Huawei’s Honor loves blue. In a smartphone world where blacks, greys and the occasional gold and white devices hold sway, Honor’s blue devices have carved a niche. We loved the Navy blue shade in the Honor View 10 that we reviewed recently and it is the Honor 9 Lite’s metallic blue (Honor calls this Sapphire Blue) that has our attention. That’s not the only reason why 9 Lite has been garnering attention. Honor has made it a habit of redefining the value proposition across segments and the 9 Lite lands in the Rs 10,000 – 15,000 price band with a promise to punch way above its weight.
Not long ago, you knew a budget phone when you saw it. Not anymore, the Honor 9 Lite is an example of how smartphone brands across the board have upped the design game. The shine of our sapphire blue review unit creates an illusion that this device is crafted with glass but it is actually a plastic chassis. It helps keep this device light, almost weightless in your pocket; this despite it’s large screen. The display is one of the device’s biggest strengths – a 5.65-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD screen (1080 x 2160 pixels) that packs an impressive 428 pixels per inch. The screen has been crafted to incorporate an 18:9 aspect ratio that keeps up with one of the most discernible smartphone trends that we’ve witnessed since the beginning of 2017.
It’s not just the aspect ratio, the 9 Lite also shrinks the bezels in a device that is almost all-screen. The device’s screen to body ratio is above 75 per cent, making it a compelling option to consume video content on the go. It also means there’s no room for a fingerprint sensor on the front of the device. This sensor is conveniently placed at the rear of the device and works quite well. It was a breeze to set up too. The 9 Lite is clearly one of the best looking devices with a sub Rs 15,000 price tag.
Just like its build quality, Honor hasn’t cut corners with the hardware spec sheet. The 9 Lite is powered by Huawei’s very own Kirin 659 (octa-core) processor. The device comes with two RAM and ROM options. We tested the 4GB/64GB Internal Memory version (the entry-level version comes with 3GB RAM/32GB ROM) and the device performed admirably in our tests.
The Honor 9 Lite rides heavily on its quad cam strategy – yes, four cameras including two rear (13MP + 2MP) and two selfie cams (13MP + 2MP). We were not blown away with the results of the front and rear cameras – the cameras did well in ambient light but were subpar in lowlight scenarios. Given the device’s price point, this is not a deal breaker. Just like other Honor and Huawei cams, there are multiple shooting modes that should keep you busy for a while.
The device comes with a 3000 mAh battery under the hood. While that seems acceptable on paper, the device’s battery life is average. We comfortably sailed through an entire day without much multi-media usage but the battery life drops significantly with video and camera usage. There’s no fast charging and oddly, the device features a micro USB charging port at a time when USB-C is soon becoming a standard across Android devices.
The 9 Lite features the newest iteration of Android – Android O (8.0) that is augmented by Huawei’s Custom skin – EMUI 8. It adds some clutter to the overall Android experience. If looks are everything for you, the Honor 9 Lite makes a compelling proposition. Aside from its good looks, the device has a lot going for it including an impressive display. If you’re in the market for a sub Rs 15,000 phone, the Honor 9 Lite deserves your attention. Despite some of its shortcomings it is one of the finest devices in this competitive price band.
The Honor 9 Lite comes in 2 versions – Rs 10,999 (3GB RAM / 32GB ROM) and Rs 14,999 (4GB RAM / 64GB ROM)