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Review: Honor 9

Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has a new flagship. The Honor 9 smartphone was launched recently on the market with much fanfare. The overall specs of the device will match the ones on the Mate 9 and the P10 – both awesome smartphones from Huawei.

The Honor 9 is one of the most affordable phones that looks, feels and acts like a top-end mobile. The overall look and feel, and the build quality is truly brilliant. Huawei has used a multi-layered approach when constructing the Honor 9.

The body reacts to light and makes it shine. The Honor 9 also comes with a proper curved glass on its back, which gives it a very smooth feel. In terms of colour choices, you get two – Glacier Grey and Sapphire Blue. The one we received for a test drive was the blue variant.

On the front, the phone features a 5.15-inch touchscreen display. It offers a resolution of 1080-by-1920 pixels at a PPI of 428 pixels per inch. Immediately below the display, you will find the fingerprint scanner.

There’s Gorilla Glass 3 on its front and back, and aluminium coated to match the colour of the rest of the phone on the sides. Above the display up top, you get an 8-megapixel camera for all your selfies.

On the left edge, you get a SIM tray that accepts either dual nano SIMs or a single nano SIM and a micro SD card. On the right, you get the volume rocker and a power button.

On the top edge of the Honor 9, you get a microphone along with the IR blaster, which is a welcome addition. On the bottom of the device, you will find the 3.5mm audio jack and the USB-C port.

Flip the phone around and you come face to face with the dual camera setup. It is not the LEICA setup you usually see on Huawei’s Mate and P series, but it still is a dual lens camera system.

The dual camera system includes a 20-megapixel monochrome lens and a 12-megapixel RGB lens. This camera setup is to ensure that you end up with good looking picture irrespective of the lighting conditions. The lens also offer up to to 2x hybrid zoom.

The Honor 9 is powered by 1.8GHz octa-core Kirin 960 processor. It comes with 4GB of RAM. The phone also accompanies 64GB of internal storage. This can be expanded to up to 256GB, using a microSD card.

The device runs Android 7.0 Nougat OS with Huawei’s Emotion UI 5.1 on top of it. The phone weighs just 155 grams. With such a spec sheet, we were impressed by the overall performance of the device. The load times were tiny and we never experienced a hint of lag no matter what we threw at it during our time using the phone.

We ran AnTuTu and Geekbench benchmarks to test out the performance of the Honor 9 and we came away surprised and impressed. On the AnTuTu Benchmark, the Honor 9 was able to score 121795 points.

On Geekbench, the Honor 9 was able to score 1869 in Single-Core tests and 6016 points in Multi-Core tests.

The scores above indicate that the Honor 9 is an able smartphone that can offer you good value for money in terms of performing as your primary phone on a daily basis. The Honor 9 uses a 3,200mAh battery, and we were able to get a battery life of 1.5 days on a single charge.

The biggest strength go the Honor 9 is its photography capabilities. The dual camera system worked wonders, under any lighting condition to come up with good looking pictures. Even under low light conditions, I was satisfied with the end result.

Apart from the standard modes such as HDR and Panorama, Honor 9 also comes with a full manual mode. This mode offers greater control over ISO, exposure and shutter speed. It also comes with a special shallow depth-of-field mode.

Other modes include night shot, time-lapse, slow-mo, and watermark. Huawei has also included the light painting mode, which is also found on the P10 and Mate 9. With it you can capture light trails created by things like moving cars, or the stars in the sky.

The Honor 9 is possibly one of the best mid-range smartphone out there on the market, coming in at a price point of AED 1599. It certainly ticks a lot of the right boxes: great performance, dual cameras, sleek design, and an IR blaster. The Honor 9 thus walks away with the Review Central Editors’ Choice award!

Price: AED 1599

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