 9 Lite. First, it’s got a glass finish on the front and back. Second, it also has a dual-camera setup at the front and back. We’ve taken a quick look at the phone, and here’s what we think.
That’s right, the Honor 9 Lite has four cameras, with dual-camera setups at the front and back. Both sides use a combination of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and 2-megapixel secondary sensor. This is interesting, since Honor believes that users want the benefits of depth-sensing and bokeh shots whether they’re using the rear camera or taking selfies.
Although I’ve not used the device, I did take a couple of selfies in portrait mode. The pictures were a bit grainy, but the camera does get the bokeh effect fairly accurately. The rear camera promises decent results for a mid-range phone as well. We’ll test this thoroughly in our full review.
While an all-metal build comes with the promise of sturdy build, it doesn’t always do enough for the aesthetic value of the phone. The Honor 9 Lite comes with 2.5D curved glass at the front and back, which makes for a rather beautiful phone, if I may say so. The back is incredibly reflective, and if you have the grey variant, you could even use it as a mirror.
The design is clean and well laid out, with the fingerprint sensor at the back and a 5.65-inch full-HD+ screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. As a result, the front is dominated by the screen, with just the dual-camera setup above it commanding any other attention. The phone is available in three color variants – black, blue and grey. Our grey unit is the best-looking of the lot, although a lot of buyers may like the blue. It’s worth noting that like any other glass or ceramic-back phone, the Honor 9 Lite is a smudge magnet.
Light EMUI 8.0
The latest version of Huawei’s user interface was launched with the Honor View10, which got the full software package with all the bells and whistles. This includes a bunch of machine learning capabilities backed by the Kirin 970 SoC, along with other useful features, which you can read about in our review of the phone.
The Honor 9 Lite also comes with EMUI 8.0, and thanks to a refreshed naming convention, that also indicates that the phone runs on Android Oreo. It’s one of the few mid-range phones today that runs on the latest version of Android, which is commendable.
However, this is a somewhat lighter version of EMUI 8.0, which can’t quite take full advantage of the machine learning and AI capabilities that the full-blown version is known for. This is because the Honor 9 Lite runs on the HiSilicon Kirin 659 SoC, which is the company’s mid-range option designed to compete with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600-series SoCs. We’ll go into the details of what’s different in the lighter version in our review.
The Honor 9 Lite is expected to come in two variants – 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Considering that Honor has been pricing its products rather competitively of late, we’re expecting a strong price point on the Honor 9 Lite that could well start at Rs 15,000.
If our estimate is correct, the great looks of the phone, the dual-camera setups on both sides and the fact that it comes with Android Oreo out of the box could make this a strong competitor in the hotly-contested mid range space. Stay tuned for our review of the Honor 9 Lite, and our continuing coverage on pricing and availability when it’s launched on January 17.