Honor, the online sub-brand of Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, appears to be on a roll in India. After launching the mid-tier flagship Honor View10 – and the budget devices Honor 9i and Honor 7X – the company has launched the Honor 9 Lite, featuring some premium features for its modest price tag of Rs 10,999. The Honor 9 Lite sports a premium glass design, dual-camera set-ups on the front and rear, and a futuristic 18:9 aspect ratio screen. In terms of specifications and features, the Honor 9 Lite looks like a heavy contender in the budget smartphone segment. But, does it have the potential to fend off the competition. Let’s take a look: Design and display The Honor 9 Lite is by far the most premium budget smartphone in the segment. The device boasts metallic chassis sandwiched between glass on the front and back – similar to premium flagship phones like the Apple iPhone 8-series and Samsung Galaxy S8-series. The front of the smartphone is dominated by a 5.65-inch fullHD+ screen. Thanks to its 18:9 aspect ratio, the form factor of the device is compact and light weight, making it handy to use and comfortable to carry in pocket. The back sports a fingerprint scanner at the upper centre and dual cameras placed at the extreme top left, coupled with an LED flash. Interestingly, the camera unit does not bulge out – it did in the Honor View10 – and fits right inside the frame, improving the phone’s design quotient. Talking of the screen quality, the display throws punchy colours with ample brightness to keep things going even under direct sunlight. Contrast remains sharp and watching multimedia content on this smartphone is a delight. Performance The Honor 9 Lite is powered by Kirin 659 system-on-chip – the octa-core processor designed and developed in-house by Huawei and supporting some sort of software-based artificial intelligence wizardry.
The processor is mated with Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 operating system, based on the Android Oreo build.In real-life scenario, both software and hardware make the phone blazing fast, with no sign of lag anywhere. The performance of the Honor 9 Lite matches that of top-tier smartphones like OnePlus 5T, LG G6, etc. Even the processor-intensive apps and games exert little pressure on phone, which continues to run without breaking much sweat. Multitasking is swift and sorted and the phone’s performance is smooth for day-to-day tasks. Camera The Honor 9 Lite sports a 13-megapixel lens mated with a 2MP secondary lens on the back and front. The camera interface is loaded with features like the bokeh mode, portrait mode, beauty mode, night photo mode, live photo mode, etc, that enhance the output. Interestingly, these modes come handy once you understand their utility and use them appropriately to capture the shots. The portrait mode, which has been the most desired camera feature lately, is just satisfactory. During daylight conditions, the focus is swift and the background blurring effect looks more natural. However, the focus speed slows down during low-light conditions and the background blurring takes a hit. Overall, considering the budget factor, the camera performance is satisfactory and can easily outdo the competition. Battery The Honor 9 Lite houses a 3,000 mAh battery that keeps the show going for more than a day. Even after heavy usage with multimedia playback, online audio streaming, gaming and camera usage, the phone easily manages to go on for a day without asking for battery juices to be replenished. Verdict Starting at Rs 10,999 for the base model with 32 GB internal storage and 3 GB RAM, the Honor 9 Lite offers all-round performance with almost no areas of weakness. The phone offers a premium design, compact form factor, dual-camera set-ups on the back and front, and a futuristic 18:9 aspect ratio screen. These make it one of the best smartphone in budget segment. The phone competes with the Xiaomi Mi A1, Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, Honor 7X and recently launched Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime.