back to article Huawei's Honor 9: The only mobe of its spec asking 'why blow £500?'

It's become a bit of cliché that in recent years low-cost Chinese phones have been "disrupting" a market that belonged to high-margin, high-cost flagship makers like Samsung and Sony. But what happens when a Chinese phone vendor "disrupts" itself? That's what Huawei did with its Honor 9 – a summer debutant we're revisiting now …

  1. jmch Silver badge
    WTF?

    Apologies to hijack this thread...

    ...with a rather off-topic statement....but....

    Is that a banana case in the picture??? Someone looked at a banana, which is a perfect natural packaging, tough on the outside even when soft inside, easy to open, and gives a visual indication of readiness for consumption... and decided "hey I can do better!"

    and people actually buy that??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apologies to hijack this thread...

      "tough on the outside even when soft inside, easy to open,"

      Throw it into the bottom of your laptop bag, bung a load of stuff on top and see how good the tough outside case really is.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Apologies to hijack this thread...

        Aerostich flogs 'em on this side of the pond for motorcycle commuters:

        http://www.aerostich.com/banana-guard.html

        Complete with cheeky description.

      2. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Apologies to hijack this thread...

        "Throw it into the bottom of your laptop bag, bung a load of stuff on top and see how good the tough outside case really is."

        Exactly. Or a child's backpack.

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Apologies to hijack this thread...

      "Is that a banana case in the picture???", I reckon it's for condoms (reusable).

    3. AdamWill

      Re: Apologies to hijack this thread...

      Yes. It goes in my tennis bag. And now when I'm done playing tennis I can eat a banana, rather than trying to scrape the mushy remnants of one out from under my water bottle.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apologies to hijack this thread...

      Of course it's a phone case that looks like a banana, it's so you can have your own Bananaphone!

  2. Timmy B Silver badge

    huawei and honor updates...

    ...have been terrible. We have devices by both in the house and whilst they are great value neither has had an update for months - and not for the life of the product so far when it comes to the honor. This is pretty poor and really terrible when you consider my oneplus 3 has been getting updates pretty much every month.

    I don't think I'll ever spend premium supplier prices again but will not be buying honor or Huawei again.

    1. Ryan Clark

      Re: huawei and honor updates...

      I got a P10 plus in the summer, work phone. It has been updated 3 times since I got it so no complaints here.

    2. streaky Silver badge

      Re: huawei and honor updates...

      Can't speak for this range specifically but I've found Chinese devices to suffer with this issue badly, it's an area where Chinese tech companies need to put a bit more effort into keeping up with the Joneses. I'm always wary of more expensive items from China specifically because of this.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: huawei and honor updates...

        Except Lenovo (& Moto) of course. I've been getting almost monthly updates on my Z Play.

    3. Chz

      Re: huawei and honor updates...

      My Honor 8's had an update every three months, roughly. That's not Google-level updates, but it's actually better than, for example, HTC.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't matter how good or how cheap it is, it's still running Google's PII miner. It amazes me how quickly Android owners seem to forget news articles outlining how their PII is being stolen, not to mention the fetid swamp that is the Google Play store. "Oh look, shiny!" ... and we move onto the next new handset.

    Let the down-voting commence.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What's the alternative?

      1. John70
        Coat

        What's the alternative?

        Microsoft...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Now Be Fair

      "Doesn't matter how good or how cheap it is, it's still running Google's PII miner."

      It's an Huawei, which means it's a Chinese PII miner before it's a Google PII miner.

  4. Stuart 22

    Size matters

    I remember thinking the original Apple 6 incher a joke. But my own phones have grown from 4.9 (Nexus 4) to 5.2 (Nexus 5X) and now 5.5 (Lenovo P2).

    Looking forward I may go the full 6 incher but no way will I be going smaller. This phone, beautiful as it is, would be going backwards for me. Am I alone in this gentle inflation of normality?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Size matters

      Those pills don't work, by the way.

      Just be happy with what you have.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It runs Android...

    ...so it’s not important.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It runs Android...

      ...to you, because unlike 88% of phone owners, you're already told what to use.

      So why did you waste your time reading the article, and posting?

  6. tiggity Silver badge

    Image quality

    F***s given about image quality? zero.

    I have some "proper" cameras and lenses (digital bodies, the old 35mm film SLR bodies are gathering dust) for decent photos.

    It's a smart phone, it can happily replace MP3 player, SatNav, eBook (depending on size) etc but not a camera..

    If I need, to take (for some reason) a quick snap with a phone then just good enough is typically good enough.

    Theres some impressive maths at play working around the limitations of the tiny lens(es depending on the phone) in a phone camera to produce OKish shots, but cannot compete with the laws of physics and the light gathering capabilities of a high quality lens with a diameter many times greater (and a cost greater than the phone)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Image quality

      If I need, to take (for some reason) a quick snap with a phone then just good enough is typically good enough.

