A lower price comes with cost-cutting and compromises are due. The P20 Lite is indeed quite a slimmed-down version of the flagship models but it perfectly fits the mid-range segment.
The build quality hasn’t suffered as the body still incorporates premium materials like aluminum for the frame but the jury is still out on whether the back is made of plastic or glass. It definitely feels solid in the hand, nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the edges where the front and back panels meet the aluminum frame form slightly sharp lines that make it a bit uncomfortable to hold, especially when you try to reach the other side of the screen with your thumb.
Luckily, the 3.5 mm audio jack is still here, which is a feature the standard P20 and P20 Pro don’t have. And while we are on the subject of missing features, the P20 Lite surprises with microSD card support while the more expensive phones lack this as well. They compensate, of course, with 128GB internal storage.
As far as the screen is concerned, the P20 Lite sports a 5.84-inch standard IPS LCD panel with a notch, which is housing the front snapper and earpiece – similarly to the P20. So if AMOLED is your thing, the P20 Pro is the only version from the P20 family that has it.
With a resolution of 1080 x 2280px, the screen sharpness isn’t an issue and in fact, has a tad higher pixel density than its more powerful siblings.
The camera setup and the chipset have suffered the most from the price cut. While the P20 and P20 Pro boast Huawei’s top-tier HiSilicon Kirin 970 SoCs, the P20 Lite settles for the mid-range Kirin 659, which is a last year’s release. This means that it goes against Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 630 found in the Motorola Moto G6 Plus, for example, but loses the race when it comes to efficiency and overall processing and graphics power. Still, in regular day to day usage, it should be fine.
And as for the camera setup, it uses a 16MP sensor on the back with f/2.2 aperture coupled with the secondary 2MP camera, which is used for depth information. The camera is only capable of recording 1080p@30fps videos. Obviously, there is nothing fancy like Leica optics or optical zoom available here, unlike the flagships.
Lastly, the front camera has a 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture (yes, a wider opening than the main one) but still delivers 1080p video recording.
The battery on this thing is rated at 3,000 mAh and it’s the smallest of the bunch. We hope it will deliver decent runtimes despite the small capacity. We will also know for sure how the device performs in real-life usage in our upcoming full review.