We are clearly living in the era of the “notch.” There is no ignoring that little insertion on top of phone displays which is becoming a part of smartphones, allowing users to get more display real estate in smaller form factors. That said, in India thus far, it has largely been restricted to devices that cost a fair bit, making it largely the preserve of a select few, mainly those with slightly deeper pockets.

The Honor 9N changes that.

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The latest device from Huawei’s sister brand follows in the footsteps of its namesake the Honor 9 Lite when it comes to democratizing a perceived premium feature. The 9 Lite had made the glass back affordable. And the 9N does the same for the notched display, making it accessible to the mainstream and taking it beyond a select few (even while giving you the option to turn it off if you wish).

It is not a token notch either. Housed inside it are a spherical earpiece (a far cry from the horizontal slashes of the past) and a 16.0-megapixel front-facing camera that comes with a f/2.0 aperture and the ability to unlock your phone using your face (yes, another high-end feature at an affordable price point). Of course, in best Honor tradition, that camera comes with an excellent sensor that delivers great details and colors. And that is not all – the front camera also has a host of tricks up its sleeve. Yes, it does have a beauty mode, which you can adjust depending on your needs and preferences. But there is more. Much more besides.

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The 16.0-megapixel selfie snapper also comes with a panorama selfie mode, allowing you to capture more of your backdrop – the camera takes a normal selfie and then asks you to move the camera to either side, automatically snapping off shots and then stitches them all together in a few seconds to give you a selfie that has much more than yourself in it. There are also eight live filter effects, whose intensity you can again control. And there is even an AR lens which endows your face with bunny ears and teeth and a whole lot more – Snapchat addicts will just love it – and not just that, it also lets you play around with a host of backgrounds.

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No, we are not done yet. One of the coolest features of that selfie camera is the time lapse. Yes, you can now shoot those Charlie Chaplin-esque fast forward motion like videos in selfie mode too. How neat is that? Oh, and there is a very sharp portrait mode too, which lets you not just blur out the background but also add a special bokeh effect if you want. Round that off with features like a perfect selfie mode, audio control (say “cheese” to take a picture), smile detection (smile, snap, that simple) and gesture control (hold up your palm, and the camera will take a snap in a few seconds), and you have a notch that has some very serious camera muscle.

Camera muscle is not restricted just to the notch, though. On the rear of the Honor 9N is a 13 and 2-megapixel dual camera set up, that allows users to capture great images with stunning depth of field. You not only have a portrait mode, but can also tweak the aperture to vary the amount of blur you want in the background. There are AR effects here as well, and for those who really love to fiddle with settings like ISO and white balance, a pro mode for stills and video as well. There is a night shot mode for better low light snaps, a food mode, and also the option to do some light painting (make patterns in the air with a light source like a torch and see the camera capture them). There are live filters too as well as moving picture, which captures a small video clip to be shared. Of course, the regular suspects like HDR mode are there as well. A super neat touch is the Ultra Snapshot which lets you take a picture even when the phone’s display is off – just hit the volume button twice.

All this without cutting any corners in terms of design and performance. The 9N comes with a 12 layered glass design that shouts “premium”, has a 2.5D curved glass display of 5.84 inches with full HD+ resolution. It is also powered by a HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor, which has proved its mettle in a number of devices, allied with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB of storage, all the connectivity options you would need from a smartphone, and a 3000 mAh battery to see you through a day of work easily. Running on top of all this is Android 8 with Honor’s feature rich EMUI 8.
And of course at a price that does no major damage to your bank account. Or any at all to your kidneys.

A notch above? Pretty much. And for everyone too.

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