India’s budget smartphone segment is the most active and decisive one right now, with a plethora of phone makers trying to dethrone Xiaomi and seize the pole position. Well, the Chinese giants are cluttering the market with new and updated smartphones every couple of months. Honor is leading the pack here by following up its budget effort, Honor 8C with the Honor 10 Lite, which we’re here to talk about.
The Honor 10 Lite (starts at Rs 13,999) picks up where the Honor 8C left off, building on the same design and upgrading the materials and screen for a more modern vibe. It also takes cues from the Honor 10 and looks really good. Honor was kind to send out a Blue variant of the smartphone to the Beebom office and here are my thoughts on the device, after having used it extensively for more than a week.
Honor 10 Lite: Specifications
But before we delve into my experiences with the device, let’s take a peek at the specs table for the Honor 10 Lite:
|Dimensions||154.8 x 73.6 x 8 mm|
|Display||6.21-inch Full-HD+ IPS LCD, with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio|
|Processor||octa-core Hilsilicon Kirin 710|
|Internal Storage||64GB, expandable up to 512GB via microSD card|
|Rear Camera||13MP (f/1.8) + 2MP depth sensor, single LED flash|
|Front Camera||24MP (f/2.0)|
|Operating System||Android 9 Pie-based EMUI 9|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, microUSB|
|Sensors||rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, accelerometer, proximity, compass|
|Battery||3,400mAh, 5V/2A adapter|
|Colors||Sky Blue, Sapphire Blue, Midnight Black|
Honor 10 Lite: What’s in the Box
Honor recently made a minor yet delightful change to its packaging and we now see the device on the box itself. Here’s everything you will find inside the Honor 10 Lite box:
- Honor 10 Lite (without a doubt!)
- 5V/2A charging adapter
- Micro USB charging cable
- Silicone case
- SIM ejector tool
- Information leaflets
One thing I particularly like about mid-range phones is that they now come with a pre-applied screen protector. A great touch for budget consumers.
Honor 10 Lite: Design and Build
Right from the get-go, Honor 10 Lite looks like a premium smartphone. The glass-like finish on the rear and dewdrop notch on the front will capture your interest and they don’t make it feel like a mid-range device. The smartphone borrows design cues from its elder sibling, the Honor 10, as well as the affordable Honor 8C that I reviewed earlier last year.
The rear panel on Honor 10 Lite looks like glass, but unlike the Redmi Note 7 (which is yet to arrive in India) it has an all-plastic build which has been treated to look glossy and reflective, similar to the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2. It’s true to Honor’s design language and gradient colors, which is something I have come to love over the past year.
The Honor 10 Lite looks absolutely stunning and matches up to its competitors. However, as is the case with glossy polycarbonate phones, it’s also a fingerprint magnet and scratches really easily. Our unit already has a lot of micro-scratches all over, so I suggest using that case provided in the box.
I have been using the Honor 10 Lite for over a week, and the in-hand feel of the smartphone is perfect. It carries forward the curved, lightweight, and comfortable build of the Honor 8C, including the placement of its 13MP+2MP dual cameras, fingerprint sensor, and the branding on the rear. The Honor 10 Lite is easy to grip and the metal frame around the edges offers more sturdiness to the overall build. The fingerprint sensor on the rear is also quite snappy.
However, the one major aspect where the Honor 10 Lite and Honor 8C differ is when you turn the smartphones over. Gone is the big notch and Honor insignia on the huge chin, which have been replaced with a petite and non-intrusive dewdrop notch housing a 24MP selfie camera, and a smaller bottom chin. This gives it a much cleaner look and I find it to be perfect for 2019.
The earpiece has now been pushed to the very top and the notification LED resides in the bottom bezel. The power button and volume rocker sitting above it on the right are sufficiently clicky, the left side is totally clean, the bottom houses the microUSB charging port, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the speaker grill, and the SIM slot is found at the top.
Honor 10 Lite: Display
Well, I’m not mincing any words when I say that the display on the Honor 10 Lite is simply gorgeous. It may not be an AMOLED display but instead, a 6.21-inch Full-HD+ LCD IPS screen with a dewdrop notch that’s my favorite implementation for the notch to date.
