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Honor 10 Lite Smartphone Review

The Honor 10 Lite is the latest reasonably priced smartphone from Honor with good looks, decent camera specs and funky features. Plus, it has a tiny front notch giving users an even bigger screen at an even better price.


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IMG 2636 | 1/120 sec | f/1.8 | 4.0 mm | ISO 40
 

Quick Verdict

The Honor 10 Lite is an eye-catching smartphone with great design and some great features. Plus, those looking for the best screen-to-body ratio will be happy to see smaller bezels, no chin, and a tiny top notch. As a device for photography, it's not the best we've ever tested but it's not terrible. You may want to switch off the AI mode as even though it sounds like a useful tool, it has a habit of over saturating (and in some cases sharpening) photos. There were some issues with wide dynamic range and clipping when using the aperture/portrait modes, too, but overall images were good (when light levels allowed). 

So, what are our final thoughts on the Honor 10 Lite? Well, if you're on a budget and don't really want to stretch for the more premium smartphones available, the Honor 10 Lite is a good option but do have a look at the Honor 10 first to see if you can stretch to it. 

+ Pros

  • Design
  • Display is excellent
  • Decent photo quality (in the right light)
  • Good battery

- Cons

  • AI mode can over saturate images 
  • Wide dynamic range can be tricky for the camera 
  • Clipping issues with the depth sensor
  • microUSB

 

If you've not noticed, we seem to be in a bit of a race with smartphones with manufacturers competing to add the biggest screens, most megapixels and in some cases, the most cameras. Leading the way with screen-to-body-ratio (for the moment) seems to be Honor, the budget branch of the powerhouse that is Huawei, as they've just released the Honor 10 Lite with a dewdrop top notch that means the screen-to-body ratio of the new device stretches beyond 90%.

It's a big step forward for budget smartphones and will more than likely be a feature we see on more devices released in 2019 and beyond. 

As well as a new tiny top notch, Honor has updated some of its AI features, including a better low light photography mode, and it shares some camera features with the previously released Honor 10 which we reviewed last summer. 


The Honor 10 Lite will be available for £199.99 in Sky Blue, Sapphire Blue and Midnight Black from today.

 

Honor 10 Lite Features

Honor Lite Notch | 1/25 sec | f/3.5 | 14.0 mm | ISO 800
 

You can't deny that Honor and Huawei make an eye-catching smartphone and the Honor 10 Lite continues this legacy with its rounded corners and almost bezel-less design. The Honor 10 Lite also has a very small chin (4.7mm) at the bottom of the device which keeps a compact body size usually seen on smartphones with a 5.2-inch display (the Honor 10 Lite features a 6.21-inch display). The colours available are lovely, too, with some of the options featuring a gradient effect created from 8 layers of shimmering material. Although, most will pop a case on the smartphone to protect it so the design will be hidden from sight. Talking of cases, Honor do supply a transparent silicone case so you can see the back of the smartphone through it but you will probably want to upgrade it to a stronger case at some point. 

As well as a new tiny top notch, Honor has introduced an upgraded beauty algorithm, 3D portrait lighting (as we've seen on iPhones for a while now) and an AI-assisted image stabilisation for better low light photography. 

On the front, in the small top notch, is a 24MP f/2.0 selfie camera and on the back is a 13MP f/1.8 + 2MP f/2.4 rear camera so users will be able to add bokeh to portraits. The AI-powered 24MP camera found in the Honor 10 Lite recognises 8 real-time scenarios and the AI-powered algorithm can identify different environments instantly. Honor also promises better low light performance thanks to the '4-in-1 light fusion technology' and the built-in night mode (similar to those seen on more expensive smartphones) should mean we can capture hand-held shots, in low light, with up to 6-second exposure lengths - impressive. 

Honor 10 Lite Key Features: 

  • Dewdrop top-notch - bigger screen-to-body ratio
  • 6.21-inch display (2340x1080p)
  • Over 90% screen-to-body ratio
  • Huawei Kirin 710/F, octa-core
  • RAM: 3/4/6GB
  • ROM: 32GB/64GB
  • EMUI 9.0
  • 19.5:9 bezel-less design
  • 24MP f/2.0 AI front camera 
  • 13MP f/1.8 + 2MP f/2.4 rear camera
  • AIS AI-powered IS
  • AI Portrait mode 
  • 3400mAh battery
  • 3.5mm headphone jack 
  • microSD slot 
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Size: 154.8mm x 73.64mm x 7.95mm
  • Weight: 162g

 

Honor 10 Lite Handling

IMG 2646 | 1/120 sec | f/1.8 | 4.0 mm | ISO 50
 

Honor smartphones never disappoint in terms of build quality and the Honor 10 Lite feels great in the hand. It's solid, doesn't slip and is comfortable to hold. This is partly down to the, almost bezel-less design and curved edges that also make the device look ultra modern and more expensive than it is. 

