Honor, the sub brand of Huawei has been pretty active in India with some really good phones launched in last couple of years including Honor 6X and Honor 8 Pro. Now, the company has launched the latest mid range phone in India, the Honor 9i. The Honor 9i is the first smartphone with 4 cameras and full view display. It comes with dual cameras on the front and rear panel and has a 5.99 inch Full view 18:9 aspect ratio display. Honor smartphones have been known for great cameras, so how does the Honor 9i perform in the sub 20k price segment? Let’s find out in the detailed Honor 9i review.
Design and Build:
Honor 9i is one of those phones with thin bezels and large displays. The phone comes with a large 5.99 inch display with 18:9 aspect ratio and this makes the device compact even though it has large display. The design is quite similar to what we have seen on Honor 8 Pro. It comes with curved edges and rounded corners. The dual cameras on the rear has a slight projection. The power and volume keys are on the right side while the SIM tray is on the left side. The bottom panel houses the micro USB charging slot, speaker unit and the 3.5mm audio jack.
The fingerprint scanner is located below the rear camera. The front panel has the full view display and on screen navigational buttons. On top of the display you get the dual front camera, LED flash and the usual sensors. The build quality of the device is really good and matte finish rear panel although it is a fingerprint magnet.
The current trend in smartphones is the 18:9 full view display and the Honor 9i jumps into this segment with 5.99 inch Full HD+ display with a resolution of 2160 X1080p and 18:9 aspect ratio. The display on the Honor 9i is crisp and sharp and has vivid colors, but the brightness levels are a tad lower and you experience this issue when you step out in bright sunlight. The viewing angles are also quite decent. The display has a 2.5D glass, but similar to Honor 6X there is no protection offered on the display. Overall, the display feels quite good in the segment especially for multimedia consumption.
Honor 9i runs on Android 7.0 with EMUI 5.1. We have already covered some of the best features of EMUI 5.0. The new UI feels more polished and they have combined the notification center and quick toggles into a single block. EMUI 4.0 had a layout with multiple home screen devoid of an app drawer. But with EMUI 5.1, the company is providing an option of enabling app drawer. By default, this feature is not enabled, but you can go to settings-> Home Screen style. The settings panel has also been redesigned to provide a better experience.
Since the navigational keys are on screen, you also get the option to customize the layout from the settings. With EMUI 5.1, you also get dual apps feature. With dual apps you can run two instances of an app, which means you can run two instances of social apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, etc. EMUI 5.1 brings in this feature and it is called App Twin.
Other additional features include motion control, floating dock, voice control and also gloves mode. It also features the themes app. The software also comes bundled with some Huawei apps like Torch, sound recorder, phone manager, etc. Overall, with EMUI 5.1, it feels a lot smoother and refined experience.
Honor 9i is powered by the relatively new chipset, the Kirin 659 which is an octa core chipset with maximum clock speed of 2.3Ghz. It is coupled with Mali T830MP2 GPU and 4GB of RAM. The Kirin 659 is quite similar to the 655 found on the Honor 6X and is similar to Snapdragon 625 in terms of performance. The Honor 9i does a really good job in day to day performance and it was responsive to almost all tasks it was put to and the app performance with EMUI 5.1 was really good. The memory management on the device was also really good and it was able to retain all apps in the memory without having to compromise on performance.
But the gaming performance of the device was sub par and we could clearly see a lot of lag happening in high graphic rich games. The heating wasn’t considerably high but 9i is not a device for heavy gaming. The call quality on the device was really good and no issues in signal reception but the speaker performance was quite average and not the loudest in the segment.
The phone comes with dual SIM cards and a hybrid SD card slot. The phone offers 64GB of internal storage and can also be expanded using SD card. Overall, the 9i did a good job except for the gaming abilities.
Honor 9i comes with 4 camera, 2 dual camera set ups on the front and rear. The rear camera is quite similar to Honor 6X and comes with a 16MP primary sensor and a 2MP secondary camera for depth sensing. On the front panel, you get a 13MP primary selfie camera with 2MP secondary camera for depth sensing. There is LED flash on front and rear camera. The camera interface is the typical Honor interface with tons of features and plethora of modes to choose from.
Looking at the daylight captures taken with the device, there is good color quality as the images are punchy and vivid. There is also good amount of detailing, but the sharpness levels could have been a tad better. The camera also tend to saturate the images at times. Overall, the clarity of the photos taken in daylight conditions were good. The close up images also turned out good and there is also the bokeh mode available in the phone which can take photos with wide aperture. The low light imaging ability of the phone was average and while the images were bright, there was also considerable amount of noise. The selfie experience is really good on Honor 9i with dual cameras and probably the best Honor smartphone with great selfie experience. You can also get bokeh on your selfies. The video recording is also good but there is no 4K support on this phone. Here are some of the samples taken with this device.
The Honor 9i comes with a 3340mAh battery, but does not support any forms of fast charging. The battery life on the phone was quite good and we tested the performance and got around 5 hours and 15 minutes of screen on time. While the performance of the battery is not stellar, it isn’t bad either. You can get 1.5 days of battery life on an moderate usage.
Priced at Rs 17,999, the Honor 9i offers a good mid range package with 18:9 full view display, 4 cameras, good selfie experience, feature rich EMUI and good performance. The Honor 9i also has some shortcomings like low light camera performance, no fast charging and also battery life being average. But overall, considering the full view display, the Honor 9i is definitely a good mid range package. The phone is available exclusively on Flipkart.