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Huawei Mate 10 Lite: 450 dollars well spent

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The Mate 10 Lite is the cheapest model in the Mate 10 line. With a price of 450 dollars, that's practically half of the Pro version, but it is lacking in some features and in terms of performance. Is it worth buying anyway?

Huawei Mate 10 Lite
Huawei Mate 10 Lite: All deals

Huawei Mate 10 Lite release date and price

The Huawei Mate 10 Lite will arrive in the US from the end of October in three different colors: blue, black and gold. Initially the smartphone will be available in black and gold, amd the blue version will be made available later. The starting price was $450 for a single variant consisting of 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable internal memory via microSD. The price of the device has already dropped considerably on Amazon. 

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The Mate 10 Lite is available in a single model with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of ROM for 450 dollars. / © NextPit

Huawei Mate 10 Lite design and build quality

The rounded corners that characterize the entire line make the Mate 10 Lite comfortable to hold in your hand. With a body of 156.2x75x7.5 mm and a weight of 164 grams, the Mate 10 Lite falls into the phablet class and is slightly slippery. You can solve the problem by using the transparent plastic cover included in the box.

The smartphone immediately gives the impression of being a solid and durable device, and after more than a week, it doesn't leave any marks on its aluminum frame. The only scratches are concentrated around the camera's sensors, where dust can sneak in. 

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The camera compartment protrudes from the aluminum frame. / AndroidPIT

I don't like that the rear cameras protrude from the middle of the Mate 10 Lite. The camera compartment is positioned in the middle, so the device won't exactly lie flat on a table. The physical keys, which are located to the right, are easily accessible. The circular fingerprint reader is located below the camera section and is also easily accessible, which is where the Chinese brand has traditionally placed them. The opaque shell doesn't accumulate fingerprints like glass frames do.

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It has a microUSB instead of a Type-C, but there is a 3.5 mm jack. / © NextPit

You'll know this already if you're familiar with the brand, but Huawei's craftsmanship is undeniable. Don't expect anything spectacular on the Mate 10 Lite that might go unnoticed among other Huawei/Honor devices, except for the fact that it houses a total of four cameras, with two on the back and two in the front. On the front, at the top, there's a small LED notification light (you might notice it right away).

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The power button and volume control are on the right. / © NextPit

The mini headphone jack is located at the bottom edge of the device, where the speaker and the microUSB 2.0 port are located. Yes, I've mentioned it already, there's no Type-C USB port. It's a shame, because even the line's mid-range device has adopted the technology. The SIM and microSD slot is on the left. You can also use it with two SIM cards, but only one of them works with 4G, and the other is limited to 2G.

The overall assembly and ergonomics of the Mate 10 Lite are pleasant. You'll feel like you're holding a high-end device in your hand that has decided to give up the glass.

Huawei Mate 10 Lite display

Huawei decided not to give up an almost FullView display on the Mate 10 that shows off its thin black frames. This is a feature that is currently only available on high-end devices and the Wiko View, so it's a very welcome surprise. 

The diagonal is 5.9 inches long and there's an 18:9 format, as opposed to the 16:9 on the Mate 10. The resolution is 2160x1080 pixels just like the Mate 10 Pro, which results in 409 ppi. The Mate 10 Lite's display seems to be positioned between the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro.

The display is even bright in sunlight and can represent contrasts well. If you tilt your smartphone, but it doesn't look that great. You can't criticize the nice IPS LCD screen that covers 83% of the front panel. The touchscreen is responsive without any problems.

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The Mate 10 Lite offers thin edges around an 18:9 display. / © NextPit

Huawei Mate 10 Lite software

On the software side, you'll come across a bit of a nasty surprise. The device doesn't come with Android 8.0 Oreo that comes along with the rest of the Mate 10 line, but instead Android 7.0 Nougat flanked by version 5.1 of EMUI. The upgrade to Oreo and EMUI 8.0 will come, although we still don't know when.

Existing bloatware, such as games, can be easily uninstalled. And you'll find the same interface that's on other Huawei devices . The software runs smoothly and offers features such as the Twin App, Clone Phone and Eye Protection, which Huawei fans will already be familiar with. The Mate 10 Lite is fast and offers the same experience that you'll find on the brand's other devices.

To be more specific, I had the impression that every now and then, when you open apps or scroll through menus, the device will stop and have to think half a second longer. That's nothing limiting, it's just a small detail you'll notice when you're used to using high-end devices. But for a smartphone in this price category, there's nothing to criticize.

The position of the fingerprint reader on the body brought back memories of the Huawei P9 for me. You can use it as a shortcut to take pictures and record videos. This is an option that I personally find convenient that was lost with the P10.

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The fingerprint reader is quick and easy to reach. / © NextPit

Huawei Mate 10 Lite performance

The Mate 10 Lite is a mid-range device and its technical specifications immediately make that clear on paper. There's an in-house processor, the Kirin 659 octa-core Cortex-A53, supported by 4GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 64GB of internal memory. By inserting a microSD you can expand it to up to 256GB of internal memory.