The Honor 10 Lite is constructed from plastic sides/back and even though a glass/metal combo is considered to be more premium, plastic is less likely to break if the smartphone is dropped and it makes the smartphone lighter, too. Plastic is prone to scratching, though, so be careful. 

As mentioned, the Honor 10 Lite features a dewdrop notch at the top of the screen rather than a small rectangle or even a band that stretches across the top of the device. This means the 6.21-inch FullView HD screen pushes the bezel-less screen-to-body ratio beyond 90% to 19.5:9 and when you sit it alongside an older smartphone, you can really see what a difference it makes to the user's viewing experience. 

The Honor 10 Lite has a 24MP selfie camera (like the Honor 10) with an f/2.0 aperture and built-in AI that recognises over 200 scenarios across 8 categories. These scenarios include Blue Sky, Greenery, Flowers, Beach, Stage performance, Night, Indoor and Snowscape. It's a useful feature, with potential, but as you'll find out in the performance section, results aren't always the best. There's also a HDR Pro Mode which makes adjustments according to what it 'sees'. 

Honor promises better low light selfies thanks to the built-in 4-in-1 light fusion technology, which as Honor says: "enables more light to be captured under low light conditions due to four adjacent pixels intelligently connecting to create one large 1.8 μm pixel."

Those who often take selfies will be happy to hear the beauty algorithm has been updated and users can select from Soft Lighting, Butterfly Lighting, Split Lighting, Stage Lighting and Classic Lighting when capturing portraits of friends/family. 

 

IMG 2649 | 1/40 sec | f/1.8 | 4.0 mm | ISO 25
 

 

As for the rear camera, this is an AI 13MP f/1.8 & 2MP f/2.4 (depth) dual-lens camera (not as many MPs as the Honor 10) so you can shoot bokeh-filled portraits as well as decent night shots thanks to the AI Image Stabilisation that's built in. Like the front camera, the rear camera also automatically recognises over 500 scenes in 20 categories should you need assistance. 

The rear camera is positioned towards the top corner on the rear of the device well away from the fingerprint sensor so you won't accidentally mark the lenses with fingerprints when trying to unlock the smartphone. Actually, the fingerprint sensor is really easy to find and is positioned so your index finger falls straight onto it without you having to move your hand or search for it. 

On the sides of the device are the usual volume and lock controls and to the bottom is a 3.5mm headphone jack port (bonus), speaker and a MicroUSB charging port (not USB-C as we more commonly see on more expensive smartphones). There's also a MicroSD slot which means the smartphone's memory can be expanded (an improvement on the Honor 10). 

The 6.21-inch 2340x1080p FHD display is bright and easily viewable outside (it's also bigger than the one built into the Honor 10). Although, you might want to stick with the normal viewing mode when taking/viewing images as the Vivid option is a bit too vivid, over saturating colours.

Those who have used Honor smartphones before will have no problems navigating the camera app as it hasn't changed. There are photo as well as video modes, a Pro option (Apple, are you listening?), Portrait mode, Aperture Mode and various other creative options built in. The shutter button is bottom-centre, you can flip to the front camera by clicking the button to the right of this and to the left is where you get quick access to the gallery. 

 

IMG 2641 | 1/120 sec | f/1.8 | 4.0 mm | ISO 50
 

The Honor 10 Lite is powered by EMUI 9.0 and Android 9 Pie (the Honor 10 hasn't had an update to Android Pie as of yet) and 32/64GB versions of the smartphone are available with either 3,4 or 6GB of RAM.

As for video, this can be captured in 1080p (full HD) or 720p (HD) with beautification effects available when shooting in 720p. 

Battery life - The battery is rated at 3400mAh which is the same as the Honor 10 and there are a number of ways you can extend the battery performance, too. As with all smartphones, the battery can't be removed so you'll need to take the MicroUSB charging cable with you if you think you'll need more power. 

 


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