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Honor 9 Review

Honor 9

Posted: , by Stephen Schenck Stephen Schenck



Interface and Functionality

EMUI 5.1 may not be breaking new ground, but it gives the Honor 9 a powerful feature set nonetheless

Honor 9 Review

Huawei's EMUI is software we're quite familiar with by this point, and the EMUI 5.1 present on the Honor 9 is the same version we've checked out on recent Huawei phones like the P10 series. As such, there's little in the way of surprises here.

In the Honor 9's favor, the theming engine here uses more of a light touch, and we're seeing less of the objectionably monochromatic icon packs that were all over the P10 phones. But while the Honor 9 as we reviewed it isn't tied to any carrier partner, there's still a fair amount of bloat here in the form of pre-installed third-party apps and games.

One nice extra is the return of the infrared emitter for controlling home-entertainment devices. That was absent on the smaller P10, so getting it on an affordably-priced model like this is a special treat.

Processor and Memory

Even with an older chip, the Honor 9 enjoys exceptional performance for its price point

While most phone-makers are content to just toss the latest (or maybe even a generation or two old) Snapdragon chip at their latest phone, Huawei (and as it follows, Honor) likes to do things a little differently, and much like Samsung or Apple, prefers to deliver hardware featuring its own chips. To that end, the Honor 9 is running the company's own Kirin 960, a chip we got to know last fall on the Huawei Mate 9, and have seen since on phones like the P10.

So while the Honor 9's processor is hardly the latest-and-greatest, it's still a decently powerful chip. To put it in perspective for you Snapdragon fans out there, expect performance that's a little better than the 821 (on phones like the HTC U Ultra or LG G6) but still south of the 835 powering the most capable flagships out there.

That's all helped out by the presence of a more-than-adequate 6GB of RAM (4GB is also an option). Is all that memory going to go to good use on a daily basis? Almost certainly not, but its presence still speaks to the efforts made here to ensure that the Honor 9 can stand on solid ground compared to the rest of this season's heavyweights. It may not be able to touch the very best-equipped juggernauts, but it's not about to make an embarrassment out of itself, either.


As an internationally-focused phone, double-check that the Honor 9 will play nicely with your carrier

Right now, the big issue with Honor 9 connectivity is its band support. Currently, Honor's not focusing on US sales of the phone, so support for American cellular networks can be a bit spotty. We went out to test the Honor 9 with a T-Mobile SIM, and the best we could manage was an EDGE connection – which, as anyone who's been using smartphones for years can attest to, is not an era you should be eager to revisit.

Users in Europe and other areas where the Honor 9 is being made commercially available are likely to face fewer issues along these lines, but if you're concerned with having anything remotely resembling usable data speeds, be sure that you double-check that your carrier's stack of mobile bands are adequately supported by this hardware before picking it up.

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Honor 9

Honor 9

OS: Android 8.0 7.1
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
8Very good
Display5.2 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (428 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera12 megapixels
HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A73 and ARM Cortex-A53 processor
Size5.80 x 2.79 x 0.29 inches
(147.3 x 70.9 x 7.45 mm)
5.47 oz  (155 g)

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