Huawei P8 Lite Review – A Decent Phone On A Budget, But Not The Best You Can Get

Android is the fastest growing mobile platform in the world and that has no sign of slowing down. The main reason for that however is the abundance of budget phones available. There’s an Android option to fit every budget. However the value for your money isn’t the same on every budget Android smartphone. Chinese OEM Huawei wants to take their own shot in the budget sector here in the US with the Huawei P8 Lite. The phone has quite a bit to offer, but it suffers in some key areas.

Specs

  • 5″ inch 1280×720 IPS Display
  • 1.5GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 615 processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 16GB storage (microSD expandable)
  • Android 4.4 KitKat
  • 13MP Rear Camera
  • 5MP Front Camera
  • 2,200 mAh Battery

Hardware

When it comes to hardware, I didn’t expect much from the Huawei P8 Lite. Considering it’s a budget device, I expect plastic, and that’s exactly what I got. However I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the P8 Lite’s hardware. It feels great in the hand with a surprising amount of grip and the design is pleasing to the eye. The back of the device also seems fairy durable as far as everyday usage goes.

The ridged back on the P8 Lite provides a nice feel in the hand and a great amount of grip.

The ridged back on the P8 Lite provides a nice feel in the hand and a great amount of grip.

Overall the design of the Huawei P8 Lite isn’t exactly impressive, but it works very well for me. It looks pretty good (although I prefer the looks of the black model rather than the white) and it’s very functional. I can’t really complain when it comes to the hardware on the P8 Lite.



Software & Performance

As far as software goes, I was a bit disappointed in the P8 Lite. Rather than taking the logical route of installing the latest version of Android out of the box, the Huawei P8 Lite runs a heavily skinned version of Android 4.4 KitKat. Just like many other Chinese OEMs, the P8 Lite takes the iOS approach to app organization by dumping everything onto the home screen and lacking an app drawer. I didn’t find myself too annoyed by this, but if you would prefer having an app drawer, you can simply download another launcher from Google Play.

The software on the P8 Lite isn't exactly a highlight, but it's not unbearable.

The software on the P8 Lite isn’t exactly a highlight, but it’s not unbearable.

The software itself is fairly easy to navigate and the entire OS runs fairly well on the lower specifications of the P8 Lite. There are a couple neat features built in such as some very extensive quick settings toggles and an interesting task switching option. If you hold down the recent apps button the phone will automatically switch back to the last app open. I found that quite useful. There are also several other features such as customizable navigation keys and even a theme store.

Gaming on the P8 Lite is fairly decent. Most casual games should run like a breeze on this device and more graphically intense games should run without issues. I mostly tried casual games and they all played well for me. You’ll likely find more lag in the OS than you will while playing games, and that’s saying something since there’s not much lag in the OS.

Dual-SIM

One of the most interesting things about the Huawei P8 Lite is that it’s capable of using two SIM cards, something we don’t see very often on US phones. This means you could use two GSM networks (for example, T-Mobile and AT&T) on the same device. You can’t use them both at the same time, but you can select which one is used at which time. This would be useful if you are in an area with spotty coverage as you would have double the chances of having a good signal.

The Huawei P8 Lite is capable of using two GSM SIM cards at once.

The Huawei P8 Lite is capable of using two GSM SIM cards at once.

Camera

As for the camera, the Huawei P8 Lite packs a 13MP rear camera made by Sony which is, well, decent. It’s not the best I’ve ever tried, but for a budget phone it’s not bad.

The camera software is very simple and easy to use.

The camera software is very simple and easy to use.

 

Outdoor/well-lit shots are pretty good, but taking away light makes shots far less enjoyable. The camera app itself isn’t anything to write home about either. It works well and has a few features, but it’s nothing you’ve never seen before.

Display

As for the display, the Huawei P8 Lite has a 5″ inch 720p IPS display. All things considered, the display is pretty solid. It’s not super sharp like a 1080p or Quad HD panel, but it’s definitely satisfying for everyday use. The screen leans towards warmer colors which gives everything on the screen a bit of a pop. The one main issue with the display is the brightness. Indoor use is going to require at least 70% brightness, and outdoor use is always going to require 100%, but that’s still not enough. Otherwise however, the display isn’t horrible, but it’s definitely not the best.

The display on the P8 Lite is pretty decent, but outdoor use isn't always very good.

The display on the P8 Lite is pretty decent, but outdoor use isn’t always very good.

Battery Life

Battery life on budget phones is rarely any good, and considering the size of the 2,200 mAh battery inside the P8 Lite, I didn’t expect much. However I was quite impressed with what I actually got. The phone easily got me through a day, even with higher than moderate use. I wouldn’t call this phone a road warrior like it’s older brother, the Ascend Mate 2, but it will get you through a day without needing to rush to a charger when you get home.

Final Thoughts

The Huawei P8 Lite is one of the most recent releases from Huawei for the US market, and it’s a pretty decent phone, especially for the price. At just $249 the Huawei P8 Lite is a pretty decent deal, but it’s definitely not the best you can get for that money. Why should you buy it? The main reasons I would recommend this phone is that is has Dual SIM capability, and it has pretty good battery life.

You can get the P8 Lite on Amazon now for $249 and it’s also available in markets outside of the US through local outlets.