Overview & Price

The Honor 9 Lite is a low-medium ranged smartphone that was release on the 9th of February 2018 in the UK.

In our Honor 9 Lite review we look at some of the main attractions of the phone, showcase the best Honor 9 Lite contract deals in the UK and give you all the information you need to make an informed purchase decision.

The Honor 9 Lite sim free is around £199 in the UK, the phone offers a premium design, 32GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM

Check out these Honor 9 Lite contract deals..

The phone is aimed at the lower end of the Android smartphone market, allowing users to have an eye-catching phone, with some decent specifications too.

The Honor 9 Lite processor is decent, keeping the phone running smoothly however it does struggle when the phone is under stress.

Honor isn’t going to win any awards for this phone, especially with it now being 2019 and the Honor 10 being released.

The Honor 9 Lite has problems, but for the price of the phone this is to be expected, for a sub £200 device we did not expect it to be flawless.

Lets take a closer look..

Design & Display

When taking the Honor 9 Lite out of the box, you will notice that it really doesn’t look like a budget phone at all.

It has a stunning design and the colour options are awesome, we reviewed the Saphire Blue Honor 9 Lite, although it is available in a range of colours; Midnight Black, Glacier Grey, Navy, Seagull Grey and Magic Nightfall.

The aluminium frame and glass back does make the phone look a lot more premium than it actually is, however when holding the phone you will feel the cheapness of the design.

The 5.65-inch screen size is a perfect sized phone for the average user; it gives a nice amount of screen size as well as being comfortable to hold for those with the smallest hands.

Just like most Honor phones though with its flashy design, it is a magnet for fingerprints so we recommend investing in a skin or case for the device.

Honor boasts an 18:9 aspect ratio that gives users ample room on the display due the fact that there are no buttons on the screen.

That being said the Honor 9 Lite is far from bezel-less and it’s not an edge-to-edge display either, however it does have a 75.5% screen-to-bezel ratio.

Around the back of the phone you will find a well-placed fingerprint sensor, in the perfect position for your finger to effortlessly make contact and unlock your device.

honor 9 lite sim free

Image: Kārlis Dambrāns

On the right hand side of the phone you will find the volume rocker and power button, which feel nice and clicky to press, then towards the bottom is where you will find the 3.5mm headphone jack, micro-USB port and a single firing speaker.

The phone itself only weighs 149g which is exceptionally light for a smartphone, and makes it easy to forget it as it doesn’t weigh down your pocket too much so be careful not to forget it (the clue is in the name).

The display is a 5.65-inch IPS LCD screen is surprisingly good, strong brightness with good viewing angles means you wont struggle to see the display in direct sunlight or complete darkness.

The display is 2160 x 1080p at 428ppi, making it a great display for watching Netflix and YouTube.

Of course with it being an LCD, it is not quite up their with what you would find on an OLED, however for the price of the phone we were rather impressed with the overall quality of the display and found ourselves enjoying YouTube videos one after the other.

Now because of the aspect ratio of the display, you will find that on some applications (YouTube/Netflix) the screen has black borders on the side, as it needs them to support the video.

Like most Honor displays the colours are a little on the cool side, however that can easily be adjusted in the settings to tweak this to your personal preference.

Night-mode is also included in the display, a setting that protects your eyes when using the phone in the dark or when in bed. Ideal for those late night Instagram sessions when in bed.

As a whole we were extremely impressed with the display overall, finding a display this good for the same price would be a task.

Performance

The Honor 9 Lite is armed with the Kirin 659 chipset, the chipset is generally used in mid-range devices but because Huawei owns Honor, they have implemented the chip into the budget Honor 9 Lite.

Combined with 3GB of RAM, the phone can handle every day tasks easily, reading, scrolling through social media and watch media is all a breeze for this phone.

However if you’re looking for a device that can handle long gaming sessions then you might want to check out our Honor View 20 review.

The Honor 9 Lite is good enough for the odd game here and there, but its far from a gaming handset and we found would overheat after playing PUBG for extended amounts of time.

Moving through applications and swiping through the UI is a breeze, and the phone will be able to handle this effortlessly.

The Honor 9 Lite has 32GB of storage; this is generally enough for users, who don’t store lots of music and photos on their phone, however there is a microSD slot, which allows you to add up to 256GB of storage.

We did find that the phone would occasionally lag, especially when opening up the camera app, this would be small inconvenience but its definitely worth mentioning as it happened a couple of times.

We found that the Honor 9 lite processor is the Kirin 659, helping to keep the phone running smoothly, however we did find when under stress it would lack the capability to keep the phone lag free.

Honor 9 Lite sim free

Image: Kārlis Dambrāns

The Honor 9 Lite is by no means a performance powerhouse, but for those looking for a cheaper alternative to some of the more expensive flagships out there, it can certainly do the job.

We would definitely recommend getting a microSD for the phone as we found 32GB of storage to be on the weaker side, especially for those who are taking photos and downloading movies to put that large display to good use.

Software wise the Honor 9 Lite runs on Android 8.0 Oreo which up until recently was the latest version of Android, on top of this Honor has its own EMUI layered on top to make the interface customisable to your personal preference.

This allows you to customise the homescreen, menus and the file management app. Allowing users to personalise their device, however we found the UI to be a little bland, it is very basic we expected a little more.

Camera

We were delighted to find that the Honor 9 Lite has a dual camera setup, not only on the back but on the front as well.

On the rear we have a 13MP sensor and a 2MP sensor, the secondary 2MP lens is used purely to enhance the depth when in certain modes, like portrait mode.