      Exactly. Who gives a shit?

      Need a good camera? Then get a camera!

      1. handleoclast Silver badge

        Re: Image quality

        Yep. Camera is the very, very last of my priorities in getting a phone.

        How much does it cost? Number one, top priority.

        Can it make phone calls? Pretty essential in a phone.

        Does the design screw up the sensitivity of the antenna if you hold it wrong (or even if you hold it right)? Coverage is rather patchy and intermittent where I am, so I want a sensitive antenna.

        How long does the battery last?

        How heavy is it?

        How big is it?

        Does it do intertoobz stuff?

        How rapidly does it get updated after an OS fix is released?

        How many years of OS updates can I expect?

        Oh, it has a camera. Does it have a camera flash that can double as a flashlight to save me carrying around a flashlight on dark nights?

        Is the camera any good? I don't really care, but if I'm comparing models and they are about the same on the other items, I might as well go for the one with the better camera.

        Sadly, all El Reg seems to focus on is the camera.

      2. rmason Silver badge

        Re: Image quality

        I think you'll find far more potential customers care than don't.

        Always amazes me how easily people here forget "we" are not (for the most part) the target market.

        Believe it or not, most people don't own a separate camera, and rely totally on their phones for such things.

        They also *only* want to take photos to *use* on things on the phone, like facebook and instagram. So not only is a separate camera prohibitively expensive for many, it would also be utterly pointless adding several extra steps to the process.

        I have a dslr, I suspect you may do too due to the nature of your reply, but don't be so pompous as to assume your/our/reg readers usage mirrors that of the vast majority of mobile phone users. The opposite is the case.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Image quality

      Well many people, me included do care about image quality. I can never be bothered to lug a proper camera around with me particularly as I normally fly with just cabin baggage and don't have room, so I want something that is always in my pocket and ready to use if the view warrants it. Agreed that the pictures it takes is not as good as your digital SLR, and the low light ones are quite crap due to the small lens but I have some of my photos printed on 550mm wide paper that look stunning, and way better than not having a photo.

    3. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Image quality

      I care a lot about image quality. There's more to photography than family snaps or professional shoots.

      I use mine in industrial settings all the time where clarity of barcodes, spec labels/plates and on-site pictures of equipment in-situ is damned important, but not enough to justify carrying an extra piece of gear for. And nor do I need it, thanks to modern smart phones.

    4. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Image quality

      I like image quality and I like cameras, my phone has 13MP and produces good enough results to use with the Image Meter app that allows me to put measurements straight onto a photo but if I want a proper photo I use one of my M4/3 mirrorless Panasonics and one or two of a shed full of lenses.

      For something that is good enough for a lot of pros to use as a back up or permanent pocket camera the LX100 is a stonking little camera fantastic point and shoot or a bucket load of professional stuff you can do with it.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Image quality

        Phone cameras are never going to be great but it's better than having nothing. I'm not going to carry my DSLR around with me all the time because it doesn't fit in my pocket.

        I generally buy cheap android phones and the biggest downside is the camera is usually not great. It's fine in good light though.

    5. DrBobK

      Re: Image quality

      May as well reply (possibly to some of the replies). I have an amazingly tiny Sony RX1Rii compact camera with a full frame sensor and a lovely Zeiss lens. It takes better photos than any phone and most DSLRs (reminder, proper German Zeiss lens, 42 MPix full 35mm sensor) and can be taken everywhere when you remember. I also have an ancient Canon 1DS Mk2 (full fame sensor again) which takes better pictures than any phone and to which you can attach loads of very expensive lenses (with red rings for preference) and which can be taken most places if you can lug it around (really, really does still take fab pics though). Even with these choices I still end up taking some pictures with my phone - reasonable image quality on a phone is still a good thing to have even if you fell (like me) for all this proper camera stuff.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Image quality

      "I have some "proper" cameras and lenses..."

      So something like Hasslbald H6D then, or do you mean mickey mouse makes such as Nikon and Canon.

      Se what I did there?

      1. Joe Harrison Silver badge

        Re: Image quality

        Meh a Hasslbald (or even a Hasselblad), that's still micky mouse using short cuts for amateurs, like roll film. For proper photography you need to feed your chickens on the right stuff to make your albumen plates...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Value is relative

    Whilst £379 might be bargain basement for the sort of people otherwise splashing on S8s and top of the range iPhones, I'm struggling to see much of a value proposition against other Chinese pretenders. You can get a larger screen, larger battery, and otherwise similar performance and spec for half that money, albeit often as a grey import.

    The only things that spending double the money would have got me were that glossy back, fast charging (not terribly important when I've got a 4,000 mAh battery), and a 20 MP B&W camera (not much use for me). I suspect that the Honor 9 processor will outclass the octa-core unit in my Xiaomi in benchmarks, but since I see no lag in day to day use, why worry?

