Bigger screens, bezel-less displays and better cameras have remained the trending features in 2017. They were the hallmark of flagships only but with phones like Huawei Mate 10 Lite; they are becoming selling features for more mainstream phones.
Mate 10 Lite is Huawei’s first phone that boast an 18:9 aspect ratio and four cameras — two on each side. Interesting part is that this phone comes with many variants. If you happen to come across Nova 2i, Miamang 6, Honor 9i and Huawei G10, that means same phone.
In Pakistan Huawei has made it a part of premium Mate family and that naming strategy looks to be working well for the company on the sales chart.
Display and Design
Mate 10 Lite is almost 6.1 inches tall and has a 5.9 inches of display that implies to a 76.5% screen to body ratio. The screen with a 18:9 aspect ratio is the most daunting asset of the phone that gives a wide angle view sharp enough with the help of 1080 x 2160 pixels — a Full HD display that gives a few hundreds extra pixels that makes it an FHD+ screen. It’s a 2.5D curved glass on the front which is glossy and seamlessly integrates into the slim panels.
Unlike the Mate 10, the front fingerprint scanner has been moved to the back and the top elements have also been further stretched upward for a bigger display.
It’s a big punch from Huawei while taking the benchmark higher in this price range where very few are giving an FHD+ display on wider screens. Vivo V7+ also comes with a 5.9 inch display and lesser bezels than Mate 10 Lite but the resolution is only HD and the price is a couple of thousands extra as well.
With more pixels fit inside, the phone comes with brighter and sharper display we don’t usually find in this price range. Display works equally fine both indoor and outdoor and the viewing angles are not to worry unless you look at it from extreme angles where it gets less bright.
The backside of the phone is the metal with a matte finish that gives more premium look. LED Flash, two slightly protrude lenses and a scanner are aligned vertically in the middle — a much slimmer formation in contrast to the earlier model. The Prestige Gold color we had for review doesn’t attract fingerprints on the back but they are noticeable on Graphite Black variant.
Top and bottom carry two antennas strips that flow horizontally while adding a finishing touch to the overall design.
The left and right sides are usual in carrying power button, volume rocker and a hybrid SIM tray for the two Nano SIMs or you can put a Nano SIM and a micro SD card.
While the top only has the secondary microphone, Huawei has kept the bottom busy with speaker grille, audio jack, microphone and the old fashioned micro USB connector.
The phone is taller and narrower and easy to offer a firm grip on its metal body that gives a very premium look overall.
The big brothers Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro outshine with Android 8.0 (Oreo) and EMUI 8.0 as well but unfortunately the younger one has been deprived of both. It rather carries EMUI 5.1 and Android Nougat with no confirmation about an OS upgrade although announced. But, the P10 fans may recall the OS that gives a typical Huawei feel.
It comes with some pre-installed apps that Android already provides natively. I believe, Huawei should consider replacing them with more useful ones in the coming version since the EMUI 8.0 also carries similar stuff. Themes app keeps getting updated with new skins and similar is the case here. The Phone Manager can be found as well which company introduced for keeping its gadgets cool and optimized.
For many apps the full view display show a black border underneath since not every one of them is tuned with the 18:9 aspect ratio yet. Luckily, the phone shows a software level tweak in shape of a button that can be used to stretch an app fully. For smaller hands, the bigger display might not bring comfort to work, but EMUI 5.1 gives the single-handed UI for the peace of mind.
While the Mate 10 is backed by Kirin 950 chipset Huawei Mate 10 Lite features Kirin 659 Octa-core SoC which is made on 16nm technology and designed for mid-range phones by HiSilicon, a Chinese company wholly owned by Huawei. It is the successor to Kirin 658 with an enhanced clock speed for better overall performance. It comes coupled with a Mali-T830 GPU that shares the graphical rendering.
The arrangement is perfectly supportive for everyday heavy tasks handling, the 4GB RAM never disappointed us switching among 20 plus apps. On many instances, it exceeded our expectations. But don’t take it as a performance replica of bigger mate phones. Lighter to heavy videos and games of the likes Air Attack HD Lite, Real Racing 3 were no problem for this phone but the heavier ones seldom had a slight toll on its processing. We noticed no frame drop when Asphalt Xtreme screen density turned up to HDPI and neither the phone temperature was unreasonable to hold during long sessions.
The audio quality is impressive through earphones which gets enhanced with Huawei’s Histen Sound Effect for high quality movies and music. The volume on single speaker is loud enough but does not match the headphones.
Its 3,340mAh battery need not be recharged during the day and it worked the whole day quite adequately during our test period for more than usual tasks leaving behind some charge at the end. Taking frequent calls, texting, heavy browsing on 4G and taking photos were somewhat common things that could not drain the entire juice, but, two or three prolonged gaming sessions in the middle pushed us to turn on the battery saving-mode while going back home from the office.
Back to back movies playing lasted the battery for 9 hours and few minutes and it took a little above 2 hours to recharge it 100%. YouTube streaming for one hour on wifi consumed 10% of the juice.
Mate 10 Lite is Huawei’s first phone to feature 4 lenses. The rear camera takes shots with 16MP and 2MP lenses whereas, front selfie 13 MP camera is accompanied by a 2 MP lens and soft flash for producing natural looking selfies. Both the smaller ones are to create depth of field with the help of software support. They are basically responsible for two major features of the phone camera, portrait style and wide aperture lens, a very rare combination in this price range.
Wide aperture feature basically creates a nice bokeh effect in the background and makes the subject to stand out considerably however, the portrait mode does the similar thing along with beautifying the faces by taking away roughness and putting makeup through software.
The blurry effect after taking the shots can be retouched from the gallery by touching the shutter icon on the image.
Mate 10 Lite takes really amazing photos from both rear and front cameras under any condition. The bright day pictures were well exposed and colors were nearly accurate but it didn’t disappoint in the night shots either. The standard mode captures pretty decent details and the objects carry natural colors.
What we hoped that it would bring improvement in the shutter speed in the pro-mode which was not the case. We had to wait for dusk to play with the shutter as during the day; it kept overexposing everything. But, overall, shooting with Mate 10 Lite is a treat.
It can take up to 1080p videos from both front and rear.