Comparison: Honor 9N vs Asus ZenFone Pro M1 vs Redmi Note 5 vs Moto G6 Play

The Honor 9N wins in the looks department, but falls short when it comes to raw power.

Huawei’s sub brand Honor has just launched it brand new Honor 9N budget smartphone at it’s quite the stunner at Rs 11,999. The device surely looks good with its shiny glass back and will definitely appeal to younger audiences looking for something flashy. The coloured plastic frame also makes it lighter than its identical twin sibling, the Huawei P20 Lite, which sells for almost double the price, despite having similar hardware inside.

Yes, the Honor 9N does look like doppelganger of the Huawei P20 Lite. It’s hard to tell between the two smartphones until you look at the logo on the bottom chin, below the 19:9 display. That 19:9 aspect ratio 5.84-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display is covered with 2.5 D glass just like on the P20 Lite.

The Honor 9N looks almost identical to the Huawei P20 Lite. Image: tech2/Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The Honor 9N looks almost identical to the Huawei P20 Lite. Image: tech2/Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

Inside, there’s Honor and Huawei’s tried and tested HiSilicon Kirin 659 SoC that is coupled with 3 GB RAM and comes with 32 GB internal storage (expandable up to 256 GB using a hybrid SIM slot). Other options include a 4 GB RAM + 64 GB model and a 4 GB RAM + 128 GB model.

As for the cameras there’s a 13 MP + 2 MP setup along with an LED flash. The front-facing camera features a 16 MP sensor that sits alongside the receiver speaker and the ambient light sensor all packed tightly inside that display notch.

As of today, the Honor 9N is the only smartphone in the budget range to feature a display notch with a 19:9 aspect ratio display (until Xiaomi announces the Mi A2 Lite); if you are still into display notches that is.

So how does the gorgeous Honor 9N fair against its competitors in the budget smartphone segment? Let’s find out!

Smartphone Huawei Honor 9N ASUS Zenfone Max Pro Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Moto G6 Play
Display Size (inch) 5.8 5.99 5.9 5.7
Resolution (pixels) 1,080 x 2,160 2,160 x 1,080 2,160 x 1,080 1,440 x 720
Pixel Density (PPI) 428 402 403 282
Dimensions(mm) 149.2x71.8x7.7 159 x 76 x 8.5 158.5 x 75.45 x 8.05 154.4 x 72.2 x 9
Weight (gm) 152 - 180 175
Dual SIM Yes Yes Yes Yes
SIM Type Nano-SIM Nano-SIM Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
Connectivity Types GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE GSM / HSPA / LTE GSM / HSPA / VoLTE GSM / WCDMA / LTE
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 659 Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
CPU Cores Octa-core Octa-core Octa-core Octa-core
CPU Clock Speed (GHz) 4 Cortex-A53 @ 2.36 GHz & 4 Cortex-A53 @ 1.7 GHz 8xQualcomm Kryo 260 @ 1.8 GHz 8 Cortex A53 @ 2.0 GHz 8x Cortex-A53 @ 1.4 Ghz
GPU Mali-T830MP2 Adreno 509 Adreno 506 Adreno 505
RAM 3GB, 4GB 3, 4, 6 GB 3,4 GB 3 GB
On-Board Memory 32, 64, 128 GB 32, 64 GB 64 GB 32 GB
Expandable Memory Yes, up to 256 GB Yes, up to 2 TB Yes, upto 256 GB Yes, upto 256 GB
Sensors Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Proximity, Compass Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Proximity, Compass Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity
Primary Camera 13 MP and 2 MP 13 MP and 5 MP 12MP, f/2.2 13 MP f/2.0
Optical Image Stabilization No No No No
Camera Array Dual Camera Dual Camera Single Camera Dual Camera
Autofocus System Phase detection Phase detection autofocus Phase detection Phase detection autofocus
Secondary Camera 16 MP 8 MP 5 MP, f/2.0 8 MP
Video Capture 1080p 1080p@30fps 1080p 1080p
OS Version EMUI 8.1 Android 8.0 Oreo Android 8.1 Oreo Android 7.1.1 Nougat-based MIUI 9.2 Android 8.0 Oreo
AI (Smart Assistant) Google Assistant Google Assistant Google Assistant Google Assistant
GPS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, Hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE v4.2, A2DP, LE v4.2, A2DP, LE 4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR
NFC No No No No
Infrared No No Yes No
Fingerprint Scanner Yes, Rear button Yes, Rear button Yes, Rear button Yes, rear
3.5mm jack Yes Yes Yes Yes
Radio Yes, FM Radio Yes, FM Radio Yes, FM Radio Yes
USB Type microUSB v2.0 microUSB 2.0, USB On-The-Go microUSB v2.0 micro USB 2.0
USB Standard USB 2.0 USB v2.0 USB v2.0 USB v2.0
Battery (mAh) 3,000 5,000 4,000 4,000
Fast charging No Yes Yes Yes
Colors Midnight Black, Sapphire Blue, Lavender Purple, Robin Egg Blue Deepsea Black, Grey Black, Gold, Rose Gold, Blue Indigo, Gold
Prices in India Starting at Rs 11,999 Starting at Rs 10,999 Starting Rs 9,999 Starting at Rs 11,999

It’s easy to point out going purely by the specifications on paper, despite being a looker does lose out in some areas, mainly against the Asus ZenFone Pro M1.

Having used the Kirin 659 in the (Honor 7X, Honor 9i, Huawei P20 Lite and Honor 9 Lite) it’s easy to conclude that the SoC is not as good or as capable as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636.

The same can said about the 13 MP + 2 MP camera setup where the ZenFone offers a bit more with a 13 MP + 5 MP camera.

Next up is the expandable storage, where the ZenFone offers 2 TB of expandable storage as opposed to the 256 GB offered on the 9N.

Then there’s software. Asus offers an almost stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with no messy skinning. It’s indeed a poor man’s Pixel.

The ZenFone Max Pro may look dull and subdued when you look at it, but considering the size of the display and the package overall, it feels well built and snug in hand. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The ZenFone Max Pro. Image: tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

Lastly, there’s that gigantic 5,000 mAh battery that trumps the Honor 9N’s 3,000 mAh unit, which will easily the ZenFone get better results when it comes to battery life.

Oh and did I mention that the ZenFone with all of its additions (over the Honor 9N) with sells for Rs 1,000 less?

But the Honor 9N has one detail going for it and that’s the design. It’s made of plastic and glass (vs plastic and metal on the ZenFone), but it’s easy to conclude that 9N is a stunning smartphone in its class when it comes to design.

The Asus and the Redmi Note 5 may be practical (and a bit chubby) but it’s no match for the slim profile of the Honor 9N.

Overall, the Asus ZenFone Pro M1 still takes the crown here, but if you are looking for the something slim and power and battery life don’t really matter, then the Honor 9N will get your attention with a base price starting at Rs 11,999.

You can read our first impressions of the just launched Honor 9N here.

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