Honor 9 Lite Review

Key Features

  • 5.65-inch HD+ 18:9 FullView display
  • Kirin 659 CPU
  • 3GB RAM, 32GB storage
  • 13MP + 2MP front and rear double cameras
  • Android 8.0 Oreo

Honor 9 Lite first seem: Honor’s Most Recent budget smartphone is a stripped-back Honor 9

Chinese smartphone maker Honor has announced that it is bringing the Honor 9 Lite — a pared-down version of last year’s flagship Honor 9 — into the United Kingdom.  However, is this funding handset, which is being marketed towards aspiring cellular photographers, worth your attention?  Let us find out.

Honor 9 Lite specs and design

Honor isn’t a stranger to releasing decent-looking smartphones, and the Honor 9 Lite is no exception.

The handset is crafted from durable 2.5D, which feels comfortable (and not too slippery) in the hand, and it touts a nano-scale optical coating for a stunning mirror-like finish.  There is a 5.65-inch edge-to-edge FullView HD+ display on the front, a center-mounted fingerprint sensor on the trunk, and a micro-USB port on the bottom.  Additionally, it comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The Honor 9 Lite is nowhere near as impressive as the Honor 9 as far as specs are concerned.  Huawei’s Kirin 960 CPU has been replaced with an older Kirin 659 chipset, RAM has been cut out of 4GB to 3GB, and the 3200mAh battery was slashed to 3000mAh.  The USB-C socket has also been ditched for a micro-USB connection.

However, the downgrades have not taken a substantial toll on performance.  The device we sampled blitzed through all of the tasks we threw its way without difficulty, staying composed while shifting between multiple intensive applications — such as Asphalt 8: Airborne — and simultaneously streaming a song from Google Play Music.

The device ships operating Android 8.0 Oreo, but I am disappointed that it is skinned with Honor’s heavily altered EMUI 8.0 interface.  A quick trip to the Play Store to install an aftermarket launcher will restore some native Android goodness into the handset, however — something to remember if you are after a more vanilla experience.

Where the Honor 9 Lite comes into its prime is in the camera section.  It is equipped with dual cameras on both the front and back, composed of 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel detectors.  We put it through its paces in a controlled environment and have been impressed with its ability to capture detailed portrait pictures in backlit scenes.

What is more, the front-facing camera has a slew of awesome software features that provide the device an edge on the most premium smartphones.  The most notable is a new Bokeh mode, which enables you to alter the attention of your photograph as you’re shooting or in post-production — and it works well.

It’s hard to ascertain how the Honor 9 Lite will fare in real life.  We had just an hour to experiment with the device at the launch event in London, but it is looking like a budget offering that may well be worth your hard-won money.