Test Honor 9: the premium smartphone at the mid-range price?

Honor 9, the brand’s flagship 2017

After Paris for Honor 8 in 2016, it is Berlin that the subsidiary of Huawei has chosen to formalize the release in Europe of the new Honor 9 .A smartphone that wants to be the brand’s new flagship, designed to offer optimum performance while naturally enjoying a neat design, but retaining a mid-range price position.Thus, the smartphone Honor 9 is displayed in shops at 429 euros, with an ODR of 30 euros sometimes, or even a bracelet Band 3 offered.

Out of box, the new smartphone Honor 9 is distinguished by its beautifully reworked design, with a clear evolution compared to its predecessor. Certainly, there are certain common elements, such as ubiquitous glass, but this Honor 9 is more modern, more in the air of time, with particularly nicely curved edges to facilitate grasping. A relatively thin smartphone (7.4 mm) but the grip remains very satisfactory. The most cautious will soon put on a small dedicated silicone cover to avoid any untimely slippage, and often fatal. At the back, there is a finish composed of several layers of glass, to give the side #Lightcatcher wanted by the manufacturer, with an ambient light that comes pretty nicely reflected on the hull. Overall, this Honor 9 displays a very nice look, without constituting a design revolution. Some will find it (quite rightly) a certain resemblance to the Galaxy S7.

Technically, Honor 9 also represents a quantum leap from Honor 8, and here we find a screen of 5.2 “in Full HD quality, not to mention a Kirin 960 processor coupled with 4 GB of RAM and a Mali GPU -G71. On the storage side, the Honor 9 comes with a total of 64 GB, expandable via microSD card. In France, no 6 GB model of RAM / 128 GB (unlike other markets), and only the model cited above is available, and declined in Sapphire Blue and Glacier Gray. At the bottom of the screen is a button that contains the smartphone ID sensor. A fingerprint sensor that was placed at the back on the previous generation, which can be a bit annoying during certain uses, especially when the smartphone is placed on a table for example. A button that is not clickable, but which allows, by simple contact, to unlock the smartphone and return to the main screen.

On both sides, we find the usual virtual keys of Android, with the possibility to customize the navigation via the Settings box.At the rear of the terminal there is a dual photo sensor system with a 12-megapixel RGB module on one side and a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor on the other.At the bottom of the smartphone, the loudspeaker, next to which is found the now indispensable USB Type-C port, as well as a 3.5 mm audio port.As for connectivity, the Honor 9 embeds the total, namely a Bluetooth module, WiFi, NFC chip, not to mention 4G LTE compatibility (limited to 150 Mb / s).In short, at the first glance, and in view of its data sheet, this Honor 9 has everything from the premium smartphone.

A swift and efficient interface

Once started, the Honor 9 makes it possible to enjoy an excellent image via its LTPS Full HD panel, even if the overall result remains a notch below the AMOLED tiles.The whole is very pleasant to the eye, and especially perfectly reactive.An Honor 9 that naturally runs on Android Nougat, which is enhanced with a house software overlay EMUI 5.1, as well as some third-party applications that one will take care to quickly remove.Difficult to take failing the smartphone with regard to its interface, which is as swift as simple to handle.

However, if in the context of a “classical” use, no particular concern is deplorable, Honor 9 has a tendency to (over) warm as soon as a little more is demanded from its processor.For example, using the camera for a long time will heat the back of the smartphone, as well as running a slightly greedy application, or even making various updates Background while continuing to handle the smartphone.Nothing serious in the absolute, but this heater, which is rather fast, remains quite astounding, and it is hoped that Honor will quickly propose a patch to mitigate (or even completely correct) the concern.

A Photo mode #Lightcatcher?

As for the photo section, the Honor 9 obviously promises to satisfy all users, from the simple amateur to the photographer looking for the perfect shot.For this, Honor has renewed the proposed Dual Lens system with the Honor 8, improved version here.If the promise of a system combining a 12 megapixel RGB sensor with a 20 megapixel monochrome sensor leaves the best, the result is still quite classic, and even a notch below the experts in the field.Not that the result is bad, far from it, but we hoped still more of this system.The quality of the photographs will ultimately depend a lot on the ambient brightness, with a few very detailed shots sometimes, and others which lack enough detail.

The Dual Lens system, consisting of a 12 megapixel RGB sensor and a 20-megapixel Monochrome sensor. Good promises on paper, for a result in the end all very correct, but far from references in the matter on the market.

By applying a minimum, and testing the host of adjustments proposed by the photo system of this Honor 9, we still manage pretty quickly enough to make beautiful shots. The standard user, who will be satisfied with the automatic mode, (ie the vast majority of users) will have to content himself with clichés a little less precise in general. Note the presence of a Monochrome mode, which uses only one of the two sensors, which makes it possible to produce excellent photos in low light conditions. At the front, the 8 megapixel front camera is classic but effective, provided however to quickly deactivate the Beauty mode that smooths (far too much) the faces for selfies. The portrait mode to realize bokeh effects is quite random, with sometimes very beautiful background blur, and sometimes a slurry of pixels rather indigestible. In short, a photo mode that oscillates globally between the medium and the good, and whose manual adjustments will need to be fine-tuned to obtain a cliché worthy of the name.

On the video side, the Honor 9 gives access to the precious quality Ultra HD 4K, but we prefer to confine ourselves to this good old Full HD.Indeed, in 4K the Honor 9 does not allow access to the 60 fps rate, and it also loses in passing certain functions improving the focus or stability.

The Honor 9 for every day

As part of daily use, the Honor 9 is very nice, well helped for it by its pretty exemplary handling, and of course its configuration that allows you to benefit from a perfectly swift Android without the slightest hitch .The web browsing is also impeccable of fluidity, just like the multimedia section.The impression sensor located at the front (which is, for us, much more sensible) is for its part a reactivity quite phenomenal, with a smartphone that unlocks in a beat of lash.Rather bluffing.

On the hands, if the set is very nice (despite a slight tendency to glide) we simply regret the unfortunate tendency of the smartphone to accumulate the fingerprints, front and back. In the same way, it is always surprising in the face of the tendency to overheat the processor, in the context in particular of a multimedia-oriented use.

As for the purely “telephone” performances of this Honor 9, we did not detect the slightest weakness in terms of 4G quality, with an always impeccable grip. Same for fix GPS or WiFi connectivity. On the autonomy side, we remain in the general average, with the assurance of keeping all day, including in the context of a slightly more intensive use than the average. Difficult to go to tu tuoyer the two full days of autonomy, except of course if you are the type to never tritur your smartphone during the day … but do these people really exist?


Featuring a beautifully reworked design compared to its predecessors, the Honor 9 displays a very successful overall finish, considering its tariff positioning. The whole smells good the premium, and we can only appreciate the new borders or the ID sensor brought back to the front, without forgetting the total absence of mention Honor in front, history to ” do like the big “.We will only regret a photo section fairly average finally, and a smartphone that tends to quickly overheat, but impossible not to admit that this Honor 9 is a pretty successful, whether we are amateur of the firm or not.

WE love :

  • The overall design, very successful
  • The fingerprint reader, bluffing velocity (and well placed)
  • General performance, impeccable
  • An affordable smartphone, which has everything of a great!

We love less

  • The tendency to overheat
  • The photo section, not fofolle globally
  • These fingerprints …


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