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Honor 20 Lite Review: The Attractive Mid-ranger

honor 20 lite review
Lava International

When Honor announced the Honor 20 series smartphones in London, the Honor 20 and 20 Pro had been the talk of the town for days. Their punch-hole display, flagship-grade processor, and quad-rear cameras were enough to impress many. The cheaper Honor 20 Lite, however, didn’t receive much attention then. So, was it an underdog ignored by many or is it not worth the hype? Let’s find that out in this Honor 20 Lite review!

Honor 20 Lite Specifications:

  • Display: 6.21-inches LTPS IPS LCD, Full HD+, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • Chipset: HiSilicon Kirin 710
  • CPU: Octa-core (4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
  • GPU: Mali-G51 MP4
  • OS: Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI 9 on top
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 128 GB, expandable
  • Rear camera: Triple – 24 MP, f/1.8 (primary) + 8 MP, f/2.2 (ultra-wide) + 2 MP, f/2.4 (depth)
  • Front Camera: 32 MP, f/2.0
  • Battery: 3,400 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery
  • Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), Accelerometer, Proximity, and Compass
  • Price: Rs.32,500

Design

Like with the previous Honor smartphones, the 20 lite features a gradient color back. The one I have right now is a phantom red color which looks pleasing. One thing you need to know is the back is made of plastic, and not glass which is the reason it feels light on hands.

honor 20 lite gradient back

Other than that, I am pretty happy with its form factor. It rightly fits on my hand and has an even weight distribution. Even the buttons are tactile and placed at a reachable position. So, I have nothing much to complain on the design front.

Display

Talking about the display, this phone retains a 6.21-inch IPS panel, which comes with narrow bezels with a U-shaped tiny notch on the top. Even the chin is thin here. Thinner than most of its competitors out there, I would add. While placing it alongside the Galaxy A50, you can easily notice the difference.

honor 20 lite display

However, gone is the notification LED, which is close to extinction on smartphones these days.

Continuing with the display, the screen here comes with Full-HD resolution on board. So, while viewing the contents, the screen looks sharp as expected. The colors also look quite pleasant here. It’s not quite on the level of the OLED panels but still looks noteworthy among the mid-rangers. And side by side with the A50, I prefer the display on the A50.

Camera

Now let’s head on to the cameras. Like with every other midrange phone out there, this too has three cameras at the back. There’s a 24MP primary lens, which comes alongside an 8MP ultra-wide-angle shooter and a 2MP depth sensor. And all of these cameras are said to be AI-powered.

honor 20 lite camera

Talking about the photos from the 24MP camera, I am fairly satisfied with the shots it captures. The images pack quite a lot of details so they look sufficiently sharp. But sometimes, the images are overexposed. I also noticed the phone over-processing the images, due to which, the colors were unnatural at times.

Switching to the wide angle, you can extend the field of view up to 120-degrees. The images, as you can see here, look decent. But it lacks the details. And While comparing it with the Galaxy A50, I noticed a larger field of view and better details in the shots from A50. But what I really liked about the Honor 20 Lite was that the colors in the images didn’t shift while switching into wide-angle mode from normal mode, which happens extensively on the A50.

The third 2MP lens gathers the depth information while taking portrait images. And portrait images look okay at best. There is edge-detection issue on most of the portrait images and the blurring does not look natural. Maybe Honor will fix that in its software update. But until that happens, you have to live with this.

Night Mode feature is also getting popular these days. And to address that, Honor has also included a Night Mode feature on this device. With this mode, the camera decreases the shutter speed to 4 to 6 seconds and captures a long exposure shot. And while capturing the low light images using this feature, the subject brightens up quite a bit and there seem to have a little more detail in it. So, to me, it has come in quite handy while taking snaps in the low-lit scenarios.

Apart from that, you get tons of features like Slo-mo, Timelapse, and AR if you do some digging in.

honor 20 lite front camera

Talking about the selfies, the 32MP doesn’t disappoint. It captures amazing selfies with great facial details. But the phone tends to overdo with the skin, which looks quite unnatural at times. But most of the times they look fairly good. Although the portrait images are due to software processing, they do look good enough. But if you care about edge-detection, it’s still not perfect in that respect but usable most of the times. The portrait mode is also playful here as you can get various portrait lighting effects.

