Huawei P20 Lite Review: What's so special about this gadget

Huawei P20 Lite is available at Rs. 19,999 and beats the mobile phone market
Huawei P20 Lite is available at Rs. 19,999 and beats the mobile phone market

New Delhi : Honor, a sub-brand of Telecommunication Company in Huawei, is quite popular in India for its smartphone Huawei P20 Lite. It’s one of the two new smartphones launched by the Chinese giant in India, the other being the P20 Pro. Lite is a little better than Pro when it comes to features like glass-and-metal body, dual rear cameras, a 19:9 display and Android 8.0. A complete review mentioned below will help one to make best selection.

Huawei P20 Lite is available at Rs. 19,999 and beats the market of the Redmi Note 5 Pro, Oppo F7, and Honor 9i. The Huawei P20 Lite has a glass back and an aluminium frame for rigidity. The smartphone has sleek design with no antenna lines at the back, smartly integrated dual cameras, and minimal screen borders up front. It’s quite compact and pocket able. The rounded corners and curved edges also make it feel comfortable in the hand.

The back looks and feels premium and helps the P20 Lite stand out from the hordes of metal-clad mid-range smartphones. A glass back does have its own set of limitations though. Not only does it scratch easily, it is an absolute fingerprint magnet as well.

The front of the smartphone is dominated by the 5.84-inch display. It has a notch at the top, which is quite small. There is an option in the settings menu to cover the notch, which basically darkens the screen area on either side of it. The glass back panel includes the vertically stacked cameras, and there's a centrally located fingerprint sensor that is quite fast and accurate.

Quite small and complex, the power and volume buttons on the right are ergonomically placed. The left of the smartphone houses the hybrid dual-SIM tray, which forces you to choose between a second SIM and a microSD card.

The Huawei P20 Lite is powered by Huawei's HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor. This is the same processor which powers other Honor smartphones such as the Honor 9i, Honor 7X, and Honor 9 Lite. The smartphone also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which can be expanded using a microSD card.

The P20 Lite features a 5.84-inch full-HD+ (1080x2280 pixels) display that control its front. It has an aspect ratio of 19:9 and a pixel density of 432ppi. The display is bright, vivid, and punchy, and is one of the highlights of this smartphone. Viewing angles are spot on and the 19:9 aspect ratio lends itself well to gaming and multimedia consumption without the notch getting in the way.

The P20 Lite has a non-removable 3,000mAh battery and runs EMUI 8.0 on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. Connectivity options include 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, FM radio, GPS/ A-GPS, a USB Type-C port (USB 2.0 speed), and a 3.5mm headphone socket. Only one SIM at a time can run at 4G speed - the other is limited to 3G.

When it comes to Huawei P20 Lite performance, it’s a mix bag of simplicity and complexity. The smartphone tackled basic day-to-day tasks like browsing the Web and using social media applications with relative ease, but struggled a bit when pushed. With a mass of apps open in the background, a certain amount of interval and stammer crept in.

The smartphone has the capacity to handle heavy games such as Asphalt 8, but the odd dropped frame and stutter were noticeable at times. As the benchmarks numbers testify, the Kirin 659 processor cannot compare to Qualcomm's newer mid-range processors in terms of raw power.

While the Huawei P20 Lite managed a respectable 86,425 in AnTuTu, its scores in other benchmarks were lower than the competition. The phone achieved 19fps in GFX Bench T-Rex, 216 in 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme, and 924 and 3,658 respectively in Geekbench's single- and multi-core tests.

On a positive note, the smartphone did not get too warm even when pushed. Calls were clear and crisp, and 4G connectivity was solid. The P20 Lite has a single loudspeaker at the bottom which does get reasonably loud but distorts at high volume and is quite shrill.

Battery life of Huawei P20 Lite is pretty mediocre. In HD video loop battery test, the P20 Lite lasted just 9 hours and 10 minutes, which is quite disappointing and quite a bit below the average for this market segment. With light to medium use, we found ourselves reaching for the charger by 7-8pm each day. EMUI 8.0 has a bunch of battery saving features, one of which reduces the screen resolution when you're running low on power. The smartphone does not support quick charging, and a full charge takes a disappointing 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Talking about camera, the P20 Lite has a dual camera setup at the back, consisting of a 16-megapixel primary sensor with an aperture of f/2.2, and a dedicated 2-megapixel depth sensor. There is also a 24-megapixel front camera with an aperture of f/2.0. The dual camera setup at the back is accompanied by a single-LED flash.

The camera app is easy to use and offers a wide variety of modes such as Night Shot, Panorama, and Time-lapse. There is a fully featured Pro mode as well, which allows you to alter the shutter speed, ISO, exposure, aperture, and white balance. 

EMUI 8.0 also has a multitude of gestures such as a three-finger swipe to take a screenshot, and flip to mute. Huawei has not announced an update roadmap for the P20 Lite - there is no information about if or when the P20 Lite will get Android P.

Photos taken with the P20 Lite in favourable light appear eye-catching. The color accuracy is great, and the rear camera has dynamic range. The wide aperture mode allows you takeshots with depth-of-field effects, which are decent at best with average edge detection. Low-light performance is not as good - noise is kept more or less under control, but photos are lack detail and seem slightly over-sharpened.

However, the front camera suffers in low light but manages to capture fair photos, otherwise. There is no front flash or screen flash of any kind to help out in low light. Video recording maxes out at 720p for the front camera, while the rear is capable of 1080p video recording.

To wind up, if you want a modern-looking phone with a great display, the Huawei P20 Lite is a wise choice. You can check Redmi Note 5 Pro, Honor 7X and Honor 9i, which offer similar hardware for less money.