Honor 9i Review: Best Camera on a Mid-Range device

1 week in a rescue camp with the Honor 9i smartphone.

3
84%
Best camera phone in the mid-range category

Honor 9i Review

Honor 9i is a good choice under Rs. 20,000, only if you prefer a good display and camera. This phone is a perfect balance between price and features while following all the latest trends in the market including the 18:9 ratio screen and dual camera setup.

  • Design
  • Display
  • Hardware
  • Performance
  • Battery
  • Build quality
  • Camera
  • Software

The daily-life performance of this smartphone is good enough for a normal user for normal operations, but if you are a high-end user, this phone is not going to satisfy you. It could have been better. Also, not a smartphone for extreme mobile gamers.

The leading smartphone vendor Huawei launched their new smartphone model Honor 9i under their sub-brand Honor last month. The Honor 9i has debuted in India with one of the best camera set up on a midrange smartphone device. Now, we got a unit from the company for review. So this is our Honor 9i Review.

Honor 9i Review: Introduction

The smartphone comes in Honor 9 series but does not share much hardware features with actual Honor 9 smartphone. The same device has already been launched in several countries like China and Malaysia with the names Maimang 6 and Nova 2i respectively. The device is rebranded for the Indian market as Honor 9i, as the company has no plans to launch the Honor 9 flagship in the country. However, the Honor has already launched the company’s flagship device Honor 8 pro in India, which has no much difference regarding spec sheet.

Honor 9i Review: Specifications

Operating SystemEMUI 5.1
Android 7.0 Nougat
Display5.9-inch IPS
Full HD+ (2160 x 1080) resolution
18:9 aspect ratio
409 ppi
Processor2.36GHz Octa-Core Kirin 659
RAM4 GB
Internal Storage64 GB
Expandable up to 128 GB with microSD card
Rear Camera16 MP + 2 MP dual camera
Dual Tone LED Flash
Front Camera13 MP + 2 MP dual camera
Soft LED Flash
Battery3,340 mAh
Dimensions156.2 x 75.2 x 7.5 mm
Weight164g

 

Honor 9i Review: Design

We have to say; the design is the main highlight of this smartphone. It has a unique camera setup and an attractive refreshing design on the rear side. Just like all other Honor smartphone models, this one also shows outstanding excellence in the design.

“The metal unibody of the smartphone flaunts better with the thin design and ultra-thin bezels. This uniqueness in the design makes the device look much more durable and compact.”

However, I must admit that this smartphone slips easily. You cannot hold it for longer without using the case cover. Otherwise, you would drop the device on the floor. No problem! The company is providing a transparent plastic case cover for the smartphone, thanks to Honor.

As you can see in the images, the dual camera system on the rear side is placed as vertical alignment. The camera module stays at the top middle position, just above the fingerprint scanner. However, the bigger screen does not make the device bulky or too tall. Because of the optimal 18:9 ratio screen, the 5.9-inch display on the device is comfortable to hold in one hand. However, still, the sleek metal body on the rear side makes it very slippery. I do not usually use back covers for my devices, but this device forced me to do that. So if you are buying this model, make sure you use the back case with it.

The curved sides and edges feel comfortable in hand. The Honor 9i feels solid too, thanks to its metal unibody. While the black finish on our review unit looks gorgeous, it is a fingerprint magnet. The dual camera module on the back protrudes by a couple of millimeters but has a metal rim surrounding it, which should help prevent scratches. We needed to stretch our fingers a little to reach the fingerprint scanner and that a slightly lower positioning would have been better.

It has a micro-USB port, 3.5mm headphone port, mouthpiece and the speaker grills on the bottom part. You can use the official 10W charger to power up the smartphone through that micro USB port.

Honor 9i Review: Display

Honor 9i is the first smartphone in Honor with a full HD+ screen. It has a resolution ratio of 2,160 x 1,080 pixels. In addition to that, it features an 18:9 ratio screen with 5.9-inch display size. The company claims that the device has just 83% screen-to-body ratio only. Indeed, the display is the main USP of this smartphone. I believe that this is the best smartphone display on a midrange smartphone so far.

The display is not very bright, so it affects the sunlight readability. However, it is incredibly sharp and produces excellent colors. However, still, the color saturation is not perfect, maybe because of the low brightness. One thing I love most about this smartphone’s display is its fantastic viewing angles; they are pretty dope.

Honor 9i Review: Performance

The smartphone runs on the company’s own Kirin 659 chipset. It is an octa-core SoC and makes its debut in India with the Honor 9i. Kirin 659 is more than enough for a midrange smartphone at that price range because it offers a premium like performance and seamless user experience with efficient multitasking and processing.

The device has a 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage for your convenience. Additionally, you can upgrade the storage space for up to 128GB using a microSD card.

As I mentioned above, the device performs well. However, I can feel the occasional heating in the device. The metal unibody of the device increases the heat from the hardware. However, it happens only when we play massive games and apps. If you ignore that, you will be able to experience the best user experience on a midrange smartphone in this Honor 9i. However, still, if gaming is your primary task, you should check with other models. While Real Racing 3 and Prime Peaks functioned usually, Clash Royale ran zoomed in, resulting in the sides getting cropped.

