First impressions of Honor 9 series smartphones: vibrant avant-garde / Smartphones

First impressions of Honor 9 series smartphones: vibrant avant-garde / Smartphones


The new series of Honor smartphones continues the tradition of not the flagship Honor 9 model of 2017, but the mid-range smartphone Honor 9X, in the company to which these devices fit perfectly. Now he has brothers: the youngest – Honor 9S – at the price of 6 990 rubles, the middle peasant, Honor 9A, at the price of 10 990 rubles, and the eldest, Honor 9C, for 12 990 rubles.

Honor 9C Honor 9A Honor 9S
CPU HiSilicon Kirin 710A: eight cores (4 × ARM Cortex-A73, frequency 2.2 GHz + 4 × ARM Cortex-A53, frequency 1.7 GHz), graphics core ARM Mali-G51 MP4 Mediatek MT6762R Helio P22: eight cores (4 × ARM Cortex-A53, frequency 2.0 GHz + 4 × ARM Cortex-A53, frequency 1.5 GHz), graphics core PowerVR GE8320 Mediatek MT6762R Helio P22: eight cores (4 × ARM Cortex-A53, frequency 2.0 GHz + 4 × ARM Cortex-A53, frequency 1.5 GHz), graphics core PowerVR GE8320
Display LCD, 6.39 inches, 1560 × 720 LCD, 6.3 inches, 1600 × 720 LCD, 5.45 inches, 1440 × 720
RAM 4 GB 3 GB 2 GB
Flash memory 64 GB 64 GB 32 GB
SIM cards Two nano-SIM, dedicated microSD card slot Two nano-SIM, dedicated microSD card slot Two nano-SIM, dedicated microSD card slot
Wireless communications 2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi (802.11 b / g / n), Bluetooth 5.0, navigation (GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS) 2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi (802.11 b / g / n), Bluetooth 5.0, navigation (GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS) 2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi (802.11 b / g / n), Bluetooth 5.0, navigation (GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS)
Main camera Triple module, 48 + 8 + 2 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.4 + f / 2.4, phase detection autofocus with the main module, wide viewing angle, third camera – depth sensor Triple module, 13 + 5 + 2 MP, ƒ / 1.8 + ƒ / 2.2 + ƒ / 2.4, phase autofocus with the main module, wide viewing angle, third camera – depth sensor 8 MP, ƒ / 2.0
Front-camera 8 MP, ƒ / 2.0 8 MP, ƒ / 2.0 5 MP, ƒ / 2.2
Fingerprint scanner On the back On the back No (only face recognition system using the front camera
Connectors microUSB, 3.5 mm microUSB, 3.5 mm microUSB, 3.5 mm
Battery 4000 mAh 5000 mAh 3020 mAh
Dimensions 159.8 × 76.1 × 8.1 mm 159.1 × 74.1 × 9 mm 146.5 × 70.9 × 8.4 mm
Weight 176 g 185 g 144 g
operating system Android 10 with a proprietary shell EMUI 10.1 (without Google Mobile Services) Android 10 with a proprietary shell Magic 3.1 (without Google Mobile Services) Android 10 with a proprietary shell Magic 3.1 (without Google Mobile Services)
Price 12 990 rubles 10 990 rubles 6 990 rubles

The chief in this trinity, as usual, is the oldest. Honor 9C at a price of 13 thousand rubles it looks and feels like relevant if not a flagship, then a mid-range smartphone – that is, about two times more expensive. A hefty screen (6.39 inches) is placed in the front panel with almost no frames (however, it is still quite noticeable “almost”), and the front camera is packed with an opening in the corner, and not with a cutout or “drop”. It is the latter that gives the Honor 9C the charm and sensation of a more expensive gadget than it really is. There is a suspicion that there will still be a lot of inexpensive smartphones with such a selfie camera this year – but this later. Now Honor 9C stands out.

Honor 9C

The back panel is made of plastic, like the edges, but thanks to the mirror coating, the triple camera module, which protrudes slightly above the body, and the gradient color, it also quite rightly refers to smartphones of a higher rank with a glass back. However, to determine that we are talking about a budget device is still not difficult: by the fingerprint scanner on the rear panel and by the microUSB port on the lower edge – USB Type-C still remains the prerogative of more expensive smartphones.

Honor 9C

Honor 9C, rear face

Moreover, you will find microUSB in all three new phones of the Honor 9 series, as well as a mini-jack – by its presence you can also determine the status of the device, but in this case, of course, this is an advantage. Many manufacturers remove the mini-jack from their smartphones, just following the fashion, without any real reason. Honor in this case acted humanly and left an analog audio jack.

Honor 9C

Honor 9C, bottom

I already spoke about the diagonal of the Honor 9C screen, these are solid 6.39 inches – it uses a very high-quality IPS-matrix, but with a small HD-resolution for such a diagonal, 1560 × 720 pixels. The density is 269 ppi, on the fonts you can see a small ladder. The screen (as on the other two models in the series) is traditionally certified by TuV Rheinland for Honor products – that is, in a special mode of vision protection, it really has a minimum of negative effects on the eyes.

Honor 9C

Honor 9C, front camera and earpiece

The Honor 9C hardware platform is the proprietary HiSilicon Kirin 710A, one of the first Huawei systems-on-a-chip, which is produced on the SMIC assembly line instead of TSMC. This is a mid-range platform of the sample of 2018 with four productive cores ARM Cortex-A73 with a frequency of 2.2 GHz and four ARM Cortex-A53 with a frequency of 1.7 GHz. The graphics coprocessor is ARM Mali-G51 MP4. The manufacturing process is 14 nm. It, in combination with 4 GB of RAM, is enough for the smartphone to quickly execute basic applications and allow you to run any mobile game (but, of course, not always with the maximum settings).

