With 188 per cent growth, Honor was one of the fastest growing brand in India in the second quarter of 2018 — registering a three per cent market share and grabbing fifth spot.
Sensing the right momentum, the Chinese smartphone maker has brought notch Honor 9N with Full View display and 19:9 aspect ratio in the sub-Rs 15,000 category to the country.
The Honor 9N comes with a modest specification set, the promise of GPU Turbo, and a rather neat build & design.
However, the question remains, is the Honor 9N worth the money you’re going to be shelling out for it?
Honor 9N design and build
The Honor 9N is made of 12-layered glass similar to that as in Honor 10.
Honor 9N has three distinct layers to it: the glass back and the glass front held together by the metal frame.
The back glass panel has a glossy finish that looks striking. The horizontal dual camera setup barely protrudes from the chassis and the back panel looks very clean thanks to the lack of antenna lines and regulatory information.
Honor 9N specifications and display
The Honor 9N comes with an FHD+ 19:9 display.
The 2280×1080 pixels are fit into a 5.8-inch display, giving it an effective pixel density of roughly 432ppi, a sufficiently high number by most standards.
The smartphone has an IPS-LCD display which means excellent colour reproduction and very impressive viewing angles.
The notch is supposed to offer more real estate but still remains a hotly debated design choice, as it seems to take away just as much as it offers.
The specifications for Huawei Honor 9N are as follows:
- Powered by 2.36GHz octa-core processor and it comes with 4GB of RAM.
- The phone packs 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 256GB via a microSD card.
- As far as the cameras are concerned, the Honor 9N packs a 13-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 16-megapixel front shooter for selfies.
- The Honor 9N runs Android 8.0 and is powered by a 3000mAh.
- It measures 149.20 x 71.80 x 7.70 (height x width x thickness) and weighs 152.00 grams.
- The Honor 9N is a dual SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts Nano-SIM and Nano-SIM.
Connectivity options include:
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM, 3G and 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India).
Sensors on the phone include :
- Compass/ Magnetometer, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer and Ambient light sensor.
Honor 9N performance, software, and battery life
The Honor 9N powered by the Kirin 695 chipset.
Huawei, Honor’s parent company, recently announced GPU Turbo, a feature that the company will roll out through a software update to boost the performance pushed out by the GPU while gaming.
This feature is coming to many Huawei and Honor phones and is currently not available for the Honor 9N. It is, however, expected later this year via a software update.
As of now, we’ve got the Kirin 659 which is a Snapdragon 625-grade SoC and 4GB of RAM to power the phone.
The Honor 9N handles basic day-to-day tasks like browsing the Web and using social media applications with ease but struggles when pushed.
With multiple applications open in the background or more than a dozen tabs open in Chrome, we could feel the effects of the relatively under-powered processor. Furthermore, experienced keyboard lags and occasional slowdowns. With budget smartphones becoming more and more powerful, such slowdowns are quite disappointing.
The Honor 9N runs Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box, with Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 custom skin on top.
In its past few iterations, EMUI has become much more responsive. In fact, Huawei claims that EMUI 8.0 is 60 per cent faster and 50 per cent smoother than EMUI 5.1.
EMUI loaded with features such as Wi-Fi+. Automatically switches between Wi-Fi and mobile data depending on which connection is stronger. You also get several gestures such as a three-finger swipe to take a screenshot.
Just like the Honor 9 Lite, battery life is mediocre. In the HD video loop battery test, the Honor 9N as a result lasted just 8 hours and 40 minutes. Therefore, well below the average for this market segment.
Consequently, found out that you’ll have to use the charger by 9-10pm every day on a moderate use.
Honor 9N cameras
On the imaging front, the Honor 9N features a dual rear camera setup with a 13-megapixel primary sensor, and a 2-megapixel secondary sensor alongside an LED flash. On the front, there is a 16-megapixel sensor.
The camera app comes with a fully featured Pro mode. It allows you to alter the shutter speed, ISO, exposure, aperture, and white balance. AR stickers are a fun and nifty way to kill time. They can be can be used with both the front and rear camera. There are 16 effects and 14 backgrounds on offer and more can be downloaded from Honor’s AppGallery.
In favorable light, the rear camera takes above average photos. The level of detail is good and colors are quite accurate.
In low light, the camera performs rather poorly. Photos lack detail and seem over sharpened. A fair bit of noise creeps in as well and focusing is also slow in unfavorable light. The front camera follows much of the same script. It struggles in low light but captures decent photos in favorable light.
There’s a beauty mode as well which offers 10 levels of beautification and works reasonably well. The front camera can also shoot bokeh shots via software algorithms (as there is no secondary sensor).But, these are quite average and the blur effect does not even work half the time.
Both the front and rear camera setups support full-HD (1080p) video recording. Videos are lackluster at best and lack detail, especially at night. The lack of electronic image stabilization means the footage can be shaky at times.
The Honor 9N is a compact smartphone that sports a vibrant display, a fresh and modern design, and Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. The colour options are also quite funky, especially Robin Egg Blue, which is set to go on sale soon. That said, battery life is mediocre, performance is below average, EMUI seems cluttered, and the cameras falter in low light.
If you want a sleek phone with a great display, the base variant of the Honor 9N makes for a good buy. The other variants are a bit too expensive though and are much harder to recommend.If you are shopping in this price segment, the Redmi Note 5 Pro is hard to beat as an all-rounder and the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1 offers stellar value for money.