“The 9i flaunts a bezel-less display and dual cameras at the front as well as the back”

Smartphones with bezel-less displays and a tall aspect ratio of 18:9 have become a trend in 2017. Even budget and mid-range smartphones – like the Micromax Canvas Infinity (review), vivo V7+ (first impressions), and LG Q6 (review) – are jumping onto the bezel-less train by the dozen. The latest to board this wagon is the Honor 9i. And, in all honesty, this phone has the potential to ruffle some feathers, if our hands-on experience is anything to go by. Let’s start with the display itself.

The Honor 9i has a 5.9-inch IPS LCD screen with an 18:9 aspect ratio. We felt that the display was pretty reflective and not really legible under direct sunlight. On the plus side however, the display offers a FHD+ (1,080 x 2,160 pixels) resolution making images and text pretty crisp. There are tiny bezels on either sides of the display. Even the bezels on the top and the bottom are pretty slim. All that makes the phone pretty comfortable to hold and use. Also, the aluminium body of the phone inspires a lot of confidence in its sturdiness.

Now, there are two things that I didn’t like at the outset:

  1. The phone doesn’t have a Gorilla Glass protection or oleophobic coating over its display
  2. Also, it uses the old standard Micro-USB port for charging and data transfer when the entire world is moving to USB Type-C

Moving past these niggles, which can actually be overlooked considering the price of the phone, the Honor 9i also has a lot going for itself in the camera department as it offers dual shooters at the front as well as the back. On the front, you get a 13MP + 2MP camera setup, whereas you get a dual-camera array with one 16MP sensor and another 2MP snapper. Now, both the setups can be used to get a good portrait shot with a neat bokeh effect. In the limited time that we spent with the phone, we got some decent shots. But before giving any verdict, we’d like to spend more time with its camera to give you our review. 

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Inside the phone, you get Huawei’s new homegrown Kirin 659 SoC with 4GB of RAM. This combo should suffice for most daily use cases and whatever little time we spent with the phone we thought the phone held up really well. Once again, there are only early impressions so you will have to wait. The phone has a fairly large 3,340mAh battery and 64 gigs of storage for your files. It takes two SIM cards in a hybrid SIM tray. What this means is that you will have to sacrifice the second SIM for a memory card, if you show wish to add more storage space.

The phone is running EMUI 5.1 Android 7.0 Nougat, which is a fairly decent OS with some quirks up its sleeves.

Honor 9i first impressions 91mobiles 03

All in all, the Honor 9i has set itself up for a prime-time audience with its killer price tag of Rs 17,999. In this price range, you have some really good options like the Xiaomi Mi A1 (review) and Moto G5s Plus (review), but we have faith in the Honor 9i. Let’s see if it can keep up with our expectations.