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Honor 9: Hands-on

The Honor 9 was introduced today in Berlin.
The Honor 9 was introduced today in Berlin.
Honor's flagship smartphone enters a new round and remains true to its principles: high-end features for a mid-range price. The Honor 9 offers many improvements in the detail, such as a faster SoC, more storage, an improved dual camera with hybrid zoom, and a stronger battery. We were able to get a first impression of the smartphone during its launch in Berlin.

During the launch event of the Honor 9 in Berlin, we were able to get a close impression of the Honor 9. Now the design is more rounded and there is not only 2.5D glass as still in the Honor 8, but 3D glass which is even more rounded in the back. In addition, the manufacturer moves its fingerprint sensor from the back to the front and supports touch gestures to control the Android user interface, as in the Huawei P10. Because of that, the case elements appear more present in the front. The smartphone fits into the hand very nicely and weighs merely 155 grams.

The Honor 9 is driven by the currently fastest processor by Huawei, the Kirin 960. Added are 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal eMMC storage, which can be expanded by up to 256 GB via microSD card. The powerful variant of the Honor 9 that has 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB storage will not come to Germany, but is reserved for other markets. LTE Cat. 16 and a dual-band WLAN module which supports the fast ac standard ensure a fast Internet connection. For now, the system left a very fast impression and runs smoothly.

The dual camera was also optimized and is supposed to enable taking good recordings in particular in areas of low light. However, the manufacturer dispenses with an optical image stabilizer in the Honor 9, and videos are only reliably stabilized electronically up to Full HD (30 fps). Yet, the first photos looked promising on the display. But only the extensive test will show further details. 

Initially, the Honor 9 will be available in Germany in silver and sapphire-blue colors, and later midnight-black will follow. Other colors, such as gold or white, will not come to Europe. Honor recommends a suggested retail price of 429 Euros (~$485) for its top smartphone, but already during the market introduction, there are a 30-Euro (~$34) cashback offer and a sale at vMall (Germany), where the also newly introduced Honor Band 3 fitness tracker (69 Euros, ~$78) will be included for free. (It may take a while before the Honor 9 will be available in the US. In the UK it is already up for preorder for £380, ~$500.) 

We received our test unit at the Berlin event and will follow up with an extended test as soon as possible.

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Daniel Schmidt, 2017-07- 2 (Update: 2020-05-19)