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Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Is the only difference the price?

Our Honor 9 vs Huawei P10 comparison review sees Honor and Huawei’s 2017 flagship phones facing off, in a battle of specs, camera tech, design and performance.

Huawei launched its P10 flagship handset back at the start of 2017 and we were certainly fans, although not of the unnecessarily steep asking price. Here in the UK, the Huawei P10 cost an eye-watering £600 despite a lack of cutting-edge innovative tech.

Huawei also releases smartphones under the Honor brand, which tend to be more ‘fun’ as well as affordable. This year we’ve already seen the magnificent Honor 8 Pro, a great-value phablet packing a crisp 5.7-inch Quad HD screen for under £500. Roll forward to June and Honor is back with its latest flagship device, the Honor 9, which seems to share a lot in common with the Huawei P10.

In fact, on paper the P10 and the Honor 9 are near identical, except for one key factor: UK price. The Honor 9 will set you back just £380, while the Huawei P10 still sports a cost of £550. Quite the difference.

After using these phones as our full-time mobiles, we can safely say that there’s really not much between them, besides that huge leap in the asking price. Here’s our full comparison review so you know how they stack up.

Read next: Best Huawei and Honor phones in 2017

Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Specs

Phone Huawei P10 Honor 9
Weight 145g 155g
Screen size 5.2-inches 5.15-inches
Screen resolution 1920x1080 1920x1080
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes
Water resistant? No No
OS Android 7 + EMUI 5.1 Android 7 + EMUI 5.1
Processor Kirin 960 Kirin 960
Memory 4GB 4GB
Storage 32/64GB 64GB
MicroSD? Yes (256GB) Yes (256GB)
Battery 3200mAh 3200mAh
Rear camera 20+12MP 20+12MP
Front camera 8MP 8MP
Price £550 £380

Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Design

Both the Huawei P10 and the Honor 9 are pleasingly compact, with a 5.2-inch and 5.15-inch screen respectively. They both sport very similar dimensions, with the Honor 9 proving ever so slightly taller and heavier. It’s a mite thicker than the P10 also, at 7.5mm compared with 7mm. However, both feature curved frames that fit perfectly in the palm, for effortless one-handed use.

Where they differ is the finish. The Huawei P10 comes in a variety of designs, including a brushed metal frame and a ceramic-style surfacing. You can also pick it up in a number of colours, including exceptionally vibrant blue and green models. You’ll certainly attract some looks on the tube with those versions.

The Honor 9 meanwhile sports a glossy curved glass backing. This looks great and catches the light with quite an eye-pleasing effect, although you can also expect endless smudges and greasy prints. The blue tinted model is lovely and we quite like the silver and black models also, although that’s all the choice you get.

Neither phone is water resistant, so don’t go getting them wet. In terms of ruggedness, that sandblasted P10 definitely resists scratches and damage more effectively than the Honor 9. Our Honor sample picked up a hairline fracture in one corner after less than 24 hours, despite no accidental drops - you’ll want to take very good care of this handset.

Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Screen and media

As for visuals, there’s next to no difference between these two blowers.

Both phones pack a Full HD IPS LCD panel, which produces sharp images. You’ll struggle to make out any individual pixels, no matter your choice. Colour reproduction is pleasingly vibrant and on top brightness you won’t have to squint to see what’s going on, even under serious glare.

You get an Eye Comfort mode in both cases also, for filtering blue light at night. This reduces the cold glare of the display, which can disturb your bed partner and make it more difficult to drift off to sleep.

Audio is output via a dinky speaker mounted on the bottom edge of both handsets. Both the Huawei P10 and the Honor 9 also sport a 3.5mm jack, for connecting wired headphones.

Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Features and OS

Android Nougat is spruced up with Huawei’s Emotion UI 5.1 in both of these phones. The Honor 9 and Huawei P10 therefore share a near-identical user experience, complete with lots of gesture support, customisation and the rest. Check out our EMUI 5.1 review for more info on the software features.

The Honor 9 and Huawei P10 sport a fingerprint sensor beneath the display, which is responsive and accurate in both cases. This also doubles as a stand-in for the back and recent apps buttons, thanks to Huawei’s gesture feature - tap for back, long-press for home and swipe left or right to bring up the recent apps menu. However, the Honor 9 gives the option of two separate physical buttons to be used instead - something missing on the P10.

The Honor 9 also comes with a built-in IR sensor, which was only found on the ‘Plus’ model of Huawei’s flagship handset. This allows you to control any compatible device with a pre-installed app. Not so much of a big deal in 2017, with app control via WiFi and voice commands now rising in popularity. Still, it’s a nice to have.

As for storage, the Honor 9 comes with 64GB of room as standard. The Huawei P10 offers a choice of 32GB or 64GB, so you’ll need to pay even more to get the same storage as the cheaper Honor 9. However, both of these phones support microSD cards of up to 256GB, so expansion is quick, cheap and simple.

Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Performance and battery life

When it comes to performance and battery life, there’s essentially no difference between these handsets. Both sport a Kirin 960 chipset with 4GB of RAM, for smooth everyday performance. You’ll enjoy dependable frame rates when playing the latest games and shouldn’t see any slowdown any time soon.

You also get a 3200mAh battery, complete with support for Huawei’s fast charge tech. This gives well over a day of use per charge, as long as you don’t go nuts and Skype everyone in your contacts list, while the cell recharges in under 90 minutes.

Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Cameras

A dual-lens camera has been slapped on the back of the Honor 9 and Huawei P10, and although the P10 is the only one to boast the Leica branding, there’s pretty much no difference here.

In each case you get a 20-megapixel monochrome lens and 12-megapixel RGB lens, which combine to capture crisp, detailed everyday images. Low light conditions are their only weakness (thanks to that f/2.2 aperture), so you’ll need to employ the dual LED flash when things get dim.

You can shoot up to 4K resolution video on either phone, as well as slow-mo and timelapse footage. There’s no OIS however, just digital image stabilisation, which can only be used on up to Full HD video at 30 frames-per-second. Expect serious juddering on anything higher when moving and shooting at the same time.

Both phones also offer manual controls for both photo and video shooting, plus an 8-megapixel front-facing selfie camera.

One of the only real differences is the Honor 9’s ‘Moving Picture’ mode, which captures a brief snippet of video at the same time as your photo (when activated). This then allows your photos to animate when you’re scrolling through your gallery - although the effect isn’t quite as smooth as we’d like.

Check out our Honor 9 camera review and Huawei P10 camera review for full photo and video samples, to see how these camera perform in real life situations.

Read next: Honor 9 vs Honor 8 vs Honor 8 Pro, what's the difference?

Honor 9 vs Huawei P10: Video comparison

To see the Honor 9 and Huawei P10 compared side-by-side, check out our full video below.

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