The Huawei P8 lite is the budget friendly version of the flagship Huawei P8. It’s priced at $250 off-contract and does make some sacrifices to be able to make it fit in this price range. For starters, the hardware consists entirely of plastic so it doesn’t feature any sort of premium build materials like metal, which is actually found on the P8. It’s a fairly simple designed too. It features a thin build that comes in at 7.7mm thick but the device features flat edges that do not taper. So the device, as a whole, feels a little bit clunky but at the same time, it is very, very light because of all the plastic that is being used. It’s simple and I like simplicity but it’s not the most comfortable device to hold in the hand.
The Power/Sleep button is also a little bit strange. It’s just one small button and it works pretty well but you do have to be a little more precise when you’re looking for it in order to press it. We also have a dual SIM card tray that supports all GSM 4G LTE networks here in the US, which is pretty awesome; and we have a microSD card slot for expandable storage which also deserves a thumbs up.
The display is a 5-inch HD Corning Gorilla Glass 3 IPS display with a 1280x720p resolution. It has very narrow bezels but it’s not an edge to edge display, which is what it kind of looks like when the display is powered off. But the bezels are small and the colors are bright and give off a bit of a cartoony appearance with the skin going on here. Viewing angles are pretty bad though, especially when viewing black colors or the defaulted lock screen. Overall, it’s not a bad display but there is room for improvement. I would have liked to see a higher resolution, like a 1080p resolution.
Performance isn’t much of an issue with this smartphone. It does feature a 64-bit Snapdragon 615 Octa-Core processor, which I’ve used in a number of other smartphones in this price range. And it really does a great job of opening up applications and switching between applications that are running in the background. Paired with 2GB of RAM and this phone really doesn’t slow down much at all.
The biggest visual complaint in my opinion has to do with the software. It features a pretty heavy skin on top of Android 4.4.4 KitKat. So there are two things I have problems with in that sentence—first of all, I don’t really care too much about a heavy skin. There are some pretty good heavy skins on Android. But this skin is pretty ugly in my opinion. The font is scaled very small but most of the notification panel is where I have a problem with aesthetically as it just doesn’t look very elegant or modern. It kind of has an outdated appearance to it. But on the flipside, it is very useful as we have a lot of useful shortcuts or quick settings here.
The other problem I have is that it is Android KitKat. An update to Android Lollipop I feel like would greatly improve the functionality and just the aesthetics of this skin. But KitKat is really starting to get old. There’s really no reason this device shouldn’t be running Lollipop right out of the box. It just doesn’t make sense.
I will also add, there is no app drawer with this skin so it kind of resembles iOS in that regards. You can, however, download a custom launcher like the Google Play Launcher, if you want a more stock Android experience.
The Huawei P8 lite does feature a 13MP camera sensor with a 5MP front-facing camera sensor and it really doesn’t do too bad of a job overall. In well-lit scenarios, you can capture images that are properly exposed with a good amount of detail and pretty accurate colors. As with most cameras, you’re going to be able to capture better images in ideal lighting conditions so it makes sense. The P8 lite really does start to suffer though when capturing low light images. In dim or low lit areas, the noise starts to become very noticeable. The image processing in this smartphone really does like to crush the black colors, which can be a good thing. But it does kind of leave pictures darker than they should be. But overall, it’s not a bad camera at all, especially for the price and Huawei did include some extra filters and software improvements here to further customize your images.
Video quality though is pretty average. With a 13MP camera sensor, you would think that you’d be able to record 4K but the max resolution is FHD 1080p. Not a big deal but it’s worth mentioning and there is no Optical Image Stabilization so video quality can be a tad bit shaky.
In terms of battery life, as with many areas of this device, it’s decent. It features a 2200mAh battery and in real world usage, I can get between 3-4 hours although with constant video playback, I could reach about 8 hours on a single charge. But real world performance is really what you want to pay attention to because between pulling up social networking sites and surfing the web, battery life is more heavily impacted. It’s also important to note that this battery is non-removable. So if this battery starts to die over time, you’ll either have to send it back to Huawei or you’ll just have to deal with it.
The speaker on the smartphone is very loud but it’s also a very sharp sound. It’s not a deep sounding. It’s kind of a tinny. And while there are two speaker grilles on the bottom here, it is a mono-speaker and sound only resonates from the left side.
Overall, the Huawei P8 lite is the budget version of its attractive and premium bigger brother flagship smartphone, the Huawei P8. In order for it to reach its $250 off-contract price point, it does make many sacrifices in almost every area of the device. With the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 and the ASUS ZenFone 2 on the market, it’s really hard for me to recommend this device even though it does have a relatively affordable price. Huawei is a large Chinese company that doesn’t really have much of a presence here in the United States. There’s no question they can make attractive and functional devices. We’ve seen that in the past. We might even see a Huawei Nexus device and I would have no problem with that. But as for the P8 lite, it’s going to need at least a $50 price cut before I can really recommend it over the competition.
With that said, I’ll go ahead and leave the Amazon listing of this device in the description for you to further check out and investigate for yourself.