While most of my peers feel a more curvy notch, as seen on the OnePlus 6T, looks more fluid, I find the Essential-like notch here to be fabulous as well. It offers a screen-to-body ratio of over 90%, thanks to the trimmed chin as well, and that’s enough for me.
The display sports a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, along with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, which has also become the norm for large notched phones over the past year. Speaking of the quality here, well, the Full-HD screen is nothing short of brilliant. It offers great color reproduction, gets super bright in direct sunlight for you to be able to see the Maps or scroll through your Instagram feed on the move.
I, however, disliked the dark transparent layer on the notification bar (easily visible on light wallpapers) as it ruins the almost perfect look of the device. The rounded corners don’t look too off here, and I’m relieved as it was something that kept bugging me on the Honor 8C as the text and icons disappeared into the edges.
Further, as Honor boasts, this display is also certified by TÜV Rheinland and it will be super comfortable to use Honor 10 Lite at night-time, without having to lose sleep. You will need to turn on Eye Care mode from the settings to enable it, and you will have a great time with the display here. It’s immersive and one of the best among all mid-range phones in the Rs 15,000 price segment.
Honor 10 Lite: User Interface
We’ve stepped foot into 2019 and I’m happy to see that Honor 10 Lite comes backed by Android 9 Pie-based EMUI 9. Yes, it’s not really something to boast about, but once you learn about the fragmented state of the Android ecosystem, well, you know that it’s surely a thing to celebrate.
EMUI is one of the better Android custom ROMs out there and I’ve always had a pleasant time when I switch over to an Honor/Huawei phone from my Android One-backed Nokia 7 Plus. EMUI comes with a myriad of features, with your Google News Feed on the right, an option to bring back the app drawer (what a relief) and MIUI-like navigation gestures, which I don’t really like. There are a couple other navigation options available as well, so you can take a pick from them too.
While you would expect Android 9 Pie to bring AI features in tow, like Adaptive Brightness or Adaptive Battery and Digital Wellbeing tools, they’re nowhere to be found on the Honor 10 Lite. EMUI has its own granular controls for these features.
Huawei has built its own Digital Wellbeing clone, i.e. Digital Balance. It offers exactly the same set of features, such as screen time, app limits, and bedtime mode as well, which is kind of awesome, I guess. You also get facial recognition on board here and it’s really fast in daylight conditions, but falls face-first in low-light conditions.
Honor 10 Lite: Performance
The performance of the Honor 10 Lite is consistent for the most part, however, it takes a bit of a nosedive when you’re operating it hastily, or have too many apps opened or playing heavy games such as PUBG Mobile. We will talk about all of this in a little detail below, but before that, let’s get the hardware specs out of the way.
The Honor 10 Lite is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 980 chipset, designed in-house by its parent Huawei, coupled with up to 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The two options offered by the company are enough, but I would’ve loved to see a 128GB variant too. Coming back to the performance, well, the chipset here is capable enough and would be able to handle most of the tasks you throw at it.
The app-opening times are fast, multi-tasking is usually a breeze but Honor 10 Lite is a little strict with memory management and that could be troublesome for some users. You’ll mostly experience no lags or stutters in the UI and both the scrolling, as well as the touch response are good. It offers a complete and satisfactory for the most part.
Turning our attention to gaming, Honor 10 Lite isn’t designed for heavy gaming (for someone who’s looking to play PUBG Mobile at the highest graphics settings) but it should be sufficient for casual gaming. The company certainly has GPU Turbo, a framework to boost gaming performance, baked into the Honor 10 Lite but it cannot just come in and do wonders here.
I played PUBG Mobile, which takes up medium settings by default, on the Honor 10 Lite each evening and I found that it runs decently. You may notice a few frame drops when you’re caught in a firefight (it can be frustrating) and textures might not load properly, but that shouldn’t really affect your gameplay heavily. Just turn down the graphics to low to produce the best results.
I know PUBG Mobile is the only game most of you guys care about these days, but I also tested out Asphalt 9 and Mortal Combat X on Honor 10 Lite. Well, my verdict is that you shouldn’t expect a passable gaming experience here but the daily usage would be almost buttery smooth.
Honor 10 Lite: Benchmarks
Though we’ve already shed light on the performance on the Honor 10 Lite and we know it is not going to disappoint, well, still here are some of the popular benchmark numbers for those who give it a ton of weight. The Honor 10 Lite has a single- and multi-core score of 1530 and 5238 on Geekbench, whereas the Kirin 710 scores over 120,000 on the AnTuTu test bench.
