After hearing that Huawei would manufacture the new Nexus 6 several months ago I decided that I had to get my hands on something they had created. The P8 Lite was obvious because of the price point. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to Unbox this device and give my initial impressions. I have had a few weeks to use the phone now so I would like to share some more fleshed out opinions with you here.
For such an affordable price this phone really feels premium when compared to other Chinese smartphones! The sides of the phone could easily be mistaken for metal. The display is covered with Gorilla Glass 3 which is pretty sweet for a phone at this price point. The back of the phone is plastic but has a brushed metal finish which looks really classy. The phone is less than 1 millimeter thicker than the Galaxy S6! The Power button is slightly above center on the right side (perfect placement for right thumb) and the volume rocker is just above that. Buttons are nice and tacky. They aren’t like the cheap inset buttons covered by the backplate like you will find on many cheap Chinese handsets. The 3.5mm headphone jack rests on the top of the phone (i actually prefer it on the bottom since i normally slide my phone in my pocket bottom up). Sim and card slots can also be found on the right side of the device under the power button. The speaker grills are placed on either side of the micro usb 2.0 charge port. These speakers actually get pretty loud and do sound good. Of course the camera is on the back and is placed in the top left corner. There is no camera bump! The phone is super light! It is 12 grams lighter than the Iphone 6s.
The Huawei is rocking a 5″ 720p IPS LCD display. IPS displays like the one on the Huawei P8 Lite don’t get as bright as their AMOLED counterparts. When compared to a phone like the Galaxy S6 the screen only reaches about half brightness. The screen is plenty bright for indoors, unless you really love retina burning displays! The 720p display is not very sharp when you are coming from a 2k display like the Galaxy S6. If you are used to 720p displays you may not see a difference. The big difference I noticed was with the way the Huawei P8 Lite displays smaller icons like icons in a folder. They are super pixelated and look almost 8 bitish! Larger icons, pictures, and videos look plenty sharp. My P8 lite had a yellow tint which was kind of annoying. I guess that is something you could get used to. Viewing angles suffered a bit, but who looks at their phone from an angle? While not overly impressive overall at the price point this screen should be fine for everyday use.
With cheaper phones you can’t really expect much in the way of a camera, however this phone has plenty of extra features to help you make the most of the camera you do have. The 13mp camera shoots in 1080p at 30fps. Shooting modes include a full HDR mode, best photo mode which takes several shots and chooses the best photo (you can swipe through to be sure it actually is the best photo). This is great for catching the perfect shot without your kid blinking in the middle of the shot! There is an “All focus” mode which allows you to change the focus area of the shot after it is taken. This mode works really well, and is one of my favorite camera features. You have the standard Panorama mode that is found in stock android. The water mark feature adds a watermark of your current location/date/time, and the audio note feature allows you to capture sound with your image. There are also some pro settings like ISO and White balance. This is a pretty well rounded out camera app. Actual photo quality was good, but not the best i’ve ever seen. Photos were not super sharp (this is very apparent when you zoom in on your shots after taking them), but colors seemed pretty accurate maybe a bit oversaturated. There was very little noise in my indoor shots. The tap to focus feature was pretty quick, shutter speed was snappy but not instant. Once again for the price the camera is a good camera.
The 2200 mah battery lasted me all day with light use. I was able to get 8 hours with moderate use. Where this phone really shined was in its standby. Each day on standby the phone only dropped 5-10% battery. It was able to go more than a week without a charge on standby. The P8 Lite doesn’t come with any kind of fast charging and was able to fully charge in about 4.5 hours. This could be the Achilles heel of the device especially if you are used to fast charging.
The P8 Lite sports a modern 64bit Hisilicon Kirin 620 Octa-core processor clocked at 1.2Ghz and 2GB of Ram. Swiping from screen to screen on the home screen was quick and snappy. Hight intensity games saw zero lag, and while the processor did get a bit warm it never seemed to overheat, and certainly never shut down due to heat. Overall the phone was a pleasure to use.
The P8 Lite comes with its own skin laid over Android 5.0. The EMUI 3.0 skin is pretty much bloat free. It includes a few extra useful features such as Phone Manager, Theme chooser, file explorer, Backup app, and FM Radio. Some useless extra apps include a mirror app, magnifier, and wps office. The lockscreen features quick camera access, and a swipe up gives you access to some quick shortcuts including voice recorder, calculator, flashlight, and quick access to a “share” option, and music controls. Swiping the nav bar gives you access to notifications, swiping your notification panel to the left brings up your quick toggles, and auto brightness. There is no app drawer! You can create your own app drawer by filling up a folder with apps. Each page in a folder holds 12 apps, and you can add many pages. You can then add that app folder to your hot launch app bar.
This phone is priced at $250. The main problems I have here is that while we have a plastic back it is non removable meaning you won’t be able to swap batteries. The skin overlay is not my favorite and I would prefer even touchwiz over this. It is nice however that there is very little bloat. I really liked the speakers, sdcard slot, battery life, fm radio, and camera app. The actual screen and camera where just ok. This is a solid buy for someone new to smartphones or someone on a budget. It performs well and doesn’t look or feel cheap!