Huawei P20 Lite - Living beyond its means

The Huawei P20 Lite is the cheapest smartphone from the P20 series. Just like the other two devices, the device looks very luxurious, you would not say that it costs around 300 euros. Is the smartphone worth buying?

Huawei P20 Lite

Price € 309,-

Colors black, blue, gold, pink

OS Android 8.0 (Oreo)

Screen 5.8 inches (2280x1080)

Processor 2.4GHz octa-core (HiSilicon Kirin 659)

RAM 4GB

Storage 64 GB (expandable with memory card)

Battery 3,000 mAh

Camera 16 + 2 megapixels (rear), 16 megapixels (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi, GPS

Format 14.9 x 7.1 x 0.7cm

Weight 145 grams

Other Fingerprint scanner, usb-c

Website www.huawei.com 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Chic look
  • Screen
  • Battery life
  • Complete
  • Negatives
  • EMUI skin
  • Performance could be better

The Huawei P20 series consists of the regular Huawei P20, the luxury P20 Pro and the budget version P20 Lite. This Lite version has the same chic look as the other two P20s. The device is made of metal and glass, on the front there is also a notch in a large screen with thin edges and on the back even a double camera. The build quality is fine, except for some sharp edges on the camera. Still, the design is copied from the iPhone X. Still, it is absolutely not wrong for a device in this price category and the P20 Lite is very comfortable in the hand due to its construction and light weight.

Also in terms of specifications, the P20 Lite offers a lot of value for money: a 2.4 GHz processor of our own making, with four gigabytes of RAM and 64GB of storage that you can expand with a memory card if desired. There is also a fingerprint scanner on the back and a fast charger is included in the box. Even the headphone port is just there, something you can't say about the more expensive two P20 versions. The P20 Lite is therefore very complete for its price. Because the back is made of glass, it is wise to put a case on the smartphone to prevent cracks and grease stains.

Screen

In order to fit the largest possible screen of 5.8 inches (14.8 cm) into the housing, the screen edges have been kept thin and a notch has been used to place the microphone, front camera and distance sensor. An alternative screen ratio of 19 by 9 has also been used to keep the device size within limits. Just like the most expensive top models of today, the P20 Lite looks unoriginal, but extremely luxurious.

The screen quality contributes to this. Colors of the LCD panel are fine. Admittedly, white areas are a bit gray and the maximum brightness could be slightly higher. Compared to other devices in this price range, however, the P20 Lite really stands out.

The Huawei P20 Lite looks much more luxurious than its price suggests

Camera

You don't have to expect much from the dual camera. The top one has a 16 megapixel sensor, the bottom one only has 2 megapixels. This lower lens is intended to be able to see depth, for a depth of field effect in portrait mode photos. So there is no optical zoom possible, as is possible with the P20 (Pro) and almost all other smartphones with a dual camera. The depth of field effect, also called portrait mode or bokeh effect, is possible, but does not always work. For example, if you have a little too much backlighting, the subject will not be recognized well enough to blur the background.

When you have enough lighting, the P20 Pro takes very nice photos. When the lighting gets a bit more challenging for the camera, you notice that photos sometimes look a bit smoothed or plastic. Nevertheless, for its price range, the photos that the P20 Lite delivers are quite good.

Software

The problem child with Huawei smartphones has always been the software. Huawei's Android skin is radical and brings many (spelling) errors and apps. Not exactly an advancement on the Android base that Huawei has been tinkering with. The reputation for updates is also not good. These concerns are not removed with the P20 Lite, despite the smartphone running nicely on the recent Android 8 (Oreo).

No, the EMUI skin (which Huawei installs over Android) is still worrisome with the P20 Lite. The interface looks outdated, the menus and settings are cluttered and it weighs like a millstone on the system. I often have the feeling that the device could work much faster, which you notice when typing or changing settings, for example.

There are also bloatware and duplicate apps, such as health apps and mail apps. Even worse, the (unremovable) Phone Manager Manager app adds a completely unnecessary virus scanner and optimization function. EMUI is in any case quite radical in its own system optimization, in order to spare the battery. A noble purpose. For example, the image resolution is set to 'smart' by default, which ensures that the resolution can be lowered. You can also determine which apps are allowed to start automatically. That is useful, but sometimes interventions are too drastic, so that background processes are truncated. This can cause instability, but also that the process of, for example, a VPN connection or password vault is truncated. Very annoying, especially since the Manual management in the battery settings does not help.

EMUI thus confuses the battery optimizations of Android itself by taking an even more rigorous approach. This of course has a positive effect on the battery life itself. The battery has an average capacity of 3,000 mAh on paper. In theory, you can easily do two days with the battery, depending on how often and what you use your device for, you can of course extend the battery life.

Alternatives

The Huawei P20 Lite is a great smartphone, where design, specifications and the screen stand out positively. Nevertheless, with a suggested retail price of 300 euros, the device is in a difficult price range, where the competitors are also doing well. For example, you can get the Moto G6 Plus for a few bucks less, which may be slightly less beautiful and has lower specifications, but is a much better choice in terms of software and support. Nokia also offers alternatives that win in the software field. Think of the Nokia 7 Plus (which is a bit more expensive than the P20 Lite), or the Nokia 5.1 that will appear soon for about 200 euros. The Huawei P Smart (200 euros) is also an interesting and cheaper alternative.

Conclusion

The Huawei P20 Lite looks much more luxurious than its price suggests. For about 300 euros you get a nice device, with excellent specifications, battery life and screen. However, the software is still a concern, despite the smartphone running on Android 8.0.

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