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(Pocket-lint) - When it comes to mid-level phones, Honor has long been one of the go-to brands to consider. To call the new Honor 9 "mid-level" would arguably be a disservice, however, given the serious spec and standout design positives of this affordable smartphone.

The Honor 9 is the update to the Honor 8, embodying a similar presentation: the slender 7.45mm device comes with a Sapphire Blue finish, which catches light and reflections as if it's multi-layered, in a way that few other handsets can (save for the HTC U11).


Look closer, however, and it's clear the design has had more attention for this iteration. The Honor 9's 3D curved glass back and 2.5D glass front give the device a real appearance of depth, with that 5.15-inch 1080p screen almost jumping off the surface of the phone.

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Spec-wise, the Honor 9 pulls in a specification much like the Huawei P10: there's a Kirin 960 processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, updated dual cameras (20-megapixel monochrome and 12-megapixel colour), and a ceramic fingerprint sensor as the headline features.

If anything the Honor 9 makes the Huawei P10 a nonsense choice. Given the Honor is £380 - which is about a £185 saving compared to the Huawei - it does make us wonder why the Chinese maker continues to run its two brands so closely alongside one another.

We'll be at the Honor 9's European launch and will be picking up a device for review. So keep an eye on the site in the coming weeks for a full review.

If you're already tempted by what you've seen then the Honor 9 is available for pre-order right now, priced £380, or will be available via Three on contract from 3 July 2017.

Writing by Mike Lowe.