  8. Chris 125

    My old Honor 7 remains one of the most surprising phones I've ever had. I bought it as a bit of an emergency - I'd made a bad choice with an LG and needed something more capable without breaking the bank. I seem to remember that at about £170 used it was almost a straight swap for my LG in CEX. Metal chassis, fingerprint, and so much faster.

    So good I got my daughter a 5X. Admittedly she broke the screen on that, but then again she breaks screen on everything and a new one was £25 and fitted in about 20 minutes.

    Big fan of the Honor brand, but I can see why they hesitate with marketing. If this has the P10 chipset, premium features (metal chassis and fingerprint reader, for example) then who on earth is buying their more expensive handsets? Sadly I can see the price of these rising to protect the Huawei range.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sadly I can see the price of these rising to protect the Huawei range.

      I suspect you're right, but there's a whole load of Chinese alternatives, many of equal quality. I think the rot sets in when emerging brands establish an expensive UK or EU presence, start puffing themselves up with costly Samsung-style marketing, and trying to price according to what they would like users to pay.

      Luckily, given the scale of the Chinese market, and the existence of other countries that will be low-middle income for decades, there won't be a shortage of new challenger brands offering excellent value via the grey market. And the rapid commoditisation of phone tech is going to continue to make the quality of low cost phones better - the one thing that value-conscious buyers need to do is not to have any brand loyalty - that's the main card that supports makers high priced phones.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why blow £500?

    A sim-free P10 has been available for a while for a lot less than £579. I paid £399 in October and today Carphone Warehouse has it on offer for £329.99.

    1. Snowy

      Re: why blow £500?

      Showing the same price on Amazon too.

  10. K Silver badge

    Don't rush out just yet though..

    Huawei are about to unveil the 7X and V10 (which is apparently based upon the Mate 10 Pro).. tomorrow in China (then in London on 5th December on the EU versions).

    No idea what the price will be, but I'd recommend waiting, as on paper they are looking pretty awesome

    1. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Don't rush out just yet though..

      @k

      Missed your comment, that's exactly what i'm doing.

      I've a relative who had had the P10 since release and it's been spot on (and still is).

      I'm hoping the V10 meets my requirements, if it doesn't the hunt continues or I cave and get the new note.

  11. ecofeco Silver badge

    Price to performance is not impressive

    See title.

    This phone has only a little more to offer than a phone I got for free this year. Not to mention the screen is smaller than mine.

    Free. A phone I would have gladly paid $100 for. Which is to say I did not and still do not expect to find a very good free phone in the future, but in the meantime? Yeah, I'm good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Price to performance is not impressive

      Was it really free though? I bought my phone and claimed it back in expenses from my employer, which makes it free. If you got it as part of a contract then it was not free.

  12. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Six months later and not a word about updates

    Were there any? Were they timely?

    In other words have Huawei turned around their terrible reputation when it comes to updates or is it more of the same?

  13. AdamWill

    comparison to the 5T seems a bit lacking

    I've not used either phone so I don't know what the camera quality difference really is, but there are plenty of other obvious differences between this and the 5T that you'd think should be involved in a comparison.

    Most obviously, the 5T gets a 6" screen into a slightly larger body, at 80% screen-to-body ratio; the Honor's 5.15" screen is only at 70% screen-to-body ratio. i.e., it's got giant bezels. Possibly more significantly, though, there's this:

    Honor 9: LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 20(800), 38(2600), 40(2300), 41(2500)

    5T: LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 12(700), 17(700), 18(800), 19(800), 20(800), 25(1900), 26(850), 28(700), 29(700), 30(2300), 34(2000), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500), 66(1700/2100)

    that's....really lots more LTE band coverage. If you travel a lot, having a phone which covers a lot of LTE bands is super useful. It also makes it easier to switch providers. To me this is one of the bigger features of the 5T, and it's odd it doesn't seem to get much attention.

    https://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?idPhone1=8704&idPhone2=8912

  14. rmason Silver badge

    Brother in-law

    The brother in law has the Honour P10 and it's been a damn good handset.

    I'm definitely in the market for a new handset in the new year, and i'm going to wait and see what the next two offering from these fine Chinese chappies are. The V10 and something else I believe.

  15. Chz

    Only fly in the ointment is its older brother...

    You can pick up an Honor 8 for ~£270 off one of the European Amazons. The 9 doesn't actually offer much of an upgrade over its older brother. It's better, but it's not *much* better. £270 is a helluva deal for any phone that's got a CPU more powerful than an A53.

    1. peterm3

      Re: Only fly in the ointment is its older brother...

      Good tip, although the performance seems to be about half as measured by Benchmark X on gsm arena.

  16. sloshnmosh

    Official Lineage OS

    I won't purchase a phone unless it has an active official Lineage OS that can receive security patches.

    And thanks but I'll pass on flashing Gapps on to it.

    Why ruin a decent setup by adding Gapps?

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