Honor V9 unveiled, Honor 8 Lite launches in China

While some companies are scrambling to get ready for one of the world's biggest mobile industry events next week, others are trying to avoid the maddening rush instead. Huawei sub-brand Honor, for example, has just taken the covers off not one but two smartphones. The Honor 8 Lite, which was actually already revealed in Finland earlier this month, is now heading to China. The Honor V9, on the other hand, is a totally new and totally not mid-range smartphone that will hopefully also become available in other markets.

As the name so plainly points out, the Honor 8 Lite is a lighter version of the Honor 8 launched last year. It is, however, not a smaller version. On the outside, the two are nearly identical, with a 5.2-inch Full HD screen that hides a 3,000 mAh battery underneath. It has the same 12 megapixel camera on the back and 8 megapixel selfie shooter on the front.

Beauty is skin deep, as they say, and it's true for the Honor 8 Lite as well. Instead of the Honor 8's powerful Kirin 955 processor, it only has a Kirin 655. Instead of 4 GB of RAM, it only goes with 3 GB. As for storage, it's bordering on suffocating with only 16 GB of space inside. It at least does have a matching price tag of 1,099 CNY, roughly $160.

Honor 8 lite specifications• Size: 147.2 x 72.9 x 7.6mm• Weight: 147g• Display: 5.2in 1080 x 1920 (Full HD) LCD• Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat (EMUI 5.0)• Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 655• RAM: 3GB RAM• Back Camera: 12MP, f/2.2 optics, Full HD video, LED flash• Front-facing camera: 8MP• Battery: 3,000mAh• Internal Storage: 32, 64GB – w/microSD card slot• Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth v4.2• Other Features: Fingerprint scanner, microUSB 2.0, headphone jack

Perhaps more interesting is the Honor V9. Huawei's sub-brand has mostly been painted as a mid-range and budget brand. The V9, however, turns that preconceived notion on its head. Everything about it screams premium, except perhaps for the design.

The Honor V9 is powered by a Kirin 960 processor, the latest from Huawei, with 4 or 6 GB of RAM, depending on the chosen configuration. Storage also depends on the configuration with choices of 32 GB with 4 GB RAM and 64 or 128 GB for the 6 GB option. The 5.7-inch LCD screen has a resolution of 2560x1440, a.k.a. QHD.

Honor V9 specifications• Size: 157 x 77.5 x 6.97mm• Weight: 184g• Display: 5.7in WQHD 1440 x 2560 (2K) LCD• Operating System: Android 7.0 Nougat (EMUI 5.0)• Processor: HiSilicon Kirin 960• RAM: 6GB RAM• Back Camera: Dual 12MP, f/2.2 optics, 4K video, dual-LED flash• Front-facing camera: 8MP with f/2.0 optics• Battery: 4,000mAh• Internal Storage: 64, 128GB – w/microSD card slot• Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth v4.2 LE• Other Features: Fingerprint scanner, USB-C, headphone jack

The Honor V9 boasts of a dual 12 meagpixel camera setup not unlike Huawei's own flagships. Unsurprisingly, the Honor V9 seems to adopt the design of Apple's dual camera model as well, though it apparently didn't get the memo about the antenna lines. It at least still has a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

While the Honor V9 does have a higher price tag of 2,999 CNY, roughly $435, for the 6 GB RAM + 64 GB storage configuration, it is still considerably lower than premium smartphones with similar specs. It remains to be seen if honor will bring this particular premium model to the US as well.