Chinese Huawei and its Honor sub-brand are in a predicament as the company is and remains blacklisted by the U.S. Department of Commerce. This means that its new phone models will not receive Google Android and thus Google services such as mapping software or the Play App Store.

Huawei has tried to balance this with two ways: By trying to make it easier to download apps from outside its own AppGallery store, and by leveraging its old phone models on a new one.

  • Read more: Huawei has a “two-line” tactic on phones that enables Google services - but it doesn’t solve the biggest problem

The latter is now the release of the Honor 9X Lite, which may remain Honor’s last Google phone with these prospects.

Suitable as a first phone

The Honor 9X Lite is a two-hundred-euro device that is suitable for both the first-time junior to the smartphone and the not-so-much-on-screen-tech-savvy techie.

However, contrary to the name suggests, the Honor 9X Lite is not based on the Honor 9X we recently tested, but on the Honor 8X released in 2018.

The similarity is so great that the device goes to Google through the type designation of the old model. This means that the device has full Google services, but still a couple of welcome improvements. The most significant of these is the rugged camera.

The USB connection is an old micro type. A headphone jack is also available.

Photo: Henrik K?rkk?inen

On the other hand, age is also shown. The phone uses an old micro USB connection. This means slow charging and the fact that a suitable charger may not be on hand when on the move.

Otherwise, the device is qualified in appearance. It’s big enough, and the target audience is sure to find their favorite color among the variegated options.

The fingerprint reader is on the back as opposed to the current trend. However, this does not bother the undersigned, as they have proven to be faster and more accurate than the readers embedded in the screen. The reader of the 9X Lite does its job quickly and with honor.

The screen size of the Honor 9X Lite is 6.5 inches, which means it is larger than the end-to-end phones. The resolution is enough for 2340 x 1080 pixels. However, its brightness is far from excellent, so on a clear summer day it goes to drizzle.

Adequate performance of the nip button

The main memory is enough 4 gigabytes and the storage space is 128 gigabytes. This is quite reasonable for a 200 euro phone.

The phone performs quite reasonably well in basic use. There is a certain amount of opacity in navigating the menus, and this is not the actual gaming phone. This is explained at best by a medium power processor.

The fingerprint reader on the back is fast and accurate. The camera hump is relatively small on the current scale.

Photo: Henrik K?rkk?inen

The camera equipment of the phone has been updated from the underlying Honor 8X. The main camera has as many as 48 megapixel sensors. However, megapixels do not directly translate into image quality. The Honor 9X Lite still manages surprisingly reasonably bright not only in low light but also in low light. However, high contrasts are too much for it. Pale returns quickly punctured.

Somewhat surprisingly, the number of megapixels in the selfie camera has been dropped from 8X. It is now 8 instead of 20. However, the end result is satisfactory. If your own face is among the priorities, the choice could be worse.

But what about updates?

Setting up your phone is straightforward. The device will be deployed with Google credentials, but Honor will also be quite aggressively tapping the Huawei account. This is understandable, as the Chinese company wants to make sure the buyer’s next device is also Huawei.

After entering your Google ID, you will also be offered to sign in with your Huawei ID.

Photo: Henrik K?rkk?inen

The device does not represent the latest. Under Huawei's own Emui interface is Android 9. There is also no information on whether the phone will be upgraded to the current 10 in the future. The new version of Android 11 is already knocking around the corner.

More worrying, on the other hand, is that the latest security update for the device is from February. Subsequent updates have not been considered justified by the manufacturer.

This is a problem that is real on cheap phones. If it’s a threshold issue when buying a device - as for the undersigned - it’s a good idea to choose an affordable Android phone from a collection such as Nokia or Samsung.

With two hundred phones, the Honor 9X Lite is a physically compelling experience. However, device upgrades, and with them security, is a question mark to such an extent that the purchase of a device cannot be unreservedly recommended.