- Sleek design
- Great performance
- Feature-packed friendly UX
- Dependable camera
- No Type-C USB
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Huawei’s first affordable phone of the year is a revamped version of the P8 Lite, and for just £185 in the UK it’s a seriously strong rival to similar budget blowers. Here’s our full Huawei P8 Lite 2017 review.
We’re only two months into 2017 and already Huawei has launched two very good budget mobiles. The Chinese giant started the year strong with the Honor 6X, a solid 5.5-inch phone boasting a dual-lens rear camera for just over £200. And if that’s not enough for you, have a bit of the Huawei P8 Lite 2017.
This 5.2-inch phone costs under £200, making it even cheaper than the Honor 6X, yet still crams in some solid specs. You get a Full HD screen, the latest version of Android and loads of bonus Huawei features, giving impressive value for money.
Here’s everything you need to know after I used the P8 Lite 2017 as my full-time handset for several days.
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Design
These days more and more phones are launching with a sexy glass finish, something popularised by the likes of the Samsung Galaxy flagship handsets. Huawei dipped its toe in the glossy waters with the Honor 8 and now the P8 Lite 2017 continues what could be an aesthetically pleasing trend.
The P8 Lite’s matt edging gives way to a shiny glass back which looks cool (in our eyes at least) and stands out from the rest of the plastic and metal crowd. Sure, it does pick up greasy prints and marks when handled, but not to the extent of other phones like the HTC U Play. Besides, it’s nothing a quick spit and polish won’t sort.
At 5.2-inches the P8 Lite 2017 is quite easy to handle with a single hand. You’ll most likely struggle to stretch your thumb up to the top of the screen, but thankfully Huawei’s Emotion UI offers ways around this (see the features and OS section for more info).
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Screen and media
At the £200 price point you can’t pick up too many Full HD phones just yet, with the Moto G4 Plus and Lenovo P2 being two of your only options in the UK. Now you can add the P8 Lite 2017 to that (short) list. And it’s cheaper than both of them.
The P8 Lite 2017’s 5.2-inch screen boasts a 1920x1080 resolution, so visuals are gorgeously crisp. Great news if you enjoy catching up on shows and movies on the go. Colours are reasonably punchy, breathing life into photos and the rest. And if you pump up the brightness levels, you’ll easily be able to see through the most irritating of glare.
Huawei has also added an ‘eye comfort’ mode, which filters out blue light for an easy-on-the-eye viewing experience. This is best used at night, so the screen seems less harsh when turned on. You can manually activate eye comfort at any time, or - more usefully - have it automatically switch on at a set time.
Got a big media collection? No worries, the not-very-spacious 16GB of internal storage can be boosted with a microSD memory card, giving up to 256GB more space.
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Features and OS
We’re pleased to see the latest version of Android packed into the P8 Lite 2017, so we don’t have to hang around ages for all those lovely Google updates. And to sweeten the deal even more, you get the latest version of Huawei’s own Emotion UI, EMUI 5.0.
We’ve already covered what makes Huawei’s Emotion UI so great in our full EMUI 5.0 review, so go check that out if you want to know everything about this feature-packed overlay. If you can’t be bothered with that, all you need to know is that EMUI adds some bonus customisation and resource management tools to Android.
For instance, Huawei has added some one-handed functions, including the ability to shrink the screen or pull down the notifications bar with a new toolbar button. You can easily check how much memory is being used by your apps, as well as keep tabs on battery hogs. And you can even change up the screen transitions and activate gesture support, if that’s your bag.
On the back of the P8 Lite 2017 you’ll find a circular fingerprint sensor, sunk into the middle of the plate. When you pick up the phone you’ll find your index pinkie lands right on that sensor, so you can tap and unlock in no time at all. It’s impressively fast to recognise and act, rarely throwing up an error message.
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Performance and battery life
The P8 Lite 2017 packs the same Kirin 655 processor as the Honor 6X, as well as 3GB of RAM. And as with the Honor 6X, everyday performance is pretty smooth for a budget device.
We had no problem playing reasonably demanding action titles with a solid frame rate, while apps loaded with very little lag. It’s rare to see a stutter or any other irritations, and you can happily edit photos or stream HD footage just fine.
For the more tech-savvy of our readers, the P8 Lite 2017 spat out an AnTuTu score of 57k - a serious step up from the Moto G4 Plus’ 45k, although not quite as strong as the Lenovo P2’s 63k result.
Battery life is another strong point. We managed close to two days of use per charge, even with some quite demanding use. That includes a couple of calls, lots of messaging, the odd bit of video streaming and so on.
Sadly the charging port is USB 2.0, not Type C, so you don’t get the super-fast data transfer or reversible cable head. Still, it’s a small quibble considering the value for money on offer.
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Cameras
The P8 Lite 2017 doesn’t have a funky dual-lens rear camera like the Honor 6X, but we really like the 12-megapixel snapper.
It’s a feature-dense mobile shooter with impressive flexibility, which can capture sharp photos in most conditions. And while it’s definitely not infallible, the P8 Lite 2017 will be more than good enough for those treasured family photos.
You can also shoot up to Full HD video footage, while the front-facing 8-megapixel camera is another solid snapper.
Check out our in-depth Huawei P8 Lite 2017 camera review for samples and more info.
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Video review
Want to see the Huawei P8 Lite 2017 in action? Check out our full video review below.
Huawei P8 Lite 2017 Review: Verdict
The Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is a great affordable smartphone that’ll suit even quite demanding users on a tight budget. For £185 you get a decent media machine, a dependable portable camera, smooth everyday performance and very respectable battery life. Huawei’s crafted a solid user experience in almost every area, wrapped in some slick hardware. For this price, what more could you ask for?
- Android Nougat + EMUI 5.0
- Kirin 655
- 16GB + microSD
- Fingerprint sensor