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Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Camera Review: The best budget mobile snapper around?

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 camera review: We test the 12-megapixel camera housed on the back of the new Huawei P8 Lite, refreshed for 2017, as well as the 8-megapixel front-facer.

The Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is yet another affordable phone from the Chinese giant, offering some strong camera tech for just £185 here in the UK. Here’s our full P8 Lite 2017 camera review, complete with photo and video samples and our full test results.

Read next: Huawei P8 Lite vs P9 Lite vs Honor 6x, what's the difference between these budget Huawei phones?

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 camera review: Specs

The P8 Lite 2017 has a 12-megapixel rear camera featuring a f/2.0 lens. You get Phase Detection Autofocus built in (otherwise known as PDAF), which helps the lens to quickly snap onto your subject, ready for a photo. However there’s no optical image stabilisation (OIS) to help eliminate any blurs and judders from your photos and video, caused by hand motion.

On the front of the P8 Lite 2017 you’ll find an 8-megapixel f/2.0 lens. Both cameras can shoot up to Full HD video; no support for 4K sadly. For that you’ll have to look to the Lenovo P2, one of the few phones below £200 to feature Ultra HD video recording.

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 camera review: Camera features and UX

The P8 Lite 2017 packs in loads of camera features, which can be quickly and easily accessed at any time.

The default shooting mode is of course full auto, where you simply point and shoot to take a photo. Huawei’s autofocus is bolstered by PDAF, now a common feature even on cut-price handsets, so the lens locks onto your subject in next to no time. The result is a nippy shutter speed.

From the main camera screen you can quickly switch between the front and rear snappers, add a filter or beauty mode effect and toggle the flash. You can also swap between stills and video with just a tap of an on-screen button. It’s a relatively clean but useful UX, giving you fast access to the most essential features.

Swipe left and you’ll bring up a full camera settings menu, which allows you to tweak the P8 Lite 2017’s snapper in various ways. As well as changing the resolution of your photos and video, you can add GPS tags and timers and toggle the likes of smile capture mode and object tracking.

There’s also an option to double-press the volume down key to instantly load the camera and (optionally) take a quick snap, even when the P8 Lite 2017 is hibernating. This is a useful feature if you take lots of spontaneous shots, to save you from unlocking the phone, fumbling for the camera app and so on.

Swipe right from the main camera screen and you’ll bring up a selection of special camera modes. Pro Photo and Pro Video allow you to manually tweak the likes of white balance and focus, handy if you’re not getting the results you’d like, while the HDR mode helps with tricky contrast (shooting against bright skies, for instance). We’d have preferred HDR to be built into the auto mode, but at least the option’s there.

You also get the likes of Time Lapse and Slow-Mo video, Panorama mode and Huawei’s favourite, the Light Painting feature. That’s enough to keep snap-happy users busy for some time.

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 camera review: Photo samples

The P8 Lite 2017 really impressed us when we reviewed our test photos. That 12-megapixel rear camera can capture good-looking, detailed photos in all but tricky conditions, proving one of the best mobile snappers at this price point.

On full auto you can depend on the lens to keep your subject nice and crisp, as long as they aren’t bombing around like a loon. We found that the auto function coped well with everything but low light situations, even handling strong contrast without losing detail or oversaturating sections of the photo.

Close-up shots came out clean every time, again with plenty of detail packed in. Colours are accurately reproduced too.

In low light, the P8 Lite 2017 sadly stumbles like pretty much every other budget blower. Night snaps are often murky and grainy, although the single-tone LED flash can at least illuminate whatever’s directly in front of you.

Check out some of our P8 Lite 2017 camera photo samples below.

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 camera review: Video samples

When it comes to video quality, the P8 Lite 2017 isn’t quite as impressive but works fine for simple home movies.

Detail levels are perfectly fine, with the ability to capture up to Full HD resolution video. However, the lens occasionally struggles to cope with changes in lighting, so you’ll need to manually focus if moving the camera around. There’s also no image stabilisation, so we wouldn’t recommend walking and shooting. The resulting footage is rather jerky and jarring.

Check out our P8 Lite 2017 video test sample below.

Huawei P8 Lite 2017 camera review: Selfie camera

Around the front of the P8 Lite 2017 you’ll find an 8-megapixel selfie camera that’s again a solid rival for similarly priced rivals, such as the Moto G4 Plus and Wileyfox Swift 2 Plus.

That wide angle design means you can fit a lot of BFFs into the frame at once, with a beauty mode on standby if you’re all looking a bit rough. There’s a ‘flash’ of sorts too, similar to the flash mode on the Galaxy S7 and other handsets. This basically beams a bright white image from the screen, which quite effectively illuminates your face when you’re in the dark.

Check out our full P8 Lite 2017 review, coming soon.

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