Interface and Functionality

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


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.

AnTuTu Higher is better
Honor 9 146599
Huawei P10 116267.66
Honor 8 89824
OnePlus 5 178968
JetStream Higher is better
Honor 9 50.579
Huawei P10 57.971
Honor 8 45.665
OnePlus 5 69.780
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen Higher is better
Honor 9 59
Huawei P10 58.33
Honor 8 40
OnePlus 5 60
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen Higher is better
Honor 9 32
Huawei P10 23.33
Honor 8 18
OnePlus 5 40
Basemark OS II Higher is better
Honor 9 3030
Huawei P10 2669
Honor 8 1957
OnePlus 5 3500
Geekbench 4 single-core Higher is better
Honor 9 1875
Huawei P10 1906
OnePlus 5 1941
Geekbench 4 multi-core Higher is better
Honor 9 6464
Huawei P10 5762.66
OnePlus 5 6678

Connectivity

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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15 Comments

1. Jishnusur

Posts: 173; Member since: Oct 07, 2013

8 hours of sot and such a wonderful phone. Just an 8? You guys must be kidding me.

4. minitechfan

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 05, 2015

They gave Honor 7 an under-6 rating, I am surprised that Honor 9 got a 8. This Site is very very Biased towards Huawei, if I were Huawei I would avoid any co-op with it. These so called reviewers have no professional standards, their pros and cons are at least 50% based on personal preferences. Speaking of BIASED sites, The Verge is the worst of them all.

5. maple_mak

Posts: 953; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

They not only biased Huawei.

9. chenski

Posts: 770; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Biased against anything that's not Samsung or Apple

7. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

It's not SOT, it a synthetic result of PA's custom test. Real screen on time is around 4-4,5 hours.

2. NoAllegiance unregistered

At least (Not available in the US) is not as a con.

3. jellmoo

Posts: 2594; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Oddly enough I think I prefer the Honor 8. Better battery life and a rear gps are nice perks to me.

10. chenski

Posts: 770; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Or the Honor 8 pro

6. davthom123

Posts: 121; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

when destiny becomes a con

8. may_czos

Posts: 955; Member since: Nov 22, 2014

You forgot oe thing PA - Honor 9 doesn't have OIS (unlike his brother - P10) and it shows. More often you'll get blurry picture, especially in low light conditions.

11. Talhamid

Posts: 61; Member since: Jun 13, 2009

It took Samsung to release perhaps the best phone ever (S8/S8+) to achieve parity with Apple in terms of review scores. And you can be sure the new iPhones will safely exceed that. Its Apple all the way for PA

12. dcwt2010

Posts: 74; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Would have been much better if they'd kept the FP sensor on the back.

14. MoonlitTear

Posts: 52; Member since: Jun 09, 2008

I love the Honor 8's back placement. I agree.

13. MoonlitTear

Posts: 52; Member since: Jun 09, 2008

I have the Honor 8 using it on T-Mobile USA and I love it. I wish this phone had the band support. I agree, with everything they said, this phone deserves an 8.6+ when comparing to all phones, but comparing to whom this phone is competing with, a 9.3 is warranted based on what was said about the actual phone not what his personal preferences are.

15. mike777

Posts: 8; Member since: Aug 11, 2016

A great phone. Would have never bought it, but with contract for 12€ the blue one was too tempting. Not sorry i bought it though. Excellent build, speedy, lost of space, great cameras, great reception, solid battery and great charging time. Battery life is lower than othe chinese phones (especially Xiaomi) but i get close to 6 hours which is pretty good. Fingerprint is blazingly fast, nothing quite compares to it. It just unlocks the phone immediately every time. For the price of 350-400€ would say quite a good deal overall. Surprised! Just get the blue version with a transparent case and tempered glass and you should be fine!
9
  • Display 5.2" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor HiSilicon Kirin, Octa-core, 2400 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3200 mAh

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