Honor 9 Lite is the latest smartphone launched by the Huawei-owned brand in its efforts to make its mark in the affordable smartphone segment. The new Honor 9 Lite has been positioned in the sub-Rs. 15,000 segment, which is presently dominated by Xiaomi, and comes soon after the launch of similarly-priced Honor 7X (Review). Think of it as the spiritual successor to the Honor 8 Lite, which came out way back in May last year. The main allure of the new smartphone is its quad camera setup (similar to that of the Honor 9i). We’ve had a chance to play around with it for a short while, and here are our Honor 9 Lite first impressions.
What we really like about the Honor 9 Lite (and we’re sure you will too) is its relatively compact body and the fact that it’s really light. At just 149g, we barely noticed when we had it in our pocket. The reflective glass back looks really good and reminds us of the Moto X4. The sides are however made of plastic. The downsides to this design are that it attracts a lot of fingerprints so it’s not going to be easy to keep clean, and it can also get quite slippery. The phone is okay to hold, but it tends to slide off most surfaces pretty easily.
Honor has gone with an 18:9 display for this model too, coming in at a Full-HD+ resolution at 5.65 inches. This offers a pixel density of 428ppi, which in reality, looks sharp and doesn’t cause any noticeable jaggedness around text. The screen also has a very good level of brightness, which is something we noticed immediately. Colours are punchy, and viewing angles look pretty solid too. We have thin borders on the top and bottom of the screen, which give the phone a very good aesthetic appeal. The ports are where you’d expect them to be but it’s a bit unfortunate to not have USB Type-C here. It seems as though Honor is only using this connector for its more expensive offerings.
The 9 Lite shares most of its internals with its budget siblings. For the SoC, we have a Kirin 659 octa-core SoC. There are two variants with different RAM and storage combinations - 3GB/32GB and 4GB/64GB. Storage is expandable, and 4G as well as VoLTE are supported. Due to the relatively small screen size, the battery has been shrunken down a bit to 3000mAh, but Honor still claims that the 9 Lite can deliver a full day's worth of battery life.
The cameras are of course the main highlight here. Honor has fitted both the front and rear 13-megapixel sensors with secondary 2-megapixel depth sensors. These should let you perform tricks like adding bokeh effects when shooting with either set of cameras. The rear camera also boats of PDAF for quick focusing, and this is a claim we’ll be putting to the test in our full review.
Last but not least, the 9 Lite runs on Honor’s custom skin called EMUI 8.0, which is based on Android 8 Oreo. We checked out this new avatar of EMUI in detail in our Honor View 10 review so you can take a look at that if you can’t wait for our full review of the 9 Lite.
The Honor 7X and the Honor 9i were good smartphones but both suffered a bit when it came to their cameras and battery performance. It will be interesting to see how the battery in the 9 Lite holds up considering it has a lower capacity than the other two. As for the cameras, having four sensors works as a great marketing point, but doesn’t necessarily mean better quality photos. Still, we’re hopeful that Honor has improved upon its past offerings, and perhaps, the overall experience will be better this time around. Stay tuned to Gadgets 360 for our full review of the Honor 9 Lite, coming up soon.