Business

Honor 9 review: Light catcher

Introduction

It’s Honor’s turn now – the time to wave Leica’s license fees goodbye and welcome the annual Huawei P flagship on a bargain price. The Honor 9 is shinier, arguably more powerful, and above all – way more affordable. And Honor 9 is not just a P10 for the masses, it’s also a OnePlus 5 killer. The bar is high, the expectations – big, and this review has just started.

Honor 9 review

Huawei has never needed any of the Snapdragon chipsets for its phones to sell. Or even to achieve a flagship status. That’s where HiSilicon has always helped – Huawei’s subsidiary chip maker – and its latest Kirin 960 has already proved to be tough to beat. Now the Honor 9 not only borrows this chip from the P10, but also pairs it with 6 gigabytes of RAM.

The highlight of the Honor 9 is the dual-camera setup, which is the same tech behind the P10, sans the Leica branding. The 12MP color and 20MP monochrome snappers offer the same modes such as Portrait, Variable Aperture, 2x lossless zoom, and now you can even shoot 4K videos with bokeh effects! The 8MP selfie shooter does bokeh shots, too.

Huawei is all in with the Honor 9. Giving more for less is what a flagship killer used to mean and what OnePlus once stood for. Could the Honor 9 claim this title? Let’s find out!

Honor 9 at a glance:
Body: Dual glass body with aluminum frame, 3D Gorilla Glass 3 back
Screen: 5.15″ LTPS IPS LCD with 1,080 x 1,920 px resolution (428ppi)
Camera: Dual Camera: 20MP monochrome/12MP color sensors, f2.2, 27mm equiv. focal length, 4-in-1 hybrid autofocus (phase/laser/contrast/depth sensing); dual-LED, dual-tone flash; 2x hybrid zoom; 2160p and 1080p @ 30/60fps video capture;
Selfie cam: 8MP f/1.9; 26mm lens; simulated bokeh effect; 1080p @ 30fps video capture;
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei EMUI 5.1 overlay;
Chipset: Kirin 960 chipset: Octa-core CPU (4xCortex-A73@2.4GHz + 4xCortex-A53@1.8GHz), i6 co-processor, octa-core Mali-G71 GPU
Memory: 4/6GB of RAM; 64/128GB storage; microSD slot
Sound: Huawei Histen 3D sound
Battery: 3,200mAh Li-Po (sealed); Fast charging
Connectivity: Dual-SIM; LTE-A (Cat. 12 600/150Mbps); USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS/GLONASS/Beidou/Galileo; Bluetooth 4.2; NFC; IR blaster
Misc: Fingerprint reader

Main shortcomings:
No Leica branding and filters
No dust or water resistance
No stereo speakers
No FM radio

We demanded ingress protection for the Huawei P10 given it social status and price tag. And while we would have loved water resistance for the Honor 9, we can easily forgive this omission. Even though it is stepping on plenty of flagship toes, the Honor 9 still counts as a top-tier mid-ranger. How can you not love these classes, right?

Honor 9 review

The Honor 9 is keeping it premium though with an all-metal frame, 3D curved design, always-on fingerprint sensor, and high-end sound. There is also a fast-charging-enabled battery, latest Android OS with EMUI 5.1 all over it. But before we learn its software tricks, let’s check what the Honor 9 was made of on the next page.