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Honor 9i Review – Great Display, Great Selfies, Great Price

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Honor brought a smartphone with 4 cameras and this is the company’s first smartphone with quad cameras and edge-to-edge display. So far, we have seen dual-camera smartphones, either on the front side or on the back side, Honor 9i comprises of both in a new bezel-less type design. Surprisingly, the package cost ₹17,999 covering the selfie smartphone tag, dual rears cameras, a decent hardware, and an edge-to-edge screen which sounds very interesting. Let’s look up at the Honor 9i review.

honor-9i-1

What’s in the box

  • Honor 9i with built-in battery
  • Micro USB cable
  • Charger
  • User Manuals & Warranty Information
  • SIM tray ejector pin

Honor 9i Specifications

  • Display: 5.9-inch FullView IPS display, 18:9 aspect ratio, Full-HD+ resolution (2160 x 1080 pixels), 2.5D curved glass
  • Software: EMUI 5.1 based on Android 7.0 Nougat
  • Security: Fingerprint scanner, on the back, gesture-based
  • CPU: 2.36 GHz octa-core processor, Kirin 659 SoC
  • GPU: ARM Mali-T830 MP2
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM, LPDDR3
  • Main Camera: Dual cameras (16 MP + 2 MP) with single LED flash
  • Selfie Camera: Dual cameras (13 MP + 2 MP) with Toning Flash
  • Storage: 64 GB internal, microSD card support
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, Dual SIM (GSM), microSD on SIM2
  • Connectivity: micro USB port, 3.5 mm headphones port, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Colors: Aurora Blue, Graphite Black, and Prestige Gold
  • Battery: 3,340 mAh
  • Price: ₹17,999
  • Availability: October 14, Flipkart exclusive

Design, Build & Ergonomics

The 5.5-inch smartphones are too mainstream nowadays, a large screen with 18:9 display is something new in the smartphone market and Honor 9i has it. The Honor 9i flaunts a 5.9-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio protected by a 2.5D curved scratch-resistant glass. The top and the bottom bezels are compressed to gain more space, while the side bezels are extremely minimal, that’s where the display looks flashy and appealing.

While looking at the Honor 9i, the design is quite similar to the flagship Honor 8 Pro, but the rear camera bump is just unpleasant, protruding edges on the rear camera don’t look much good on it. The overall design is attractive, clad in a metallic unibody with 83% screen-to-body ratio.

The quad cameras, which is the USP of this phone, are a deal breaker. The front and rear camera, both shoot photos with bokeh effects or you can say depth-of-field effects. The selfie camera includes a dual-camera setup (13 MP + 2 MP) with Toning flash while the main camera also includes a dual camera setup (16 MP + 2 MP) with LED flash.

Front Honor Branding Removed To Get More Screen Space

The specs are also compelling, the Honor 9i packs a midrange hardware. An octa-core Kirin 659 SoC accompanied by 4 GB of RAM LPDDR3 type, a Mali-T830 MP2 GPU, and a large 64 GB internal storage that expands further via microSD card. On the battery side, it is powered by a 3,340 mAh battery.

The type-C port, however, could be provided, it has a standard micro USB connection at the bottom. Also, a 3.5 mm headphones port and loudspeakers with a microphone reside at the bottom. Top just carries a microphone while the right side holds power and volume keys. We found that the SIM tray is hybrid, so you can use it as a dual 4G SIM phone or single SIM if you want to make use of the microSD slot that takes out the SIM2 slot.

Display

One of the main features of the phone is its display, having a 5.9-inch IPS screen with 18:9 aspect ratio makes the phone taller better for viewing. This is the first smartphone from Honor that comes with minimalist bezels screen. With a 5.9-inch screen, it still has the crisp, it comes with a Full HD+ resolution i.e. 2160 x 1080p. Under the display enhancements, you can set the color temperature, viewing mode, text size, eye comfort and others.

