As mid-range phones go, the Honor 9 from 2017 is about as good as they come - winning the Best Mid-Priced Phone at the Pocket-lint Gadget Awards 2017. And now there's a new baby brother to join the line-up: the Honor 9 Lite.
As the name of the latest "lighter" handset suggests, it's a handset that cuts back on the power to bring greater affordability. Interestingly, however, it add some features, such as quad lenses that even its bigger brother lacks.
So just what's the difference between the Honor 9 Lite and the original Honor 9 (not the 9i version, which isn't yet available in the UK)? Read on to find out...
Honor 9 Lite vs Honor 9: Design
- Honor 9 Lite: 151 x 71.9 x 7.6mm; 149g / Honor 9: 147.3 x 70.9 x 7.45mm; 155g
- Both devices: Glacier Grey, Sapphire Blue, and Midnight Black finishes
- Honor 9 Lite: rear-facing circular fingerprint scanner / Honor 9: front-facing oblong fingerprint scanner
The Honor 9's design is perhaps its most striking feature, especially in its shiny Sapphire Blue finish. The colours appear one and the same whichever device you choose, so that hallmark visual is available if you're buying the pricier and more powerful model or the more affordable Lite.
Both have a fingerprint scanner to assist with speedy login to the device, which is on the rear of the Lite, rather than the front. We presume this positioning is to avoid any issues with the proximity of the screen edge and the scanner itself (an issue with the Honor View 10).
Honor 9 Lite vs Honor 9: Display
- Honor 9 Lite: 5.65-inch FHD+ (2160 x 1080) 18:9 FullView display (428ppi)
- Honor 9: 5.15-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 display (428ppi)
Part of the reason the two handsets are different sizes is because the screens differ. The Lite goes with a less wide yet larger overall 5.65-inch panel, while the older Honor 9 has a slightly wider 5.15-inch panel.
Both have the same pixels-per-inch density (428ppi), given the difference in size, but the Lite actually offers the greater resolution in its larger panel. Perhaps it's not so "Lite" a handset after all, eh?
Honor 9 Lite vs Honor 9: Hardware
- Honor 9 Lite: Kirin 659 octa-core (4x 2.36GHz & 4x 1.7GHz), 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, microSD card slot
- Honor 9: Kirin 960 octa-core (4x 2.4GHz & 4x 1.8GHz), 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, microSD card slot
- Honor 9 Lite: 3,000mAh battery / Honor 9: 3,200mAh battery
- Honor 9 Lite: Micro-USB charging / Honor 9: USB Type-C charging
- Both devices: 3.5mm headphone jack
The real difference between the two handsets is the power available under the hood. The Lite goes for a mid-level Huawei Kirin chipset with 3GB RAM, while the original Honor 9 offers the top-spec Kirin 960 chipset with 4GB RAM. If you want all the power, the older model has the upper hand.
The same can be said of on-board storage: the Lite offers 32GB, while the Honor 9 offers 64GB. That said, both handsets can use the second SIM slot as a microSD card slot, to expand upon storage by up to a further 256GB.
And Honor hasn't jumped on the jack-free design trend either, with both Honor 9 and Lite models offering a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen to your tunes. Both handsets come with in-ear headphones bundled in the box.
Honor 9 Lite vs Honor 9: Software
- Both handsets: EMUI 8.0 over Android Oreo 8.0
Both Honor handsets are based around Google's Android operating system in its latest Oreo format - an update may be required for the Honor 9, however - with Huawei's EMUI 8.0 skin over the top.
The software has been known to receive a bit of a critical bashing from time to time, but we've become accustomed to its quirks and benefits. In its latest guise it's far less intrusive than previous iterations - which would constantly prompt and remind you about things.
Honor 9 Lite vs Honor 9: Cameras
- Honor 9 Lite: 13-megapixel & 2-megapixel front-facing cameras
- Honor 9: 12-megapixel (f/2.2, 27mm) & 20-megapixel (f/2.2, 27mm) front-facing cameras
- Honor 9 Lite: 13-megapixel (f/2.0) & 2-megapixel rear-facing cameras
- Honor 9: 8-megapixel front-facing camera
The biggest difference between the two phones is the camera arrangement. Both have dual lenses on the rear, but the Lite goes lower on the resolution overall - its second 2MP camera is solely used for depth mapping rather than capturing an actual image. The Honor 9, by comparison, has a colour and monochrome sensor arrangement, both of which can be used for imaging in tandem.
The Lite also pulls the same dual rear camera arrangement to its front, bringing its lens count to four overall. That's a rare thing in a phone indeed.
So why two cameras anyway? We've mentioned the idea of depth-mapping, which is where a lens measures the distance of objects from the lens and can use this data in software processing to blur certain depths of the image, aping what high-end cameras with shallow depth of field can muster. The same principle applies to the front cameras on the Lite.
Honor 9 Lite vs Honor 9: Conclusions
- Honor 9 Lite: £200 / Honor 9: £300 (at time of writing)
If you want more power and more storage then the Honor 9 makes good sense - and for a good price. However, it's got the wider screen of the two with less real-estate overall (something the Honor 9i will fix, when it launches), which gives the Honor 9 Lite a notable standout perk.
The Lite is also the only model with dual camera lenses both front and back. However, the lower resolution solution here can't match the more useful colour and black & white sensor arrangement of the Honor 9 in our opinion. And do you really need a depth-mapping front-facing camera on the Lite? No, not really.
The real thing that'll help to sell the Honor 9 Lite is its price point. At a penny under £200, that's a bona fide bargain for such a strikingly designed and well-made handset.