Did the Honor 9 just steal OnePlus 5’s thunder?

It’s been a great month for smartphone enthusiasts, especially in the world of Android. First off, OnePlus unveiled their latest flagship smartphone, predictably named OnePlus 5. And then yesterday, Honor announced their new addition to the family: the Honor 9.

I don’t want to get caught up in the spec game because plenty of tech websites will dive into those nitty-gritty details. But considering they’re both aiming at the mid-range smartphone market, it’s interesting (and exciting) to see the Honor 9 priced so competitively at £380/$480 versus OnePlus’ £449/$479.

It all makes me ask the question: did the Honor 9 steal OnePlus 5’s thunder?

Honor 9 vs OnePlus 5: Battle of the Droids

In the design department, it’s entirely down to preference. OnePlus 5 has a clean and understated design (basically a copy of the iPhone 7) whereas the Honor 9 is far more flashy and elegant with that all-glass design.

Moving onto the display, OnePlus 5 packs in an AMOLED display (better for truer blacks and darker tones) into a larger 5.5-inch display, versus Honor 9’s 5.15-inch LCD display. Both devices stick with a full HD panel — sorry pixel freaks — but it’s fair to say that on paper, OnePlus wins here.

If you do take a look at the spec sheet, both chipsets are powerful enough to compete with high-end phones. The OnePlus 5 seems superior with 6 or 8GB of RAM (insane!) compared to Honor’s 4 or 6GB options. Honor’s smartphone, however, has expandable storage beyond the 64 or 128GB capacities, while with OnePlus 5 you’re limited to 64 or 128GB. The point here is, you’re getting incredibly powerful ‘mid-range’ phones with a tonne of storage.

Both the OnePlus 5 and Honor 9 support fast charging (thankfully!) with 3,300mAH and 3,200mAh batteries respectively.

Camera wars

The key area I wanted to evaluate these smartphones — which is difficult without having either of them to use — is their cameras. OnePlus packs a 16MP + 20MP dual camera setup while the Honor 9 features a 12MP + 20MP combination, and both brands really emphasise the quality of their shooters. They can both shoot video in 4K and include the ability to take photos with a ‘bokeh’ or blurred background effect, although the noticeable difference between them is OnePlus packs in a 16MP front shooter while Honor’s device has 8MP.

As the “light catcher”, however, the Honor 9 brags a lot about its ability to capture low light photos — something I’m very curious to test. If it’s as good as they say it is, it could be a serious factor in the decision of these two phones.

Honor’s emphasis on audio quality

Honor teamed up with audio company Monster to help improve the sound quality of the Honor 9 with their own Honor Purity equaliser. With three different virtual surround sound modes — near, front and wide — they’re clearly trying to appeal to people who appreciate good quality sound.

Let’s talk tech: Honor 9 or OnePlus 5?

In my opinion, the Honor 9 launch certainly spiced up the mid-market battle but ultimately, both devices are likely to appeal to different people. Anybody in favour of stock Android, a strong spec sheet, AMOLED display and a simpler metal design will likely opt for the OnePlus 5. Honor’s new flagship, however, looks like a serious contender for those on a tighter budget but still want high-end performance and specs.

So let’s talk tech, guys and girls: what are your thoughts on these two flagships and given the choice, which one would you opt for?

By Fabio Virgi

I'm the guy behind Let's Talk Tech and a travel blog called Fab Meets World. Some people call me a geek, I think they're probably right. I'm fascinated by technology and innovation, love good design and own way too many gadgets for my own good. Want to connect? Get in touch on Twitter and Instagram.