On the side note, Honor 9i will prompt you to fit the app to cover the full screen and it usually crops the app from the side, take a look at the game that has been cropped. There are many apps that aren’t supporting the 18:9 aspect ratio and due to it you can’t fully utilize the full screen, you will see the black bars on the top and the bottom. Fortunately, apps like YouTube can offer you full viewing experience and in the coming time, more apps will support the 18:9 aspect ratio.

Full Screen Crops App

Software & User Interface

The Honor 9i runs on custom made EMUI 5.1 OS based on Android 7.0 Nougat. When we talk about the EMUI software, it packs a punch. The latest security patch on the phone is dated 1st September 2017. While we are not sure when will the Android Oreo update arrive, there’s no word on it. The OS about a year old and only a few smartphones have moved to Oreo update.

EMUI has quite simple to use, there’s no app drawer on the homescreen but you can bring back from the settings and change the layout. It also isn’t much different from its previous generations, the Honor 8 Pro has the same user interface and is loaded with features like multi-window, App Twin, One-hand mode, Health app and many are integrated along with multiple gestures support. Honor 9i comes with the same features.

The fingerprint scanner on the back support gestures like swiping the finger to bring the notification panel, take selfies, browse the images in the gallery, receive calls, and stop the alarm. Scanning works pretty quick, the Honor 9i has a fast fingerprint scanner.

Hardware, Performance, & Gaming

Moving to the hardware on the Honor 9i, it packs a new Kirin chip underneath. The Kirin 659 is an improved version of the old 16nm Kirin 650 SoC that we saw in the Honor 8 Lite and Honor 6X. It has a higher CPU clock rate, however, the overall performance remains the same according to the benchmarks. We got the very identical numbers in our tests. About the chip, the Kirin 659 packs a 2.36 GHz octa-core Cortex A-53 processor with 4 GB LPDDR3 RAM and a 64 GB eMMC internal storage.

When we checked the benchmarks, we can say the performance of the hardware is equivalent to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 as well as the old Kirin 650. Compared to the Kirin 650, the GPU performance is greatly increased while the CPU performance is a tad higher in the benchmarks. This doesn’t affect the real-world scenarios.

AnTuTu scored 63,151 points in the benchmark, Geekbench 4 scored 916 points, 3,396 points, and 3075 points in single-CPU, multi-CPU, and GPU respectively.

AnTuTu Benchmark

  • 63,151 points

Geekbench 4

  • 916 points (single-core CPU)
  • 3,396 points (multi-core CPU)
  • 3,075 points (GPU)

Quadrant Standard Edition

  • 22,619 points

While you can say the Honor 9i is a camera phone and multimedia device, it can also run many decent games without any problems. However, if you are a huge fan of gaming and heavy games is what your requirement, you must look a device with better hardware. The Mali-T830 MP2 is good for gaming but not the best. The gameplay wasn’t smooth on Sky Force Reload, the other two – Need For Speed No Limits and Shadow Fight 3 ran good.

Games Tested on Samsung Galaxy Honor 9i

  • Sky Force Reload
  • Need For Speed No Limits
  • Shadow Fight 3
Need For Speed No Limits

Temperatures remain intact when it’s idle (30 degrees). On gaming or heavy loads, it reaches up to 40 degrees which may get the device warm a little, but it’s not something that’s described as heating. The temperatures are safe here.

Reaches Up To 40 Degrees On Load (HW Monitor Pro)

Storage & Memory

THe Honor 9i comes with a 64 GB eMMC internal storage which can be further expanded up to 256 GB va microSD. The total RAM on the phone is 3.64 GB (4 GB typical) and the RAM usage crosses 50% leaving about 1.8 GB RAM free for use.

The storage performance on the Honor 9i is fast when we compare it with the other midrange devices in the given price bracket. We performed storage benchmarks on the following apps – A1 SD Bench and AndroBench and here are the results.