Honor 9C

Honor 9C, rear cameras and a fingerprint scanner

The Honor 9C has a triple camera with a 48-megapixel Quad Bayer main module, equipped with a ƒ / 1.8 aperture lens and phase detection autofocus, which is complemented by an 8 megapixel wide-angle module and a ƒ / 2.4 aperture, without autofocus. The third camera is a depth sensor with a resolution of 2 megapixels, which serves to blur the background when shooting portraits. Despite the lack of a dedicated module in the hardware platform responsible for neural network computing, image enhancement through machine learning technologies (“artificial intelligence”) is supported. There is also a completely working night mode – there is no optical stabilization in the Honor 9C camera, but you can make a decent night shot on this smartphone.

Shooting on the Honor 9 C with standard and extended viewing angles

On the left – shooting with night mode, on the right – without it

Wireless modules on all three smartphones of the new series are identical: LTE modem, single-band Wi-Fi (802.11 b / g / n), Bluetooth 5.0, NFC (except Honor 9S), a navigation module with support for GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou systems.

Honor 9C comes in two-color cases (gradient blue, like here, and black), but with only one option for internal memory. This is quite worthy for its price category of 64 GB – with the possibility of expanding the volume using a microSD memory card, and the slot for it is separate, it does not use either of the two slots for nano-SIM. The smartphone is equipped with a 4000 mAh battery, which is very good for a device with such characteristics – it will hold a charge all day without any problems.

Honor 9A

Honor 9A – The middle link in the new Honor series of smartphones. Both in size and design, it is very similar to 9C, differing in a thicker case, a frontal frame inscribed in the front panel with a “drop” cut-out, and a rear camera, executed differently – in a black rectangle updated by flagship smartphones.

Honor 9A

Having received a screen with a slightly smaller diagonal (6.3 inches versus 6.39 inches), but close HD resolution, the Honor 9A is more different from the 9C filling than outwardly. Here, the Mediatek MT6762R platform (also from 2018) is installed with eight cores: four Cortex-A53 with a frequency of 2.0 GHz and four Cortex-A53 with a frequency of 1.5 GHz, as well as a PowerVR GE8320 graphics subsystem. The manufacturing process is 12 nm. It works with 3 GB of RAM. But non-volatile memory is as much here as in the Honor 9C – 64 GB with expandability.

Honor 9A

There is also a simpler camera – again this is a triple module, but with a 13-megapixel main camera and a 5-megapixel wide-angle. The third camera is the same depth sensor.

But Honor 9A has its outstanding quality with all the above compromises – a 5000 mAh battery, due to which the smartphone’s body is a little swollen. Thanks to him, you can count on good autonomy – this is a nice inexpensive smartphone for those who do not like to carry power banks with them at all.

Honor 9A is offered in black, green and blue (as in the photo) versions.

Honor 9S

Honor 9S – The simplest and cheapest smartphone from the top three. At a price of 7 thousand rubles, he received the same hardware platform as the Honor 9A, but with less RAM (2 GB) and a smaller storage capacity (32 GB with the possibility of expanding a microSD memory card with a capacity of up to 512 GB).

Honor 9S

The filling is packed in a classic-format case with large frames and a 5.45-inch LCD screen. The rear camera is single (8 megapixels, ƒ / 2.0), but nevertheless designed in an actual style – a microphone is inscribed in the square with the lens (with circles around it – so it tries to pretend to be a second camera) and a flash. The back is made of matte plastic in black (as in the photo), red or blue.

All three smartphones are running Android 10 with the EMUI 10 shell (for Honor 9C) or a slightly different variation for Honor – Magic UI 3.1. All three smartphones lack Google services – as I wrote at the beginning, these are the first of its kind low-cost Honor smartphones that rely entirely on Huawei Mobile Services. And now, perhaps, it’s a really logical moment for this step – Huawei has perfectly rocked the ecosystem in just over six months since the introduction of sanctions for the use of GMS, and today this should not be very scary.

In the AppGallery brand store, you can find a sufficient number of familiar applications – both from Russian developers (there is a complete ecosystem of Yandex and Mail) and from Western ones: for example, Telegram recently launched in AppGallery. Applications that are not represented in the AppGallery can be easily installed by third-party paths, both using international services like APK Pure and Russian ones, for example, AppGo. It is also not forbidden to just download apk files from the Internet. Applications that do not work on Honor 9C / 9A / 9S can be counted on the fingers, but yes, among them are Youtube (you have to use a browser, you can use Chrome with your usual account), Google Pay, Google Play and the Google Now panel.

Until recently, the most painful thing was the inability to pay smartphones without GMS in contactless terminals, but from the beginning of April, the Pay Wallet service was launched in Russia, which completely fills this gap. – service It is downloaded directly from the AppGallery, and the payment works without having to go into the application each time. Another problem faced by smartphone users without GMS is the difficulty of transferring information from a previous phone. Previously, this was solved simply by downloading all the data from the cloud copy tied to the Google account. To solve this problem, you should use the proprietary Phone Clone service, which will transfer all the information from your past phone, including most of the applications – even those that are not in the AppGallery. Most likely, the contact list will not be transferred, but there is a solution: go through the Honor 9C / 9S / 9A browser to your Google account, select the “Contacts” service, select the Export option and select backup via vCard. Open the downloaded file on your smartphone using the regular “Contacts” application. Voila – everything is in place!

Yes, without Google Play it’s still unusual, but not so scary – smartphones without GMS today have a right to life.

Otherwise, the Honor 9C, 9A and 9S claim to be one of the most interesting offers in their classes – with an adequate combination of price and features, an up-to-date design, a really good camera (for the Honor 9C) and a very capacious battery (for the Honor 9A).

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