Honor 9i/Mate 10 Lite Hands-on Review: Camera Performance And First Impressions

By 12:50 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments

Camera and overall impressions

The Honor 9i has a dual capturing camera system on the front as well as on the back, which is how Huawei got the 'World's first phone with four cameras' rhetoric. The thing is, though, only two of those actually hold pictures and the other two are depth sensors for the background blur effect.

The background defocusing feature on the rear capturing camera left us a bit disappointed contrary to our experience with more expensive Huawei phones. The capturing camera made a shoddy border around the subject and heavily blurred out the surrounding area, making the person see like a cardboard cutout.

The capturing camera app has another mode where you can adjust the "aperture" of the camera, which worked a bit better but was still unreliable.

Honor 9i/Mate 10 Lite camera: Portrait mode • Wide aperture mode

We continued taking regular pictures and fortunately, the phone does better in that regard. The images we took in colorful daylight see decent but there are some issues. The colors aren't quite right, and simply calling them oversaturated wouldn't be correct as some colors simply looked different. For example, the bunch of flowers in one of the images are colorful red but see like a deep shade of pink here. The mustard yellow surfboard looks light yellow.

Honor 9i/Mate 10 Lite capturing camera samples

Also, the dynamic range isn't impressive. It's fine if the scene is mostly flat, but in a high contrast scenarios, the sensor will either blow the highlights or throw the shadows under the bus. The HDR mode just makes the image brighter but does nothing for saving the highlights from clipping.

There is also not a lot of noise reduction applied. This means there is more fine detail retained in the images, but also a lot of noise too.

First impressions

In the time we spent with the Honor 9i/Mate 10 Lite, we did come to appreciate many things about it. The design is really quite impressive and makes the device stand out in its segment. The so-called FullView display is also quite nice and apart from the novelty is actually useful since it shows a lot more content. The software experience and general performance was also quite good.

Where the device lacks is in some graphical horsepower to power some of those more demanding games, particularly due to its higher-than-usual classy screen resolution.

The quad-camera is also a gimmick, and although the image capturing camera from the primary cameras is decent for the price, the background defocusing effect is not the best implementation we've seen from Huawei. The phone also lacks some niceties, such as quick charging and USB-C that you find on its rivals.

Still, for INR 17,999 ($278), the Honor 9i is fine value and a suitable step up from some of the cheaper phones in the segment.



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