This works great as it allows you to blur out the background of what you are taking a photo of, resulting in a more focused picture.

Portrait mode is generally used to take close up photos of people, so the blur works great as it means you can get a great image of your friend and then when the background is blurred, it really enhances the detail of your photo.

The Honor 9 Lite has a ‘beauty effect’, which does get rather annoying, as it will make your friend look like a Barbie doll as it over saturates the image trying to make it better, this can be turned off in the settings.

We loved the ‘phase detection autofocus’ mode, which essentially allows you to snap multiple images, without having to worry if the shot is in focus.

The phone will do it automatically for you. Ideal for taking photos of moving objects as the phone will instantly get it in focus for you, resulting in a much clearer shot.

For the most part the camera on the Honor 9 Lite is solid, more than capable of capturing some stunning images especially when in good lighting conditions.

Dynamic range is good, colours look poppy and the contrast is decent too, although the HDR isn’t the best and can be grainy even when in the best lighting conditions.

Around the front of the camera you will find the same kind of setup, a 12MP sensor with a 2MP depth sensor, allowing you to capture an already Instagram worth selfie.

honor 9 lite problems

Image: Kārlis Dambrāns

We found the front facing camera to be just as good as the rear, with the ‘bokeh’ effect really enhancing our selfies. Just like the rear camera, you can also blur out the background of your selfies, resulting in a beautifully detailed image.

In low light situation you may struggle with the camera, as it does struggle to draw in ambient light, so we recommend ensuring that your in a spot with strong ambient light as this will really give you a social media ready selfie.

The Honor 9 Lite can record Full HD video at 30fps, however there is no slow-mo option here. The phone has plus HDR mode, time-lapse and light painting modes which you can play around with.

As a whole the camera was impressive, we managed to capture some great photos with equally as good selfies, the recording facilities aren’t going to win any gold medals but are still good enough for the average user.

In our time reviewing the Honor 9 Lite we found the camera one of the best features of the phone, it has solid performance and plenty of modes to play around with too.

Battery Life

The Honor 9 Lite has a 3000mAh battery, which you can expect to last you the full day or more, depending on usage of course.

If you are going to be putting that display to good use and watching multiple YouTube videos then you might find that you run out of juice in the late evening.

That being said the phone does have some pretty impressive power saving modes, which allow you to make small adjustments to the power outage of the phone.

It even has an ‘extreme power saving mode’ which will squeeze every last drop of juice out of the battery allowing you to stay charged for longer when in desperate need.

There is no fast charging on the phone, so we recommend leaving it on charge over night to ensure that you have a full charge ready for the morning.

There is also no wireless charging despite the phone being glass on the back, which we would have loved to see but for this price, we weren’t complaining.

Summary

Overall we were rather impressed with the Honor 9 Lite, we had lots of fun reviewing the phone and thoroughly enjoyed watching media on the big display.

The dual-camera setup both on the front and back was impressive and allowed us to capture some stunning images, that being said the performance does lack a little and if you are a gamer or someone who is going to be using the phone for gaming or running intensely demanding tasks.

Considering that the Honor 9 lite sim free is less than £200, it is an extremely impressive device that looks smart, and has some impressive specifications.

Then you might want to check out the Honor 10 or the Huawei P Smart 2019, which packs a little more firepower.

The Honor 9 Lite processor is not as good as we expected, as we found it would slow the phone down when gaming intensely and would slow the phone down to keep it running efficiently.

Purchasing the Honor 9 Lite sim free would be a great idea, as you would be able to attain an extremely cheap sim card from network providers, giving you an extremely cheap smartphone bundle.

The Honor 9 Lite is not without its problems, but if your looking for a cheap, good looking smartphone that can handle every day tasks just fine, then this could be the phone for you.

We hope you enjoyed our Honor 9 Lite review as much as we enjoyed writing it, if so be sure to check out our Huawei P20 Lite review as this may be a better alternative for you.

You can check out the cheapest Honor 9 Lite contract deals at the top of this post.

Full Spec Below: 

Launch: 2017, December

Body:

  • Dimension: 151 x 71.9 x 7.6mm (5.94 x 2.83 x 0.30 inches)
  • Weight: 149g (5.26 oz)
  • Build: Front/back glass, aluminium frame
  • Sim: Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

Display:

  • Type: IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colours
  • Size: 5.65 inches, 82.0cm² (75.5% screen-to-body ratio)
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2160 pixels, 18:9 ratio (-428 ppi density)

Platform:

  • OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo); EMUI 8
  • Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 659 (16nm)
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.36 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
  • GPU: Mali-T830 MP2

Memory:

  • Card slot: microSD, up to 256GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
  • Internal: 64GB, 4GB RAM or 32GB, 3/4GB RAM

Camera:

  • Primary:
    – 13MP, PDAF
    – 2MP, depth sensor
  • Features: LED flash, HDR, panorama
  • Video: 1080p@30fps
  • Dual:
    – 13MP
    – 2MP, depth sensor
  • Video: 1080p@30fps

Sound:

  • Loudspeaker: Yes
  • 3.5mm Jack: Yes
    – Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic

Comms:

  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
  • Bluetooth: 4.2, A2DP, LE
  • GPS: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Radio: No
  • USB: microUSB 2.0, USB on-the-go

Features:

  • Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, proximity, compass

Battery:

  • Non-removeable Li-Pro 3000 mAh battery

Misc:

  • Colours: Midnight Black, Saphire Blue, Glacier Grey, Navy, Seagull Grey, Magic Nightfall
  • Price: As seen in above post