HONOR Pad 9 Review: Strikes the Price-Performance Balance


The price band of Rs 20,000 to 30,000 is a sweet spot for most Indian tablet buyers. It’s the price band that’s cheap enough to undercut an iPad but good enough to have some strong-performing Android tablets. Mind you, Android tablets have come a long way over the last couple of years. The mid-range tabs now have fast, bright displays, powerful processors, long-lasting battery life and some user interface (UI) features focused on enhancing productivity, such as an app dock. The ecosystem of accessories for these tablets has also taken off.


Rs 24,999



















What Is Good?

  • Large, fast display
  • Lightweight with a good in-hand feel
  • Great battery life
  • Impressive speaker setup
  • Nice software features
  • Well-priced

What Is Bad?

  • No headphone jack
  • Slow charging
  • No charger in the box
  • No official stylus launched in India

Among all this action, HONOR has decided to make its tablet debut in India. With a focus on display, build quality, performance, and an almost Apple-like ecosystem, the HONOR Pad 9 has a lot to offer, along with a lucrative price of Rs 24,999. There are lots of ingredients in this cake; let’s see how it comes out in this review.

HONOR Pad 9 Review: Design and build

The Honor Pad 9 exudes a premium aesthetic that punches above its price. Its aluminium frame feels solid and sleek, while the massive 12.1-inch display dominates the front. Despite its size, the tablet remains surprisingly thin at 6.96mm, making it comfortable to hold. Uniform bezels create a clean, modern look, and the minimalist back with a centred camera module further enhances its sleekness. The texture of the rear panel and the aluminium frame is reminiscent of the more expensive Xiaomi Pad 6.

On the top and bottom frames of the tablet are four gigantic speaker grilles accommodating not four, not six, but eight speakers! And HONOR claims these are eight proper tweeter-woofer combo units, not individual ones. I haven’t seen that number before, at least here in India, even on some super high-end tabs.

However, I’m not a fan of the button placement. The volume rocker and power button are both placed on the right side of the tablet. It doesn’t make sense for a tablet to have this because customers are tuned to find these keys in the top right corner. I still haven’t gotten used to this after nearly a month.

HONOR Pad 9 Review: Display and audio

For a tablet just a little under 25 grand, the HONOR Pad 9 promises some nice display and audio specifications. Have a look at them:

Attribute Specifications
Display Type IPS LCD
Size 12.1-inch
Resolution 2560×1600 pixels
Refresh rate 120Hz
Brightness 500nits
Screen-to-body ratio 84.7%

Compared to the OnePlus Pad Go, a similarly priced tablet, the HONOR Pad 9 offers a larger, faster, brighter and crisper display, and there is a day-and-night difference in this regard. Even compared to other tablets in the price range, such as the Realme Pad 2, the HONOR Pad 9 comes out as a winner.

The panel also utilises the full potential of its high refresh rate—I tested the panel’s refresh rate while swiping across the UI. Some tablets, such as the much higher-priced OnePlus Pad, claim figures of 144Hz without really ever hitting that number because the Android ecosystem isn’t optimised for it.

While the eight speaker setup sounds great as a marketing buzzword, in reality, the sound wasn’t too different from its competitors in loudness and depth. That’s not a bad thing, however – you have to understand there are multiple ways to achieve the same result, and as long as it doesn’t exceed a certain price threshold, I’m okay with it.

HONOR Pad 9 Review: Hardware and UI

Before we dig in, here’s a quick look at the HONOR Pad 9’s specifications:

Attribute Specifications
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1
RAM 8GB (UFS 3.1)
Storage 256GB (LPDDR5)
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi, GPS

The HONOR Pad 9 is the first tablet in India to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 at the helm. I was a little excited to see its potential in benchmarks, and I wasn’t disappointed. The scores are much better than those of the OnePlus Pad Go.

Benchmark HONOR Pad 9 Score OnePlus Pad Go Score
AnTuTu v10 481814 396058
Geekbench 6 819 – Single-Core, 2533 – Multi-Core 719 – Single-Core, 1926-Multi-Core
AnTuTu Storage Test 87125 (1874MB/s Read, 1453MB/s Write) NA

Moreover, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 is based on a more efficient 4nm process and provides several new-gen features, such as the new AI engine and HDR gaming at 60 fps. The Pad Go misses out on these due to the slightly outdated nature of its processor. The 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage at this price is also a steal.

