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Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: A smartphone with an extremely bright display

Expert Reviews logo Expert Reviews 08-03-2017 Christopher Minasians

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: A smartphone with an extremely bright display© Expert Reviews Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: A smartphone with an extremely bright display The Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is a dual-SIM smartphone that features a 5.2in full HD display, a fingerprint reader, an octa-core processor and runs on Android 7 Nougat. Its price? £185. In fact you can even find it for as low as £149 if you get with a Vodafone PAYG SIM, which makes it a pretty good deal.

This is nothing new, however, and the competition at this price is fierce, with handsets such as the slinky Honor 6X (£225), the long-lasting Lenovo P2 (£200) and the all-round excellent Moto G4 2016 (£150) all making a strong case. Can the Huawei P8 Lite step in and provide another solid alternative? 

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: Design and build

Huawei has shown in recent times that it knows how to make a good quality smartphone, and the P8 Lite 2017 is no exception. It looks and feels just like an iPhone. Many phones 7do nowadays, of course, but with its distinctive curved edges and Piano Black finish, this phone looks uncannily similar to a Jet Black iPhone than most.

When you get closer to it, it’s clear this isn’t a premium Apple product, but it stands up as decent design for a low-budget smartphone. It’s larger than the iPhone 7 for starters, but its 5.2in Full HD display is nearly as easy to use one-handed, and it feels well-balanced in your hand.

The fingerprint reader is at the back rather than at the front, a design choice I prefer over a front-mounted reader, and it’s accompanied at the rear by a 12-megapixel camera and single-LED flash. Around the front there’s a 8-megapixel selfie camera, the display and the Huawei logo. There are no capacitive buttons, though, Huawei opting to use on-screen navigation buttons instead. 

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: Display

The P8 Lite 2017 comes with a 5.2in Full HD (1,080 x 1,920) IPS display resulting in a respectable pixel density of 424ppi. The screen’s biggest strength is its brighness: it’s among the brightness screens I’ve ever set my eyes on. I measured it at a blinding 700 cd/m2, meaning it’ll be readable in even the most sunny conditions. 

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: Software

Android 7 Nougat is a fantastic operating system, and I’m pleased to say that it’s included within the Huawei P8 Lite 2017. This isn’t a stock installation, though, as Huawei has its Android Emotion 5.0 UI (EMUI) skin installed on the phone.

EMUI is very much a love it or hate it thing. Personally, I don’t mind it at all. I find it user-friendly and it performs well without sucking too much performance out of the phone. Granted, it uses extra RAM as do all 3rd party launchers, but I’m still a fan of EMUI’s integration over other Android interfaces, such as Samsung’s TouchWiz. 

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: Performance

The P8 Lite 2017 is powered by an octa-core (4x2.1 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4x1.7 GHz Cortex-A53) Kirin 655 processor. It also has 3GB of RAM, which is plenty for your multitasking needs. I didn’t experience any hitches when using the phone as my daily driver.

Looking at synthetic benchmarks, the P8 Lite 2017 performs well when compared with its budget competitors. In the Geekbench 4 multi-core test, the Huawei P8 Lite (2017) achieved a result of 3,237, mere inches behind the Honor 6X and marginally better than the Lenovo P2 and Moto G4.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited In the Geekbench 4 single-core benchmarks the P8 Lite 2017 achieved a score of 780, putting it behind the Lenovo P2 (813) and the Honor 6X (784), while beating the Moto G4 (719). These aren’t differences that will make a huge difference in day to day use.

It’s a similar story with the phone’s Mali-T830MP2 GPU – it’s a reasonable performer, on a par with its main rivals, but falls far behind flagship phones. When playing Asphalt 8: Airborne and Temple Run 2, the phone coped well and didn’t feel jittery. Using GFX Bench to benchmark the phone synthetically against other budget smartphones, its onscreen performance was on par with the Honor 6X. The P8 Lite 2017 returned an average frame rate of 8.4fps in comparison to the Lenovo P2’s 10fps, Honor 6X’s 8.4fps and Moto G4’s 7.7fps.

Battery life is less impressive. The phone’s non-removable 3,000 mAh battery helped it last 10hrs 24mins in our video playback test. That’s nothing more than mediocre, and it lags a long way behind the Lenovo P2 and its 5,100mAh battery. That phone lasted an incredible 28hrs 50mins in the same test.

Even set against its illustrious opposition, such as the Honor 6X, whose 3,350mAh battery gave it a run time of 11hrs 18mins, the Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is a touch below average.

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: Camera

The phone’s 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.0 isn’t bad for a £185 smartphone. The P8 Lite 2017 doesn’t have phase detection autofocus or optical image stabilisation, but that’s to be expected for a phone at this price point.

It holds its ground in low-light conditions, producing images that aren’t riddled with noise. Looking back at my test shots on the PC I felt the images had a vibrant tone to them, but also held the right balance, where the sample shots weren’t overly saturated.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited I also found white balance to be on point and automatic exposures well judged. However, I did notice a lack of detail on objects at a distance; as you can see in the test shot below, the brick work is a little blurred.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

^Taken without HDR

This good performance extends to the camera flash. Although a fairly basic single LED, it was good to see that it didn’t add that unwanted blue hue to images. A lot of budget smartphones have a blue tone, which spoils the colours in an image.

On a negative note, the camera’s HDR mode proved of limited benefit, with only minor improvements in my indoor shots and barely any differences when comparing outdoor HDR shots with non-HDR shots.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

^Indoor shot with HDR and background lighting

You can make more of a difference if you take the time to fiddle with the Pro camera mode. This lets you set white balance, exposure compensation, ISO and shutter speed and allows you to fiddle with various metering and autofocus modes as well. There’s even a pro-video mode that allows you to lock in white balance, set exposure compensation, metering and autofocus mode. Alas, there’s no way to lock exposure in pro video mode, which sort of defeats the object, and it can’t capture in 4K, and is instead limited to 1080p at 30fps.

© Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

^Image taken with flash (HDR off)

Despite producing respectable images, however, the P8 Lite 2017 isn’t at the same level as the Moto G4, the best mobile phone camera at this price point. Images on the Moto G4 are sharper, have less image noise in low-light conditions and look more vibrant.

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review: Verdict

The Huawei P8 Lite 2017 has stiff competition from the Honor 6X, Lenovo P2 and Moto G4, and it is this that ultimately proves its undoing. For while it looks nice and performs well for a £185 smartphone, it is let down in other areas. By its easily-scratched glass back, its tendency to pick up dirt and grime, and its mediocre battery life. The camera is decent, but is outshone by the Motorola Moto G4

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