Each new device is reinventing the budget smartphone as we know it. Not long ago this almost bordered on a derogatory term, with budget usually being equated with cheap or substandard. More and more smartphones are now satiating the needs of a value conscious Indian consumer with an offering that delivers more for less. Honor is one of the brands who’ve mastered this craft; the brand’s 9 Lite certainly looked more expensive than its price tag. The Honor 9N aims to go one up on the 9 Lite.

Honor certainly understands the value of the colour palette. Gone are the predilection for greys and blacks or the occasional white or gold. Between the Huawei and Honor line, the company has almost made blue its very own. The Honor 9N now adds two gorgeous colours that set this phone apart. There’s a Robin Egg Blue (it’s actually a legit colour; we googled it. It’s also commonly referred to as Tiffany Blue) that’s more a pale green and a unique lavender purple. It helps that the 9N uses a glass back – a feature that was beyond the budget
phones until recently.

Honor is mighty proud of the device’s design aesthetic – the back is crafted with 12 layers of what the brand’s marketing lexicon refers to as ‘nano-coating’. The 9N doesn’t just depend on psychedelics as a differentiator. The device becomes one of the first budget devices to sport the Notch. It’s clear evidence of how rapidly trends spread in the smartphone space. This was a feature that we first saw on the pricey iPhone X less than a
year ago and it’s already sweeping all price segments in the smartphone space.

The notch is certainly not for everyone but that hasn’t stopped device manufacturers from joining the party. We like the ‘hide notch’ option that still allows viewing key display icons including the vital battery percentage number without having to swipe down each time. The notch lends the 9N a 19:9 aspect ratio; the 5.84-inch display (2280 x 1080 pixels) is certainly large enough for videos on the go. And yet it feels quite light in your hand.

The 9 Lite’s big selling point was its quad cam set up – a dual front and a dual rear cam. Honor sacrifices the second front cam to incorporate the notch. The 9N offers a decent 16MP selfie cam that also has numerous AI tricks up its sleeve. There’s 3D face contouring and the beautification mode that works for some selfie fiends. The rear dual cam combines a 13MP and a 2MP lens. Results are acceptable, given the device’s sticker price but we were not blown away by the images.

At the heart of the Honor 9N is Huawei’s very own Hisilicon Kirin 659 processor. We’d recommend the version with the 4GB RAM (there’s also a 3GB RAM variant) with either 64GB or 128GB of Internal memory (that can be expanded up to 256GB with support for Micro SD Cards). We experienced no stutters while multitasking; this device should work for everyday usage. Battery life (the device features a 3000 mAh battery under the hood) is
acceptable too. We managed a whole day with limited multi-media usage. Honor sticks with the slightly dated Micro USB charging port at a time when USB C is fast becoming the norm.

That’s one of the minor cribs in a device that incorporates quite a few handy features like a responsive fingerprint sensor (at the rear of the device) and a face unlock feature. But it’s the Honor 9N’s stunning array of colours and the Notch that are likely to be the device’s selling points in a cluttered marketplace.

The Honor 9N comes in a choice of 3 variants – Rs 11,999 (3GB RAM / 32GB ROM), Rs 13,999 (4GB RAM / 64GB ROM) and Rs 17,999 (4GB RAM / 128 GB ROM).