Huawei Mate 20 Lite
The Mate series includes Huawei’s new phones for the fall. Just like the flagships that are traditionally launched in the spring, the P-series, the ‘sizes’ can also count on a less strong but much cheaper friend. This year it is the Mate 20 Lite, and he was announced at IFA in Berlin. The device is the successor to the Mate 10 Lite last year.
Although the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro are only revealed on October 16, many features have already been leaked about these phones. Among other things we learned that: there is an underwater mode for the camera, Huawei wants to launch its own more compact microSD, you can unlock with your voice or fingerprint scanner under the screen, it has curved screen edges, you can record bokeh videos and wirelessly can connect a PC monitor
Of course, the above list consists entirely of rumors and leaked information, and therefore they are not a correct representation of what we can expect from the Mate series. Apart from that, it is very striking that there is an acute lack of new and exciting things to be found in the Mate 20 Lite. If something is already true from the above list of features, then it is certain that none of all those nice novelties (currently) can be found in the Mate 20 Lite. Of course a lot can still happen with software updates, but by no means everything of course.
Moreover, it is striking how much the Huawei Mate 20 Lite (around 399 euros) looks like the Huawei P Smart + (around 350 euros) that I have been able to test this summer. Apart from a limited number of details, these phones are like two drops of water. Although the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro have not yet been officially announced, I can now almost certainly say that no device will resemble the Mate 20 Lite any more than the recently announced P Smart +. About 70 percent of my findings from the review of that phone are fully applicable to this device, so definitely read my review of that device. Of course I am happy to show you the differences.
Housing and design
Many elements have remained the same in terms of design when you compare the Mate 20 Lite with the P Smart +. The phones have almost the same dimensions, because the Mate 20 Lite measures: 158.3 mm x 75.3 mm x 7.6 mm. The Mate 20 Lite is exactly 1.3 mm longer, 0.1 mm wider and equally thick. The biggest difference, the length, is in the visibly longer chin of the Mate 20 Lite.
Furthermore, the phone also has a shiny glass back with aluminum edges and volume keys and a power button made of plastic. If you press the buttons, they have a pleasant click response, but the plastic material selection, in combination with the fine plastic edge where screen and housing meet, break the high-end feeling a bit. Although the device remains a beautiful phone purely in terms of appearance. It is a pity that the gradient color options of the P Smart + and Huawei’s P20 are missing this time.
At the front we find the notch of the telephone with a telephone speaker that sits between two front cameras, just like the P Smart +. On the left side of the phone we find a sim card slot that supports a nanosim card in combination with a microSD, or two sim cards for dual sim use. There is only one microphone at the top of the phone.
f we hold the bottom of the Mate 20 Lite, we come across the first difference with the P Smart +, and it is immediately a very pleasant one, because the phone received a USB-C connection instead of a micro-USB. For a higher midrange that may cost around 399 euros, that was the only right choice for Huawei, and in my P Smart + review I have therefore criticized the company for it. Furthermore, there is a headphone jack on the bottom left and the speaker on the right.
Another striking difference with the P Smart + is found at the back. Just to be clear, the Mate Lite cannot count on the three cameras in a square arrangement that we will probably see with this big boy. However, the Mate 20 Lite can count on a dual camera that was upgraded compared to the Mate 10 Lite and also compared to the P Smart +. Furthermore, just like with the Mate 10 Lite, the camera set-up got a place in the middle just above the fingerprint scanner. In this way the Mate 20 Lite looks more like its predecessor, although no antenna lines are visible, because the back is made of glass.
All in all, the Mate 20 Lite gives a pretty premium impression, but the choice of glass instead of metal makes it very vulnerable, just like its twin brother, the P Smart +. Moreover, it is a risky operation if you want to leave it on certain surfaces. The handrail of your seat or your lap cannot be trusted in particular. I always handle my phones with great care and have never cracked a screen, but I would never dare use this device without a case. Huawei also supplies a plastic screen protector with this phone.
Screen, performance and battery life
I can be brief about the screen of this phone, because it is exactly the same copy as that of the P Smart +. It is an IPS LCD with a ratio of 19: 5: 9, a size of 6.3 inches and a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. A notable absence is protection such as Corning Gorilla Glass, an extra protective layer that Huawei does apply to its flagships, and that would be welcome with this device of 399 euros. As a result, I notice that there are slight traces of use on the screen.
In general, the screen is clear enough, and it is also easy to read in strong sunlight. The colors are also very contrasting for an LCD. You can make adjustments yourself in the display settings of the phone to adjust the color balance to your own preference. Another positive point is that the viewing angles are very good with this device.
Those who are not fans of the notch can get rid of it through software, but the result is not as good as it is with OLEDs. LCDs can never display black as naturally as OLED panels, and pixels continue to light up with LCDs, saving you no battery.
As with most manufacturers, the screen also has an automatic screen brightness in which the device itself adjusts the brightness based on remaining battery capacity and measurements from the light sensor. If you are in a dark environment, your phone will automatically reduce the brightness of the screen, and the opposite happens in a bright environment. With the P Smart + I noticed that the automatic raising or lowering of the brightness was sometimes too slow, but I had never noticed this while testing this phone
The Huawei Mate 20 Lite has its own Hisilicon Kirin 710-SoC under the hood in combination with the Mali-G51 MP4-gpu. The device has exactly the same chipset as the P Smart +. As an aside, you’d better call the device P20 Lite with all those similarities between the two. Oops, that phone already exists, what a pity.
