Huawei P10 Lite opens door to the P-series

  • Premium design compared to many other entry level or mid-range phones
  • Reasonably priced for those keen to invest in the P10 branding with modest if unremarkable performance overall

 

Huawei P10 Lite opens door to the P-series

 

LIKE its predecessor the P9 Lite, the P10 aims to be a cheaper option by half compared to Huawei'a latest flagship the P10 and the higher end top-of-the-line P10 Plus. While the P10 costs RM2,499, the P10 Lite retails for about half the price at RM1,299 with commensurately pared down hardware and performance while retaining some of the aesthetics of the P10.

Compared to the P9 Lite, the P10 lite has similar dimensions though it is slightly slimmer and marginally lighter with a much more premium design along with more storage and RAM. Unlike the dual rear camera of its higher-end siblings, the P10 and the P10 Plus, the P10 Lite only has a single rear camera. With three different sizes and price tags to suit all needs and budgets, Huawei aims to offer something for everyone with their P10 series from the ultra-premium crowd to those on a budget.

We managed to get the P10 Lite for review and took it out for a spin over several weeks. For RM1,299 which is the price of many competing phones with a feature-oriented gimmick, the P10 Lite banks on the fame and prestige of the P-series line on top of a reasonable suite of hardware to woo buyers. Heres how it fares.

Design

When held, the P10 Lite looks and feels beautifully premium on account of the glass sheathing the rear back plate. Unlike the P10, the P10 Lite positions its fingerprint reader on the rear along with a 12-MP camera which integrates an f/2.2 aperture, an LED flash and phase detection autofocus to capture up to 2160P video.

Like the P10 and P10 Plus, the P10 Lite attempts to shave down the bezels to offer a pleasing design by giving it a larger screen though the gains are marginal this time around as the P10 Lite has a similar 5.2-inch IPS LCD Full HD display as the P9 Lite. The side bezels are noticeably slimmer on the edges with the top and bottom still retaining relatively large bezels. The bottom area of the touchscreen is unutilised save for the Huawei logo monogrammed at the base as the usual home, back and menu buttons are virtual, appearing on the touchscreen on demand.

To Huawei’s credit, they’ve managed to mostly reduce the unsightly antenna bands in the design down to narrow wedges on the sides. The rest of the build quality of the phone is pleasantly premium with curved edges, rounded 2.5D glass on the front and a slim 7.2mm thin chassis that feels cool to the touch.

Performance

The Huawei P10 Lite has a pared down spec sheet with a mid-range Kirin 648 processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage. As mid-range phones go, these specs are middle-of-the-road and are akin to many contemporaries in its price range. Under benchmark tests, the P10 Lite performed in an adequate manner.

Under Antutu, it got a score of 59,237 which is almost half that of the P10. Geekbench 4 yielded similar results with a single core score of 816 and a multicore score of 3406. Under PCMark Work 2.0, the P10 Lite got a score of 4,507 while in the intensive  3D Mark Slingshot Extreme it scored a low 393, chugging along with framerates almost akin to a slide show.

 

Huawei P10 Lite opens door to the P-series

Benchmark scores give an indication of a phone’s performance but nothing replaces actual field testing and the P10 Lite proved to be serviceable. It runs on the latest Android 7.0 and overlays this with Huawei’s EMUI 5.1 user interface which has many of the refinements seen on the P10 including the ability to reply from notifications on the lock screen and in particular their split-screen functionality. In intensive games like Asphalt 8: Airborne, Star Wars: Force Arena and Clash Royale the P10 Lite handled smoothly without any hiccups.

Battery life was unremarkable on the P10 Lite with the 3,000mAh battery coasting along with standard usage in the form of web browsing, emails and social media use through the day with modest usage of the camera and some phone calls draining it by early evening. You can compensate by triggering an ultra power saving mode that drastically reduces activity on the phone and dials down performance to extend battery life.

Camera

 

Huawei P10 Lite opens door to the P-series

While the P10 Lite is branded as being in the same family as the P10, it lacks the Leica-branded dual cameras of the P10 and instead has a nondescript single 12-MP rear camera that lacks the Leica branding with an F/2.2 aperture, phase detection autofocus and a single LED flash that captures images at maximum resolution in a 4:3 aspect ratio and up to Full HD video. The front camera has an 8-MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture, autofocus and also with the ability to record 1080P video.

What it does have is a similar user interface to the P10 with the full raft of filters and modes including a pro photo mode that lets you modify ISO, shutter speed, exposure, autofocus and white balance as needed. It also has Huawei’s nifty light painting mode that lets you capture artistic pictures of flowing highways, starscapes and waterfalls. However, the phone lacks the depth of field capabilities of the P10 as well as its Wide Aperture mode.

Shots under well-lit conditions turned out very well with good detail and fast autofocus though this falls short in low light with grainy shots and the autofocus struggling to fix on a subject. With a less capable sensor and only a single one compared to the P10's dual camera array, the P10 Lite is still sufficiently capable of handling shots for social media use. Video on both front and rear cameras is captured at 1080P resolution and, like the stills, is good in daylight and if you have a steady hand though low light videos struggle with grain and a lack of detail.

Conclusion

The Huawei P10 is well built with a solid design and excellent build quality with Huawei’s polished EMUI 5.1 user interface and Android Nougat powering it to offer a generally smooth user experience.

While it has the P10 series branding, it lacks the Leica-licensed hardware of its pricier siblings. Shots are serviceable but unexceptional which also goes for its battery life. At US$311 (RM1,299), the P10 Lite attempts to woo those seeking the P10 experience on a tight budget. If funds permit, get the higher end P10.

Huawei P10 Lite opens door to the P-series

 

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