Honor 7X vs Honor 9 Lite: Which one is for you?

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Honor is very evidently strengthening its grip over the Indian smartphone market lately. The Chinese tech giant's strategy to launch multiple phones in a short span is a clear example of our assumption. In 2018 itself, where companies are still preparing for their yearly launch, Honor has launched three phones in a matter of just two months - Honor 7X in December 2017, Honor 9 Lite and Honor View 10 in January 2018. 

While the View 10 serves a whole different segment, the 9 Lite and 7X fall in a similar price category. The Honor 9 Lite starts selling at Rs 10,999 for 3GB RAM and 14,999 for 4GB RAM. Whereas, the Honor 7X is sold for Rs 12,999 for the 3GB variant and Rs 15,999 for the 4GB variant.

The question here is, why did Honor go with two different phones in the same price category, and which one is a better buy?

In this post, we'll be analysing what sets apart the Honor 9 Lite from the Honor 7X, and which one is better for you. 

Looks or durability?

Although the 9 Lite is the cheaper among the two, it definitely looks more premium than the Honor 7X. While the 7X comes packed in an aluminum shell, the 9 Lite boasts of an all-glass design, that looks nothing less than a pricey phone. Moreover, the 9 lite is lighter, feels more compact and one-handed operation is far more convenient on it. But that's all what's good about 9 Lite's design.

The Honor 7X doesn't have the looks of a flagship, but it's not bad either. It looks pretty sleek for its price. 

In a more practical sense, the Honor 7X is more sturdy compared to the fragile glass body of the 9 Lite. So it's free from getting scratched/broken, sweat stains, and fingerprints unlike the 9 Lite. But there's a tiny camera protrution on the 7X, which isn't a big deal for many but some users prefer a flat back, and this is where the 9 Lite comes in.

In a nutshell, the Honor 9 Lite is the pretty one but it's delicate and the 7X has a more sturdy build material, which doesn't look bad at all. 

Latest OS or more RAM?

Honor 9 Lite is a carbon copy of the 7X in terms of hardware, where the only difference is with the RAM. The Honor 7X only has 4GB RAM variant with 32GB and 64GB storage, whereas the Honor 9 Lite has both 4GB and 3GB RAM options with 32GB and 64GB storage respectively.

We couldn't differenciate between the performance in day-to-day usage, although the 9 Lite led the benchmark ratings by a small margin. The 9 Lite scored 67939 on AnTuTu benchmark, whereas the Honor 7X scored 63687. It's a minor difference. 

It's hard to identify where the 9 Lite leads, but we guess it's the software that's making the difference in the benchmarks. 

The 9 Lite has the latest EMUI 8.0 on top of Android Oreo, which definitely adds a lot of value to it. Honor has promised the EMUI 8.0 update on the 7X, but there's no clue on when the Oreo update will arrive. 

Although it’s minimal, but the Honor 9 lite seems more capable in terms of performance. The Android Oreo does a fair job in optimising the software to boost processing power. But we must note that none of the phones are good enough to run graphically-intensive games flawlessly. Not that they won’t run, but it wouldn’t be as smooth as it is on high-end phones. 

Display size or quality?

It's good to see that Honor has shifted towards 18:9 dispay. Both Honor 7X and 9 Lite have the new aspect ratio as well. Honor has always impressed us with the displays on its phones. Both the phones, the Honor 9 Lite and the 7X sport bright and vivid displays for their price. Both the displays are thin and tall, which aids single handed operation on both.

The resolution is full HD+ (1080 x 2160 pixels) on both, but the pixel density differs by a small margin. 

Notably, the 9 Lite has a smaller panel at 5.65-inches and the 7X has a 5.93-inches, so there is a considerable difference in size here. Pixels on the Honor 9 lite are more densely packed, and the display also looks much brighter than the one on 7X. When kept side-by-side, the Honor 9 Lite didn’t just look more catchy, but it also had better viewing angles and colour production.

Both the phones have a decent display for watching videos, gaming and reading. While the overall impression of the 9 Lite's display is better, the 7X can serve better for those who need a big display.

Bigger the better

Among the two phones, the Honor 7X has a better battery life. On paper, the 7X has a 3340mAh battery and the 9 Lite has a 3000mAh. Although there’s a mere difference of 340mAh between both, but the 7X showed better results during our usage as well. It can easily last a full day at work without needing charge. 

In contrast, the 9 Lite was slightly weak in the battery compartment. 

Honor 9 Lite

Video (15 minutes) - 6% drop

Browsing (15 minutes) - 6% drop

Gaming (10 minutes) - 5% drop

Honor 7X

Video (15 minutes) - 4% drop

Browsing (15 minutes) - 6% drop

Gaming (10 minutes) - 5% drop

Battery consumption on both the phones was relatable while browsing and gaming, but video streaming on the Honor 9 Lite consumed slightly more power.

If dual is not enough, go for quad camera

The two devices are touted as camera centric-phones by the company, which means there's a lot to do with the cameras here. While both have a dual camera setup on the back, the Honor 9 Lite goes a notch ahead with a dual camera in the front as well.

It is very difficult to find dissimilarities between the photos. In some cases the 7x did a better job, but the 9 Lite was superior in 80% of cases. 

The Honor 9 lite reproduces punchy colors, better dynamic range and handles light well. Both suffer in low-light, but the 9 Lite still does a better job in eliminating noise and capturing details. 

Moreover, the front camera on the Honor 9 Lite captures colours and details better than the 7X.

Overall, both the cameras do almost the same job in day light (except for slight difference in colors), but moving towards artificial and low-light makes it pretty easy to judge that the 9 Lite is superior. You can compare the samples from both the phones in the gallery below. 

What's more?

Not everyone cares just about the design, display or battery, there are some nifty features that one looks for in a smartphone. Many users in India look for FM Radio in their phones, which in this case is missing on the Honor 9 Lite. This gives a tiny, but a considerable in this case, lead to the 7X over the 9 Lite. 

The Honor 7X is slightly pricey, it starts at Rs 12,999 for the 32GB variant, while the 9 Lite starts at 10,999 for the same storage but a 3GB RAM instead of 4GB. 

If the difference of 1GB of RAM is not a concern, the 3GB variant of the 9 Lite looks like a much better value for money with a price difference two grands. 

Which one to buy?

The Honor 9 Lite is surely a wiser choice at Rs 10,999, but the Honor 7X makes more sense when you spend Rs 15,000 on any of these phones. The Honor 7X, despite of a slightly inferior camera, display, and an older OS seems more practical because of a more durable body and better battery. Of course, things would have been different if the Honor 9 Lite had an irresistibly overwhelming display or camera, which is not the case.

Having good looks and a better front camera is a wise choice, but for us, having a sturdy build and a better battery makes more sense if you plan to use your phone for a year. 

Sudhanshu Singh have been working in tech journalism as a reporter, writer, editor, and reviewer for over 5 years. He has reviewed hundreds of products ranging across categories and have also written opinions, guides, feature articles, news, and analysis. Ditching the norm of armchair journalism in tech media, Sudhanshu dug deep into how emerging products and services affect actual users, and what marks they leave on our cultural landscape.
His areas of expertise along with writing and editing include content strategy, daily operations, product and team management.