Honor 9 Lite review

A stylish phone at a great price

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It's clear where Honor cut corners when putting together the Honor 9 Lite: performance isn't outstanding, and the rear camera is okay, but not great, especially in the basic auto mode. It's equally clear where Honor focused its attention: this is the best-looking sub-£200 phone around right now.

The Honor 9 Lite's screen is exceptional, bringing 18:9 to a lower price bracket than we've seen in the UK to date. The phone also has a fingerprint scanner and a great selfie camera, as well as the latest version of Android.

While certainly not perfect then, the Honor 9 Lite strikes an excellent price/performance balance. It's also further evidence that Honor seriously gets the mid-range market, flooding it with great phones across price points from £199 through to £449.

Who’s this for?

Anyone who wants a phone that does the basics well and which doesn't cost the earth will be well served by the Honor 9 Lite.

It's also an excellent stop-gap option for anyone who wants a SIM-free Android phone to tide them over until their next big upgrade, whether that’s a Samsung Galaxy S9 or a Huawei P20.

If you're a teenager, or if you're buying for a teenager, the Honor 9 Lite is a great balance of value and function, not to mention a capable selfie phone, ideal for social media.

The manual modes also make the 9 Lite a good introduction to manual photography – pair it with a mobile tripod, fire up the manual modes and you'll be able to get some great snaps.

This definitely isn't a phone for hardcore gamers owing to the lack of power under the hood, but for casual content watchers and Netflix streamers it's a decent buy.

Should you buy it?

In a word, yes, if you don't need a flagship phone.

If you're more serious about gaming, however, stump up the extra for a phone with a bit more power under the hood like the Moto G5 Plus.

But, if you want the best screen and design for the price, the Honor 9 Lite fits the bill. It looks sleek, has all the ports you need and offers extensive shooting modes that save the camera from mediocrity if you're prepared to go manual every now and then.

The Honor 9 Lite is a great phone for the money, but the following three handsets are decent alternatives.

Honor 7X

The Honor 9 Lite’s most obvious competition is the Honor 7X, the next bump up in Honor’s range. Coming in at £269.99, it packs a bigger screen, a better camera and double the storage, not to mention a more premium all-metal body.

Though it also has some of the same flaws, including middling performance and slow charging.

Moto G5 Plus

For around the same price as the Honor 9 Lite, you can pick up a Moto G5 Plus. This offers more power under the hood, but a less elegant design, and none of the front camera effects the 9 Lite brings to the table.

Nokia 6

The Nokia 6 is also available for £199 at the moment, offering stereo speakers, a more traditional screen aspect ratio, and a much more stock Android experience, though the battery life leaves a little to be desired.

First reviewed: March 2018

Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is the Head of content at Make Honey and freelance technology journalist. He is an experienced writer and producer and is skilled in video production, and runs the technology YouTube channel TechEdit.