For high res images, click here.

Performance

Now on to the performance, you get the Kirin 710 Chipset which we have seen on so many Huawei and Honor phones in the last 6 months or so. The Kirin 710 is a decent processor, comparable with the Snapdragon 660, but over the course of 6 months, midrange SoCs from Qualcomm are getting better. You get Snapdragon 675 on Redmi Note 7 Pro and Realme 3 Pro at more or less similar pricing.

I am not bashing Honor and the Kirin 710 chipset but I guess it’s reasonable to demand an upgrade while going from its predecessor Honor 10 Lite.

The Kirin 710 is not a bad processor, it’s actually a decent performer and can handle most people’s day-to-day tasks pretty easily. Multitasking is also fairly good with 4GB of RAM onboard.

But it’s the gaming part that Kirin 710 lags behind the competition. On my test, Heavy games did not run quite smoothly on the highest of the settings. PUBG is playable at medium settings by default, which wasn’t smooth the way I expected. So, if you are into gaming, you should opt for the Snapdragon 675 powered phones. There’s Pocophone F1 with Snapdragon 845 which is still available, you can get that too.

Talking about the storage, you get a base variant of 128GB, which should suffice the needs of many. And this is where Honor 20 Lite stands out against the rest. Because, every phone at this price, will have 64GB storage. Plus, there is an SD card slot as well if you wish to expand it even further.

Software

The phone runs on Android 9 Pie with the custom skin EMUI 9.0.1 on the top. And with Huawei’s UI, you do get a ton of bloatware and a number of redundant apps. Nonetheless, you can uninstall the majority of them.

But apart from that, the UI is pretty much likable. It’s well-optimized and navigating through the UI is also pretty smooth. On top of that, most of the settings are customizable. So, you can easily tune it into your liking.

But what’s concerning here is the software update. Huawei has been enlisted in the US government’s entity list. And Honor being the sub-brand of Huawei, we don’t have any option but to wait and see what happens next.

Battery

Now let’s talk about the battery. The phone comes with a 3400mAh battery, which sounds quite underwhelming. However, EMUI optimization is great, so I got around 6 hours of on-screen time.  Also, the screen on time is based on my heavy usage that includes two hours of social media, two hours of watching videos and an hour of gaming.

honor 20 lite micro usb port

The phone comes with 10-watt charger out of the box, which uses Micro USB port to charge up the phone. While using the stock charger, it took exactly 1 hour and 56 minutes to get the device fully charged. I even tried to charge the device with an 18-watt charger. But there wasn’t still an improvement in the charging pace. So, there is that!

Extras:

Like all the Huawei and Honor phones, the fingerprint sensor on this device is fast and accurate. It accurately detected my fingerprints 9 out of 10 times, except for times when you have wet or greasy hands. Face unlock is fast too and is done via the front camera. About the Wi-Fi though, it does not have Wi-Fi ac, so you won’t be able to connect to a 5GHz network, which if I remember correctly, was missing on Huawei’s Nova 3i as well. Other things like audio quality is fairly loud and call quality is good too.

Conclusion

The Honor 20 Lite is a fairly good performer for the price being asked. There is nothing that bugs me about the phone, everything is okay, except for the fact that the performance could have been a little better. And even inclusion of a faster-charging feature and a type-C port would have given this device a little edge over the others.

honor 20 lite slim form factor

Also, you do have plenty of options to go for, like the Galaxy A50 or the Pocophone F1 or the Galaxy M40. And since the Redmi Note 7 Pro is also launching in Nepal really soon, you have even more options. So, in the end, I will leave the choice up to you guys.

Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Good design
  • Ample 128GB storage
  • Has dedicated Night Mode

Cons:

  • Micro USB Port in 2019
  • No Fast charging
  • No upgrade on performance from its predecessor
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Build
8.5
Display
8.5
Performance
7
Rear Camera
8
Front Camera
8
Software & UI
8.5
Battery
7.5
Value for money
8
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Hi there, I am a student of Electrical Engineering. As much as I am a tech enthusiast, I love to travel and read novels when I am free.