In October 2017, Huawei’s Honor division launched a special device into the Indian market rocking an impressive four-camera system – two on the back and two on the front. This device is known as the Huawei Honor 9i, which, in other markets, is also known as Huawei Mate 10 Lite, Huawei Nova 2i, Huawei Maimang 6 or Huawei G10.
As if acknowledging that the price tag of the Honor 9i (Rs 17,999) was a little too high for a huge chunk of its fan base, Honor is back with another four-camera device aiming to tap into the low-end market. Dubbed Huawei Honor 9 Lite, this phone offers the same four-camera system as the Honor 9i, yet it’s valued at just Rs 10,999. Crazy, right?
Before you make the final decision to buy the Honor 9 Lite, here’s all you need to know about the phone. Who knows, maybe we might just give you a reason not to buy the phone, but hopefully not.
The Honor 9 Lite has a shiny slim aluminum body with double-sided 2.5D glass that gives it one of the most beautiful looks of any smartphone in this price category. In fact, it’s only the likes of Red Xiaomi Mi A1 or Lava Red OnePlus 5T that make heads turn like the Honor 9 Lite does, but when you consider the price of the latter, it’s a no-brainer.
Like other Huawei phones from the recent past, the Honor 9 Lite has tiny bezels and a body that curves around the corners, but the screen is not curved. The bottom bezel still has enough room to accommodate the “HONOR” branding, but this doesn’t take away anything from the already elegant-looking handset. The mirror-like finish and stylish colors make up for a seamless visual experience in different lighting conditions.
If the striking design won’t capture your attention, the color options will, especially the Sapphire Blue and Glacier Gray variants, which are also limited to the mirror-like effect. Still, this isn’t to say you won’t like the Midnight Black color variant because it looks equally stunning.
It’s just the perfect size
With the introduction of the FullView design, Huawei has been able to achieve a lot. For instance, the Honor 9 Lite is able to accommodate a huge 5.65-inch display screen in a body of a 5.2-inch phone. The phone measures 151 mm tall, which makes it just about the perfect size for many out there.
In comparison, the Honor 8 Lite is 147.2 mm tall and comes with a 5.2-inch screen while one of the Honor 9 Lite’s closest rivals, the Xiaomi Mi A1, measures 155.4 mm tall and houses a smaller 5.5-inch screen. On the other hand, the Redmi 5 has the same height and just about the same screen size (5.7 inches), but the Redmi 5 Plus is taller due to its slightly bigger screen.
Four camera lenses at your disposal
Smartphone photography is getting better and better each day. Last year, the dual-cameras took over and they are only going to get more popular this year. However, while the likes of Samsung and Motorola were making their first attempt at dual cameras, Huawei has been offering dual camera phones for a while now.
As others jump to the dual camera setup, the Chinese OEM is taking us to the next level – quad cameras. As pointed out earlier, the Honor 9i brought the first four-camera system to India back in 2017 and thus the Honor 9 Lite is just a continuation of what’s already in place.
The same 13MP+2MP setup has been used on both the front and back cameras. The front shooter includes things like hardware-level bokeh effects, panorama selfie, built-in effects, gesture control shooting, Gender Beauty Mode, and Portrait Mode 2.0, among others. As for the main shooter, you get features such as PDAF, an advanced wide-aperture mode for refining the focus after capturing a photo, LED flash and 1080p video recording.
Honor 9 Lite is not exclusive to India
As at the time of this writing, the Huawei Honor 9 Lite is only available in India. However, this is not to mean the phone won’t be sold in other markets. In fact, it was launched in China back in December 2017, only that it goes by the name Huawei Honor 9 Youth Edition.
Following its launch in India, the Honor 9 Lite is also expected to be unveiled in over a dozen other markets across the globe, including the UK, Russia and other European markets.
The best value for money
Despite being one of the leading markets in the world, the Indian market can really be price sensitive. However, at just Rs 10,999 or about $170, the Honor 9 Lite offers more than you can imagine, perhaps what you can expect from a device priced north of Rs 30,000. In addition to the top-notch design and good photography, the Honor 9 Lite has some of the best performance specs in this segment.
Usually, phones in this market segment are characterized by low-end specs such as HD display screens, low internal storage, and RAM, among others. But the Honor 9 Lite’s 5.65-inch panel has a full HD+ resolution. And yes, it has the new 18:9 design, a feature that we’ve learned to associate with high-end devices.
Under the hood, the Honor 9 Lite has a powerful Kirin 659 processor paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage on the base model and 4GB RAM alongside 64GB of storage on the high-end variant, which costs an extra Rs 4000. Of course, these can be expanded up to 256GB using a microSD card.
When other features such as the quad-lens camera, 3000mAh battery, fingerprint sensor (rear-mounted), Android 8.0 Oreo with EMUI 8.0 out of the box and VoLTE support are considered, it’s easy to see why the Honor 9 Lite is already a strong contender for the phone that offers the best value for money this year.
Honor 9 Lite vs the competition (Honor 7X and Redmi 5 Plus)
The Huawei Honor 9 Lite has a price tag of Rs 10,999 for the base model and Rs 14,999 for the high-end variant. Honestly, this is one of the most price sensitive market segments. While buyers will be looking for powerful devices, they want them at the lowest price points possible.
This is exactly what you get from the Honor 9 Lite, but how does it fare on against the competition, more so the likes of Honor 7X and Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus that have also adopted the same 18:9 design? Not bad, actually.
Although the Honor 7X and Xiaomi Redmi 5 and 5 Plus have great builds, you’ll agree that none of them is close to what the Honor 9 Lite has to offer. The Honor 9 Lite comes with glass on both sides of the phone. As for the rest, you get glass on the front and metal on the back, with the Redmi 5 and 5 Plus going to the extent of including plastic ends.
In terms of performance, the Honor 9 Lite has an equal match in the Honor 7X. The pair has the same processing unit, only that the latter has no 3GB RAM variant. Unlike the Lite, accompanying the 32GB storage option on the 7X is the same 4GB RAM module used on the 64GB storage variant.
The Honor 7X also comes with a bigger screen, bigger battery and a slightly better dual 16MP+2MP main camera (selfie camera has a single lens), but these come at a slightly higher cost. Furthermore, the Honor 7X has Android Nougat out of the box, but an update to Oreo is on the way.
When compared to the Xiaomi Redmi 5 and 5 Plus, the Honor 9 Lite still fares on well, especially against the standard Redmi 5. The standard Redmi 5 has the same footprint, screen size and memory as the Honor 9 Lite, but that’s where the similarities end. The Redmi 5 has a Snapdragon 450, 2GB/16GB or 3GB/32GB memory options, a single 12MP main shooter, 5MP on the front and a bigger 3300mAh battery unit.
On the other hand, the Redmi 5 Plus ships with a much bigger 5.99-inch full HD+ screen, matching the resolution of the Honor 9 Lite. But due to the bigger size, the display on Redmi 5 Plus is less sharp and crispier when compared to Honor 9 Lite. Internally, the Redmi 5 Plus puts up a great fight that includes the likes of Snapdragon 625 SoC, 3GB/4GB RAM, and 32GB/64GB storage, but loses out with its single-lens 12MP/5MP camera combination.
If you are in the market for a budget phone with a big battery, the Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus might just be it. Even though it misses out on the dual camera, all-glass build and Android Oreo out of the box, at about $160 for the 4GB RAM and 32GB storage variant, the Redmi 5 Plus is a very good option. But of course, the final decision rests with you.
What do you think about the Honor 9 Lite, especially when compared to the competition? Let us know in your comments below.