Huawei Mate 10 Lite Review: Wrapping It Up, Key Test Findings, Competition, The Verdict

By 05:19 Wed, 18 Aug 2021 Comments


Wrapping it up

For the first time it feels like a Lite is borrowing more than just the name of the headliner. The Mate 10 Lite has the FullView classy screen of the Mate 10, portrait mode for both regular and selfie photos thanks to a 4-camera system, a premium unibody and a gigantic battery.


But the Mate 10 Lite is still a 'lite' model, so there were a few compromises made along the way. Performance is nowhere near the gigantic Mates. The image quality won't be leaving any long-lasting impressions either, the portrait mode works but is far from great. Even the wide classy screen is short of the resolution of the regular Mate 10. It's almost the same as the Mate 10 Pro's at near 6 inches of Full HD - only, not AMOLED.

Yet, the Mate 10 Lite has hit the sweet spot between the premium and the basic, and that's what makes a fine midranger. There is a remarkable aluminum body with catchy paintjobs and a pleasingly immersive screen. The balanced chipset and fine all round capturing camera performance have each been enhanced with background battery management and portrait/beauty effects.

We could have asked for a more up-to-date Android and EMUI versions, wider aperture, enhanced connectivity or faster charging. But we guess Huawei balanced those omissions against the retail price. The thinking must've been: there is the Mate 10 proper and Pro for those who want more.

Huawei Mate 10 Lite key test findings

  • Stylish and minimalist metal design but the grip is far from secure. No Gorilla Glass.
  • The IPS Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) classy screen has enough sharpness, very deep blacks, superb contrast, and brightness. Color accuracy is fine, while the sunlight legibility is average for an Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) unit.
  • Above average battery life at 76 hours only brought down by the mediocre web browsing times.
  • EMUI is a feature-rich Android skin, though not without its quirks. Huawei has worked on polishing single-handed operation and it shows. A newer Android version would have been better though.
  • The Kirin 659 chipset has enough Central Processing Units (CPU) and GPU punch for the class and the phone handles routine jobs and more demanding tasks equally well.
  • The onboard speaker scored a Very Good imprint at the loudness test.
  • Audio output via the analog jack is pleasingly crisp, but it's quieter than average and is not a fine match for high-impedance headphones.
  • Still images are average in terms of detail, with accurate colors, and fine dynamic range. The panoramic samples turned fine too. Mediocre low-light quality but enhanced with creative shooting modes.
  • Average selfie pictures - somewhat soft with moderate detail.
  • Portrait mode available on both the rear and front cameras, subjects are properly separated from the background but the results are far from spectacular.
  • The 1080p videos came out with average detail but fine colors, contrast and decent dynamic range.

The competition

There aren't so many midrange phones out there yet to offer a trendy 18:9 display and half of those are a mission impossible to acquire outside of Asia. The Oppo R11s or the cheaper Oppo F5, as well as the Vivo V7+ all have wide screens, solid metal builds and strong imaging credentials. But you can mostly find them in China and India. If that's where you are, all three of them are worth a see - they pretty much deliver on the promises.





Oppo R11s • Oppo F5 • vivo V7+

The LG Q6 is a global device with a 5.5" 18:9 classy screen but it can't match the premium build and capturing camera experience of the Mate 10 Lite. There is also the inferior Snapdragon 435 chipset, but on a positive side it should be more battery-efficient.



LG Q6

The Sony's Xperia XA1 Plus offers a decent 16:9 screen, attractive design, and a high-res 23MP main camera. The Xperia also excels in battery life and plays along well with other Sony devices.



Sony Xperia XA1 Plus

The HTC U11 Life and the Moto X4 are both a part of the Android One program, run Oreo and like on-time updates by Google. They sport regular 16:9 screens but run on faster chips. The Moto X4 has a dual-camera at the back that can capture 4K videos. The U11 Life has some exceptional audio skills in turn and high-quality noise-canceling headphones in the package, so the audiophiles should hold note.




Motorola Moto X4 • HTC U11 Life

If the extra tall classy screen is not a top priority, then give the cheaper Xiaomi Mi A1 or Redmi Note 4 a chance and you may find yourself surprised. The Mi A1 has a pretty fine dual-camera, while the Note 4 is half the Mate 10 Lite's price.




Xiaomi Mi A1 • Xiaomi Redmi Note 4

The verdict

So, the Mate 10 Lite is not a mini and we don't just mean the near six-inch screen. It's just not like most of them minis living off the flagship hype. No, you do acquire a reasonably fine performer with the correct touch of premium, both on the inside and the outside.


The Huawei Mate 10 Lite gets some fine stuff from the Mate 10 in terms of screen, imaging experience and battery backup. A Mate in looks and a Lite in price sounds like the correct balance and the output is well up to standard. Worth a try.


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