When you compare these figures to the Honor 10 Lite’s direct competitors, well, we found the device sitting smack dab in the middle of the Snapdragon 636-powered Redmi Note 6 Pro and the Snapdragon 660-powered ZenFone Max Pro M2. The former’s AnTuTu score is around 116,000 whereas the latter sits near 130,000, so it’s fair to say that Kirin 710 is quite powerful and will handle all the tasks you throw at it.
Honor 10 Lite: Cameras
Cameras have now become an important factor for when you’re making a buying decision. The Honor 10 Lite packs in the same dual rear-camera module as the Honor 8C, including the 13MP (f/1.8) primary sensor and the 2MP depth sensor. Well, there’s not much more you can expect from a budget phone but Honor still offers a 24MP (f/2.0) camera on the front to help capture some stunning selfies.
I spent the better half of the last week with this smartphone and well, the cameras on the Honor 10 Lite are probably the least impressive aspect here. I remember I liked the looks of the Honor 8C too but the cameras there were lackluster and I just don’t want to repeat myself but the same is the case here. The photos captured using the Honor 10 Lite aren’t really good. You can check out some of the samples we clicked right here:
Honor 10 Lite Camera Samples: Daylight
The photos captured from the Honor 10 Lite in daylight look vivid and beautiful, thanks to the AI working its magic in the background. It identifies the objects and adjusts the colors accordingly, mostly making the photos look a little oversaturated. The photos clicked are sharp and have decent detail, all of which seems lost even if you zoom in a bit. It will, however, work out in your favor if you post to social media platforms often.
Honor 10 Lite Camera Samples: Low Light
The low-light and artificial light scenarios are where the Honor 10 Lite takes a backseat. It does capture the scene well, it illuminates it too, but the details are all lost in the process. The low light photos generally look like oil paintings when you zoom in, which is a sign of the sensor not capturing enough detail. The shadows are also often too much, and contrast in the resulting images is off the mark.
Honor 10 Lite Camera Samples: Selfies/ Portraits
As for the selfies and portraits, well, the photos captured using the front camera have excessive beautification going on that smoothens out the skin a lot. This happens even when the beauty mode is off, which only suggests how artificial the skin tone is going to look when you activate it.
The portrait photos, on the other hand, have good edge detection with a natural-looking blur and the pictures clicked look good here. However, the phone falters when two people are in the frame, blurring out one of the faces.
Honor 10 Lite Camera Samples: Night Mode
Finally, Honor has also baked a night mode into this sub-Rs 15,000 smartphone and no, there’s no need for it here, as it doesn’t work wonders. The Honor 10 Lite would certainly capture more light in this mode, but you have to wait a good 5 seconds and the photos will look too bright, with the painting effect.
Honor 10 Lite: Video Samples
The Honor 10 Lite is capable of capturing up to 1080p videos at 60fps, which is a great addition to this budget phone on the company’s part. The smartphone also packs in EIS (Electronic Image stabilization) support, so the videos captured are stable but you can easily notice the wobble here. It isn’t the most stabilized video but it’ll get the work done:
Honor 10 Lite: Audio and Telephony
The bottom-firing speaker on the Honor 10 Lite is pretty good and gets really loud. The sound output isn’t the best though, it’s a bit tinny and the high-pitched instruments take over the vocals, thus, disrupting the experience. The sound output is flat with no bass either, and I’m not its biggest fan.
Further, I had been using the Honor 10 Lite with my primary Jio SIM and the network, as well as call reception, have been good. The company boasts that it uses AI to enhance the quality but I didn’t really notice anything out of the ordinary.
As for the audio output from the 3.5mm headphone jack, which a lot of you, readers, are concerned about on budget phones and ask us regularly, well, it’s quite decent for the price. It’s not tuned by AKG or anything, so don’t expect too much but it’s perfect for your daily use. I used the Realme Buds to test on the Honor 10 Lite, in case you are wondering.
Honor 10 Lite: Connectivity
Connectivity is one aspect where the Honor 10 Lite has improved over the Honor 10. The latter was a great phone, but it included only a dual nano-SIM card tray with no memory card support. The Honor 10 Lite fixes the same with the inclusion of a hybrid dual-SIM tray. It can either hold 2 nano-SIM cards or a SIM card and microSD card to expand storage up to 512GB.