A1 SD Bench

  • 213.31 MB/s (Read)
  • 231.09 MB/s (Write)
  • 6,327.73 MB/s (RAM Copy)

AndroBench

  • 301.24 MB/s (Sequential Read)
  • 195.89 MB/s (Sequential Write)
  • 69.39 MB/s (Random Read)
  • 27.71 MB/s (Random Write)

Cameras

The most important part of the device is the camera. The four cameras – two on the front side and two on the rear side camera, both have the power to capture depth-of-field photographs. Talking about the specs of the camera, the front equips a 13 MP + 2 MP dual cameras with Toning flash while the back side carries a 16 MP + 2 MP dual cameras with a single LED flash.

Honor 9i Camera Specifications

  • Camera: Dual cameras (16 MP + 2 MP) with single LED flash
  • Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): N/A
  • Rear Flash: Single LED
  • Features: Geo-tagging, Tap to Focus, Depth-of-field, Live Photos, HDR, Pro Photo, Beauty, Night Shot, Panorama, Good Food, Light Painting, Time-lapse, Beauty Video, Pro Video, Slow Motion, Watermark, Audio note, Color Filters, Burst Shot
  • Video Recording: Up to 1080p video @30fps, Slow Motion 480p @120fps
  • Front Camera: Dual cameras (13 MP + 2 MP)
  • Video Recording: 720p video @30fps
  • Front Flash: Yes, Toning Flash
Rear Camera Interface
Front Camera Interface

With the high demand for selfie smartphones in recent times, the company puts up its Honor 9i in the selfie segment. It can take out many smartphones in the selfie department. The main rivals here are the Vivo V7+ and OPPO F5 and we can say it can pretty much stack up against the competition, Honor 9i also takes beautiful selfies with bokeh effect.

As for a fact, Honor devices have a great camera support, loaded with plenty of camera features like Depth-of-field, Live Photos, Splash effect, Pro Video, Night Shot, Food Mode, and many others, it can easily squeeze the competition when it comes to the camera features.

The rear camera takes portraits as well with its dual cameras. The good thing here is that you can set the blur amount after the photos are been taken. The Live Photos is another thing that you can take on both the cameras. The downside here is that the main camera can’t shoot 4K videos rather shoots 1080p videos @30fps and captures slow motion videos at 480p resolution @120fps.

Here are the samples that you need to check out. Have a look.

Honor 9i Camera Samples

Battery Runtime

As for the battery life, Honor 9i offers long lasting battery life. We got about 3 days usage on minimal use while it can last 2 days on average usage, the battery size is 3,340 mAh. The power saving modes can be handy when you want to save a little extra. Above moderate use or heavy use can still last the phone a day on a single charge.

Honor 9i Battery Test Results

Apps/GamesBattery usedRuntimeBrightnessWireless
1080p Video2%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
4K Video4%20 minutesAutoOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
YouTube (1080p)3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Sky Force Reload4%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Need For Speed No Limits5%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Music (Offline)1%1 HourScreen OffOff (Wi-Fi, GPS, Data)
Music (Online) -
SoundCloud
2%30 minutesScreen OffOn (Wi-Fi)
Facebook3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)
Instagram3%20 minutesAutoOn (Wi-Fi)

Verdict

Honor 9i is just as snappy and compelling in the midrange segment, no wonder it takes photographs with bokeh effects on either side, take selfies or portraits, it has got everything backed up on both sides. Its wide 18:9 display can catch up with the content gaining a better viewing experience for multimedia fans. The overall package is magnificent, its minimalist bezel display, quad cameras, metallic design, decent hardware and featured EMUI software are the things that can’t be challenged when it comes to price. The Honor 9i is the deal breaker, it has all that it needs to be.

Rivals

Strength

  • Large Full HD+ Display With 18:9 Aspect Ratio
  • Quad Cameras (Front Dual & Rear Dual Cameras Both Snap Bokeh Effect Photographs)
  • Mind-Boggling Selfies
  • Sleek Metallic Design
  • Great Battery Life
  • Gesture-Based Fingerprint Scanner
  • Value For Money

Weakness

  • Lacks 4K Video Recording

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