If you like small bezels and a large display, the Honor 9i smartphone might be suitable for you. But we always have to consider other things than the display while purchasing a smartphone, right? let’s discuss more about this smartphone, and it may help you decide if you should purchase this smartphone or not.
The Honor 9i comes with a 5.9-inch display with slim bezels all around. The 18:9 aspect ratio allows the phone to have roughly the same footprint of a 5.5-inch smartphone with 16:9 aspect ratio and large bezels. Above the display we have the soft LED flash, front dual camera setup, earpiece, a notification LED and other sensors. Bottom bezel is empty as this smartphone uses one screen navigation buttons. The fingerprint scanner is on the rear panel, along with the dual rear camera setup and LED flash.
The curved sides and edges makes the smartphone comfortable to hold, it feels solid too, thanks to the metal unibody design. The phone feels a little slippery, so you should be more careful while holding it without a case. The rear dual camera modules protrude by a couple of milli meters, but it has a metal rim surrounding it to protect the glass from scratches. The fingerprint scanner is not very easy to reach, it should have been placed little lower. Sometimes, we had to stretch our finger a little to reach the fingerprint scanner.
At the bottom is the Micro-USB port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, primary microphone and the speaker. The Honor 9i comes with a 10W charger in the box, along with a pair of earphones and a transparent plastic case. On the left edge is the hybrid dual SIM slot, which can accommodate two nano SIM cards on one nano SIM card and one MicroSD card at the same time.
Honor decided to stick with their custom EMUI interface with the Honor 9i smartphone. The EMUI 5.1 is based on Android Nougat, which has its own visual style and offers lots of customization. There are gestures that simplify taking screenshots and launching apps. There are knuckle gestures, which work by knocking on the screen. You can double-knock to take a screenshot or do a two-knuckle tap to start screen recording.
Talking about bloatwares, there are many! The Honor 9i has a few custom apps including HiCare – a service support app; HiGame – a gaming app store; plus Hi Honor and Honor Community which are Web shortcuts. EMUI also has support for themes which gives you the ability to change the look of the device.
The Honor 9i is powered by a Huawei Kirin 659 SoC which has eight cores, out of which 4 cores are clocked at 1.7GHz and other 4 cores are clocked at 2.36GHz. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, which can be expanded using a MicroSD card in the Hybrid dual-SIM slot. There is support for MicroSD cards up to 256GB in capacity. Out of the 4GB RAM, you will geta round 1.8GB free on first boot. And out of the 64GB internal storage we get around 52GB free space on first boot.
The performance is similar to what we get from other devices in this price segment. There is no noticeable lag while opening apps and even while using multiple tabs in Chrome browser.
Games like Asphalt 8 had some lags in the beginning, you might not be able to play graphically demanding games in high settings. Asphalt 8 gameplay was smooth after reducing graphic quality to medium.
In AnTuTu benchmark the Honor 9i scored slightly less than the Xiaomi Mi A1 and Moto G5S Plus, which have lower price tags. In Geekbench Single-core result, the score is better than other smartphones in this segment, but in and Multi-core results, its score is lesser than we expected, overall the results are good. PC Mark Work 2.0 score shows better results than other smartphones with Snapdragon 625 chipset. In Basemark OS II benchmark, the Lenovo K8 Plus scored more than all other devices in this price category. 3D Mark IceStorm scores are also similar to other smartphones in this segment.
The default video play was able to play high bit rate full HD videos and even 4K videos without any issue. If you want to get rid of the black bars on each sides of the display, install a third-party application like MX Player from play store.
The Honor 9i will grab your attention with its large 5.9-inch display FullView display with a FullHD+ resolution. It has good viewing angles, but the display could have been more vivid, sometimes the colours feel washed out. There is option to change the colour temperature, but there is no option to boost contrast. The display is bright enough for indoors, but under direct sunlight you might struggle. The specification also didn’t mention about any kind of protective glass, and there is a pre-applied plastic screen guard, which you should replace with a glass one for better experience and protection.
