For the most part, honor devices are rehashes of Huawei’s smartphones. Just like how the honor 8 bears a striking resemblance to the Huawei P9, the same goes for the honor 9. On paper, it has similar hardware to the Huawei P10 with some subtle changes here and there.
Despite this, the honor 9 actually feels like a more refined device than the P10. In fact, it even comes with features not found on the P10; the honor 9 is easily the phone maker’s most interesting device yet.
As mentioned, the honor 9 shares quite a number of hardware with the P10. It comes with a slightly bigger 5.15-inch 1080p display, the same HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor paired with 4 or 6GB of RAM, up to 128GB of expandable storage, as well as a 3,200mAh battery.
Not surprisingly, even the dual-camera system of the honor 9 is a lot like the P10’s. Made up of a 20MP monochrome sensor and a 12MP RGB sensor, the only thing that’s different here is the fact that the honor 9’s dual-camera setup doesn’t carry any Leica branding. The 8MP front-facing camera isn’t Leica-branded too, of course.
But enough hardware; let’s get on to the honor 9 itself. Design-wise, this is a very sleek-looking smartphone. The Sapphire Blue variant we have here, for one, is particularly interesting. Coupled with the Aurora Glass back – which refracts light in a unique way – the honor 9 is easily one of the most eye-catching smartphones in the market.
It doesn’t just look good either: the honor 9 is pretty ergonomically-sound too. The sides of the phone are thick enough – but not too much – to hold comfortably, and the curved back panel makes it a joy to use for long periods of time. I also dig the tactility of the volume rocker and power button.
Powered by the capable Kirin 960 processor, the honor 9 feels very responsive and zippy. Of course, it’s hard to say how the device will perform as a daily driver, but based on my brief time with the device, I reckon the honor 9 will be a solid performer – much like its predecessor.
There’s also one feature I particularly like about the honor 9: its two capacitive buttons. Not only is it a feature that’s sorely missing on the Huawei P10 – forcing users to use Huawei’s one-button navigation method or enable Android’s default on-screen buttons at the cost of a smaller display – it’s a good use of the phone’s bottom bezel.
Camera performance of the honor 9 is also rather promising. The camera app doesn’t feel sluggish, autofocus performance is decent, and the camera has little to no difficulty getting the right exposure quickly. Considering the fact that the honor 9’s camera setup is very similar to the P10’s – bar the Leica-branding – I reckon the former will be a very capable shooter.
The honor 9 is really a refinement of its predecessor’s winning qualities. It’s an eye-catching phone, it’s well-equipped, and most importantly, it offers plenty value for money. For context, the honor 9 retails from 2,299 yuan in China – that comes up to only RM1,450.
However, it still remains to be seen if the honor 9 will be brought into Malaysia anytime soon. After all, honor Malaysia is still gearing up to launch the honor 8 Pro on our shores. Hopefully, it won’t be long until the honor 9 is officially launched in Malaysia – it may just be one of the most appealing budget-friendly flagship smartphones this year.