comscore Honor 9i review: A smartphone trying to be perfect
Review

Honor 9i review: A smartphone trying to be perfect

While overall the Honor 9i performs decently, it is tough to overlook its shortcomings.

honor-9i-review-2

Honor 9i 3.5 5
BGR Rating :
3.5/5

A 5.9-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. A dual-camera setup at the front and back. Premium looking design. And a nearly-budget price tag. When you see a phone like that, it is fair to be impressed, mostly because it tries to offer more for less. While that part is true for the Honor 9i, there is more than what meets the eye. I spent over a week using the new Honor 9i as my primary device, and here’s our full review. Also Read - Jio 5G service: Reliance Jio, Intel partner to develop 5G network for India

My first impressions of the Honor 9i, which I received on the day of the launch last week, was fairly good. The smartphone looks good, has an impressive set of cameras and a large screen. All of this had me believe that the device could well enough threaten the reign of the some of the leading devices of 2017. However, my review of the device, didn’t entirely imitate my first impressions. Therefore, because my time with the device was divided in the good and bad of what it offers, that’s how I am going to go ahead with this review, listing the pros and cons of the Honor 9i. Also Read - Honor phones to come with Google Mobile Services: Report

Pros

A large display, with just the right colors Also Read - Honor Band 6 takes on Redmi Watch in India, gets listed on Flipkart

To begin with, the first thing that catches your attention when you look at an Honor 9i is its display. It features a 5.9-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio, a 2.5D curved glass, 83 percent screen-to-body ratio, and it is Honor’s first smartphone with the larger 18:9 screen that is currently in vogue. Also contributing to its large screen are the narrow bezels on the sides of the screen, with narrow non-screen space at the top and bottom.

The display is incredibly sharp with a resolution of 2160×1080 pixels. The brightness of the display gets a little too much sometimes, but for that it has an eye comfort mode, which the company introduced with the Honor 8 Pro. This essentially adjusts the blue light tint of the display, when you use the device on full brightness. Other than that, the colors in the display are pretty accurate, and the sharpness is just right. I found that the display produces good white and black levels, there’s no fading or bluish-black tint. Contrast between colors is impressive too.

honor-9i-review

The ambient light sensor of the Honor 9i works well as well. Personally, I get very easily irked when a phone gets the optimum brightness level wrong. But this one almost always gets the brightness level right depending on the ambient light conditions I’m in.

Further, despite the large screen the usability of the Honor 9i isn’t hampered. The display of the device has a full screen fit or a centre-fit view; you can select either as per your comfort. I found the full screen fit most comfortable. Naturally a 5.9-inch large screen isn’t the easiest to hold and use in one hand, but surprisingly, the Honor 9i’s UI caters to people with tiny hands like mine too. Though ideally I would want to type with both hands (that’s the case with any smartphone), but the option for one-hand usability remains quite open with this one.

The good parts of the Honor 9i camera

Now this is one feature which is both a pro and a con on this device. Let me discuss the pros first. The Honor 9i sports two dual-camera setups – one at the front and one at the back. At the front is a combination of a 13-megapixel sensor and a 2-megapixel one with selfie flash and bokeh mode. More features include 120-degree lighting angle and gesture activated selfies. At the rear there’s a setup of a 16-megapixel and a 2-megapixel camera.

For starters, I was impressed by the device’s flash photography at night. I compared Honor 9i’s shots taken inside a dark club to those on my iPhone 6S, and the Honor 9i was the clear winner. The flash is strong, and hits the subject just right. The pictures at night are bright and nicely composed. Day shots as well are crisp, with colors that are captured well. Morning photography will not disappoint you either. Even the front camera for that matter, is impressive both with and without the flash. Macro photography is a lot sharper with the Honor 9i because of its bokeh mode.

IMG_20171006_125633 IMG_20171006_125544 IMG_20171005_231732 IMG_20171008_204249 IMG_20171006_132405 IMG_20171006_130543 IMG_20171017_200221 IMG_20171017_200145

 

IMG_20171006_125703

Battery

Like I mentioned, I used the Honor 9i as my primary device for over a week. Which meant that social media apps like Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Messenger, were running at all times. Also active were my work apps such as Gmail and Slack. I was using Android Auto frequently as well. The Gaana app played for at least an hour every day. And I was playing Asphalt Xtreme for testing, but not every day.

With all of those apps running, the Honor 9i gave me a backup of about 12 hours, which is decent since the phone was being used heavily. Each morning I would start using the device at about 6:00AM, and I would be down to 5 percent by around 7:30PM. I also noticed that after 5 percent, the fall in the device’s battery is dramatic. You barely have another 15 minutes before the battery dies completely. Naturally, low use would keep the phone going on standby for much longer, but higher screen time tends to sap the energy out of the phone quickly.

honor-9i-review-6

Cons

The Honor 9i, especially with its Rs 17,999 price tag, has a bunch of features that one would only expect out of a premium device. Now, while the device impresses at some places with these features, it feels like it is becoming too big for its shoes, if I may say so. My experience with the device was decent overall, but I also saw a fair share of issues with the device.

