The Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is a dual-SIM smartphone that features a 5.2in full HD display, a fingerprint reader, an octa-core processor and runs on Android 7 Nougat. Its price? £185. In fact you can even find it for as low as £149 if you get with a Vodafone PAYG SIM, which makes it a pretty good deal.
This is nothing new, however, and the competition at this price is fierce, with handsets such as the slinky Honor 6X (£225), the long-lasting Lenovo P2 (£200) and the all-round excellent Moto G4 2016 (£150) all making a strong case. Can the Huawei P8 Lite step in and provide another solid alternative?
Huawei has shown in recent times that it knows how to make a good quality smartphone, and the P8 Lite 2017 is no exception. It looks and feels just like an iPhone. Many phones nowadays, of course, but with its distinctive curved edges and Piano Black finish, this phone looks uncannily similar to a Jet Black iPhone than most.
When you get closer to it, it’s clear this isn’t a premium Apple product, but it stands up as decent design for a low-budget smartphone. It’s larger than the iPhone 7 for starters, but its 5.2in Full HD display is nearly as easy to use one-handed, and it feels well-balanced in your hand.
The fingerprint reader is at the back rather than at the front, a design choice I prefer over a front-mounted reader, and it’s accompanied at the rear by a 12-megapixel camera and single-LED flash. Around the front there’s a 8-megapixel selfie camera, the display and the Huawei logo. There are no capacitive buttons, though, Huawei opting to use on-screen navigation buttons instead.
It’s also good to see Huawei retaining the 3.5mm headphone socket, here found on the top edge of the phone, with the volume rocker and power buttons on the right-hand side, a dual-SIM slot on the left (SIM slot 2 can also take a 256GB microSD card), and a microUSB charging port and a single downward-firing speaker on the bottom.
For the money, there’s no doubt the Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is a looker, but I do have issues with some practical elements of the design. The plastic frame surrounding the screen, for instance, lowers the tone, as does the standard glass, which appears not to have been treated with an oleophobic coating. That means it picks up greasy fingerprints like crazy and it’s quite a challenge to keep it clean.
The P8 Lite 2017 comes with a 5.2in Full HD (1,080 x 1,920) IPS display resulting in a respectable pixel density of 424ppi. The screen’s biggest strength is its brighness: it’s among the brightness screens I’ve ever set my eyes on. I measured it at a blinding 700 cd/m2, meaning it’ll be readable in even the most sunny conditionsThe screen’s contrast ratio is pretty high, too, at 1,553:1, with deep black and bright whites contributing to dynamic images and video, and I had no problems with viewing angles either. The phone employs dynamic contrast, however, that cannot be disabled, boosting its brightness levels when displaying white or light content onscreen, which could potentially have a negative impact on battery life.
The display’s weakness is its colour representation, which isn’t great. With an 86% sRGB coverage, images look slightly dull and murky when compared with the Lenovo P2’s 99.9% sRGB coverage display.
Android 7 Nougat is a fantastic operating system, and I’m pleased to say that it’s included within the Huawei P8 Lite 2017. This isn’t a stock installation, though, as Huawei has its Android Emotion 5.0 UI (EMUI) skin installed on the phone.
The phone’s 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with an aperture of f/2.0 isn’t bad for a £185 smartphone. The P8 Lite 2017 doesn’t have phase detection autofocus or optical image stabilisation, but that’s to be expected for a phone at this price point.
It holds its ground in low-light conditions, producing images that aren’t riddled with noise. Looking back at my test shots on the PC I felt the images had a vibrant tone to them, but also held the right balance, where the sample shots weren’t overly saturated.
I also found white balance to be on point and automatic exposures well judged. However, I did notice a lack of detail on objects at a distance; as you can see in the test shot below, the brick work is a little blurred.