Call Quality

Our earlier comments on possible band issues with North American cellular networks still stand so far as data is concerned, but none of that should have much of an impact on voice-call service. And indeed, we ran into no issues placing nor receiving calls with the Honor 9. Voice quality sounded fine, but as we so often note, a phone really has to go out of its way to mess that up these days. Just rest assured that the Honor 9 doesn't have anything to worry about in that department.

Battery Life

For a relatively thin phone, the Honor 9 doesn't compromise much in terms of power endurance

This year, Honor's giving its affordable flagship a battery boost, replacing the 3,000mAh battery from the Honor 8 with a slightly larger 3,200mAh component. The phone doesn't waste that power, either, and in our custom tests, we managed to squeeze out just over eight hours of screen-on time from the handset. While that's no record, it does compare favorably to big-name phones like the Galaxy S8 and LG G6, and even comes neck-and-neck with the Huawei P10 Plus and its 3,750mAh battery (though, of course, that one's also packing a larger, power-hungry screen).

Just as the Honor 9 holds its own against pricier phones in terms of battery endurance, it also puts on a comparable showing when it comes to recharging the phone, and the included charger (with the necessary adapter to use the euro-style plug in US outlets) refueled the handset in just north of 100 minutes. And if you don't have that long to wait, you can get the battery up to 50 percent in only around 45 minutes.

The only real negative here is that while the Honor 9 is being positioned as an alternative to expensive flagship devices, its pricing is much more in the mid-range space, and here shoppers may be used to phones that aren't just capable of good battery life, but utterly insane longer-than-day-long battery life – and that's due in no small part to the power-sipping nature of Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 625 chip. Compared to those devices, the Honor 9's at a disadvantage, but perhaps its speedy performance will help compensate for any endurance shortcomings. 

Battery life (hours) Higher is better
Honor 9 8h 1 min (Excellent)
Huawei P10 7h 42 min (Good)
Honor 8 9h 7 min (Excellent)
OnePlus 5 9h 18 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes) Lower is better
Honor 9 104
Huawei P10 100
Honor 8 98
OnePlus 5 99


In almost every aspect, the Honor 9 is a substantial upgrade over the Honor 8. And maybe even more impressive is how favorably it compares to the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus – both much more expensive phones. Just how much you'll shell out for the Honor 9 varies by market, but we're often seeing it for between 380 and 430 EUR. Doing a direct-to-dollars comparison won't make a lot of sense based on how smartphones are often sold, but anywhere from $350 to $500 (though probably not quite that high) would be believable if Honor ever decides to bring the Honor 9 to the States.

The Honor 9 does a whole lot well, and that's all the more of an accomplishment considering the handset's sub-flagship pricing. The design, while not departing very far from that of its predecessor, still works well, and even in an age of super-widescreen 18:9 displays, a traditionally-shaped phone like this can still look and feel good when we're talking about a model this compact.

There are still weak points, and we really don't love how easy it is for this phone to accidentally slide off a desk – it's just way too slippy, and much as we docked the Moto Z2 Force because its easy-to-scratch screen had us feeling paranoid about damaging the phone, so too does the feeling that the Honor 9 is one slide away from breaking detract from the ownership experience it presents. To be fair, the phone does come with an included case, but we hate having to use any case if we don't have to.

We're not going to get too hung up on our problem with data bands, as this phone isn't yet targeted at US networks, but we do wish there were anything along the lines of waterproofing present here – that's increasingly something we take for granted when shopping for new phones.

In the end, the Honor 9 is an attractive option for international smartphone users who want a phone that's compact, a reasonably strong performer, enjoys solid battery life, and offers a decently nice camera – and all for quite a bit less than your typical flagship. There's no one stand-out area where the Honor 9 shines, but it does enough right to be worth recommending.


  • Very strong value, especially compared to recent Huawei phones
  • Day-long battery life
  • Satisfying camera experience
  • Exceptional performance for where this model is positioned
  • Sleek, attractive design


  • Slippery to the point the phone feels destined to break
  • No waterproofing
  • Speaker fidelity needs some tweaking
  • Display, while bright, could stand some color calibration

PhoneArena Rating:




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: 768; 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: 2583; 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: 768; 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!
  • 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

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.