Huawei is one of the most recognisable brands in the world. They have their roots set up in almost every tech sector of the industry, starting from internet solutions to smartphones, Huawei has it all covered. Surprisingly, only a few know this but Huawei is also Asia Pacific’s largest OEM smartphone manufacturer and the Third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world. Despite it, Huawei hasn’t really seen a great deal of success probably because of their unavailability in many markets and a general lack of advertisement. Plus most of their previous devices sported nothing noteworthy, and it wasn’t until 2016, they Huawei started to make some big splashes across the industry.
Huawei has been on a roll recently with some very astonishing devices spread across many price segments. Their flagship, the Mate 10 is one such device that boasts of an impressive design and top of the line specifications and along with that, their sister company, Honor which caters mainly to the mid-range segments, has seemed some exponential growth too. The Huawei Honor 9i is a result of their success, and it is already available in many markets across the globe. We are going to have a spec teardown of the device and see how it holds up to the competition.
Design and Display:
The Huawei Honor 9i is an impressive looking device alright. I might as well say that it is the best-looking device in the Rs.20000 price bracket. It sports of an Aluminium build which feels really light to hold and yet give the device a solid in-hand feel. The device has the 2.5D glass treatment all around which gives it nice rounded edges. The rear of the device has dual cameras, a fingerprint sensor, and the usual Honor branding. What I really love about the device is that the design really comes together as one of the most balanced among all the devices available at this price segment. On the downside, the device can be had in three colors namely Prestige Gold, Graphite Black and Aurora Blue -all of them incredibly good with the device.
The Honor 9i uses a 5.9 inch LCD IPS panel for its display. It has a resolution of 1080×2160 pixels and a general pixel density of 409ppi. The impressive thing about the display is that it might be the best display that we can come across in the sub-20k price bracket. No other phone even comes close to its display quality in the given price bracket. The colours are well saturated and lifelike and also the sunlight visibility is top notch. Kudos to Huawei here!
The Huawei Honor 9i is loaded with a new SoC called the Kirin 659. It is a mid-range Octa-Core Soc that features 8x Cortex A53 cores, split into two 4 core clusters of 2.3GHz and 1.7GHz. This architecture helps maximise battery efficiency as well as improve performance when needed. The Kirin SoC’ are made by Huawei themselves and tuned specifically to adapt to changing workloads of a user. The general performanceof the device is good, but it takes a hit when it comes to gaming. The dual core Mali T-830 MP2 struggles to handle demanding games like Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5 at high settings. Other than that, there are no noticeable lags in the day to day activities, and the whole experience is near flawless.
The biggest gripe for all Huawei phones is their UI. Huawei uses a highly skinned version of the Android 7.1 interface called the EMUI 5.1 which as far as custom UI’s go, is a hit or miss affair. It looks utterly cartoonish, and I wish Huawei adopted a cleaner look like the MiUi or even stock android. Feature wise, the EMUI is loaded with all sorts of customisation options like themes, menu orientations, widgets and so on. Huawei has also done some clever tweaks to the system and added a ton of nifty tweaks. My favourite is the Wi-Fi bridging, which allows you to use your phone like a router and let other devices share the Wi-Fi. It’s an awesome feature that helps if you don’t want others knowing your Wi-Fi password.
Camera and Storage:
The Honor9i has perhaps the most doubled-edged sword when it comes to cameras among any other smartphones. It has a quad camera setup, a first for any smartphone in this budget. It has dual camera setups, both at the rear and the front. The idea is that you can take selfies with the bokeh effect both front and rear. The rear has a 16MP primary with a 2MP depth-sensing camera, and it’s pretty much the same story at the front because the primary shooter is a 13MP shooter coupled with a similar 2MP depth sensor. But does more cameras equate to better pictures? You bet!
The Camera is one of the best things about this device apart from the screen. I don’t think that there is another smartphone camera in this price segment that even comes remotely close to what the Huawei 9i delivers in terms of sheer image quality. The images are jam-packed with details and the colours are very natural. However, the reason that I called it a doubled edged because despite its awesomeness, it cannot record 4k videos and actual video recording is capped at 1080p.
As far as storage goes, well you have 64GB of storage on board, and it can be expanded with the hybrid sim slot to 256GB.
Well, the 9i packs in a 3300mAh battery in its body. It’s a decent capacity and should see you through the day with moderate usage. But beware that there is no fast charging for this puppy and even charging up the battery takes about 3 hours from 5%.
I really like the 9i; it’s a decent all-round device that does what it advertises without a hitch. What’s my biggest gripe about it is that Huawei had the opportunity to make the perfect device under 20K and they held back, instead focusing on individual components to cover up some glaring flaws that plaque the device. The Huawei Honor 9i price in India is Rs.18999, and for the price, its chief rival the Mi A1 provides a much more balanced configuration.