P20 Lite: we tested the new lightweight Huawei

We like

  • the design of the device
  • the 16 Mpx front sensor

We don’t like

  • the price/performance ratio
  • some small phone bugs
  • applications that sometimes freeze
  • management of autonomy in intensive mode

Verdict:

Without being an exceptional smartphone, the P20 Lite gets away with its design and front photo sensor. Some bugs however tarnish the picture. In addition, we would have really appreciated it if Huawei had reviewed its price range and offered a smartphone between 250 and 270 euros. Fortunately, the device is available at very advantageous prices via the operators’ €1 offers. It’s a better way to get the pill through.

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While all eyes are riveted on the P20 Pro and its famous 40MP triple photo sensor on the back, Huawei has also recently released two other models in the same range: the P20 and the P20 Lite. Since the P20 is only a variation of the P20 Pro, but without a triple photo sensor and smaller in size, we looked at the cheapest of allmodels, namely the P20 Lite. Sold for less than 330 euros (compared to around 750 for the P20 Pro), this “light” device is mainly sold by operators such as Bouygues and Orange in packages starting at €1. So what’s the P20 Lite worth? Should we fall for it or is it better to turn to an even cheaper model, at the risk of losing performance?

P20 Lite: we tested the new lightweight Huawei smartphone

5 reasons to crack (or not) for the Huawei P20 Lite

1 – A big yes for its design

If there’s one thing you can’t blame Huawei for, it’s the work done on the look of this device from 5,84″. For our tests, we received the pink model, but don’t be mistaken: the color chosen by Huwaei is rather very discreet, looking more towards pale pink and passe-partout than the very bling-bling fuchsia pink. The device also has a rim of the same colour, but more golden (an almost “champagne” colour). In spite of the plastic-coated back, the device feels robust. On the back of the device is a fingerprint sensor. We’ve never made a secret of our preference for this dorsal position, especially since Huawei positioned it in the middle, far from the photo sensors (unlike the Galaxy S8, which remains one of the biggest misnotes of the Samsung competitor). Please note that the device has a notch, which can be hidden in the device settings (Settings > Display > Notch > Hide notch). 145 grams is a very good overall design and housing. In short, it’s a perfect fit for Huawei in terms of aesthetics.

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P20 Lite: Huawei's new lightweight smartphone tested

2 – Yes and no for its performance

On the processor side, we benefit from a Kirin 659, the same one that equips the Honor 7X and Honor 9 Lite that we tested last December. In terms of memory, there is 4 GB of RAM, as on almost all smartphones sold between 250 and 450 euros.
The benchmarks we submitted to him showed a device with correct performance under Geekbench, which focuses on the prowess delivered by the CPU. On the other hand, as soon as it was a question of testing the graphics performance of the device, using 3DMark in this case. This smartphone is clearly not cut out for the greediest games, and you’ll have to make do with titles that require the least 3D resources.

  Geekbench 4 3DMark
Huawei P20 Lite (Kirin 659) 3665 370
Huawei P20 Pro (Kirin 970) 6793 3009
Honor 7X (Kirin 659) 3432 421
Asus Zenfone 5 (Snadragon 636) – IA boost disabled 4885 953
LG Q6 (Snapdragon 430) 2225 229

When it comes to display performance for pro, photo or video applications, there’s nothing to complain about. We benefit from a definition of 1080 x 2280 pixels and a density of 432 ppi. The image is clear and bright, and HD videos are displayed in perfect fluidity.
Android 8.0 powers the device’s software core. So you can enjoy a lot of new features when you are a Nougat user, such as auto-filling in all applications, a windowed/picture-in-picture mode, enhanced colour management, etc. The whole is very stable, but one wonders why the smartphone is not marketed with version 8.1 of Google’s operating system, like the P20 and P20 Pro. We had the opportunity to ask a representative from Huawei: the cause would be material, and no update to Oreo 8.1 is being considered at this time.

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3 – Yes and no for its autonomy

The device has a USB-C port and a quick charge function, which allows the 3000 mAh battery to be fully recharged after 1 hour 49 minutes. In terms of battery life, we subjected it to our traditional battery tests:

  • a standard usability test, which consists of surfing the web, making phone calls, using the GPS function sparingly and listening to some music;
  • and a much more pushy test, which consists of playing a whole series of videos on Netflix in streaming (with Wi-Fi enabled, therefore).

In the first case, we had to recharge the device after 35 hours, which is a very correct result. On the other hand, in the second bus (video playback from Netflix), the camera held 9h58 non stop. If the longevity of the aircraft may seem honourable, it is less, however, than a Honor 7X (sold 100 euros less), which lasts 11h18 under the same conditions. The P20 Lite is far from being a war lightning rod when it comes to autonomy management, and that’s a bit of a shame… P20 Lite: we tested the new lightweight Huawei smartphone

4 – Yes and no for photo

With a 16 + 2MP rear view sensor, the camera does quite well in daylight. The pictures are rather clean, even if they may be reproached for a slightly too bright colorimetry. This is often the case with Huawei and Honor cameras: the photo sensor does its job well in daylight, but rarely performs well in low-light conditions. And this is true again with the P20 Lite. The photos we took with the rear sensor were a little too blurry for our taste, and the sensor has trouble bringing out the elements when it lacks light. On the other hand, we appreciate that this smartphone has a remarkable 16MP front sensor: the images are sharp, even if the whites are a bit too white. Selfies adapters will undoubtedly appreciate the device for this function alone.

5 – No, because it is not free of defects and is too expensive

We used the aircraft for about ten days non-stop and noticed some small problems. In use, the screen sometimes freezes for no reason. It’s rare enough, but it’s embarrassing enough to mention. To get everything back to normal, press the previous button or return to the Home screen and then restart the current task. Another little bug: the quality of the phone reception. During our tests, we used two different operators (Orange and Bouygues) and the quality sometimes deteriorated to the point where the caller was inaudible for one or two seconds. Again, this is an infrequent occurrence, but we needed to mention it.
Finally, the price of the device can be blamed against the competition. If its design and its photo sensor before seduced us, that’s not all. At 50 or 100 euros less, the aircraft would have deserved a lot of attention. But at more than 300 euros, its price is a little too high. In short, if you want to buy it, just wait until its manufacturer lowers its prices… By this summer, most likely. P20 Lite: we tested the new lightweight Huawei smartphone. On the left is the P20 Lite, on the right is the P20 Pro.