I used the Honor 10 lite for a couple of days. It is a lower mid-range phone from Honor that got a lot of praise internationally for its price and performance. This phone comes in at around 25K and I’ve some thoughts about it.
Design and build quality.
Let’s start with the design of Honor 10 lite. The back of the phone is made up of plastic that looks and feels like glass to me. It has this gradient color scheme. In our model, the blue at the bottom goes on to meet the hazy silver at the top. This color is called Sapphire Blue. There are other colors available and they are called Midnight Black, Sky Blue, White, and Red. The gradient design looks cool but by now we’ve seen so many phones with this design that it doesn’t surprise us anymore. However, I will say that Honor’s minimal approach (clean camera cutouts, sidelined Honor logo) is very appealing.
The build quality of this phone is top notch. This glass back curves to meet the plastic sides which themselves follow a parabolic path to meet the screen at the front. This makes the phone feel sturdy in the hand. It also makes it feel thinner than it actually is. And though the sides are made up of plastic, they didn’t feel cheap at all. Also, while we are talking about design, I would like to complement Honor on their button placement. The power button is right where my thumb rests, the volume button are just above. The fingerprint sensor is also at the right height. Not many company know how to do that nowadays (*scoff* Samsung *scoff*).
At the front, the bezels are minimal at the sides and the chin at the bottom is small. There’s a waterdrop notch at the top. Again, these are good design choices but nothing extraordinary. Though I will praise Honor for keeping the chin so small, other budget phones tend to leave this big.
Now, as we are talking about the front portion of the device, let’s talk about the screen. This is a 6.something inch 19.5:9 aspect ratio FHD+ LCD display. So, the colors aren’t as punchy as on the AMOLED display. Neither does the display get bright enough. You can figure out the texts and images in your screen when you look at it head on in bright sunlight but the smudges from your fingers are so prominent on the screen that they will make you want to find a shade. The overall quality of the display isn’t that great either. I noticed some graininess when watching 1080p videos. I don’t know if it’s the panel or the videos themselves but it was prominent in more than one video.
But, for the price, Honor’s screen is fine. If you haven’t used an AMOLED screen before, you won’t notice a thing here.
You can power up the device using the power button, and unlock it the old way: using the pin. Or, you can use faceID which is surprisingly fast and accurate on a device at this price. Or, you can use the fingerprint sensor at the back which is as accurate as a fingerprint sensor can get. This unlocks the phone near instantaneously. Biometric unlocking methods have been a joy to use in this Honor phone.
Once you power up the screen, you are greeted with a normal EMUI layout. There is no app drawer, it’s an iOS style homepage where you swipe left to see all your apps. These are not what the stock icons look like. This is a theme that I picked up from Huawei’s theme store.
Navigating through the UI was fast and fluid throughout the time that I used this phone. The animations are simple, subtle, and fast. (open some apps and press the home button to show the opening and closing animations) (also pull down from the home screen to show the finder animation) They don’t irritate you.
Performance (and speakers)
Apps like Instagram and Facebook run with no complaints. YouTube runs fine too except for that grainy display issue that I talked about earlier. The sound is fired sidewards by this mono speaker at the bottom of the device. It gets loud but it starts to sound distorted after 80%. And 80% is still loud enough for watching YouTube. However, I’ve heard better speakers; especially on Xiaomi phones.
I played two games on this phone. The first one was Alto’s odyssey. Here, the visuals looked stunning and the display showed no signs of graininess. The game ran smoothly, but I did notice some skipped frames – 3 times in 10 minutes. But this was not an annoying stutter or a lag and so it didn’t distract me while playing this game.
Next was PUBG. And I didn’t expect this game to run as good as it did on this phone. I didn’t notice a single lag or a stutter while playing the game in the settings that PUBG selected for me by default, i.e. medium graphics. I played a solo match for 45 min until chicken dinner and the phone only lost 10% battery. The phone performs better than I expected.
The battery life is good too. It lost 10% on 45 minutes of PUBG, and about 6% on half an hour of YouTube on WIfi. Those are not stellar results but this phone will last you a day of light to medium usage. Honor’s phone have aggressive battery management technique to stop your phone from guzzling the power from your battery.
The charging speed this phone supports is 10W. So, this phone will take more than an hour and a half to go from 0 to 100%. However, as the battery lasts you all day, you can always charge it overnight. This makes the slow charging speed less of a problem.
Now, let’s talk about the cameras. Honor 10 lite has a dual camera setup at the back. There’s a 13 MP, f/1.8 primary lens and a 2MP f/2.4 depth sensor. The 2MP camera is just for depth mapping to help you with things like portrait shots so the 13MP camera will be the one to capture your photos always.
The number one characteristics of Honor 10 lite’s cameras are punchy colors. The images look too vibrant and lively than they really are. And while it sometimes produces beautiful results like in this macro shot of an orange flower or this red one.
But this over-saturation can be comical and jarring. Take a look at this image of a bunch of flowers on a flower pot. The leaves on the flower on the left hand side almost look a flat shade of green. You can also see that the leaves above all look overly bright.
The camera isn’t that good at capturing dynamic range. For example, in this shot, take a look at the window on the bottom left hand side. It is all black and all the details are blown away.
However, I saw that the camera tries to compensate this weakness by bumping up the saturation of some subjects in the dark. For example, take a look at the scooter in the shade in this image. Its color looks so out of place.
There are some positive aspects of the camera though. The shutter speed is fast. It can capture a moving vehicle with no blur. This yellow van was probably moving at around 30-40 kph but this camera captured it perfectly.
Night time photography is what you’d expect from a phone at this price. This camera can produce some beautiful result in the evening like the one with this tower.
But when the sun goes below the horizon, the images are filled with noise and don’t look that good. The phone has a dedicated night mode built in. But you have to hold the phone steady for about 3-5 seconds to take a photo in this mode. So, if you don’t have a gimbal, you are more likely to get a blurry shot than a good one.
For example, look at the picture of these scooters side by side. The one that is shot with night mode looks brighter but is blurrier. So, you’ll be better off with the normal camera mode most of the time.
The selfie camera is fine. But I have one complaint about it. When you switch from the rear camera to the front camera, the camera software always takes you to the portrait selfie mode instead of a normal photo mode. And even when you choose the photo, the software doesn’t remember that and will take you to the portrait mode again next time.
One feature that you guys might want to know about is the beauty mode. It softens the skin tone and makes your skin look more even and shiny. But if you don’t like that feature, you can turn the beauty mode to 0 and you’ll be fine.
So, that was it about the Honor 10 lite. It is available in Nepal at Rs. 24,990. Overall, this is a very competent phone and there aren’t any major cons that I can point out with this phone at this price. If you love the design, you should buy this phone. However, the competition in 2019 is 10 times more intense than it was in 2018. IF this phone was released in 2018, it would have been at the top of our list of best phones to buy under 30K.
But now, there are phones like Galaxy A30 in the market. And that phone is giving you a 1080P super AMOLED display, larger RAM, a better performance, a better camera system, and a better battery at a price similar to the Honor 10 lite. So, I can say that Honor 10 lite is a phone worth buying but I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this phone to you because of the competition.