You will enjoy playing games and video in this big screen. While playing some games, the sides are getting cropped to get full screen gameplay, there is no option to switch to 16:9 aspect ratio.
The next thing you will notice the four cameras, which is the biggest highlight of this smartphone. There are dual cameras on both the front and back. The rear camera setup uses a 16-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. Front camera setup uses a 13-megapixel primary sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor.
The camera app has a simple interface, but there are lots of options to play with. You get controls for the flash, aperture mode, moving picture mode, and portrait mode. You can swipe right from the default screen to access the different shooting modes. Apart from HDR, panorama, and video, you get pro modes for both photos and videos, slow-mo, filters, effects and a few others. You also have the option to download some additional modes. Pro mode lets you adjust different parameters like ISO, shutter speed, exposure, focus and white balance. You can also shoot images in RAW format.
The defaults auto mode for photos does the job very well. The secondary 2-megapixel depth sensor does allow the smartphone to shot images with depth effect. The same is applicable for selfies as well. The front camera’s bokeh effects are slightly better than what the rear cameras can do.
Low light performance is average, there is not much noise, but there is loss of detail. Due to the front soft LED flash, low light selfies are good. Both front and rear camera is capable of recording full HD videos in 30 frames per second. Video quality is pretty good, but any kind of stabilization is not present. While recording video using the front camera, you can use the beautification mode, but the video output is restricted to 720p.
Honor 9i comes with a 3340mAh battery which does its job well. While playing games, the battery level drops a lot faster. So, keep an eye on the charge level while doing processor-intensive tasks.
Comparing the battery life shows the Honor 9i has very bad battery life when compared to most other smartphones in this segamnt.
30 minutes of charging gives around 27% of battery life from 0%. It takes more than an hour to charge up to 50 percentage and one hour and 45 minutes to reach 75 percentage. After that it takes 30 more minutes to reach the finish line. 0 to 100 percentage in 2 hours and 15 minutes.
We played a full HD video with 70 percent volume and full brightness in loop for 90 minutes and the charge dropped by 21 percentage and the phone’s temperature went up to 37 degrees. The charge drop while playing videos and gaming is too much.
To save the battery life, you can turn the power saver mode on, but it will shut down background processes and background syncing. The lack of fast charging is disappointing.
With moderate usage you will be able to get a full day battery life from the Honor 9i. If you are into gaming, you should keep a powerbank with you always….
The fingerprint scanner is in the rear panel, it would have been better if it was placed little lower. Unlocking is fast and it does offer much more than that. You can use the fingerprint scanner to display the notification panel, it is also possible to browse photos by swiping left or right on it. It can also be used for taking photos and videos, answering the call, Stopping alarms, and much more. You can add up to 5 fingerprints in this device.
Connectivity options include WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS / GLONASS. It has 4G connectivity with support Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and it does very well with Reliance Jio. The call quality and network reception were good, we didn’t face any call drop issues. The earpiece volume is loud and there is no distortion even in higher volume. Speaker is also loud, and there no distortion.
NFC and USB OTG are supported. It has RGB notification LED, using an appropriate software like “LightFlow” from play store will allow you to gain more control over it. Accelerometer, Proximity, light and magnetic are there but gyro sensor is missing.
It is good to see that the 18:9 aspect ratio is not restricted to flagships only. The LG Q6 with an 18:9 aspect ratio was launched in the Indian market few months ago, but it is not offering much features as the Honor 9i. The Honor 9i is not the perfect smartphone; some improvements are needed, if the price was around 15,000 rupees, it would have been a lot better. If you want a smartphone with 6-inch 18:9 display the Honor 9i smartphone is good, if you are willing to sacrifice the battery life. But if you are looking for a smartphone with dual-rear cameras, the Xiaomi Mi A1 will be better. If you want an allrounder smartphone go for the Moto G5S Plus. In short, if you are not into gaming and don’t care much about battery life, go for this smartphone.