Honor 9i First Impressions: Will It Leave a Mark in Sub-Rs.20,000 Segment?


Honor 9i is the latest sub-Rs. 20,000 entrant to hit the Indian market, relying on features like its four cameras, and bezel-less FullVision display. The company has been expanding aggressively in India, launching a handset for each important price point, like the Honor 8 Pro in the sub-Rs. 30,000 segment. So, with the Honor 9i in its portfolio, will the Huawei-owned brand have enough firepower to make a last mark in the section, which is dominated by the likes of Vivo, Oppo and Samsung?

With the 9i, Honor has plenty of firsts. For starters, this is the first device from the company to sport an 18:9 FullView display. It is also the first to start with dual cameras at the back as well as the front. So how good is it in the real world? We got to spend some time with the Honor 9i at the company’s launch event and here are our first impressions.

The device appears quite premium. It also feels solid and has a good heft to it. There’s a 13-megapixel primary camera together with a 2-megapixel secondary one on the front, while the pair on the rear consist of a 16-megapixel sensor and a 2-megapixel thickness detector. The camera bump on the back is positioned in the centre of the phone and float slightly. While it does appear to get a raised metal trim around it, we are curious to see how it holds up with regular use.

Power the device on and the big 5.9-inch display fires up giving you the first indication of just how thin the boundaries around it are. Honor has followed the current market trend and picked for an 18:9 aspect ratio for its display. At the bottom of the phone, you’ll find an old-style Micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack together with the loudspeaker. Powering the Honor 9i is Huawei’svery own Kirin 659 which is an octa-core processor. There is also 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which appears to be in line with similarly priced devices like the Xiaomi Mi A1 along with the Moto G5S Plus. You do get the option to expand storage using the hybrid dual-SIM slotmachine, in the cost of a second SIM.

Honor has managed to cram in a 3340mAh battery which is good considering its thickness. But, we’ll hold our opinions on battery life till we run it via our entire review process.

Once powered on, you’re treated to EMUI 5.1 running at the top of Android 7.0 Nougat. While the basic functionality of the OS is exactly the same, Honor has included a few attributes.

There are multiple shortcuts and gestures which can be employed to get things done. Additionally, the higher resolution implies that most programs will need to be stretched to use the entire display.

There is no doubt that the cameras are the highlight of this smartphone. With dual cameras on both sides, Honor is claiming that it is using hardware to make bokeh effects as opposed to software, which most other manufacturers use. We will examine how much of a difference this makes when we conduct our full review.

Priced at Rs. 17,999, it does appear that this phone offers good hardware. Stay tuned for our review to see just how well it performs in the real world.

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