Honor 9 Lite review

Budget phone, premium design

TechRadar Verdict

The Honor 9 Lite has looks of an expensive phone, it is feature-packed, but it is the battery and the camera that leaves us asking for more. The 3GB variant is a great value for money at Rs 10,999, but the 4GB variant is dwarfed by its competition.


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    Vibrant 18:9 display

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    Looks premium

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    Capable front camera

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    Latest Android


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    No USB-C

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    Heavy UI

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    No fast charge support

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Update: after Google suspended Huawei's future access to Android Play Store and security updates, there are serious question marks over the future of Huawei and Honor phones.

While Google and Huawei have promised to support phones currently on the market, it's not clear how long they'll receive Android updates or access to the Google Play Store, which would severely curtail their usefulness compared to the competition.

The Honor 9 Lite made its debut in the Indian market on 17 January to become the second quad-camera smartphone from the company. It was Honor’s fourth launch after Honor 9i, Honor 7X and Honor View 10 within four odd months. This clearly shows the company’s approach of staying ahead of the competition by making its way to the market early.

Many would question why Honor launched two phones in similar price range -
the Honor 7X and the 9 Lite in such short span. Semms like Honor aims to offer more variety under the most popular price segment, or, the company wants to target specific customers.

The Honor 9 Lite undoubtedly is one of the most popular phones under the 15K price bracket right now, thanks to the four camera setup. But it grabs eyeballs because of its sleek glass design that makes it stand out against the competitors. 

Beauty isn’t enough in a phone, especially when it has to compete against the likes of Mi A1, Redmi Note and Moto G series. It requires serious all-round balance of everything to beat such competition. So, does the Honor 9 Lite 4GB variant have the all-round balance one is looking for? 

Let’s find out in this review. 

Honor 9 Lite price and release date

  • Honor 9 Lite launch prices start from Rs 10,999
Honor 9 Lite specs

Weight: 149g
Dimensions:  151 x 71.9 x 7.6mm
OS: EMUI 8.0 (Android 8.0 Oreo)
Screen size: 5.65 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2160 (18:9 aspect ratio)
CPU: Kirin 659
Storage: 32GB/64GB
Battery: 3,000mAh
Rear camera: 13MP + 2MP
Front camera: 13MP + 2MP

The price for the Honor 9 Lite in India starts from Rs 10,999 for the 32GB variant while users will have to shell out Rs 14,999 for the 64GB variant. The smartphone is available exclusively on Flipkart from 21 January through a flash sale.

Additionally, users will also be able to select between Blue and Black colour options.

The Honor 9 Lite has an impressive design.

The Honor 9 Lite has an impressive design.

Design and display

  • Glass unibody looks premium
  • 5.65-inch Full HD+, 18:9 aspect ratio display

The Honor 9 Lite is made out of glass and metal, that is certainly the most premium looking phone at Rs 10,999. Although the variant we have tested comes at Rs 14,999, but the design remains the same on both. 

The phone follows a similar design as the Honor 9. It has a same glass and metal design language with curved edges. It has no physical navigation buttons on the body, but the round fingerprint sensor is on the back.

The blue variant of the phone looks stunning with that sleek and shiny finish. But glass, as always, is prone to smudges and scratches. So, you have to keep cleaning up your phone to keep it neat.

There's a 2.5D curved glass baked on the front and back, which subtly blends with the curve on the sides. Despite having a slippery body, the back glass sticks to the palm while using. Also, the narrow profile of the phone makes it good for one-handed usage. 

Huawei's EMUI runs on the Honor 9 Lite.

Huawei's EMUI runs on the Honor 9 Lite.

The front of the phone looks neat, thanks to minimal bezels and body colored speaker grill. The display stretches to the extreme edges of the phone, which is another factor that makes the phone look premium. Back is reflective, so much that you can fix your hair by using it like a mirror. 

The Honor 9 Lite feels like a well-built phone in hand, and the feel is nothing less than a flagship. If you look at current phones in this range, you'll probably end up calling the 9 Lite the best among all. But if you are someone who's not fond of blingy design and like it simple, then your opinion might differ. 

Overall, it is a good design to flaunt without spending a lot. It feels solid, key placement makes sense, and all the ports are in place. 

It has dual-cameras on the back and front.

It has dual-cameras on the back and front.

Huawei has done a great job in cramming a 5.65-inch display in a limited space, which automatically chops off extra bezels around the display. Hence, making it look more immersive and catchy.

The FullHD+ (2160x1080 pixels) IPS display provides a great overall experience,  and we found it to be vivid and sharp. It fits 428 pixels per inch in that 18:9 display, which is the reason why details appear sharp and distinctive.

To my surprise, the display produced accurate whites unlike most Honor phones, where display is shadowed by a blue tint. The display offers 570nits of luminescence, which results in great sunlight legibility for a phone of this range. Since it is an IPS LCD panel, it does not match up to the brightness and depth of contrast on an AMOLED panel. 

It allows you to downscale the resolution to 720p, and you can also tweak color temperature accordingly. 

The only issue with 18:9 displays is app compatibility. Most apps and content are available for 16:9 displays, but you can enable full screen from settings to stretch the content. Stretching definitely helps but it also crops some part of the visual. 

Sudhanshu Singh

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.