Whether it's first-class design, the water drop notch or the right peripherals, it's a phone that looks cool. However, the camera's performance and the battery life leaves you disappointed.
- Fantastic design
- Excellent ergonomics
- Display looks great
- Very good network performance
- Poor camera
- Outdoor visibility
- Fingerprint and scratch magnet
The middle segment of the budget is difficult to compete with. Although Xiaomi is the boss, Honor, and Realme have played hard and fast to narrow the gap. Honor’s first Honor 10 Lite phone in 2019 combines outstanding aesthetics with mid-range specifications. Add a competitive price and you’re looking for a great option for budget seekers with a smartphone. Is it good? We’ll try to find out in our complete Honor 10 Lite Review.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Design
There is no doubt that the Honor 10 Lite is a beautiful phone. Honor’s essential device, it builds on the Honor 8X’s design language and meets all expectations for 2019 design trends. The first thing you notice when you pick up the phone is its brilliant back. Color gradients change as you move the phone and look incredibly bright in the right light. Suffice it to say that the phone looks much better than competing devices such as the Redmi Note 6.
The company opted for an all-plastic model, similar to the Honor 9 Lite. The use of plastic can make the phone more resistant to falling, but the back is a magnet for scratches and wear. You will have trouble keeping it clean. Honor bundles in a simple TPU case and we advise you to use it. The ergonomics on the Honor 10 Lite is decent. Despite a large 6.2-inch screen, the 19.5: 9 aspect ratio leaves a long way to hold the phone easier.
The longest screen fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and relies on the rear-mounted fingerprint reader. The volume and power buttons are easy to use. Speaking of buttons, placed on the right, the volume button and the on/off button both have a sufficient click and a reassuring return. This does not mean that the material is perfect. The choice of a micro USB charging port is disconcerting. When we talked about it during our briefing with Honor, the company said it did not want to alienate existing users who had invested in micro USB cables.
We believe that USB-C cables are sufficiently obvious and cheap enough for the company to encourage users to migrate. But hey, at least the phone is equipped with a headphone jack! At the bottom, the phone has a single bottom speaker that sounds loud enough. The sound quality of the speaker is not particularly good and sounds very high when you turn it out loud. If you use the speaker while you play, your hand probably covers the speaker and mutes the sound.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Display
The Honor 10 Lite achieves a screen/body ratio of over 90% using an LTPS LCD. Thanks to the on-screen chip technology, Honor was able to move most of the display driver’s silicon behind the screen and has a leaner chin. Add to that a water drop notch and you look at a phone that places the screen in the front, right and middle. The Full HD+ resolution panel is a key to the course and seems clear. YouTube’s high-quality content looks nice, although you can not stream Netflix Full HD videos because the phone does not support Widevine L1.
Honor tends to use screens that evolve towards a supersaturation. On the Honor 10 Lite, this is usually the case with the standard Vivid mode. Color matching in bright mode has a pronounced distortion towards cooler temperatures, resulting in a brilliant blue hue. Switching to normal color mode solves this problem. The built-in display customization tool is quite robust and allows you to make granular changes in the direction of warmer or cooler shades. Although we do not have definitive figures on the brightness of the screen, it was clear enough for indoor use. Outdoor visibility may be affected and lost due to the reflection of the screen.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Software
Like many other Chinese smartphones, EMUI 9.0.1 on Honor 10 Lite is inspired by IOS for its overall design. The shell software is built on Android Pie and does not use a default application drawer. However, you can access the settings to switch to an application-based interface. Once you have achieved the slight stickiness of the hidden icons, the interface and the overall implementation are not so bad. Honor did a great job applying functions such as gestures when navigating the interface.
You will find some good pre-installed apps on the phone including Honor Club, Honor Care, Health, Huawei Apps Gallery, Themes, Phone Manager, Compass, Phone Clone, party mode, and driving mode. There is even an application to switch between emergency services. Most of them can not be removed. Then there are the obvious features of Domino, such as Digital Balance, which copies the social protection feature built into Android 9.0. Or how about HiTouch which allows you to identify objects in an image and buy them via Flipkart.
In addition, the phone supports face recognition to unlock your device. It worked reasonably well, even in poor light conditions, and was usually faster than standard fingerprint-based unlocking.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Hardware
Earlier in this Honor 10 Lite review, we explained how the phone relies on Honor 8X hardware. The phone uses exactly the same chipset and the performance does not go too far.
The Kirin 710 SoC is a mid-range processor offering a combination of four Cortex A73 cores and four A53 Cortex cores running at 2.2 GHz and 1.7 GHz, respectively, arranged in a big.LITTLE configuration. This is related to 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM, depending on the variant chosen. The storage on both variants is 64 GB, which is perfect for a smartphone of the central segment. You can further develop this via the microSD slot.
