- Sleek, clean-looking build
- Edge-to-edge display looks great
- Solid battery life
- Huawei’s Emotion UI is terrible
- Specs, while still decent, are frustratingly lower than larger model
The Huawei P8 Lite is a great-looking younger sibling to the more powerful (and larger) P8, but it’s crippled by a poorly designed UI that’s layered on top of the Android OS.
It’s a shame that Huawei is a bit of an unknown entity in the United States, because the Chinese device maker consistently releases great-looking hardware that performs just as well as that of its American competitors. The good news is that one of Huawei’s more recent US releases, the P8 Lite, stays true to the company’s track record.
A beautiful mid-range device that serves as a smaller version of the true Huawei P8, the P8 Lite sells for only $250 unlocked while offering an experience that feels closer to flagship than mid-tier. Unfortunately, what is an otherwise high-quality handset is marred by questionable UI choices. Bearing that in mind, is it still worth your hard-earned cash?
Build & Design
There is no denying it: the P8 Lite is one seriously slick unit. Sharp edges, rounded corners, and a flat back lend the phone a sleek, low-profile look that is somewhat reminiscent of the Apple iPhone 5 and 5s. A metallic silver band also runs around the entire edge of the phone, and though the colors can vary, our particular unit was white. Both design choices added to the phone’s clean aesthetic.
Weighing in at 4.62 ounces, the P8 Lite has a little more heft than you would expect just from looking at it, but it’s only 0.3 inches thick, which keeps it from feeling too bulky or unwieldy. In fact, the “Lite” in the P8 Lite’s name refers to the smaller screen (in an annoying industry trend, this also means downgraded specs), the upside of which is that it results in a smaller footprint that makes the phone quite comfortable to hold. The slightly textured backing feels nice in the hand, even if it doesn’t do much in the way of offering something to grip.
The layout of the P8 Lite’s buttons and ports is a little unorthodox, mostly due to the existence of its dual SIM ports. Located on the right edge of the phone, the two ports require pin ejection to access and, oddly enough, are for two different types of SIM cards: one is for a nanoSIM, while the other is for a microSIM. In a neat twist, the nanoSIM slot can also be used for a microSD card to expand the phone’s storage space (though it would be nice if it could be inserted in the microSIM card slot instead, given that the nanoSIM is becoming increasingly prevalent).
Also located on the right side are the phone’s power/standby button and the volume rocker. The left edge is devoid of any features, but the top edge houses the unit’s 3.5mm headphone jack, while the bottom edge features dual speakers, one on each side of the microUSB charging port.
In the face of heavy marketing campaigns championing increasingly high resolution displays, it’s easy to forget that when screens are this size, pixel count becomes unimportant once the density reaches a certain point. The differences can’t be discerned by the naked eye. Case in point: the P8 Lite’s 720 x 1280 resolution may seem pedestrian on paper in comparison to some of the eye-popping numbers of other phones’ resolutions, but in reality it still looks quite good on its 5-inch display.
While the crispness and the vibrancy of its colors are undoubtedly impressive, the real eye-catching element of the P8 Lite’s display is its near-edge-to-edge design. The bezel on the left and right sides of the screen is virtually nonexistent, allowing the display to maximize its real estate while keeping the phone’s footprint more compact. And aside from the fact that it looks stunning, it also helps with functionality; when there’s no bezel to speak of to get in the way, basically everything is in reach of your thumb during one-handed use.