Honor is really embracing this whole dual lens camera malarkey with the Lite version of its Honor 9 flagship phone. Not only do you get a double shooter around the back, you also get one up front, for some bokeh-rific selfies. But are four lenses really better than two? Here’s our full Honor 9 Lite camera review, complete with photo and video samples.
Honor 9 Lite camera review: Specs and features
The original Honor 9 handset sported a 12-megapixel RGB lens backed by a 20-megapixel monochrome lens, but the Lite version offers some very different specs. Here you get a 13-megapixel primary snapper, alongside a basic 2-megapixel lens. This means your photos won’t be quite as crisp or packed with as much detail. However, that dual lens setup at least means you get Huawei’s Wide Aperture and Portrait modes on board.
These allow you to capture a subject with some nice blurry bokeh-style effects, to really help them stand out. You lose some of that finer profile detailing, such as stray hair strands, but the result is still effective. And the Portrait mode throws in some beautification effects, if your model had a few too many jars the night before.
The Honor 9 Lite also offers up Huawei’s Moving Picture mode. This shoots a tiny slip of video with every photo you take, to animate your photo gallery as you flip through. It’s not quite as seamless as some other attempts we’ve seen, but it’s good fun for parents and pet owners all the same.
As you’d expect from Honor, you get an absolute donkey load of special camera features stuffed inside that camera app. Not as many as on more premium Honor phones, however – there’s no Slow Motion video mode for instance, just a spot of timelapse. All the same, it’s great to see manual controls for both photo and video shooting, which is good news for any keen photographers out there.
Honor 9 Lite camera review: Photo quality
If you’re a bit of an amateur snapper, no worries – the Honor 9 Lite’s auto mode is, for the most part, quite dependable. For instance, scenery shots taken in decent light tend to come out well, with accurate colour capture to boot.
Of course, as this is a budget snapper, the usual limitations soon poke their nasty little heads up. Contrast can certainly be an issue, so try not to shoot against any seriously bright skies or lights – or you’ll end up with a mixture of oversaturated bright spots and murky dim bits. There’s a separate HDR mode which is supposed to help out in these situations, but it doesn’t seem to have much effect.
Likewise, a subject in motion will often come out a bit blurry, especially if the lighting isn’t perfect. Those parents and pet owners will certainly be struggling. And when you hit low-light environments, you’ll need to switch on that flash or else endure all manner of grain.
Honor 9 Lite camera review: Selfies
That front-facing dual-lens camera boasts the same setup as the back effort, although the portrait mode doesn’t seem to produce any extra bokeh – it just adds a bit of beautification when needed, which in our case is pretty often.
However, the addition of hand gesture support means you can set off the camera with just a flash of your palm, which is definitely easier than fumbling for the shutter button. And the screen flash mode helps to illuminate your visage when lights are low, to good effect.
Honor 9 Lite camera review: Video quality
Switch on over to the video mode and the Honor 9 Lite can capture up to Full HD footage, at 30 frames-per-second. There’s sadly no option for 60FPS or a bit of 4K Ultra HD action, as you’d expect at this price point. However, you do get that beauty feature built into the video mode, so you can glam up your mates in real time.
Video quality is perfectly fine for a budget blower, although as with the original Honor 9, there’s an issue with image stabilisation. In that, there isn’t any. Walk and shoot at the same time and you’ll end up with shaky-cam footage to rival the Blair Witch Project. But as long as you aren’t moving all about the place, the results are often fine for capturing some shareable clips.