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Huawei’s Honor sub-brand makes its return to the Philippines after a two-year hiatus, and the Honor 9 Lite is the online-only brand’s initial offering. A budget offering from Honor, the Honor 9 Lite does not scrimp on specs: You get a mid-range Kirin 659 processor, along with a Full HD+ display, and a quad cam setup similar to Huawei’s Nova 2i.
The Honor 9 Lite arrived at HQ, and before we do our full review on it, let’s do an unboxing of the phone. We did an initial impression during Honor’s announced return to the Philippines last April 25, so this article serves as a second look at the Honor 9 Lite before we release our full review.
Unlike Huawei, Honor phones like the Honor 9 Lite come in a light blue box with the phone’s model in the front and key features at the back.
Inside the box, you have the Honor 9 Lite, MicroUSB cable, 5V/2A USB charger, documentation, and a clear plastic case. There’s no headset or pre-installed screen protector bundled with the Honor 9 Lite but it’s not really a big deal as you get a free case instead, which is a good trade-off.
Just like what we pointed out in our first impressions, the Honor 9 Lite feels very premium with its aluminum and glass build. With its asking price of Php 7,990, it is one of the most affordable smartphones out there that sports a premium build.
While the glass back looks gorgeous, it is a definite fingerprint magnet, which might be a concern for those who are a bit OC with their phone. Fortunately, the clear plastic case bundled with the Honor 9 Lite solves the smudging problem, though you lose the glossy look of the back as the bundled case has a frosted coating.
Also in the back, you have a dual rear camera setup, an LED flash, and a fingerprint scanner. The camera module protrudes at the back, and it is easily remedied with the bundled plastic case.
Going to the front, the Honor 9 Lite has minimal bezels. You have the Honor branding at the bottom, a dual front camera and earpiece on top, and a notch-free 5.65-inch Full HD+ display. Just like other current Honor phones, you have in-display buttons for the Honor 9.
Let’s take another tour at the control and port layout: On the left side, you have a hybrid SIM card slot that can carry either two MicroSIMs or one MicroSIM and one MicroSD card. On the right, you have your volume control and power buttons. At the bottom, you have your 3.5mm headphone jack, microphone, MicroUSB port, and loudspeaker. Unlike the rear, the sides of the Honor 9 Lite is made of anodized aluminum, making it less prone to smudges.
Powering the Honor 9 Lite is a Kirin 659 processor—the same processor found on Huawei’s Nova 2i and P20 Lite. It is paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage, which should be enough for the average user. It comes with Android Oreo out of the box with Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 skin.
Upon receiving our review unit, the Honor 9 Lite automatically downloaded the latest update, which includes the April 2018 security patch. Despite being branded as a budget offering, the Honor 9 Lite has up-to-date software, and that alone is quite impressive for its price range.
That’s it for our unboxing and second impressions. We will be putting the Honor 9 Lite to our usual tests and see if Honor’s offering is indeed a premium bang-for-the-buck phone.