The smartphone also supports the Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac standard, which means you can connect to faster 5GHz networks with it. The familiar connectivity options such as Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS (for navigation), NFC, and more are present here. The lack of the infrared sensor, which seldom comes in handy to control smart TVs or air conditioners, especially when you can’t find the remote, is saddening.
Honor 10 Lite: Battery Life
The Honor 10 Lite packs inside a modest-sized 3,400mAh battery, which is the same as the Honor 10. And well, the similarity doesn’t end there as the battery life is almost exactly the same as well.
I’m not going to lie, I’m a heavy smartphone user who not only sticks to calls, WhatsApp, and a bit of browsing. I stream music all day, have Twitter and Instagram active every so often, and play PUBG Mobile before heading home. And if that feels too much, add a ton of YouTube consumption after that.
Well, after all of this, I was still able to get an average of 5 hours of screen on time, which is quite good for me. The Honor 10 Lite also didn’t deplete much, only about 25%, during 1.5 hours of PUBG gameplay at 70% brightness. You can, however, manage the battery drain with the help of features such as the power saving mode, smart resolution and a better look at what apps are using your battery in the background.
I had about 10% of charge left before I plugged back the Honor 10 Lite, that brings us to the charging aspect here. The device does not come decked with a 22.5W power adapter that you get with its elder sibling. You only get a 10W (5V/2A) charger in the box. This means there’s no fast-charging support here, but the provided charger juices it up from 0% to 75% in about an hour and 25 minutes, which is solid.
Honor 10 Lite: Is it Honorable Enough?
We’ve now approached the most important and conclusive section of the review, i.e. the judgment section. The judgment for whether you should buy the Honor 10 Lite or not. I would never say that Honor 10 Lite (starts at Rs 13,999) is a bad device or that you should avoid it, well, because it is not. The device comes laden with modern quirks like a dewdrop notch, a glass finish, Android 9 Pie out of the box, and offers solid performance at a budget price.
All of this makes the Honor 10 Lite a perfect candidate for someone’s who is planning to get a modern mid-range phone in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment. However, I cannot stress this enough, you will have to compromise on the camera front a little. The picture you click won’t even match Redmi Note 6 Pro standard at times, which brings me to all the alternatives for the Honor 10 Lite.
And obviously, if you are looking for an all-around great performer but don’t mind a bland design then the Redmi Note 6 Pro (starts at Rs 13,999) is perfect for you. The Realme U1 (starts at Rs 10,999) or Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 (starts at Rs 12,999) should be your pick if you want a modern look but can compromise a little on the software and camera front respectively. And finally, if you can wait out your smartphone purchase, then the Redmi Note 7 is said to be coming to India soon and it’s going to be the Redmi device we’ve all been waiting for in 2019.
- Gorgeous build
- Stellar in-hand feel
- Beautiful display
- Powerful speaker
- Fast biometric locks
- Fingerprint magnet
- Scratch prone
- Inferior cameras
- Micro USB charging
SEE ALSO: Asus ZenFone Max Pro M2 Review: The Best Budget Smartphone to Buy?
Honor 10 Lite Review: Bad Cameras Really Hurt!
In a world now saturated with Redmi and ZenFones, Honor is trying its best to offer a device that checks all the right boxes. The Honor 10 Lite has a standout design, modern waterdrop notch, and even the latest software features out of the box but still, it’s doomed because of the lackluster cameras – a long-running shortcoming in budget Honor phones.
I feel Honor yet again has a looker at its hand, but a few chinks in its armor are hindering it from becoming a great smartphone that I would definitely want to pick over all other options. So, will you be picking up the Honor 10 Lite or you got a better option in mind? Let us know your opinions in the comments down below.
Buy Honor 10 Lite from Flipkart (starts at Rs 13,999)
Design and Build
Audio and Telephony
Value for Money
Among the crowd of Redmi, Realme, and ZenFones in the sub-Rs 15,000 segment, the Honor 10 Lite is trying its best to hold its ground. However, the camera performance is still proving to be the toughest point for the company to fix, which takes the shine off a very good phone otherwise. It's a smartphone you can buy for looks and good mid-range performance.