New Delhi: While some of us were thinking smartphone innovation is slowly running out of steam, Huawei has debuted "Honor 9i" with a dual camera set-up in the front as well as the rear, along with bezel-less display.
In the mid-price segment, the device is the first in India to come with a quad-camera system and bezel-less "FullVision" display for an immersive viewing experience. At Rs 17,999 and with many firsts, how does Honor 9i fare when it comes to real-world performance? Here is what we think of it. The smartphone's 5.9-inch FHD+ edge-to-edge display coupled with the 2.5D curved glass caught our attention the moment we switched the phone on. The display is bright, has accurate colour reproduction and good sunlight legibility.
"Honor 9i" has beautifully accommodated a big screen into a small frame and how! The device has 83 per cent screen-to-body ratio which, interestingly, is at par with flagship Android smartphones from the stables of Samsung, LG and others. The metal unibody build of the device exudes a premium feel. The smartphone has antenna bands running at the top and bottom of the device, similar to what we have seen in the Honor 8 Pro.
The 16MP + 2MP vertical dual camera set-up at the rear captured good images in daylight with enough details and good colour balance. The additional 2MP sensors on both front and rear captured depth data to produce images with "Bokeh" effect. The rear shooter has handy features such as night-shot, panorama, HDR, portrait mode, pro-photo, capture smiles, light painting, time-lapse, slow-mo and watermark, among others.
An interesting addition is the "moving picture" feature that is similar to what we first saw in the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus. It lets the user create a moving image instead of capturing a still photo. Honor 9i's camera performance did not disappoint us much in low-light conditions either (we would have loved more detailed pictures, though). The 13MP + 2MP selfie camera equipped with "selfie toning" flash -- which is diffused white light for imaging in low-light conditions -- is quite capable. However, there was loss of details in the selfies when the "beauty level" was set to the highest.
It is impressive to see a decent 3,340mAh battery crammed into a fairly slim 7.5-mm body. We did not find the phone getting heated while browsing videos or playing games. The fingerprint sensor is very accurate and unlocks the device in a snap. Huawei's own mid-range "Hisilicon Kirin 659" chipset powers the device and does it well. The phone handled day-to-day tasks with ease. We did not find any significant sluggishness while browsing the internet, running multiple applications and social media accounts.
Honor 9i sports 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage (expandable up to 128GB via Micro-SD card) which is quite standard for a smartphone in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. The device runs on the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system (OS) with the company's custom EMUI 5.1 skin. What does not work? The 3,340mAh battery lasted only around 16-17 hours on single charge. Considering the price, lack of a USB Type-C port in the device was disappointing. Conclusion: Honor 9i's solid frame with no visible creaks and taller-than-wide built is a delight to see and use. A capable camera and wholesome experience make it an interesting alternative to Nokia 6 and Moto G5S Plus.