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PaulOBrien

Which Huawei / Honor 18:9 mid-range phone should you buy?

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The Huawei / Honor march towards domination rolls on with the introduction of a raft of mid-range devices featuring the previously flagship 18:9 screen size. For the UK at least however, exactly which device you should buy isn't clear at all. With the Honor 7X, the Honor 9 Lite and the Huawei P Smart all close in price, which one is the one to have? Let us help you choose!

allphones.png

We're going to look at the features of each, finishing with pricing so you can decide which is for you.

Screen

  • Huawei P Smart: 2160x1080 5.65"
  • Honor 7X: 2160x1080 5.93"
  • Honor 9 Lite: 2160x1080 5.65"

The headline feature of all the devices is their 18:9 screens. All are 2160x1080 in resolution, but the Honor 7X goes for the larger size. For comparison, think of the 7X as Galaxy S8 Plus sized and the P Smart and 9 Lite as Galaxy S8 'regular' sized. Your thoughts here are going to be a big factor in your decision!

SIM Slots

  • Huawei P Smart: Single SIM
  • Honor 7X / Honor 9 Lite: Dual SIM (or 1 SIM + microSD), 4G + 2G on second SIM

A big black mark against the P Smart with only single SIM support. Note that on the dual devices, unlike on higher end phones, the second SIM is limited to 2G.

Battery

  • Huawei P Smart: 3000mAh
  • Honor 7X: 3340mAh
  • Honor 9 Lite: 3000mAh

The larger size of the 7X pays dividends in battery size, gaining 340mAh (or over 10%) against the smaller phones.

Operating System

  • Huawei P Smart: Android 8.0 + EMUI 8
  • Honor 7X: Android 7.0 + EMUI 5.1 (Oreo to follow)
  • Honor 9 Lite: Android 8.0 + EMUI 8

The 7X launched first, so perhaps it's not surprising it uses Nougat rather than Oreo. An update is expected in Q2 2018 however.

NFC

  • Huawei P Smart: Yes
  • Honor 7X: No
  • Honor 9 Lite: Yes

Probably the biggest negative of the 7X is that it has no NFC support.

Memory / Storage

  • Huawei P Smart: 3GB RAM, 32GB storage
  • Honor 7X: 4GB RAM, 64GB storage
  • Honor 9 Lite: 3GB RAM, 32GB storage

Camera

  • Huawei P Smart: Rear 13MP + 2MP, Front 8MP F2.0
  • Honor 7X:  Rear 16MP + 2MP, Front 8MP
  • Honor 9 Lite: Rear 13MP + 2MP, Front 13MP + 2MP

Don't let the higher megapixel count fool you - in our testing, the Honor 9 Lite takes the best pics of these devices.

Dimensions / Weight

  • Huawei P Smart: 150.1 x 72.1 x 7.5 mm, 165g
  • Honor 7X:  156.5 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm, 165g
  • Honor 9 Lite: 151 x 71.9 x 7.6 mm, 149g

The Honor 9 Lite is noticeably lighter than the other devices.

Colour

  • Huawei P Smart: Black
  • Honor 7X: Blue
  • Honor 9 Lite: Blue or Grey

The Honor signature blue is surely the way to go!

Common features

All the devices use exactly the same CPU - the very capable Kirin 659 mid-range processor (16nm Octa core, 2.36 GHz x 4 + 1.7GHz x 4). Connectivity wise, here's where you'll see mid-range cost savings compared to more expensive devices. All the devices lack 5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and use microUSB rather than the newer USB-C (Huawei's proprietary fast charging is included). All of the devices have a rear mounted fingerprint sensor.

Real pricing

  • Huawei P Smart: £230 (from John Lewis currently OOS, also available from Vodafone)
  • Honor 7X: £240 (Laptops Direct)
  • Honor 9 Lite: £199 with free Honor AM61 Bluetooth sport earphones (Honor UK)

So which one should I buy?

Let's start with which one you shouldn't buy. I don't see a particularly good reason to buy the P Smart. It's more expensive than the Honor 9 Lite, is single SIM only and that aside they are effectively the same device. Which brings us to the 7X and the 9 Lite. Your choice will probably come down to whether you want a bigger device with more storage - if this is important to you, then the 7X is probably the way to go. But if you want the best phone at the best value... my pick is the Honor 9 Lite. It's extremely good value (particularly with the current free earphones offer), it's stunning to look at and the camera is surprisingly decent. 3GB RAM vs 4GB RAM is largely academic in real use and 32GB will be OK for most people (you can also expand via microSD).

If you do buy one of the above, let us know what you think!


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I could have done with this 2 weeks ago when my Nexus 5X bricked itself. Spent a week reading stats, wanted USB C and NFC, also fancied a larger screen but that pushes the price up. Ordered a Wileyfox 2X but the Amazon seller let me down, then picked up a P10 Lite (only in Black sadly) when Argos dropped  the price of the 7X,  so I swapped the order to that, only to find Argos had the wrong stats and NFC wasn't on it!

So I dropped down to a P8 Lite which was in Honor Blue (only from CPW) and bar the Micro USB was had very similar specs to my dead N5X and was just £130! Maybe I should have waited for the P9 Lite but I glad I didn't plump too much money as I have since found out all Huaweis have a known issue using Bluetooth to Garmin GPS watches. 

UPDATE

This week a beta update came out for my Garmin (735XT) and it fixes the issue.

Edited by Christianedward
Update

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Glad it's useful, perhaps something similar for the 16:9 models, of which there are many, is in order! 

P

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A little off topic, sorry, but...

Christianedward, what sort of issues are you experiencing with the Bluetooth connection to the Garmin watch? I ask as both my wife and I now have an Honor View 10, but she is unable to get the Mi Fit app for her Mi Band 2 to keep running in the background which means that it doesn't keep a Bluetooth connection open for her to receive notifications via the bands. I was wondering if this might be the same issue that you are talking about? We have tinkered as much as possible with permissions and battery options to allow the app to run in the background, but it just doesn't work like it did on her previous phone.

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I too bought a P8 Lite for my son to replace a bricked Nexus 5X.

He's well impressed with it,  he's only 15 but was desperate for a phone with NFC as he loves Android Pay, and the phone needed to be able to handle all the apps he uses, he's now getting a Huawei Band 2 Pro to go with it.

When it comes time to replace my Samsung S7 Edge, I may well look to Huawei as their phones seem to be pretty nice pieces of kit.

Vince

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I bought one of these not long ago from Argos. I also have the Honor 5c which i bought after Paul put up a great positive review on it. The H9L is a nice piece of equipment but one place that Honor seems worse than others perhaps is in updates; e.g. the update app in the Honor 5c never actually worked and I had to always do manual updates to keep it up to date.
Huawei/Honor seems just as bad with its newest phones when it comes to updates, firmwares and releases.
The official Oreo rom is still not available on the honor site, and although the phone has received many positive reviews very little developer support (at least over in xda) seems forthcoming.
No TWRP, no root and the only movement is via it's project treble support where some progress has been made with loading AOSP and Lineage OS; ofcourse after bootloader unlock which in turn breaks Android pay (so much for NFC) which you could possibly solve via Magidisk. Doing any of this at the very least requires an official rom that you can go to if things go wrong, so I hope you see the point I'm trying to make here. Note: even modaco doesn't have a dedicated forum for it yet !
If you want a great looking phone just to use it then go ahead and buy it, the price is attractive. If however you want something to tinker with then any Honor Kirin phone is probably not the way to go and you'll be better off sticking with SnapDragons; e.g Motos or Xiaomi (if you want to go Chinese).
Edited by xzyk
addition..

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