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Huawei P8 Lite Review: The lite side of mid-range handsets

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Huawei’s lite alternative to the P8 is a mid-tier handset with some impressive features and a budget price tag.

15 January 2015: Aside from a few insignificant set-backs (like the outdated Android OS) there is no doubt that the Huawei P8 Lite is an exceptional handset considering its $249.99 price-tag. It is one of many increasingly impressive mid-tier handsets, such as the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3.

The Huawei P8 Lite and similar handsets do prove one thing, and that’s that mid-range handsets have come a long way in 2015.

Check below for a rundown of specs and find out exactly what features you miss out on when opting for the lite variation on the P8.

Huawei P8 P8 Lite
Screen size 5.2in 5.0in
Storage 16/64GB 16GB
Weight 144g 131g
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 930/935 CPU Quad-core 2 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.5 GHz HiSilicon Kirin 620 CPU Octa-core 1.2 GHz
Rear camera 13MP 13MP
Front camera 8MP 5MP
Battery 2680mAh 2200mAh
Resolution 1920×1080 1280×720
Display density 424pppi 294ppi

Upsides: Why you’d want the Huawei P8 Lite

  • Pseudo-metal design: From afar, the P8 Lite could pass from a premium handset. Its rear casing is made to look like brushed aluminium and you could be forgiven for mistaking it for just that at first glance. Its backplate is also two-toned, reminiscent of the iPhone 5. This grants the low-price handset a touch of class.
  • The price is right: It’s obvious by the table above what you’re trading off for a $200 price cut, but $249 is manageable for those who either aren’t interested in forking out for the most powerful phone on the market, or have lost or broken their contract phone and need a cheap alternative to tide them over.

p8 lite

  • Clean user interface (UI): Huawei’s EMUI 3.0 is, in some ways, very neat. The slim lettering and opaque overlays in calls and notifications look professional, but this is at odds with the bright and bubbly app icons. In certain areas, the EMUI 3.0 looks clean cut and at others it looks like a teenager’s overly-customised Android skin. Some apps, like Slack, also have a sticker-like design, which truly nails that thirteen year old’s scrapbook aesthetic.
  • Decent Multi core processor performance: While the Alcatel Idol 3 is an arguably better handset for a small price jump, Geekbench 3’s benchmark test for Multi Core processing actually favored the P8 Lite over the Alcatel Idol 3.
Handset Geekbench 3 Single Core (higher is better) Geekbench 3 Multi Core (higher is better)
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 1492 4893
Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 1324 4626
Google Nexus 6P 1251 4597
Samsung Galaxy S6 1347 4569
Apple iPhone 6S 2540 4410
Apple iPhone 6S Plus 2491 4391
Sony Xperia Z5 1358 4134
LG G4 1190 3313
Google Nexus 5X 1188 3198
Huawei P8 Lite 582 2612
Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 655 2461

Downsides: Why you might not want the Huawei P8 Lite

  • Mediocre battery life: After the iPhone 6s, the Huawei P8 Lite has the shortest battery life out of every handset we’ve tested. While the Idol 3’s battery lasted over an hour longer than the Huawei P8 Lite, it’s worth noting the P8 Lite’s battery score. Essentially, that score denotes how hard the processor was working throughout the test – the short lived battery life makes sense considering the inferior processor of the P8 Lite.
    Handset Geekbench 3 Battery Test Duration Geekbench 3 Battery Score
    Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 8:24:10 5041
    Apple iPhone 6S Plus 7:48:10 4681
    Samsung Galaxy S6 6:51:30 4115
    Google Nexus 5X 7:14:20 4062
    Google Nexus 6P 6:39:20 3754
    Sony Xperia Z5 5:41:30 3414
    LG G4 5:27:50 3224
    Huawei P8 Lite 4:39:40 2768
    Apple iPhone 6s 3:52:10 2321
    Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 5:42:00 2276

    We did find ourselves having to charge the P8 Lite before the work day was out, and were consistently notified about the email app consuming a large portion of power.

  • Touchy volume buttons that launch the camera: The Huawei P8 Lite conveniently allows you to access the camera from the lock screen by double-tapping the volume down button. This is handy. Maybe a little too handy. The volume buttons are sensitive, and can be depressed simply by brushing the side of the handset. This resulted in far too many pocket photos.
  • No central app drawer: If you were coming to the Huawei P8 Lite from iOS you wouldn’t notice this, but it could irritate Android veterans who like to keep their home screens clutter-free.
  • Ordinary display: From a distance, the P8 Lite’s 720p display doesn’t look overly drab. However, from a normal viewing distance, the subpar resolution is noticeable. This also devalues the 13MP camera. Ultimately, this is what could drive many to the Alcatel Idol 3.

Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?

The Huawei P8 Lite will best suit three groups. Firstly, teenagers who aren’t quite ready to be trusted with the latest Samsung Galaxy phone or equivalent. Secondly, someone looking for a temporary (but reliable) replacement for their lost/shattered premium phone. Finally it would suit someone looking for a handset with all the core features of an Android smartphone, but who isn’t too concerned with power or battery life. Conversely, the Huawei P8 Lite’s battery life makes it a bad choice for someone who is constantly on their phone.

The closest alternatives to the Huawei P8 Lite are the Oppo R5 and the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, the latter of which is an arguably better choice.

Where can I get it?

The Huawei P8 Lite can be purchased online through several leading retailers.

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