Software and UI
- Android 8.0 Oreo based EMUI 8.0
- Full of features
Honor 9 Lite comes with Android Oreo out-of-the-box with Honor’s custom EMUI 8.0 on top. It is a highly customisable skin that allows you to enable or disable app drawer, tweak animations, use themes and more. Android Oreo also brings additional features like picture-in picture, smart text select, deeper notification management and more.
Swiping right on the home screen takes you to Google Now. Swiping over on-screen navigation keys shrinks the screen to launch one handed mode.
It also has some nifty features like WiFi + that switches between networks, depending on which one is stronger. Huawei share lets you share data over WiFi, more or less like AirDrop in Apple or Mi Drop in Xiaomi.
EMUI 8.0 brings host of features and customisation options. Having said that, the UI is heavy and it is nowhere close to stock Android. There are a bunch of pre-loaded apps including a music player, gallery app, mail app and more Huawei suite of apps. While you can remove some apps and games, there are many that cannot be uninstalled.
So there are some good really interesting features on the phone but it's full of bloatware. Also, the heavy overlay of design and animation tend to slow the phone eventually.
Performance and specs
- Kirin 659 processor performs well throughout a day
- 3GB/4GB RAM and 32GB/64GB internal storage
The Honor 9 Lite is powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 659 chipset, which has been a standard in the new mid-range phones from the company. The phone has a 3GB and a 4GB RAM variants with 32GB and 64GB storage respectively.
In real world usage, the phone performed decently. Initially, we tried opening more than 16 apps in a go, and the phone handled it effortlessly.
Games like Asphalt 8 or Modern Combat 5 run without a hiccup. There's hardly any sign of heating, but we noticed occasional lags while scrolling through Facebook wall, and switching between and launching a few apps.
In my overall usage, the phone was pretty snappy. It is well optimised, boots quickly, runs all popular apps without a hiccup, and unlocks quickly.
We must note that the review is for the 4GB variant, but the 3GB variant may show different results. It may slow down sooner than the 4GB variant but it's evident that it'll feel fluid out of the box.
If you are looking for a phone under Rs 11,000, the Honor 9 Lite is a great option. There’s no other phone that can offer such premium design, latest software and a decent quad-camera setup at this price. But the 4GB variant gets to face some competiton from the Mi A1, which is better than the Honor 9 Lite in many ways. The 4GB variant is not a bad phone but it seems a little expensive considering the flaws it has. The battery life isn’t great and the rear camera performance isn’t exciting either. If you can wait, then you must watch out for the successor of the Redmi Note 4 in this range.
Who’s it for?
The Honor 9 Lite is best suited for those who need a phone that looks too good for its price without any compromises. It is a decent package of all features overall, but not the best if battery life is a concern.