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Honor 9 Lite First Impressions: Strikes a good balance between elegance and functionality
Honor 9 Lite has the potential to be a strong competitor in the mid-range space.
Huawei's sub-brand Honor has been busy in the last couple of months and has announced several new smartphones in the market for consumers. While the company has been on a launching spree (the company just announced Honor View 10 and Honor 7X in India), the latest addition to Honor's smartphone range in India will be the lighter version of Honor 9i - the Honor 9 Lite.
While Honor seems to be on quite a roll, the company will be officially launching the Honor 9 Lite it's latest mid-range phone next week dated January 17. As of now, we don't know the pricing of the device but most likely the phone will be priced somewhere between Rs. 15,000 and Rs 20,000.
However, we have managed to get our hands on Honor 9 Lite and here is our first impressions of the smartphone. Notably, there are a couple of key USPs in the Honor 9 Lite like glass finish on the front and back, dual-camera setup at the front and back and it runs on Oreo with the company latest EMUI 8.0 skin on top. Read on below to find out more about the device.
In terms of design, Honor has managed to impress us again. The design is clean and well laid out and the company has used materials like metal and glass in the construction of the Honor 9 Lite. It is quite surprising that the device is sporting such features in the affordable segment.
Besides, we got our hands on the Galaxy Grey variant of the smartphone and the color scheme looks great. The smartphone strikes a good balance between elegance and functionality and boasts a premium in-hand feel too.
With all-metal sides, the device does come with a sturdy build. However, glass layering means, the smartphone attracts a lot of fingerprints. So you might need to carry a micro-fibre cloth so that you can wipe all the smudges and keep the phone clean.
The front is dominated by the full-screen display with thin bezels at the top and bottom. At the top, the smartphone houses a dual-camera setup and a sensor along with an ear-piece. As for the buttons, the volume toggles and the power button are on the right fascia while on the left side of the smartphone there is the hybrid SIM tray.
At the bottom, there is a micro-USB port for charging the smartphone, a speaker grill, and a 3.5mm headphone port. The fingerprint sensor is present towards the back, below the phone's dual-camera setup.
Key Features and Specs
Talking about the key features and specs Honor 9 Lite comes with a 5.65-inch bezel-less display which boasts a resolution of 2,160 x 1,080 pixels. Well, Huawei is offering the highest resolution display in an affordable segment. Honor 9 Lite's display is bright and the screen feels extremely crisp an vibrant. As such we have no complaints in this aspect.
Under the hood, the Honor 9 Lite is powered by its homebred HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor which is further paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage. Further, the handset is expected to come in two variants - 3GB RAM and 32GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
On using the handset we didn't come across any initial lags or stutters. However, we will be doing a full review of the smartphone in the coming days and present you a better idea of the smartphone's day-to-day performance.
The Honor 9 Lite runs Android Oreo with EMUI v8.0 which is the company's latest OS version. We will be talking about it below in detail. The device is backed by a 3000mAh battery which should easily provide a day's battery life.
Like the Honor 9i, Honor 9 Lite also features four cameras with dual-camera setups both at the front and back. Interestingly, both sides use a combination of a 13-megapixel primary sensor and 2-megapixel secondary sensor. Honor believes that users will be able to reap the benefits of depth-sensing and bokeh shots while using both the rear as well as the front camera.
On taking a couple of images and selfies from the handset, the camera seems to work just fine with good detail and sharpness in good lighting environments. But it does appear to be bit grainy under low light. The camera also gets the bokeh effect fairly accurate. In any case, we'll test this thoroughly in our full review and let you know how it actually fairs among its competitions.
Light EMUI 8.0
Well one of the key highlights or USP of this smartphone is that it comes with the latest version of Huawei's user interface that was launched with the Honor View10. As such, Honor 9 Lite also comes with EMUI 8.0, but this is a somewhat a lighter version. What this means is that we will not be able to actually use the device and take the full advantage of the machine learning and AI capabilities that the full-blown version offers.
While the handset misses out on some aspects, there is always an option to download features and add functionalities to improve the user experience the company has said.
However, EMUI 8.0 is based on Android Oreo and there are few mid-range smartphones with this software version right now in the market. Besides, we were able to enjoy the new features that the Oreo brings.
All in all, we just have to say with great design and looks, dual-camera setups on both sides and the fact that it comes with Android Oreo out of the box could make Honor 9 Lite a strong competitor in the mid-range space.
Meanwhile, the phone will be launched on January 17 in Delhi. It will be coming in three color variants - Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue and Galaxy Grey. The grey unit that we got simply looks great and is refreshing. That being said you can watch this space for our extensive review of the Honor 9 Lite, and our continuing coverage on pricing and availability when it is announced.