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Honor 10 Lite review: Save £31 on the SIM-free handset

Christopher Minasians Matt Breen
21 May 2019
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
200
inc VAT

In many ways a reincarnation of the impressive Honor 8X, with a fast processor and two rear-facing cameras

Pros 
Impressive performance
Stunning design
Fast rear-mounted fingerprint sensor
Cons 
Opts for microUSB over USB-C
Doesn’t match the Moto G6’s camera performance
Design attracts fingerprints
Revocation of Android licence means future is uncertain
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UPDATE: In light of the recent revocation of Huawei's Android licence, we recommend that you avoid purchasing an Honor handset at this time. As an offshoot of Huawei, the future of the company is just as uncertain as that of its parent. 

The original article continues below.

Honor has a history of releasing a multitude of phones, but little did I expect the Chinese manufacturer to release one this late on in the year. The firm’s latest phone, the Honor 10 Lite, was announced in December 2018. At a seemingly affordable price, the stylish design and the number of pixels housed in the front-camera make this budget phone a real contender.

Deal alert: Save £31 on the SIM-free Honor 10 Lite handset

Interested in picking up this phone but don't want to get saddled with a new contract? Right now, the price of the Honor 10 Lite SIM-free handset has dropped by 15% on Amazon. Not a vast discount, but this already-affordable phone is just that little bit more affordable at £169.
Amazon
Was £200
Now £169

READ NEXT: Honor 8X review: The fastest phone under £250

Honor 10 Lite review: What you need to know

The Honor 10 Lite is a budget smartphone that features a Full HD+ 6.21in display, dual rear-facing cameras, a 24-megapixel selfie camera, an octa-core Kirin 710 processor and an attractive design, which from afar, gives it flagship looks.

If you’re familiar with Honor’s other devices, think of the Honor 10 Lite as a smaller, prettier variant of the Honor 8X; a phone that houses a larger 6.5in Full HD+ display and a different set of cameras. Given how much we liked the 8X, that can’t be a bad thing.

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Honor 10 Lite review: Price and competition

The Honor 10 Lite costs £200. At this price, there’s a surprising amount of competition. The Honor 8X costs £230. Huawei’s Mate 20 Lite comes in at £329 and is worth considering, given it has a 6.3in Full HD+ display, the same Kirin 710 processor and a better set of front- and rear-facing cameras.

Looking down the line, there’s the Honor 7X at £180, which houses a lower specced processor, and the Honor 9 Lite that’s now just £130; the latter also has a slower processor, though, and has dual cameras on the front, not the rear.

Elsewhere, there’s Motorola’s selection of budget smartphones to consider: the Moto G6 Play at £135 and the Moto G6 at £200. Both offer fantastic rear-facing cameras, but are limited in performance by their Snapdragon 430 and 450 processors, respectively. Motorola’s handsets also have lower-resolution 720p and 1080p 5.7in displays.

Best Honor 10 Lite contract and SIM-free deals:

READ NEXT: Motorola Moto G6 Play review: Now the best smartphone under £150

Honor 10 Lite review: Design and features

Aesthetically, the Honor 10 Lite is a stunner, especially for a budget phone, with a design reminiscent of Huawei’s P20 Pro; one of the company’s flagship phones at £650. Here, the Honor 10 Lite stands out from its competitors. Its all-plastic design is stunning, though it will attract fingerprints. If the pictured blue colour isn’t up your street, you get a trio of other colours to choose from, with the phone available in white, black and red.

Aside from its attractive design, the 10 Lite features a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, which allows for quick access to the smartphone – it’s extremely quick and accurate. The two rear-facing cameras protrude slightly from the back.

A microUSB port, a 3.5mm jack and a downward-firing speaker are located around the bottom edge, while the dual SIM tray sits at the top. You can sacrifice your secondary SIM card slot for a microSD card if you need more storage. This grants up to an additional 512GB of space on top of the phone’s internal 64GB.

The Honor 10 Lite houses a non-removable 3,400mAh battery. Unfortunately, it doesn’t feature fast-charging capabilities; something Motorola offers on the Moto G6 through the use of a USB-C port. It isn’t water-resistant, either.

As with most of Honor’s phones, the manufacturer bundles a see-through silicone case within the box; a godsend for those who seemingly can’t avoid dropping their phone.

READ NEXT: Honor 7A review: Can Honor’s best value smartphone rival the Motorola Moto G6?

Honor 10 Lite review: Display

The 10 Lite has a 6.21in IPS display that runs at a resolution of 1,080 x 2,340 (FHD+). This gives it an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, which is down to the phone’s notch – you can hide it through the phone’s display settings.

