Honor 9 review

Lacking innovation, but still a great buy

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Battery life

  • Slightly larger battery than the Honor 8 with a 3,200mAh cell
  • Drains battery quite fast if you're using it on full brightness

The Honor 9 features a slightly larger battery than the Honor 8, with a 3,200mAh cell upgraded from the 3,000mAh cell on last year’s device.

Combined with a more power-efficient chipset we found battery life on the Honor 9 to be better than average.

It’s not revolutionary, but it will last you a full day with ease, and we generally found ourselves with around 10% left when we put the phone on charge at night.

Playing audio over Bluetooth in particular took a lot of battery compared to other phones and if you’re planning to use your Honor 9 on full brightness, be warned – we found that drained the battery quickly too, so you’ll be better off using the auto brightness mode.

During our battery test where we run a 90 minute video clip at full brightness the Honor 9 did surprisingly poorly dropping 17% of its battery, but that's improved upon the Honor 8 that lost 20%.

There isn’t any innovative charging technology here, but there is Honor’s fast charging, so you’ll be able to charge your phone from zero to 100% in around two hours.

Sadly Honor hasn’t opted for wireless charging on the Honor 9, and that’s something that could have easily been implemented here, given the glass back.


  • Dual-lens camera on the back that allows for interesting wide aperture shots
  • It includes a 20MP black and white sensor and 12MP color sensor

On the rear of the Honor 9 sits the dual-lens rear camera, which features a 20MP sensor working in tandem with a 12MP shooter.

The 20MP sensor is monochrome – which means it only shoots in black and white – while the 12MP sensor is RGB, so takes color images. The phone can take photos using both sensors, and combine the images.

Watch the video below to see our best Honor 9 camera tips and tricks

The 20MP black and white sensor is used to capture more detail in your images, and this is a system Honor has used on the Honor 8 and various Huawei phones too.

During our time with the Honor 9 we found it could take some fantastic photos. Images appeared bright and sharp. You can also shoot purely in black and white within the settings, but you won’t get the benefit of both lenses when you do that.

Despite using two cameras in tandem, the Honor 9 still manages to take photos fast and accurately with relatively little chance of you blurring the image.

The dual-lens setup also allows for a variety of other modes such as wide aperture mode, which allows you to shoot an object in the foreground and make the background super blurry.

This feature doesn't prove useful in every scenario but there are some photos you take where you want to focus the image on a particular object and it works well. 

It allows you to create some very artful images, especially when you’re taking selfies and want to focus on the subject in the foreground. A big benefit of the wide aperture mode is it allows you to shoot and then edit the photos afterward, which a lot of other phones offering similar features won’t allow you to do.

Unlike the Huawei P10, however, the Honor 9 doesn’t come with optical image stabilization, which means you’re less likely to get great low-light shots, and you may struggle a little when shooting video.

It’s a bit of a pain if you like to shoot a lot of video, but then you’re saving a lot of money by buying the Honor 9 here.

For video you can shoot in anything up to 4K, but we found it to be a stuttery affair – so if you’re hoping to shoot some professional-looking video with the Honor 9 you’ll want to buy a tripod as well to stop that shaky feeling.

As well as all the extra modes you’d expect, Honor has included a fun section called 3D Creator, which allows you to make emoticon versions of your friends by shooting around their face.

You can then dress them up, make them dance and do a variety of different options, and it’s fun to play around with.

Another cool mode you can try out on the Honor 9 is 3D Panorama, which enables you to spin around and take a photo that you can then scroll around on your phone.

Camera samples

Watch our video below to learn more about dual-cameras. 

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.