Honor 9i Review: Battery – Experience from a rescue camp.

I was stuck in a hilly village for one week. We were experiencing heavy cyclones and flood. So we were moved to the rescue camps by the Government. I was using the Honor 9i as my primary device. As you can imagine, my access to the electricity was very very limited. I hardly got electricity for about 30mins  in two days. However, my Honor 9i helped me a lot. It lasted for up to 3 days without charging. Moreover, yeah, I was using the phone for listening to music, watching movies and making urgent phone calls. However, still, it lasted for three days without any struggle.

However, the charging time for this smartphone is a bit too long as compared to some other competitors. When you are not running processor-intensive tasks, the phone manages power quite well. With light to medium use the Honor 9i lasted us one working day, but playing games and watching videos has a significant impact on battery life. In our HD video loop test, the phone lasted for 8 hours and 54 minutes which isn’t great compared to other smartphones.

However, in real life normal usage, the battery of this smartphone is merely outstanding. So the decision is yours if gaming is your priority, this smartphone is not going to impress you with its battery life. You can use the power saver mode which aggressively shuts down background processes and cuts off background syncing, but there is no support for fast charging, which is disappointing.

Honor 9i Review: Camera

Honor 9i smartphone comes with the label “world’s first smartphone with four cameras.” Well, the device sports dual-camera system o both front and rear panel. At a glance, the rear camera department shams a resemblance towards several other smartphones in the same segment, launched so far in the industry. Moreover, we can relate it to the design of last year’s Honor 6X somehow. The rear camera compresses a 16 Megapixel sensor, alongside a 2MP sensor which is capable of depth capturing, helps in rendering bokeh effects and in-depth field pictures with clearer quality. The LED flash unit is mounted on the top antenna line, which is quite appreciable camera design.

Let’s get out of the paper-details regarding the camera details of the device. Coming to the practical level of capturing images using the dual-camera technology o the Honor 9i, we could get a gratifying reWe have tested the smartphone camera in both daylights, and low-light conditions The device outperforms very well in outdoor daylight conditions, and the details in the images are notable. However, the color distribution and saturation level need many improvements, compare to other rivals in the same segment. Although, while taking pictures in low-light, it does not satisfy our expectations. Luckily, the images taken in low-light condition are not too obsessed with noise.

The camera app of the Honor 9i provides much room different levels of smartphone photography with its wide range of capture modes available. Amongst the camera modes, the company has included a portrait mode which is being ubiquitous among smartphones in this range, especially with dual-camera. The portrait mode lets you take images with the blurred background (bokeh effect), especially in candid photography using smartphones, which produces DSLR-like photos. As the Honor had the similar background blur feature from a while back, they have managed to improve the function a lot this time, compared to their older devices. The edge sharpness is quiet well-portrayed, and the pictures feel natural. Pro Photo and Pro Video modes allow manual control of advanced camera settings including ISO, Exposure, Focus, etc. Honor’s very own light painting feature too is added to the camera software.

Well, what have you been anticipating from a smartphone with dual selfie snappers? Let’s have some look. The front camera too works well same as the rear camera, with a bokeh feature using the secondary 2MP sensor, mounted alongside the main 13MP snapper. The ‘portrait-like’ bokeh mode renders the background bur almost accurately. The Perfect Selfie mode with Beautification feature whitens and bleaches the skin too much, and looks bogus.

Honor 9i Review: Software

Honor 9i runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, with company’s own EMUI 5.1 skin on the top. The User Interface of the device looks much familiar. One of the main issues faced by Honor users was having no app drawer. This time with the EMUI 5.1, Huawei has added the option to choose the launcher with our without an app drawer, which resolves the complaints of many of the EMUI users to an extent. Also with the more expansive display of 5.9-inch 18:9 ratio, the UI looks much tremendous and more comfortable to use.

For the sake of more extensive display, Huawei has added many features like one-handed mode, app windows scaling, etc. The smartphone preloads many apps considerably they are not bloatware but somehow useful in some ways. In case you do not want them, you can only disable them instead of uninstalling.

Altogether, the user experience of the Honor 9i software is much fluent, and none of the advancements are confusing. The memory optimization is done very well, might be due to the tweaks by the company over the Android Operating System.

Verdict

Honor 9i is an excellent choice under Rs. 20,000, only if you prefer a superb display and camera. This phone is a perfect balance between price and features while following all the latest trends in the market including the 18:9 ratio screen and dual camera setup.

The daily-life performance of this smartphone is good enough for an average user for normal operations, but if you are a high-end user, this phone is not going to satisfy you. It could have been better. Also, not a smartphone for extreme mobile gamers.

 

3 Comments
  1. Kamal Nayan says

    It is an amazing device. I am impressed by this review. Planning to buy this soon. When will it come in stock again?

  2. Akash Barua says

    I bought this phone. But the display is not bright. IT sucks man

  3. Binosh says

    its a great phone, the rating you were given is harsh, remember its price tag

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