That said, the HONOR Pad 9 only has one lonely variant with Wi-Fi – that’s right, there’s no 5G configuration on offer. That’s a bummer because the chipset is 5G-ready.

MagicOS 7.2 takes advantage of rather nice hardware. Unlike other tablets in this range, it does have pre-installed apps such as WPS Office, Anilab, and Booking.com, among others. There are no obscene ‘Hot Apps’ here, so that’s a silver lining.

Its default wallpaper also draws some obvious inspiration from iPadOS. But it’s got some nice features that make living with a big display much, much simpler.

Multi-screen Collaboration: You can connect seamlessly with other HONOR devices for easy file transfer, screen sharing, app mirroring, connected calls and note syncing. This requires you to use HONOR Connect, and we tried this with an HONOR X9b. And it works fine. Think of it as their way of saying, ‘We can do the Apple ecosystem at a fraction of the cost.’

Multi-Window Mode: My favourite implementation of the feature in any tablet. Pulling down on a tiny pill-shaped tab on top of any app turns it immediately into a floating window. You can then resize, pin or minimise the window or open another one in a side-by-side view. Heck, the OS even remembers multiple such combinations without stuttering… in a tablet worth about Rs 20,000! What is happening to Android!?

Magic Keyboard Shortcuts: The HONOR Pad 9 comes bundled with keyboard folio. It’s a nice, sturdy case and the keys have a satisfying tactile feedback. It also tries to mimic a typical PC keyboard. So, apart from the usual copy-paste commands, you can Alt+Tab your way to multitask and Windows+D to return to the home screen.

We have already experienced MagicOS 7.2 in the HONOR X9b, and the same experience resonates here, except it’s nicely optimised for a tablet.

HONOR Pad 9 Review: Battery and charging

The HONOR Pad 9 has a screen-on time of about 12 hours, which is nice. I also like the screen-off time; this tablet can easily manage background usage and last six days if you’re using it just to watch a few short episodes during lunchtime every day. These impressive numbers are partly due to the massive 8300mAh battery and partly due to the power-efficient nature of the chipset.

Attribute Specifications
Battery capacity 8300mAh
Charging wattage 35W wired (charger not in the box)
Screen-on time 12 hours
Charging time 3 hours 12 minutes (0-100%)

I’m not a fan of the three-hour charging time. But I won’t complain much about it – it’s a companion device, not a daily driver such as a phone or laptop. The real downer in the party is the lack of a power brick in the box.

HONOR Pad 9 Review: Camera

The camera situation here is relatively spartan. One on the front, one on the back – and that’s that. Here’s a look at the specifications:

Attribute Specifications
Rear camera 13MP with autofocus
Front camera 8MP
Recording capabilities 4K @ 30 fps UHD, 1080p @ 30 fps FHD (rear)
  • The rear camera is best for taking shots of documents, so don’t expect it to click photos with accurate colours and crisp details. It’s there to get the basics right, that’s all.
  • The front camera, however, is surprisingly good for video calls, even if you sit in crappy lighting. And, because Android now supports WhatsApp, you can also make and take calls from it. Again, this isn’t meant to maintain a Snap streak, so manage your expectations. It doesn’t fare well when there’s a harsh backlight in the frame, leaving you with a strange artefact around you. Have a look at the photos below.

HONOR Pad 9: Verdict

The HONOR Pad 9 is in a nice goldilocks spot. It’s right at the starting point of its price spectrum—it’s neither too expensive that you’d find it difficult to pony up the cash nor too cheap that you end up compromising on specs. It’s powerful and has enough storage, memory, and battery for most users. The software, too, is very good, albeit riddled with bloat. HONOR has also thrown in a keyboard folio with the package to sweeten the deal.

However, I find several things confusing. One is the lack of a bundled charger, which may be off-putting to potential buyers. I also don’t understand why HONOR didn’t launch the Magic Pencil accessory in India. I am an avid note-taker, and I badly missed it for writing. Sure, one can buy a third-party stylus, but that also induces anxiety.

The 2024 tablet market is yet to take a proper shape, but the HONOR Pad 9 definitely helps fill the gap for budget-conscious power users, and that’s a pretty nice spot to be in. It’s got fresher innards than the OnePlus Pad Go, which is another big advantage. Get one if you think the Xiaomi Pad 6 is too expensive for you.