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About the Phone
Honor 9N is not a very notable upgrade from its predecessor, Honor 9 Lite. However, it does come across as an attractive piece to keep your hands on. Plus, it has an excellent screen that promises to give you an immersive experience.
Honor 9N has a good build that is designed to attract your attention. The gloss captures your eyes, and while you hold the phone in your hand, you cannot feel any protrusions. The seamless design is easy to hold, manageable and robust. Plus, it has a snappy fingerprint scanner for your security.
The display of Honor 9N is immersive. It comes with a 19:9 aspect ratio, and almost covers the entire front delivering an impressive screen-to-body ratio. The display is punchy and sharp, and it does not cause a problem when viewing angles are changed. It scores top marks for its attractive display.
However, as an overall phone – Honor 9N does not score well. It has an underwhelming performance, weak battery, and surprisingly, despite being under Huawei, below average cameras.
Huawei takes a shot to break the budget market with its classy Honor 9N. Coming at a price of Rs. 8,999, Honor 9N looks great but does not have the grunt to match up with its appearance.
Honor 9N is clearly not the best phone in the market. While it may look premium, the phone underperforms against its flagship rivals coming with mediocre specs that are quite disappointing and unexpected from a popular Honor series phone.
Honor 9N has a striking design. It has a glass back with a glossy finish which makes it look high-end. The camera set up at the back does not protrude out either, fitting seamlessly with the back panel. It is compact, and the rounded corners and curved sides make it easy to hold in hand. However, it is very slippery, and the glossy back attracts a lot of fingerprint smudges. The fingerprint reader is present at the back and is snappy. The phone is a solid build and retains the 3.5mm headphone jack. The only flaw is it does not come with a USB Type-C for data transfers making this phone a bit dated.
The Honor 9N has a 5.84-inch fullHD+ IPS display with a 19:9 aspect ratio. While it covers the entire front of the phone, it is not entirely borderless – with the chin being quite significant. The display is a flagship feature – it is bright, and the colours are vibrant and punchy. Viewing angles are great and do not cause any issue. It does have a notch, but it can be disabled – changing into a black bezel. The 19:9 aspect ratio is excellent and can immerse you in gaming activities.
Huawei’s-trusted Kirin 659 processor powers the Honor 9N. It is also present in Honor 9 Lite and Honor 7X. It is a bit dated compared to the recent Snapdragon chipsets, but it still works properly and keeps up a smooth performance when you are browsing daily tasks. Opening multiple tabs in Chrome, however, can drop the speed a bit. There are also occasional keyboard lags – which is a disappointment considering budget smartphones are more powerful and do not experience such slowdowns. Simple games run smoothly, but frame drops can be observed in heavy games like Asphalt 8. Benchmark scores found it getting 5061 in PC Mark Work 2.0 which is adequate but not up to the mark. It also has a problem of warming up when intensive tasks are performed. Honor 9N supports facial recognition using the 16MP front camera which works well for the most part struggles in harsh sun or low lights.
Honor 9N has a dual rear camera setup with a 13MP primary camera and a 2MP secondary camera. There is LED flash as well. In ample light, the rear camera takes satisfying images. It maintains the details of the photo and the colours are kept accurate. The wide aperture mode lets you adjust the value of the aperture (f/0.95 – f/13) before you take the shot – however, it could look artificial, with average edge detection and poor quality.
The camera does not perform well in low-light conditions. The shots are not detailed enough, and it might seem oversharpened. Focusing is slow, and it captures a bit of noise resulting in loss of details. It has a 16MP selfie camera, which, like the rear ones, clicks decent selfies in ample light but struggles in low light. It can also shoot bokehs using software algorithm but they are sub-par, and the blur effect does not work many times. However, the beauty mode works reasonably and offers 10 levels of beautification. The cameras support full-HD (1080p) video recording. However, the videos lack details and become poorer when there is no light source around. There is no electronic image stabilisation, and so the videos can get shaky.
The Honor 9N has a non-removable 3,000 mAh battery. It is the same juice pack as Honor 9 Lite. An HD video loop battery test found it lasting for 8 hours and 40 minutes, which is below the average compared to the budget market. It won’t last a complete day with moderate use. Fast charging is lacking, and it would take a staggering two and a half hours to charge the phone completely from 0% to 100%.
Honor 9N is a good smartphone at the price range and arrives with a sweet design which has a great in-hand feel. However, it has sub-par internals – mediocre performance, average camera, and miserable battery life. On the whole, Honor 9N might seem like a disappointment for any budget use. It is not a recommended set but buying the better varieties requires a bump in the budget. Oppo’s Realme 1 is a phone worth considering which has better performance, though there is no fingerprint sensor.