Although the Mate 20 Pro and the Mate 20 will soon turn out with Huawei’s 7nm Kirin 980, the Mate 20 Lite is unfortunately not granted that speed. The Kirin 710 has four high-performance Cortex-A73 cores that are clocked at 2.2 GHz. In addition, there are the four more energy-efficient Cortex-A53 cores that have a clock speed of 1.7 GHz. The Kirin 710 also receives the same 4GB RAM.
The P Smart + has already shown that this chipset, unlike the competition, only belongs to the better middle class, and with the Mate 20 Lite where the suggested retail price is 50 euros higher, that will of course not improve. Below is a comparison of the AnTuTu benchmark results, and we see that the score is almost the same as that of the P Smart +.
With the same chipset it is also logical that the two have a similar processor power and graphics power. The Mate 20 Lite is beaten smoothly by a device from its own house, namely the Honor 10. That phone is perhaps a few months older, but with the Kirin 970 that we also saw in the P20, the race ended quickly.
Of course, specifications and benchmarks don’t say everything. Although the Mate 20 Lite cannot distinguish itself from the P Smart + in terms of specifications, it felt faster depending on the circumstances. I did not notice the difference in daily use, but in gaming. There were noticeably fewer frame drops in games. I discussed in my P Smart + review that especially a game in particular, Fifa Mobile, was almost unplayable on the P Smart + due to serious frame drops. Such cases were actually almost absent with the Mate 20 Lite. Yet you can hardly call him a game machine, and the differences will probably have to do with software.
In addition to usb-c you can safely call the battery life of the Huawei Mate 20 Lite the best improvement compared to the P Smart +. You wondered why this phone was 1.3 mm longer and 0.1 mm wider than the P Slim? Well this could be one of the reasons. Under the hood of smartphones, there is plenty of puzzling by manufacturers to put as much powerful technology as possible into the smallest possible space. For example, 1.3 millimeters could make the difference between a larger and a smaller battery.
The battery of the Mate 20 Lite has a capacity of 3750 mAh, compared to 3340 mAh for the P Smart +, and you will definitely feel that increased capacity in your phone’s battery performance. Before 5 p.m. I clocked the P Smart + at 30 percent, while with the extra capacity you can safely set the counter at around 8 p.m. That is a very significant difference because, depending on your daily rhythm, it can make the difference between an empty battery before you have a charger within reach, or an empty battery only before going to sleep.
The Huawei Mate 20 Lite runs on Android 8.1 Oreo together with Huawei’s own EMUI shell version 8.2. EMUI has made great leaps in recent years. Admittedly, it does not feel as clean and simple as stock Android, but with a number of adjustments you can easily adjust the interface to your hand. Sometimes the institutions are a bit too far ‘hidden’ for this. Tip: with display settings you can activate the app drawer.
All in all, it takes me less time and work to adjust EMUI to my hand than, say, Samsung Experience. EMUI also runs very smoothly on the Mate 20 Lite. What I find a great asset that Samsung Experience has over EMUI is the tutorial that appears in which various functions are explained. That is a handy extra for users who are less intuitive in dealing with a software interface such as some older people, and it is also just a nice way to get to know all the features of your new phone.
Huawei uses SwiftKey as a keyboard app, and furthermore apps replace Google’s own alternatives. For example, Chrome is the default browser, but in addition there is, for example, your own email or gallery app. You cannot remove that software either. Huawei also takes a penny thanks to the bloatware installed on the phone. The bloatware usually exists in the form of games. Fortunately, you can completely remove them from your application list or even from your app drawer or desktop.
Each manufacturer deals in his own way with regard to updates for his phones. In this article we have made a handy summary of the update policies of various smartphone manufacturers. Huawei promises that smartphones that cost more than 299 euros can count on a monthly security patch from Google for a period of two years after the device appears on the Dutch market.
The phone also has Project Treble. Android is split into two parts and large version updates can be implemented much easier. The Mate 20 Lite does not support seamless updates, that is a feature where updates are installed in the background. If you then restart your phone, the update is complete. Installing updates is therefore done manually on the phone.
In the Huawei Mate 20 Lite there is no sparkle of the new features that would come with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. Certain features can still come via a software update, but at the moment the Huawei Mate 20 Lite lacks its own identity. It seems that Huawei has looked at the P Smart +, to then address a number of less good aspects. Micro-USB was replaced by USB-c, the battery was improved, he got two new camera lenses at the back and ready.
Yet it is hard to say that the Mate 20 Lite is a bad phone, because it eliminates a number of important criticisms that I had in my P Smart + review. In exchange for those improvements, the phone has to compete with devices that cost 399 euros, bringing it on an equal footing with, for example, Huawei’s Honor 10. That device gives the Mate 20 Lite a check on almost every level. Although the Mate 20 Lite will also perform less well than devices such as the Nokia 7 Plus or the LG G6 (which now costs around 399 euros).
Similar devices are the Honor 10 (399 euros), Nokia 7 Plus (396 euros), Huawei P20 Lite (329 euros), Samsung Galaxy A8 (2018) (379 euros), LG Q7 (349 euros) and Huawei P Smart + (349 euro)
+ Premium build quality
+ Battery life
– Glass housing is too smooth
– Not innovative enough
– Overexposed photos in standard mode
Buy Huawei Mate 20 Lite
The Huawei Mate 20 Lite is available in black, blue and gold for a suggested retail price of 399 euros. The device has only just appeared and is not yet available at every major shop, but you can find it at the Mediated, Impelled and Mobilize, for example.