The youngest sibling in the P20 family proves its worth against our real-life usage tests. From flagship looks to excellent performance, this mid-ranger is here to stay tall
If the P20 Pro is designed to sit on the flagship throne, its younger sibling, Huawei P20 Lite is the ultimate contender for the midrange crown.
Companies nowadays are pouring their heart into manufacturing midrange phones specifically, as this category has been gaining momentum for the recent past. Beefed up specs and refined design has become a norm for mid-rangers, which was once an epitome of flagships.
Huawei P20 Lite is no different in this regard. The phone is a solid effort from the Chinese giant to produce a great value for money device but is it truly what it seems? Let’s dive into our detailed review of the handset to find out.
Straight out of the box, Huawei P20 Lite looks like an amalgamation of the Honor 9 Lite and the P20 Pro. It has the design element of its elder sibling while the shimmery glassy look of the Honor 9 lite. At first glance, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the device apart from the P20 Pro. The phone carries the infamous notch on the front which hosts the earpiece and the selfie camera.
A metal frame is sandwiched between the glass body. Due to its curved frame, Huawei P20 Lite sits easily in hand despite the glass back. The design is quite rounded from sides and similar to that of the P20 Pro, but it features a matte finish on the sides which result in a firm grip of the phone, adding to which is the presence of two more engraved lines that run around the frame.
Usual right side sports a power key along with the volume rocker that is easily accessible even if you have relatively smaller hands. The left side of the phone sports a hybrid dual sim slot which means either you can use two SIM cards or a single SIM card along with a microSD card.
However, the notch is not as big as the one on the iPhone X.On the bottom, the phone hosts a USB Type C charging port along with a speaker grill and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
The edge-to-edge approach in smartphones has resulted in bigger displays crammed in small sized phones. Same is the case with Huawei P20 Lite. The phone sports a 5.84-inch LTPS IPS LCD display with a notch on its top.
The 19:9 aspect ratio display manifests a 1080 x 2280 resolution with a pixel density of 432 ppi and presents an impressive 80.5% screen to body ratio.
The display itself is pretty sharp, clear and a feast for eyes when watching videos on any platform. The display provides excellent usability even in sunlight when browsing through the phone, however watching movies in direct sunlight may not be recommended.
Unlike the Vivo V9, the notch doesn’t cut out the parts of any content playing on the screen. Be it your favorite movie or your time killing game, the notch will adjust accordingly making sure you get the full view.
The screen on the device doesn’t suffer because of the lack of AMOLED technology. It furnishes ample colors in a vibrant and accurate manner. Viewing angles are quite decent and don’t affect the quality of the display.
Huawei P20 Lite comes with Android Oreo 8.0 out of the box along with EMUI 8.0 which gives a smooth user experience. We remember the time when EMUI was a buggy and laggy skin but now that’s not the case. It has evolved into a fine skin with a lot of useful features.
The software offers a number of options like the adjustment of screen resolution, an optional app drawer that can be enabled within settings. EMUI 8.0 lets you hide the notch if you don’t feel comfortable with it.
When playing a game in the game suite mode, the incoming calls don’t take up the whole screen and are displayed with a small prompt on the top of the screen so that you don’t get disturbed.
It also supports twin apps now which means that if you want to log into two different social media accounts, you can easily do that just by enabling App twin in the settings.
As for the security of the phone, the trendy Face Unlock feature can also be availed from the settings but it may not be as secure and safe for your phone as a pin or a password. Besides this, EMUI also comes with gesture support. You can navigate through pictures and take selfies with the fingerprint scanner.
Huawei P20 Lite comes equipped with the company’s famous midrange processor, Kirin 659 coupled with 4GB RAM along with 64GB storage. Some might say that the company is milking the said processor too much but we felt quite the opposite during our tests. The phone handled anything thrown at it, with ease.
The device also performed adequately in the benchmark tests that we ran on it. A score of 88,680 was recorded on the AnTuTu Benchmark while on the GeekBench it scored a 922 on single-core and a score of 3732 on multi-core.
During our moderate usage tests, the device carried out all the regular tasks including making calls, browsing the internet, using WhatsApp, watching videos on YouTube, using LTE etc. smoothly. The device responds quickly to the commands of its users and doesn’t cause any lag.
The phone also performed up to the mark in our heavy usage real-life tests. Gaming, Live streaming, social media apps, heavy browsing, and heavy multitasking were mainly the part of this test and the RAM management on the phone was astonishingly good.
While playing heavy games on the phones we noticed it got warmer over longer sessions, however, it didn’t come to the point where the phone was unbearable to hold anymore but the getting warmer definitely left its mark on battery.
One thing that concerned us was the audio quality of the phone. Huawei P20 Lite sports a single bottom firing speaker and upon cranking the volume to full, it produces shrilling sound.
P20 Lite flaunts a 3000 mAh battery which might seem insufficient for such a large display, but that’s not the case. Battery optimization is excellent on the device and can easily last you a whole day with moderate usage.
Huawei P20 Lite sports a decent battery however, it gets warmer in heavy usage and resultantly, drains more battery
During a whole hour of moderate usage with the brightness turned to 50%, background music, social media usage, watching videos, calling and texting, the phone only consumed 15% of battery.
However, heavy usage on the phone took its a fair chunk of the battery only because the brightness was cranked to 100% and in the result of heavy multitasking and gaming the phone got warm which went on to drain the battery more than expected. The handset consumed 21% battery on heavy usage.
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 also be found in Honor 9 Lite with a 13MP+2MP camera.
The interface of the camera app is simple and easy to use. On the camera app main screen you can see toggles on the top of viewfinder from where you can select any shooting mode you want. Swiping to the left reveals an array of modes from which you can choose your desired one while swiping to the right pops out camera settings.
Although Huawei P20 Lite doesn’t have the Leica branding, that doesn’t make the phone left out alone in the crowded world of smartphones. It is one of the phones that shine brightly in terms of camera quality.
Besides a ton of modes to capture pictures, the phone provides excellent images in plenty of light. Though we can’t expect a top of the line low light performance from the phone like the P20 pro, it still fulfills the expectations.
However, comparing the camera performance of a midrange phone with a flagship one would be utter folly. In its own league, P20 lite is a class that can’t easily be beaten so its the smartphone to stay for a while.
Here are some of the sample pictures from Huawei P20 Lite. You can also check our detailed camera review of the Huawei P20 lite.
The youngest sibling in the P20 series has proved itself against our rigorous testing. For an average user, the phone performs day-to-day tasks with ease and is pretty snappy.
However, even if you are an avid gamer, it will still not disappoint you as we have stretched the limits of performance with this phone it came out a true performer. The camera of the phone delivers sufficiently in good light. Low light performance may not be at par with high-end flagships, it doesn’t fail to deliver, nonetheless.
Despite having a 3000mAh battery, which seems quite small for a phone with such a big screen, it manages the resources quite well and even with heavy use, you’ll be able to get a whole day of the battery from the phone.
Huawei P20 may not be the cheapest mid-range phone out there but one thing is for sure; it provides a matchless value for your hard earned money.