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 Guru 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 previous mark in the segment, which is dominated by the likes of Vivo, Oppo and Samsung? Find out in our Honor 9i first impressions.

With the 9i, Honor has plenty of firsts. For starters, this is the first device from the organization to match with 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 all the Honor 9i in 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 protrude slightly. While it does appear to get a raised metal trim around it, we are curious to see how it holds up with routine usage.

Power the device on and also the big 5.9-inch display fires up giving you the first indication of how thin the borders about it are. Honor has followed the current market trend and picked to get an 18:9 aspect ratio because of its display. The different aspect ratio results in what’s called FHD+ resolution which is 1080×2160 pixels. At the bottom of the phone, you’ll find an old-style Micro-USB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack along with the loudspeaker. Powering the Honor 9i is Huawei’svery own Kirin 659 which is an octa-core chip. There is also 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which seems to be in line with similarly priced devices like the Xiaomi Mi A1 and the Moto G5S Plus. You do get the option to expand storage using the hybrid dual-SIM slot, in the expense of another SIM.

Honor has been able to cram in a 3340mAh battery which is good considering its thickness. In our brief time with the Honor 9i, it didn’t exhibit any abnormal drain or heating issues. However, we will hold our comments on battery life till we run it via our full review procedure.

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

There are multiple gestures and shortcuts which may be used to get things done. Additionally, the higher resolution implies that many apps will have to be stretched to make use of the entire display.

There is no doubt that the cameras would be the highlight of this smartphone. With double cameras on both sides, Honor is claiming that it is using hardware to make bokeh effects rather than software, which most other manufacturers use. We will examine how much of a difference this makes when we run our entire review.

Priced at Rs. 17,999, it will seem that this phone provides good hardware. Stay tuned for our review to see how well it performs in the real world.


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