Huawei Mate 20 Lite hands-on review

A potential hit for selfie takers

TODO alt text

For

  • Plenty of AI features
  • Sounds relatively bold and detailed

Against

  • Not the most rhythmic or dynamic performer

Huawei has announced its Mate 20 Lite smartphone at IFA 2018, and What Hi-Fi? has been permitted an early look.

With the handset priced at £379 – available from Carphone Warehouse and Vodaphone from Wednesday 5th September, and EE from October – the Chinese manufacturer has focused on bringing its high-end photo expertise to a new price point and ever-hungry young audience.

Features

As such, the Mate 20 Lite – the Mate 20 line’s inaugural offering – features two cameras on both front and back. Servicing the former is a 24MP and 2MP combination, with 20MP and again 2MP at the rear; the latter of each pair of cameras is designed to pick up the load for image depth.

It makes further use of Huawei’s AI technology, too, reaping its benefit by way of recognition of more than 500 settings in 22 categories and adjusting the camera to suit for finely tuned point-and-click photography.

The AI is also a useful tool for shopping. When in line with the Amazon app it is able to scan, identify and pull up buying options from the aforementioned retailer simply via recognition of a photo.

Other camera features include super slow motion video capture, gesture shooting and auto enhance, while the Mate 20 Lite also boasts more than two days battery life for the average user (a 10% overall increase), a 6.3in screen and canny 360-degree finger print and face recognition.

MORE: Best smartphones 2018

Performance

The Mate 20 Lite will sit below the yet to be released Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro in the family pecking order, but it still has a premium feel with its glass back and metal surround.

We were told at our briefing of Huawei’s targeting of the younger ‘selfie generation’ with this phone, and the quality of those front cameras, coupled with an 81% screen-to-body ratio, proves that intent even at first glance.

One of our own focuses with smartphones is obviously going to be on sound, and the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack is already a plus point.

At first listen, though only demoing with a few stock hi-res tracks pre-loaded to the device, we were pleased with the body and detail present in the performance. Dynamics and timing perhaps leave something to be desired, but we would need the Mate 20 Lite under test conditions to properly offer our verdict.

Huawei has also loaded the Mate 20 Lite with various sound modes, including a 3D audio simulation, and ‘standard’ mode that’ll allow for longer playback time. After some brief experimentation we would opt for the ‘natural’ setting, which gives us optimum stereo performance, but we’re fans also of a power-saving option for when your battery is on its last legs.

Initial verdict

The Mate 20 Lite seems very much to be a handset intended for younger users, from its camera-heavy focus to its slick aesthetic. It won’t trouble the best for its musical performance, but we’re not sure that’ll bother many of those tempted by this phone.

MORE

9 of the best new products from IFA 2018

iPhone XS set for 12th September launch