Although the phone has two SIM options, it uses a hybrid SIM card slot. This means that you can insert dual nano-SIM cards or lock to expand storage via micro SD. The phone supports the VoLTE protocol on both slots. There are also other interesting additions, such as the ability to share a WiFi connection via a local access point. This can be useful if you are in a hotel or conference and have access to only one device. You can connect your laptop or other devices over the phone by sharing the WiFi network through an access point.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Performance
Day-to-day performance is good, but no one would confuse the Honor 10 Lite with a powerful gaming device. From time to time, the phone stuttered or lost an image while navigating the interface. However, it’s not that bad, and for the most part, the phone stays very fast when you switch from one application to another. The multitasking performance is not very good and the phone is usually very aggressive when it comes to memory management. We often had to restart a game of minutes after jumping from one application to another. This is not what you expect from a phone with 6 GB of RAM.
The Kirin 710 chipset used by the Honor 10 Lite is more powerful than the Snapdragon 660, which is often seen on Xiaomi phones but has very little graphics performance. Despite the GPU Turbo, a low-level graphics processing framework that solves framerates, the game was not a thing to write. In PUBG mode, the phone could not maintain a resolution of 30 frames per second with the graphics settings on the media and we observed a texture appearing during playback.
Speaking of network performance, I live in an area where network coverage is very low, but the Honor 10 Lite has simply managed to connect and, more importantly, stick to the Airtel network. Telephone conversations about the listener seemed very strong and I rarely encountered conversations. If you’re looking for a smartphone that does calling perfectly, the Honor 10 Lite should be prominently on your list.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Camera
In recent years, dual camera modules have become standard in product categories and the Honor 10 Lite is no exception. First, moving to a vertical camera orientation is a minor but refreshing change in design. The rear camera module has a 13 MP sensor associated with a 2 MP depth detection module. The 13 megapixels can take very detailed pictures as long as the ambient light is sufficient. Built-in AI mode tends to oversaturate colors, which is good if you want to edit your photos before uploading them. You will probably want to keep it if you are looking for authentic looking colors.
The camera does not go well in very bright situations and tends to turn off the highlights. AI mode can activate the HDR when it feels it, but there is no direct switch to activate it. You will need to scroll all the way to a separate tab to enable HDR mode. The portrait mode of the Honor 10 Lite is strictly average and works poorly to identify contours. There are some built-in options for studio effects, but they do not compensate for poor image quality. The function appears as a gadget and we do not really recommend using it.
In low light imaging, most phones falter at the entrance. Unfortunately, the Honor 10 Lite does it too badly. The Camera app adds excessive noise reduction to the image, giving the final photo an almost blurry appearance. The resulting images are generally unusable. Go into special night mode and things get a little better. The night mode uses a 4-second exposure with electronic stabilization to improve the exposure and detail levels of the image. The resulting images are usually clearer and crisp, which makes them look good on the phone screen. However, zoom in on the image and you will see an almost watercolor effect that attenuates the finer details.
The front camera of the Honor 10 Lite uses a 24-megapixel sensor. The idea here is to use pixel binning to improve the quality of the image. Even with all the beauty modes turned off, the photos were usually a little soft. The portrait mode with the front camera has worked very poorly when detecting contours and we really can not recommend using it. Unfortunately, the front camera is in portrait mode every time you turn it on. The video recordings on the Honor 10 Lite reach a maximum of 1080p at 60 frames per second, although a wider aspect ratio of 18.9:9 is available. There is no stabilization at all, electronic or optical, which makes the movements of the camera very clear in the visual documents.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Battery Life
The Honor 10 Lite has a 3,400mAh battery that may seem disappointing to many users. The phone competes in a category where 4,000 or even 5,000 mAh is the norm and no way to optimize software can compensate for much larger cells. During the evaluation, the phone delivered an average of 6 hours of screen time. The usage model consisted of a mix of video viewing, social media, and a few phone calls. The game takes a decent bite of the battery with a 20-minute PUBG session that sinks to nearly 10%. It takes a whole day and then, depending on your use, but greedy players will probably be disappointed.
Honor 10 Lite Review – Conclusion
The Honor 10 Lite, one of the first smartphones to be launched in 2019, offers the most features that interest everyone. Whether it’s first-class design, the water drop notch or the right peripherals, it’s a phone that looks cool. However, the camera’s performance leaves you disappointed and while Xiaomi prepares to take action with the Redmi Note 7 camera with 48 MP camera, Honor will certainly feel the heat. The 3400 mAh battery is also not the best in the segment.
The phone does not have much more than looking for it. Realme and Redmi are expected to launch aggressive competitors, so potential buyers should have many options in the coming months.
That’s it for our Honor 10 Lite review. Do you like this smartphone? Let us know in the comments section below.