Huawei is not a new player in the smartphone market. It has had a long portfolio of devices over the years but it hasn’t actually made any significant impact on the smartphone market. 2017 was an important year for them as they launched a slew of interesting devices that can finally compete with the competition.
Oddly enough, Huawei makes phones and electronics for a number of different manufacturers as they are the world’s biggest OEM electronic manufacturer and the third largest phone manufacturer overall after Apple and Samsung. So it is really curious as to why they couldn’t make a good smartphone before to compete with other manufacturers despite their expertise.
Huawei recently took the blinds off their recent sub 20k device which Huawei seems really impressive on paper. The device in question is the Huawei Honor 9i and for the price, it is a really impressive smartphone. Let’s into the specification overview of the device:
The Huawei Honor 9i contains the following accessories in the box:
- Micro USB cable
- Product documentation
- Warranty manual
- Acrylic protective casing
Design and Display:
The Huawei Honor 9i is a really gorgeous device right from the moment that you take it out from the box. It is really sleek and has minimal bezels around the device. It also has the 2.5D curved glass treatment which means that the screen transitions from to the device in a nice rounded manner, no sharp edges whatsoever. The device also has an all metal construction and it really light to hold in hand. As a matter of fact, it may as well be one of the lightest devices in its screen size category. The rear also has the all-aluminium finish which is sadly a fingerprint magnet. The overall build quality of the phone is quite impressive and you shouldn’t be fooled by its light weight.
The Honor 9i has probably one of the most impressive displays in its price segment. It has a 5.9 inch display which because of its compact proportions, manages to fit in nearly the same dimensions as the iPhone 7 Plus. The display also has a 1080×2160 resolution which is excellent and translates to a pixel density of 409ppi. And even though this is an IPS LCD panel, the colours are excellent and even under direct sunlight the screen remains quite legible and the colours remain nice.
The device is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 659 SoC which is Huawei’s own in-house SoC. It is an 8 Core CPU powered by eight cortex A53 cores, out of which four of them are clocked at 2.3GHz and four of them are clocked at a slightly lower 1.7GHz. It is a good performer overall but the weak point of this SoC is the GPU which is a Mali T-830 MP2, which has just two cores. As a result gaming performance has a bit of a stutter while playing. The device also comes with 4GB of RAM which is ample and the device doesn’t heat up too much under load. The general day to day performance is good and there are no signs of lags while switching from apps.
The device runs Android Nougat 7.0 out of the box running on Huawei’s own EMUI skin. The EMUI is a love or hate affair as it offers a host of customisation options but as a result the stock android experience goes for a toss. The device can many options for setting it up just the way you prefer it to be but I would’ve like to see Huawei going for a less resource hogging UI, closer to stock android while retaining the Customisation options. Huawei has promised an upgrade to Android Oreo for this device, but what a matter of concern is that Huawei has been known to be a slow provider of updates.
Camera and Storage:
The camera is perhaps Huawei’s party piece for this device along with the screen. It has a quad camera setup two for each of the rear and the front configurations. Both the cameras support the bokeh effect and the pictures turn out to be some of the best in this price category. The rear camera has a 16MP sensor coupled with a 2MP camera and the Front has 13MP sensor coupled with a 2MP camera. The 2MP cameras provide the depth of field while the bigger sensors are the main shooters. For some weird reason Huawei has capped the video recording to just 1080p rather than 4K, despite it having the power. The camera also has electronic Image stabilisation but it isn’t as good as the competition and Huawei could have easily added OIS to the mix and made it the ultimate camera performer in this segment.
Storage wise, the Huawei has 64GB of on-board storage with the option to add another 256GB via an SD card in the Hybrid sim slot.
Battery and Connectivity:
The Huawei 9i has a 3340mAh battery to take care of its power needs. Again a glaring omission here is the lack of fast charging and the phone charges up painfully slow. From 10% to 90% takes about 3 hours which is pretty pathetic considering the much cheaper Huawei 6X has fast charging support.
Connectivity wise, The Huawei 9i has officially launched in India and supports Indian network bands including 4GVOLTE. The phone also has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and micro USB 2.0 connectivity along with the 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Huawei 9i is one of the most impressive Huawei devices that Huawei currently has in the sub-20k bracket. The phone has some unique features and some glaring omissions which are stated below:
- Beautiful screen
- Amazing cameras
- Sleek form factor
- 18:9 screen is really comfortable to hold
- Micro SD expansion
- Possibly one of the best fingerprint sensors in the price range.
- Lack of fast charging is a bummer
- No OIS for the cameras
- Gaming performance is not great
- EMUI is a hit or miss affair
- No Gyroscope sensor
Summing up then as a package, the Huawei 9i is one of the best smartphones that you can get under 20k. It has easily the best screen and the cameras in the budget and the device works really well in day to day tasks. The Honor 9i price in india is around Rs.17999 for which it makes it a fantastic value proposition for anyone looking for a good everyday smartphone with a good camera setup.