Huawei Honor 9 Lite review

It's got style, it's got class (and it's ultra-affordable). Find out if the Honor 9 Lite is right for you - and see how cheaply you can get a SIM free or pay monthly deal

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Written and reviewed by:
Bryn Glover - Startups

The Honor 9 Lite is big on features and feels just like a flagship smartphone, but thankfully it doesn’t come with a heavy price tag – great news if you’re after a business mobile phone contract that’s good value for your team.

Huawei’s sub-brand Honor is known for making budget smartphones with the X factor and this is the ultra-affordable (but still high spec) version of the Honor 9.

With a 18:9 Full HD+ screen, glass back and Android 8.0, on paper the Honor 9 Lite seems a cut above most budget phones.

Where it is different is the 32 GB storage (rather than 64 GB on the most expensive models) and the lack of image stabilisation (though budget phones in general don’t offer that).

In this full-fat, jargon-free Honor 9 Lite review, we’ll explain everything you need to decide if the Honor 9 Lite is the right phone for you (all its tech specs as well as real user reviews).

Plus, we’ll provide links to the best mobile phone deals on pay monthly and SIM free, so you can save that bit more.

✔ PROS – Slick design, easy-to-read display, incredible features
✘ CONS – Average battery life, some may want a smaller handset
★ VERDICT – Style and top-of-the-range features on a shoestring

In this Honor 9 Lite review we cover:

Honor 9 Lite pros and cons

The good

  • Quality design – There aren’t too many glass-back Android 8.0 budget phones.
  • Sharp display – The Full HD+ display makes text easy to read and images pop.
  • Top-notch features – Dual cameras on the front and rear help get a great shot.

The less good

  • So-so battery – Up to 20 hours isn’t terrible, but could be even better.
  • May feel large for some – 5.7-inches is great for videos, less so for pockets.

Honor 9 Lite pricing

RRP £200

Best SIM free deals (unlocked Honor 9 Lite)

The cheapest unlocked Honor 9 Lite you can get your hands on right now is for £149 at Currys or the Carphone Warehouse.

Best pay monthly deals

If you’re keen to get the full shebang (phone and a contract with a phone network like EE, O2, Vodafone etc.), you want a pay monthly deal. The Honor 9 Lite is now only available on the iD Mobile which you can either join direct or through the Carphone Warehouse:

From £12.99 / monthFree phoneID Mobile
From £12.99 / monthFree phoneCarphone Warehouse

Honor 9 Lite user ratings

Startups rating ★★★★ (4.5)
Build ★★★★★ (5)
Speed ★★★★★ (4.5)
Screen ★★★★ (5)
Battery ★★★★ (3.5)
Camera ★★★★ (4)
Value ★★★★★ (5)
Customer feedback★★★★
19 customer user reviews on Carphone Warehouse

  • Value: “As far as I know no other phone in this price bracket comes close in terms of features. Highly recommended.” – Gamer69
  • Design: “I got this a few days ago and I am so happy. The screen is good and just is generally really good.” – Daddy
  • Specs: “Fast, tons of memory, the camera is fantastic and even comes wit a very good bokeh effect.” – Anonymous
  • Battery: “I can charge my phone from just about empty to 100% and then go 4 to 5 DAYS on that single charge.” – John in Paisley

Honor 9 Lite user experience

High-end design

For such a tidy price tag, the Honor 9 Lite definitely feels premium with its slick glass and metal body. It has an almost full-screen, curved front, so you can reap all the benefits of a big-screen phone without spending the big bucks.

Simply put, we don’t think there is a bigger or better-built phone for so little.

Fast processor and Android 8.0

The Honor 9 Lite is smooth and fast thanks to the latest Android operating system, including built-in tech to prevent your phone from getting slower as it ages.

Honor 9 Lite tech specs

OSAndroid 8.0
Internal memory32 GB
Screen size5.7″
Screen resolution1080 x 2160
Rear camera13 Mp

Honor 9 Lite features explained

Bezel-less Full HD+ display

This near edge-to-edge 5.7-inch FullView Display will get you a really immersive viewing experience if you ever like to get lost in videos, TV shows or games on your smartphone.

Up to 20 hours’ battery

The bigger the phone, the bigger the toll it’ll take on the battery life. With the Honor 9 Lite, you’ll get a generous 20 hours if you’re a light user, or closer to ten if you can’t keep your fingers off your phone. Ten hours is of course respectable, it’s just not the best there is.

Four great cameras

Today, many people are just as likely to want a decent selfie as they are are any other photo. That’s why we think our readers will like the Honor 9 Lite which has two front and two rear cameras.

The dual lens cameras have built-in effects and a fast-focus feature that will make your photos extra vivid. What’s more, the phone comes with some decent editing tools, so you can re-focus and retouch your images to perfection.

Expandable storage

32 GB is by no means stingy, but if you know you’re a bit of a photo or app hoarder, rest assured you can always bump up your storage (to an eye-watering 256 GB) just by popping a micro SD card into this phone. But with so many cloud storage options at your disposal, you might not even need to.

Anything else?

Some users were delighted to find a smartphone which still offers FM radio, just in case you’re running low on storage or WiFi-less.

It’s also good to know that the slim and bezel-less design makes the Honor 9 Lite surprisingly easy and comfortable to use, even with just one hand.


High-end screen and features – but light on price

The Honor 9 Lite is a prime example of value for money: the pin-sharp 5.7-inch screen, glass back and four cameras make this Huawei phone feel like a flagship model, but the ultra-cheap price tag brings you back down to earth.

We think this is a great buy for spec-hungry phone users on a budget – there just isn’t a better screen on any other phone this cheap.

Written by:
Bryn Glover - Startups
Bryn Glover has been Editor of since 2017. Running the site's content strategy, Bryn spends a lot of time speaking to entrepreneurs and preparing for Startups' annual editorial campaigns. Having worked in journalism for just under a decade, Bryn wrote for sites like The Times, Reader's Digest, Independent and Times Higher Education before moving into the small business world.
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