Huawei P20 Lite camera review

To succeed in tagging the right price to mid-range devices, manufacturers compromise on some of the things in the phone, one of which is the camera. Most mid-rangers lack a decent snapper. However, this is not the case with Huawei P20 Lite, the youngest sibling of the triple camera flagship, P20 Pro.

Huawei P20 Lite sports a quality camera, and although the P20 flagship duo boasts a Leica camera, it delivers decent results even without featuring a Leica lens. The device has been our driver of the day, so we extensively checked the camera.

Let us dive into our real life camera review of the Huawei P20 Lite to give you a better idea of what this device is capable of.

Camera Hardware

Huawei P20 Lite Front Camera

The phone supports a dual-lens camera slapped on its back. That main 16-megapixel lens with f/2.2 aperture is accompanied by a secondary 2-megapixel snapper, this time with f/2.4 aperture.

The secondary lens of the camera collects depth of field and gives the shots a blurred effect mimicking a DSLR camera. A similar dual camera setup can be found in Honor 9 Lite with a 13MP+2MP camera.

On the front, the device packs a whopping 16 MP selfie snapper with a ton of options which means that the phone presents a serious challenge to the self-proclaimed selfie expert Oppo F7 as both the phones come with a minute price difference.

Camera UI

Camera UI is pretty simple in the Huawei P20 Lite. The main screen of the camera app offers different toggles on the top that include portrait mode, which is ideal to take portraits with a blurred background, a wide aperture mode that lets you change the focus after the picture is taken and a moving picture mode which you can use to create fun GIFs.

Camera UI Huawei P20 Lite
Camera App Interface

Swiping right reveals a ton of special modes and features hidden away in a separate menu. From here you can switch to full manual controls, for shooting either photos or video. This gives you absolute power over the ISO levels, white balance and so on, so you can get some very specific results.

While swiping left takes you to the camera settings where you can adjust the resolution of the camera, enable capture with a smile so whenever you smile in front of the camera, it automatically takes your picture. Other adjustments can also be made in the settings area.

Camera Result

Since the company partnered with Leica, it has been producing amazing camera smartphones. Huawei Mate 9 and P10 are the clear examples of that. Although comparatively older flagships, they still rock and don’t disappoint.

That doesn’t make the P20 Lite left out at all if it doesn’t feature the Leica technology. On full auto mode, the camera performs outstandingly. Honestly, we were not expecting this much from the device.

Viewing the pictures on a big screen reveals quite a bit of detail packed in them. Colour reproduction in auto mode is increasingly accurate rather than artificially boosted. Snaps of vibrant subjects are a happy feast for the eyes.

Auto Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Auto Mode
Auto Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Auto Mode
Auto Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Auto Mode

HDR mode on the Huawei P20 Lite also delivers amazing results and deals with the darker and brighter parts of the picture well. It doesn’t over-saturate the colors neither does it blow out the picture.

With HDR Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
HDR Mode
With HDR Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
HDR Mode

Another interesting feature to play with is the portrait shot. It delivers decent results and gives a blur effect in the background that makes the subject stand out with distinction. Portrait mode on the P20 Lite is good enough to pose a challenge to its counterparts from other companies like the Vivo V9.

In broad daylight, the portrait mode works superb and delivers the amazing depth of field. In some cases, the camera recognizes the outline of the subject very well and doesn’t soften out the edges of the subject while sometimes it struggles to identify the subject outline.

Wide aperture mode works like a charm, and though it does not struggle as much as we saw on the Huawei Y9 2018, wide aperture sometimes leads to patches of blur on the subject. Most of the time, it works absolutely fine.

Picture with Portorait Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Portrait Mode
Wide Aperture Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Wide Aperture Mode
Picture with Wide Aperture Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Wide Aperture Mode
Picture with Wide Aperture Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Wide Aperture Mode

Huawei P20 Lite doesn’t perform well in the night with auto mode, so it has a dedicated night mode, but for that, you’ll need to use the tripod. Although we tried very hard, but couldn’t get a clear shot with night mode while holding in our hands, so we used a tripod. It’s extremely sensitive and produces shaky results when the phone is held in hand. The photos in the night mode came out ok and packed significant details.

Night Shot Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Night Shot Mode

The phone offers a light painting mode which also includes silky water and light trails option. The results were good, however, we weren’t massively impressed with the light trails whereas the silky water mode did its part well.

Light Painting Mode on Huawei P20 Lite
Light Painting Mode (Light Trails)
Silky Water (Light Painting Mode)
Silky Water (Light Painting Mode)

The camera also packs a food mode where it enhances the color of the food to make it look more desirable. Earlier in Huawei Y9 2018, we noticed that the phone oversaturated the food color and eliminated the details. That’s not the case with P20 lite. It pops up the right amount of colors.

Food Mode On Huawei P20 Lite
Food Mode

Regarding the selfie camera, our foremost concern remains the beauty mode which is always very aggressive on Huawei devices and tends to smoothen out even the details. The company really needs to address this. Other than that the pictures came out with natural colors and right light conditions.

Selfie with Huawei P20 lite
Selfie with beauty Mode (L) and Without beauty Mode (R)

Video Quality

While its elder brothers, P20 and P20 Pro can shoot 4K Ultra HD resolution, the P20 Lite tops out at Full HD. It shoots videos at a standard 30 framed per second. But apart from the technical specifications, our test video came out very well.


Although the video was shot at night in a noisy environment, the phone picked up the sound very well, and the camera automatically adjusts according to the variable contrast conditions. However, when playing the recorded video, the sound is very shrilling and screechy.

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