The Mali T830 MP2 GPU takes care of graphics. The differences with the Mate 10 Pro, needless to say, are obvious, but that's normal. The device doesn't come with an artificial intelligence unit.

The Mate 10 Lite responds quickly when you switch between apps, but when you launch demanding games you'll need to be patient with loading times. You can play titles like Asphalt 8 without any problems. In short, in everyday use the Mate 10 Lite will not disappoint .

Below are the results of our benchmark tests:

Huawei Mate 10 Lite benchmark results

  3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.1 3D Mark Sling Shot ES 3.0 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited ES 2.0 Geekbench CPU - Single-Core Geekbench CPU - Multi-Core PC Mark Work Performance PC Mark Storage
Huawei Mate 10 Lite 402 622 12324 912 3580 4675 7001  

Huawei Mate 10 Lite audio

I had no problem with reception when using the Mate 10. People's voices are clear during calls. With just a single speaker , music and games reproduce sound well, but are a bit weak. The audio experience, however, is what you'd expect from a mid-range device. It's nothing more, nothing less.

When I connected the supplied headphones or my Bluetooth headset, I didn't have any problems and the sound was clear. 

Huawei Mate 10 Lite camera

The Mate 10 Lite stands out from the crowd because it comes with a total of four cameras . There's two in the rear, which are 16MP with f/2.2 and 2MP, and two in the front, with 13 MP with f/2,0 and 2MP with a flash. The 2MP sensors focus on depth of field and the front cameras are configured for selfies. The devices don't come with an optical image stabilizer. The front flash adjusts the light with the aim of highlighting natural features like skin, which you can still tweak by adjusting the beauty effect manually. If you love selfies, you'll have a lot of fun with the Mate 10 Lite.

The most interesting aspect of the camera, in my opinion, is the use of the bokeh effect both in the front and the rear. And the results are pleasing. Normal shooting is ordinary, and if you don't hold your smartphone in place and the lighting conditions aren't great, you'll get blurred shots with less detail.

The camera app is simple to use and allows you to access settings and modes with a side swipe. There's a Pro mode, which works for both photos and videos, as well as HDR, panorama and night modes. You can also create a timelapse. As is the case with the P10, there are functions dedicated to moving images. You can also shoot videos in FHD at 1080p. 

Luca appreciated the effects that Huawei added on the Mate 10 Lite camera. / © NextPit

As always, we asked our expert Stefan to take a look at the camera in more detail and here's his opinion:

"In bright environments the Mate 10 Lite offers solid images with beautiful colors, good detail and a reasonable white balance. There's no HDR mode and when there is strong contrast, the resulting photos end up with blurred or overexposed areas.

Low-light environments are challenging for the Mate 10 Lite. Despite the fact that it's unknown which modules are used, the 16MP Sony modules on the market have rather small pixels. Small pixels mean less light is captured and therefore more sensitivity and noise. An aperture of f/2.2 on the main sensor won't help you there.

When you're forced to use an ISO higher than 800, there's a great deal of noise reduction. On the one hand, this results in images that are quite clean, with sharp details and acceptable colors. On the other hand, however, the edges will show some imperfections. The color reproduction is quite good, even at high ISO speeds.

With portrait mode, the picture quality in dimly lit environments decreases (more noise and less detail). In general, the Mate 10 uses fast shutter speeds because it doesn't have an image stabilizer. The lowest speed we found was 1/13, which requires firm hands and a subject that doesn't move.

The 13 MP sensor does a good job, even if the photos are softer than those taken in the same conditions with the main lens. In high contrast areas, the dynamic range isn't great."

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A dual camera in the front and in the back. / © NextPit

Huawei Mate 10 Lite battery

The battery is equipped with 3340 mAh, which doesn't disappoint. It offers a full day of autonomy even with intensive use (photos, videos, social networks, calls, continuous Whatsapp, emails, video and music playback). The device comes with power saving modes (normal or ultra), which you can activate when you need them. In the settings you can also see which apps are consuming the most energy in the background. In short, on the software side there are necessary tools to understand and manage consumption in the best possible way.

In the benchmark tests, the Mate 10 Lite achieved decent autonomy with 7 hours and 20 minutes (brightness set at 50%, no Wi-Fi or data connection active).

Huawei Mate 10 Lite technical specifications

Final verdict

For 450 dollars you can get a phablet in your pocket with a premium look. In daily use, however, you'll be reminded that it's a mid-range device that can offer you good performance.

The Mate 10 Lite is different from the competition, when you consider other members of the Huawei family such as the P10 Lite, which has four cameras instead of two and that has wider edges. For these reasons, it's worth considering the Mate 10 Lite if you're interested in a mid-range smartphone, even more so once it's price drops.  

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Jessica Murgia

Jessica Murgia

Italian editor and Android lover: with her, all the most intimate secrets of Android will be revealed! Chronic traveler, a lover of good wine and good food, Jessica is crazy for shopping and passionate about technology! What's never missing in her bag? A book, an MP3 player, her Android smartphone and an external battery!

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