The Honor 9i comes with a modern 18:9 display, slim bezels, and metal build but the pièce de résistance is the quad camera. The quad camera is supposed to improve your selfie and photography game.
Apart from the quad camera, the Honor 9i is basically the Honor 7x with the same internals. It sells for Rs.17,999 and comes in just one variant the 4GB/ 64GB one.
Let us see if the quad cameras make a difference in picture quality or are they just a gimmicky addition.
- Screen size - 5.93 inches
- Resolution - 2160 * 1080
- 10 finger support
- IPS 2.5 D
Hardware and Software
- Kirin 659 Processor
- 4GB RAM
- 64 GB Internal Storage
- EMUI 5.1 (Android 7.0) with 5th October 2017 Security patch
Connectivity & Expandability
- 4G Volte
- Bluetooth v4.1
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
- 2 nano card slots and hybrid SD card
- Dedicated SD Card upto 128 GB
- Micro USB and OTG Support
Camera, Video and Battery
- Rear Camera - 16 MP + 2MP rear camera with single LED flash
- Front Camera - 13MP + 2MP front camera with soft led flash
- Video Resolution - 1080p/720p @ 30fps, 480p @ 120fps
- Battery - 3340 mAh
- Charger - 10W
Sensors and Extras
- FM Radio
- Color LED notification Light
- On screen button
- Rear Finger print Sensor
- Ambient Light sensor
- Proximity Sensor
- Magnetic Sensor
- Excellent and modern display
- Premium design
- Good Cameras
- Amazing Camera app features
- Pre-applied screen guard, earphones & jelly case in box
- High price is not justified
- Lacks Gorilla Glass protection
- Hybrid Sim Slot
- Lacks 4K Video Capture
- Lacklustre gaming performance
- Slow charging
- No IR Blaster
- Lacks Gyroscope (No VR support)
- No USB-C
- No NFC
Design & Build Quality
Good looking device with a great screen to body ratio but lacks proper screen protection.
The Honor 9i is similar in design to the Honor 7x with the same 18:9 display and minimum bezels. Where it varies is the rear camera position is different and the front now has a dual camera.
The metal build carries forward but sadly the Honor 9i lacks Gorilla Glass protection. Honor has pre-applied a screen protector but that can only prevent the phone from minor scratches and not drops.
The vertically stacked dual cameras are positioned too close to the fingerprint sensor. We loved the position of the Honor 7x better.
The top of the phone has just the secondary microphone. The bottom of the phone, however, is rather busy with the 3.5mm jack, microphone, speaker and micro USB port. Given the price, we were expecting a USB-C port rather than the ancient micro USB. The Mi Phone despite launching much before the HOnor 9i already pack USB-C ports.
Honor also bundles a jelly case for the phone which we appreciate and hope more manufacturers follow this trend.
OTG pen drive also works on the Honor 9i. The charging cable is sufficiently long (100cm) and is detachable from the power brick.
The sim tray holds 2 nano sims and 1 sd card and is to be mounted on the side.
Gorgeous display, one of the best we tested in this range.
The Honor 9i uses the same 18:9 Full HD+ display as the Honor 7x. Which as we said before is a beautiful display with great colors, brightness and viewing angles.
You also get a lot of control over the display temperature and you even have a Blue light filter to reduce visual fatigue.
Being an 18:9 display you have an option to extend the height of apps manually thus forcing each app to take advantage of the taller screen.
Although the screen is beautiful, make sure you use the phone carefully as it lacks gorilla glass protection.
Audio & Call Quality
Clear speakers and good call quality
Given the bump in price over the Honor 7x we were hoping for stereo or dual speakers. Unfortunately, the Honor 9i packs a single speaker. Which although very clear doesn't pack the same punch as the Mi A1 or the loudness of the Mi Max 2.
The great screen that the Honor 9i has deserves a high-quality audio to enhance the viewing experience.
The call quality on the 9i however, was very good and we did not have any issues with it.
Multi-tasking, Gaming & Benchmarks
Performs poorly in gaming and manages lower scores than the Honor 7x in benchmarks.
Performance is one place Honor really needs to step up. The Kirin 659 on the Honor 9i had difficulty in playing Asphalt 8 smoothly at high settings. Shocking for a phone that costs Rs.17,000.
We strongly feel Honor should up their processor game. A gorgeous display deserves a powerful processor that can make use of the extra resolution and visual space.
The Benchmarks scores too don't paint a rosy picture. The Honor 9i lags behind the Honor 7x, which uses the same processor and is priced much cheaper.
The Honor 9i however, has good ram management. With its ability to run up to 9 apps without refreshing any of this. This score is lower than that of the 7x but still a good score.
- 3D Mark
Feature loaded software but needs some work
The EMUI 5.1 software on the Honor 9i is same as that on the Honor 7x. You get the same great features like Picture in Picture video, Screen Record, Scrolling Screenshot, Camera light painting features etc. The software also lets you choose to keep your apps in an app drawer instead of on your home screen.
There is a lot of Bloatware, some of which can be uninstalled.
The UI, however, isn't the most pleasing the notification shade is black while the settings page is white, there are a lot of such inconsistencies. Similarly, the camera has many features that will help a user get more from the excellent camera but there are quite a few representative features. The colors and icons used aren't aesthetically pleasing too.
Honor has promised an update to the latest EMUI 8 in the coming months. The update will bring a much faster and lighter software experience.
Camera & Video
The best camera in the test with punchy colors, sharp photos, and decent bokeh effects. The video quality, however, is lacking in 4K resolution.
The Honor 9i has similar picture quality to the Honor 7x with the same punchy, saturated colors which many people will prefer. The photo capture is fast, including the bokeh effect ones. You get a full manual mode that lets you tinker with the shutter speed and focus too. All the other features like light painting, selfie effects, filters are carried over to the 9i. Like the 7x the Honor 9i too can capture photos in 18:9 aspect ratio along with 4:3. So if you are someone who loves photography you will definitely enjoy the camera experience on the honor 9i.
The dual front camera helps improve the quality of bokeh captured. Compared to the 7x the selfie capture is slightly better and it further improves in low light condition because of the selfie flash. Overall if you take the rear camera and the selfie camera the Honor 9i comes out on top with its crisp colors and great quality.
The panorama shot is very good in quality, resolution and the blue color of the sky is captured very well.
The video capabilities are again similar to the 7x with very good 1080p video capture. But slow-motion capture is pixelated due to the 480p limitation also normal videos are capped at a max of 1080p. but a rather poor slow motion capture. The Honor 9i tends to muffle the wind noise, yes you do get to hear it, but the background voices of people overpower it. Its safe to say that you will never capture a dull photo with the Honor 9i.
Battery & Charging
Decent battery life but needs fast charging.
Despite the same battery capacity of the Honor 7x, the 9i manages 3 hours 45 minutes of screen on time under heavy use condition. Given the pricing of the phone we were expecting fast charging, but sadly the phone took 3 hours 47 minutes to charge completely.
Even the PCMark Battery Benchmark gave it 5 hours 17 minutes time at max brightness, which is again an improvement over the Honor 7x.
The Honor 9i has a great pair of cameras and display, add the good-looking metal body and you almost have a winner. But sadly everything else on the phone needs an upgrade, Big time!! A new more powerful processor is the first necessity. Larger battery and faster charging too along with proper screen protection.
The Honor 9i is perfect for selfie lovers and photographers. However, if you need a bit more bang for your buck look no further than the Mi A1, which was also our best pick under Rs.15,000.