Performs well but isn’t free of lags

The overall performance of the Honor 9i did not exactly disappoint me. In fact, running it on the benchmark test, it performed well, with a score of 62,173 on Antutu, which is comparable to the performance of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 that powers the popular Xiaomi Redmi Note 4, and the Moto G5s Plus. However, it wasn’t entirely free of issues either.

honor-9i-review-3

Like I mentioned before, using the Honor 9i as my primary device meant, all my social media accounts were almost always active. I have parallel conversations on Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp with my friends sometimes, and such instances happened while I was using the Honor 9i. And that’s when I noticed that a frequent back and forth between these apps slowed down the device. My Snapchat and Instagram app crashed a number of times. For that matter, there was this peculiar issue that I faced with my Snapchat that I could receive and view videos on my app, but when I sent it out, they only saw a frozen image with the audio playing in the background.

Also, a few days into using the Honor 9i, I gathered that the notifications were being delayed. I ensured that the background data was switched on, so that wasn’t causing the lag. But a couple of times I noticed that my app notifications came a minute or two late. And I wouldn’t blame this on my internet connection, because I have been using the same Wi-Fi every day when using my iPhone, and so does my family for their phones, and such an issue has never been faced.

Glitches in the UI

Another problem I faced was in the device’s UI. While most of it is smooth and interactive, the pull down control panel has a glitch. You’ll know that pulling the drawer down once reveals the basics such as Wi-Fi, data, vibration, auto-rotate etc shortcuts in the first row, followed by options like airplane mode, torch, and screenshot in the second row. Below these sit the notifications. On occasions, when I pulled the drawer down to switch the torch on, it would get stuck just at the first row. I removed all notifications, if that was causing it to get stuck that way, but that didn’t help. I had to lock and unlock a few times, to be able to use it they way it should.

The bad bits of the Honor 9i camera

Moving to the camera of the device, it has bunch of good qualities and they are deniable. But this is where we think the phone gets too big for its shoes. It features two dual-camera setup, but it feels like it didn’t do it well. To begin with the front camera, it has a 13-megapixel and 2-megapixel sensor, and the highlight is the bokeh effect that it offers. The non-portrait mode is great however, while pictures taken with the bokeh on look artificial and definitely not good. The “beauty mode” is so strong on the front camera, that it just clears the skin out, and does not look natural. That is not good photography, and establishes false beauty standards.

Further, while the rear camera does great with flash, the night shots are a bit hazy when taken without flash. The blacks are a bit grey-ish, and if you zoom a night shot even a bit, the pixels look broken and noisy. I have shared a few pictures I took with this phone above and below, and you will know what I mean when you see how this phone’s camera has its own pros and cons.

IMG_20171016_212955 IMG_20171016_213031

Verdict

Gathering my thoughts, the phone is good on the whole, but it is not free of the little problems which can be irksome for many. Personally, other than the notification delay, I had no significant problems with the Honor 9i. Though Rs 17,999 for a smartphone with a full view and four cameras sounds like value for money, it may make sense to consider the Xiaomi Mi A1 or Moto G5s Plus as well, which are available for a little less than the Honor 9i. While these phones don’t have the 18:9 screen, there are other ways where these phones are a bit better. However, if screen is important to you, the Honor 9i will make for a good smartphone at under Rs 20,000.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: October 19, 2017 9:00 AM IST


You Might be Interested

Honor 9i

17999

Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1
Kirin 659 Octa-Core Processor
16MP + 2MP

new arrivals in india

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Tecno Spark 6 Go
Tecno Spark 6 Go

8,499

Vivo V20 2021
Vivo V20 2021

24,990

Vivo Y20A
Vivo Y20A

11,490

Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G9 Power
Motorola Moto G9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G 5G
Motorola Moto G 5G

20,999

Vivo V20 Pro
Vivo V20 Pro

29,990

Xiaomi Mi 10T
Xiaomi Mi 10T

35,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9i
Xiaomi Redmi 9i

8,299

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

39,999

Infinix Hot 10
Infinix Hot 10

9,999

Vivo V20 SE
Vivo V20 SE

20,990

Vivo V20
Vivo V20

24,990

Micromax In 1b
Micromax In 1b

6,999

Micromax In Note 1
Micromax In Note 1

10,999

OnePlus 8T
OnePlus 8T

42,999

Samsung Galaxy F41
Samsung Galaxy F41

15,499

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

1,29,900

Apple iPhone 12 Pro
Apple iPhone 12 Pro

1,19,900

Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Apple iPhone 12 Mini

69,900

Apple iPhone 12
Apple iPhone 12

79,900

Poco X3
Poco X3

16,999

Realme Narzo 20A
Realme Narzo 20A

8,499

Realme Narzo 20
Realme Narzo 20

10,499

Realme Narzo 20 Pro
Realme Narzo 20 Pro

13,999

Oppo F17
Oppo F17

16,990

Samsung Galaxy M51
Samsung Galaxy M51

22,999

Poco M2
Poco M2

10,999

Oppo F17 Pro
Oppo F17 Pro

22,990

Realme 7 Pro
Realme 7 Pro

19,999

Realme 7
Realme 7

14,999

Best Sellers