Huawei P20 Lite review

GSMArena team, 25 May 2018.

Android 8 with EMUI 8

The Huawei P20 Lite ships with Android Oreo and Huawei's EMUI 8.0 skin over it. Emotion UI is constantly getting better, with behind-the-scenes improvements, like better RAM management, sophisticated battery management, improved miss-touch detection and higher touch accuracy, to name a few. And we appreciate the constantly shrinking amount of bloat, bundled in the ROM, the sheer number and the added convenience of the baked-in features.

Huawei P20 Lite review

Out of the box, there is no app drawer on the EMUI 8 - it's a single tier interface like on the iPhone. However, if you miss it, you can enable it back in the Display settings. There is also a handy search feature, which can be accessed by flicking down on any empty area of any home screen.

Home screen 1 - Huawei P20 Lite review Home screen 2 - Huawei P20 Lite review Home options - Huawei P20 Lite review Search - Huawei P20 Lite review Enable drawer - Huawei P20 Lite review
Home screen 1 • Home screen 2 • Home options • Search • Enable drawer

EMUI has something called Magazine lock screen, which rotates through a bunch of wallpapers, so you see a different one every time you fire up the display.

The lockscreen - Huawei P20 Lite review The lockscreen - Huawei P20 Lite review The lockscreen - Huawei P20 Lite review
The lockscreen

EMUI offers plenty of customization and features like face unlock, smart rotation, and lift to wake. Themes are supported, too, and there is a lot to choose from. There are a few themes to choose from with the option to change the icons, the skin, and wallpaper.

From the Phone Manager app, you can access shortcuts to storage cleanup, battery settings, blocked numbers, Virus scan powered by Avast, and mobile data usage.

Theme chooser - Huawei P20 Lite review Theme - Huawei P20 Lite review Theme - Huawei P20 Lite review Theme - Huawei P20 Lite review Phone Manager - Huawei P20 Lite review
Theme chooser • Theme • Theme • Theme • Phone Manager

The notification shade is pretty much a standard affair. There's a brightness bar with an Auto toggle - pull down again for more toggles.

Multitasking is pretty standard as well. Tap-holding the Recents key will let you activate split screen.

Notification area - Huawei P20 Lite review Notifications - Huawei P20 Lite review Toggles - Huawei P20 Lite review Recent apps - Huawei P20 Lite review Split screen - Huawei P20 Lite review
Notification area • Notifications • Toggles • Recent apps • Split screen

Huawei's own Music app is here and offers a way to listen to stored MP3s. An FM radio app is present, and the Gallery is here to stay.

Huawei's Health app is also pre-installed. It offers Google Fit syncing and step counting. There's a file manager app and a note-taking app. There is an abundance of replacements for these in the Play Store, however.

Music Player - Huawei P20 Lite review Gallery - Huawei P20 Lite review Huawei Health - Huawei P20 Lite review Files - Huawei P20 Lite review FM radio - Huawei P20 Lite review
Music Player • Gallery • Huawei Health • Files • FM radio

Performance

The Huawei P20 Lite employs the same Kirin 659 chipset as the P10 Lite and Mate 10 Lite, as well as the Honor 7X. Those already offered some benchmark numbers and painted a clear picture of what can be expected from the chipset. The P20 Lite fell in line with those expectations. Its scores are pretty much the same (within margin of error).

Huawei P20 Lite review

The Kirin 659 has a total of eight Cortex-A53 cores. Four of those take the heavy lifting and work at 2.36GHz, while the other four take care of less power-intensive tasks while ticking at 1.7GHz. The CPU is up to the task of handling everything, though it seriously trails behind the A73 cores inside the Oppo F7 (Helio P60), for instance.

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo F7
    1531
  • Huawei P Smart
    939
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    938
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    913
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    882
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    882
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    877
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    874
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    865
  • Huawei P10 lite
    834

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Oppo F7
    5901
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    4309
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    4292
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    4225
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    4215
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    4160
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    3756
  • Huawei P Smart
    3736
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    3603
  • Huawei P10 lite
    3344

There are only two Mali-T830 GPU cores inside the P20 Lite, as on the rest of the budget Huawei phones, and those really struggle with modern graphics loads. But just to be on the safe side, those are still enough to run a huge chunk of the games on the Play Store, but hiccups, low-quality textures, or low fps are to be expected in the more demanding ones.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Oppo F7
    11
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    10
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    10
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    9.3
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    6.3
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    6.2
  • Huawei P10 lite
    5
  • Huawei P Smart
    5
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    4.9
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    4.6

Basemark X

Higher is better

  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    14365
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    14357
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    14312
  • Oppo F7
    11873
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    10484
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    10472
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    9090
  • Huawei P Smart
    8834
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    8721
  • Huawei P10 lite
    7588

While the GPU scores might be dismal, the compound benchmarks show the Huawei P20 Lite and its Kirin 659 to be as capable as the best of mid-rangers - read Nokia 6 and Moto G6 Plus with their Snapdragon 630 silicon. So, yes, the Kirin 659 is still a balanced and capable chip even now, 2 years into active service.

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Oppo F7
    139414
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    90918
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    90263
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    87431
  • Huawei P Smart
    87156

Basemark OS 2.0

Higher is better

  • Oppo F7
    1953
  • Sony Xperia XA2
    1545
  • Motorola Moto G6 Plus
    1525
  • Nokia 6 (2018)
    1517
  • Huawei P Smart
    1486
  • Huawei P20 Lite
    1455
  • Huawei Mate 10 Lite
    1408
  • Huawei P10 lite
    1284
  • Xiaomi Mi A1
    1262
  • Xiaomi Redmi 5 Plus
    1226

The P20 Lite runs cool even at full throttle, so don't expect any heat issues no matter how you use it. It isn't a chart-topper, sure, not even next to fellow mid-ranges, but the Lite offers some nicely calculated balanced performance.

The thing is balanced scores won't do it for long. The Kirin 659 has been around for two years already and while offering enough punch, it's hardly future-proof. It's about time Huawei comes up with something new, because its mid-rangers are seriously behind the competition in terms of theoretical performance and it will become an issue sooner rather than later.

Reader comments

  • Talha

Absolutely right

  • Qamar

Absolutely Fantastic Phone.... I am using this from almost 3 years.... still same like new. No any notable issue observed. Superb function till to date. Handsome look with gorilla glass protection. 110% satisfied.

  • Omarelsheikh

Stupid ass phone, stopped working, cuz a failure during updating of the stupid Software, and lost my data