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- Rated 4.5 stars
- Honor 9i Review
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Honor had recently launched the Honor 9i smartphone in India which is priced at Rs. 17,990 and like most of the Honor phones, the camera is the standalone feature that keeps the phone under the spotlight and along with the decision of moving on with a display with 18:9 aspect ratio is a true bonus. However, do all these add values? Does the phone do justice to the price tag or is it just a sellout product to fill the gap, which is still there in the price segment of Rs. 17,000 to Rs.20,000. After playing with the Honor 9i for quite some time, here’s the full review of the phone.
Camera – Four camera sensors, well implemented
We will talk about everything else later, but let’s talk about the camera first as the Honor 9i comes with dual camera setups – both the front and rear camera modules come with dual sensors to capture more detail, depth information so that the photos taken with the phone provides great bokeh effects and detail.
The front panel includes a 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel sensors, while on the back there is a 16-megapixel and a 2-megapixel sensor. It is similar to what we have seen on Honor 6X and some other Honor phones. Among the two sensors, one captures images and the other gathers depth information. This provides shallow depth of field and adds bokeh. And as usual, Honor didn’t disappoint me.
In terms of bokeh, both the front and the rear camera does an impressive job of blurring out the background and add a good bokeh effect, without any kind of artificial looking highlights or blur. Other features in rear camera include night-shot, panorama, HDR, portrait mode, pro-photo, capture smiles, light painting, time-lapse, slow-mo and watermark. The rear camera on the Honor 9i captures natural looking shots, maintaining the proper level of saturation and sharpness. Even in low lighting conditions, the Honor 9i performs really well, without losing much detail or providing grainy photos.
An interesting addition in the Camera features we saw in Honor 9i is “moving picture” which lets the user create a moving image instead of capturing a still photo, and those can be uploaded in the same format on Facebook as well and Facebook also outputs the image in the same way it does with Apple Live images.
The Honor 9i front camera also does the tasks well, and is surprisingly really good and captures really good selfies. The bokeh is perfect, the photos do not seem to lose detail. Along with bokeh effects, the front camera also offers time lapse, audio note, beautification, and filters. So, that’s a lot you can expect from the front camera.
Design: Say goodbye to Bezels
The design is not so different from other Honor phones, but the Honor 9i is impressive due to thin bezels and the metal body. The rear panel of the phone is flat and the curve at the edges provides a good grip. The Honor 9i comes with a 5.9-inch display, but the overall size of the phone is quite comparable to what we see on a phone with 5.5-inch display, because of the bezels.
The screen to body ratio is 83% which is good enough, and with an almost symmetric design which places the camera sensor and fingerprint scanner, aligned at the center, everything is accessible easily.
Apart from unlocking the phone, the fingerprint scanner also does the job of capturing the photo, answering a call or turning off the alarm. The Honor 9i is just 7.5mm thick and weighs 164 grams, pretty good for a phone with such large display panel.
Display: Big and sharp
The Honor 9i sports a 5.9-inch FullView Full HD+ display having a resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels. The 18:9 aspect ratio is now becoming a new trend in the smartphone industry and Honor 9i maintains this, and due to the ultra wide display with minimum bezels, the video watching experience and gaming is quite immersive.
The display offers good viewing angles and provides balanced color output. In terms of outdoor visibility, it’s decent, but not the brightest of all. However, if you have small hands, sometimes it may be difficult for you to reach the top corners of the screen, and well Huawei has provided an option to shrink the screen for one-handed usage. Honor has added an option to rescale the apps to fit the screen, however with some uncommon apps, app developers need to update their apps to accommodate properly with 18:9 estate.
Performance: No Random Hiccups
Huawei mostly uses its own processor in most of its phones. The Honor 9i is not an exception. It is powered by a mid-range Kirin 659 processor, coupled with 4GB RAM. The phone handles multitasking well, there were no lags while switching back and forth between multiple apps, web browsing experience is good. In terms of gaming, at first we tried to play Modern Kombat, and the Honor 9i handled it well. There were no noticeable lags at all. In terms of casual games like Clash Royale, NFS or 8 Ball Pool, there are no lags at all and the gameplay is smooth.
Overall, the Honor 9i is good in terms of regular usage and casual gaming. However, if you’re a hardcore mobile gamer, you may have to tone down the graphics settings a bit. Battery backup on the Honor 9i is certainly not a thing to boast about. The 3,340mAh battery was able to last till bedtime with regular usage which is a combination of playing Clash Royale a bit, using social media apps, reading some news articles, a couple of calls and listening to Music using Saavn.
Software: Custom UI, but no lags or weird bugs
The Honor 9i comes with Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s latest EMUI 5.1 skin on top. The EMUI 5.1 is a pretty light skin and doesn’t demand heavy CPU and RAM usage at all. This is something every consumer deserves, as many brands often put a custom skin on top of Android to make the UI look unique, but not everyone provides a fluid experience and updates like Honor does. EMUI 5.1 lets you choose between standard layout with all apps on the home screen or an App Drawer. Even navigation keys can be customized and positions can be interchanged.
There are some other features like floating dock, motion control, one-handed UI, voice control and more. The floating dock is very useful on Honor 9i as it is a big device, and the Floating Dock comes with different shortcuts like all navigation controls, lock screen, and cleaner. There is inbuilt app cloner, which lets you run two instances of one app at the same time. There are also other useful features to optimize and secure your phone.
The Honor 9i, has filled the gap of the price segment of which there are very few phones and even fewer number of phones, with an overall package. The Honor 9i is a good performer, the camera performance is impressive and the user experience is fluid. Neither it is overpriced. With no bezels, dual camera modules on back and front, taller display and overall small footprint, Honor 9i is probably the one you should pick if you have a budget between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000 and if you are a fan of a kinda taller display with that kind of aspect ratio, thin bezels and have some affinity towards selfies.
Honor 9i Review
Summary: One of the best choice in 15-20K rupees priced bezel-less smartphone and the quad camera setup is brilliant as it clicks bokeh images from front & rear both.