The screen itself has two modes, Normal and Vivid; the latter increases the peak brightness from 366cd/m² to 403cd/m² and makes colours pop, though, it can look a touch oversaturated. No matter which mode you choose, the display pops with colour and offers great viewing angles. You won’t have any trouble looking at the phone’s display under bright ambient light conditions, either.

READ NEXT: Honor 9 Lite review: A great budget phone with an 18:9 display

Honor 10 Lite review: Performance

Despite its name, this phone is anything but ‘Lite’ in performance, housing a 2.2GHz octa-core Kirin 710 processor and 3GB of RAM. This is a mid-tier processor that’s been brought forward to a budget phone. Fantastic.

As you’ll see from the table below, the phone outclasses most of its competitors and is on-par with the Mate 20 Lite and the Honor 8X (which also house the Kirin 710).

^ Honor 10 Lite Geekbench 4 benchmark

As for gaming, the Honor 10 Lite delivers great performance. It’ll provide a fluid experience in non-graphically intense games, while also coping with the likes of PUBG and Asphalt 8, which are both strenuous games on a mobile processor.

^ Honor 10 Lite GFXBench benchmark

At 12hrs 19mins in the Expert Reviews video rundown, the 10 Lite’s 3,400mAh battery performs valiantly, yet again outperforming its rivals, not to mention its predecessor, the Honor 9 Lite.

^ Honor 10 Lite battery life

As with all of Honor devices, the phone ships with EMUI 9, an Android overlay that’s not as slick as stock Android 9.0 Pie. Here, Motorola offers a cleaner, more stock Android experience, and Honor hasn’t helped matters by pre-installing a selection of bloatware, though most of these unloved, unwanted apps can be uninstalled.


READ NEXT: Honor Play review: Is Honor’s affordable flagship the best phone for gaming?

Honor 10 Lite review: Camera

As for the cameras, there’s a dual 13+2-megapixel configuration around the back, where the lower-resolution camera acts as a depth sensor. The main sensor has an aperture of f/1.8 and has Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF).

The rear-facing cameras are competent. They manage to draw in plenty of light and manage to accurately reproduce the scene below. With the image of a murky December day in London, you’ll see the phone captures a great amount of detail around the red building at the foreground. As for HDR, it makes the scene minutely better, though, you’ll need your computer’s monitor to see the difference.

^Rear-facing camera

The Chinese company is pushing its AI technology, and you’ll see it appear through the camera app’s settings. Turn the mode on and it’ll sharpen the image and make it a touch oversaturated. It’s great for sharing on social media, but will make the scene look a tad fake.

^HDR mode

^AI mode

Under low-light conditions, I find the phone softens the image. On the one hand, it has less image noise, but on the other it lacks detail. Turn on flash, however, and you’ll see better results. The entire scene is improved: from the image below, the bear’s fur is distinguishable, the pens and the plant’s leaves are no longer fuzzy. Adding flash doesn’t add any unwanted warmness to the image, either.

^Low-light ~200% crop

^Low-light with flash ~200% crop

Around the front, there’s a single 24-megapixel f/2.0 sensor. The selfie camera captures plenty of detail. In the image below, the hair on my head is correctly represented, I’m put in focus and the background is blurred out, too.

^Selfie

For once, the Motorola Moto G6 faces a real challenger. As you’ll see from the image below, the Honor 10 Lite comes mighty close in its ability to reproduce the finer details. Below, the buildings’ chimineas aren’t as defined on the Honor phone; notably in the background, the glass roof lacks sharpness.

^Outdoors with the Honor 10 Lite left; Moto G6 right

As mentioned above, HDR mode doesn’t provide much of an advantage on the Honor 10 Lite. When compared to Moto G6’s HDR image, the final result on the 10 Lite looks a little more natural. I’d still pick the Moto G6 in this instance due to the level of detail it captures.

^HDR with the Honor 10 Lite left; Moto G6 right

Under low-light conditions The Moto G6 suffers from image noise, but it’s a touch better in outlining the finer details. As you’ll see from the image below, the differences are minimal.

^Low-light with the Honor 10 Lite left; Moto G6 right


Around the front, the Honor 10 Lite produces a more neutral tone and captures a lot more detail. However, it’s let down by the poor contrast; the Moto G6 achieves to make my coat look black, while the Honor is a touch on the grey side.

^Selfie with the Honor 10 Lite left; Moto G6 right

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Honor 10 Lite review: Verdict

It might not have the same silky stock Android-feel of the Motorola Moto G6 nor the same camera performance or include a more modern USB-C port, but the Honor 10 Lite is great in other areas.

For £200, the Honor 10 Lite has a blistering processor, which makes it a great choice for mobile gamers and power users. The display is vivid and offers great viewing angles, battery life is impressive. and it has a magnificent design that incorporates a fast rear-mounted fingerprint sensor.

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