A good smartphone camera is hard to come by in the budget segment. Here, manufacturers usually try to offer the best processors, RAM and storage because specifications stand out. We’ve seen some smartphones that claim to be camera-focused, such as Xiaoping Red mi Y1 (Review), part of its Y series, which didn’t turn out to be great when we reviewed it.

Now, Huawei’s Honor brand hopes to do one better with its new Honor 9 Lite – a reasonably priced smartphone that boasts of four cameras. This isn’t the company’s first attempt at a quad-camera smartphone – we first saw it attempt to wow buyers with the Honor 9i (Review).

However, the company is now taking this feature a bit more mainstream as the 9 Lite enters the market priced at just Rs. 10,999. The 9 Lite doesn’t rely solely on its cameras; it also seems to check all the right boxes in terms of specifications. Our first impressions of it were fairly positive, and it’s now time to see if the Honor 9 Lite can indeed raise the bar in the budget segment.

Honor 9 Lite design and build quality

The Honor 9 Lite reminds us a lot of the Honor 8 (Review), which was the company’s flagship in 2016. The 2.5D curved glass on the back has a mirror effect, which looks really good. However, according to Honor’s website, this effect is limited to the Sapphire Blue and Glacier Gray versions only, and not the Midnight Black one. It’s similar to what we’ve seen with the Moto X4 (Review).

There glass for the display in front is curved similarly, and thanks to this and the phone’s rounded sides, you get a very comfortable grip. The downside to having glass is that it can be incredibly slippery and is most certainly a pain to keep free of smudges.

The frame is plastic though, instead of metal, which was probably necessary to keep costs down. This also makes the phone quite light, and it’s sometimes easy to forget you have it in your pocket.

We would have liked the SIM tray to have had the same colour and finish as the rest of the body, but unfortunately it sticks out a bit. Other than that, we don’t have any complaints with the build quality or finish.

The volume and power buttons are plastic

But they do have a nice tactile feel. The SIM tray on the left accepts either two Nano-sims or one SIM and a micro SD card (up to 256GB). The 3.5mm headphone socket and Micro-USB port are on the bottom, along with a speaker grille. Once again, it’s disappointing to see Honor not adopting the newer Type-C standard here. It seems as though Honor is only using it for its higher end offerings.

The display is another aspect of the 9 Lite that we liked very much. It’s a Full-HF+ IPS panel, measuring 5.65 inches diagonally with the newer 18:9 aspect ratio which the industry seems to be embracing with open arms. The taller display paves the way for thinner borders all around, which gives the phone a good aesthetic. There’s just enough room for the front camera above the screen, and a company logo below it.

 The panel has good brightness and colour reproduction too. The taller display might be hard to reach with your fingers but there are gestures to assist with that such as being able to swipe down on the fingerprint sensor for the notification shade. There’s also a navigation dock (like Assertive Touch on i OS), and a one-handed mode.

The Honor 9 Lite has a circular fingerprint sensor at the back, which is quick at authentication. In addition to unlocking the screen, you can use your fingerprint to secure apps and create a virtual safe for private files.

The sensor can also be used for gestures such as taking a photo, answering a call, snoozing an alarm, and browsing through photos. These gestures aren’t locked to your enrolled fingerprints and work with any finger. In the box, the 9 Lite ships with standard accessories including a charger, data cable, SIM eject tool, and warranty information. There is no headset.

Honor 9 Lite specifications and features
Honor hasn’t crippled the 9 Lite in terms of specifications, and it shares many of the same internals as the Honor 7X and the Honor 9i, both of which are priced higher. To start off, we have Huawei’s custom in-house coat-core processor called the Kiri n 659. The phone comes in two RAM and storage variants.
There’s one with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, and another (which we have for review) with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage Read More Story.