Huawei wowed one and all with the P20 Pro flagship. It’s a truly stunning piece of hardware, and the company has managed to tone it down for the less premium Huawei P20 Lite, which was also launched yesterday for a more palatable Rs 19,999. The P20 Lite is likely to clash against a host of Huawei sub-brand Honor phones to give the Chinese electronics giant one of those ‘good problems to have’. And from our hands-on with the Huawei P20 Lite, we can tell you Honor phones will have some serious competition.

Design

I don’t know if the “Lite” in the smartphone’s name is literal or metaphorical but the first thought that cropped up in my head while holding the P20 Lite was that it is was indeed very light in spite of the glass construction. As expected, the design is a lot more understated in this case as compared to the Huawei P20 Pro, but it does retain a glass back for that shiny premium look, which unfortunately also attracted fingerprints.

Huawei P20 Lite features two cameras on the back, and also has room for a headphone jack. To accommodate the latter, Huawei has omitted one of the two speakers from the P20 Pro, leaving users with only a single downward-firing speaker.

Huawei P20 Lite Hands-On: Powerful Camera, Striking Build for a Satisfying Price - But no AI

Display

The front of the Huawei P20 Lite carries a 5.84-inch Full HD+ immersive display similar to the P20 Pro and yes – this device comes with a notch too, which can be hidden through software.

Huawei P20 Lite Hands-On: Powerful Camera, Striking Build for a Satisfying Price - But no AI

The display on the Huawei P20 Lite speaks volumes in terms of clarity but is not as bright as the one on P20 Pro. From what it appears, the display is similar to the ones found on Honor 9 Lite or Honor 7X with a taller aspect ratio thanks to the notch. It’s claimed to support 96% color gamut and due to the slightly smaller size has a higher pixel density than the P20 Pro.

Camera

The rear features a 16MP+2MP camera, where the lenses are not Leica-branded like in the P20 Pro. It appears to be the same setup as the Honor 9 Lite, Honor 9i, or Honor 7X. The image quality is is unquestionably good, but there are no AI features here to wow you like you will find on the Redmi Note 5 Pro.

You do get 15 different modes to capture special moments more accurately. This could be a USP of the Huawei P20 Lite’s camera, but we would have to test it more extensively to make a judgement.

Huawei P20 Lite Hands-On: Powerful Camera, Striking Build for a Satisfying Price - But no AI

On the front is a 24-megapixel sensor which produces excellent results. The camera also features face tracking and AR stickers and we managed to try some of them out.

The selfies, however, are plagued by the same over-smoothening as the P20 Pro. The so-called Beauty mode is too aggressive here too.

Huawei P20 Lite Hands-On: Powerful Camera, Striking Build for a Satisfying Price - But no AI

The camera also supports 3D facial recognition and can tune the lighting and the color of the photo based on the orientation of your face. Huawei promises that the “Light Fusion” sensor on the front is likely to produce better low-light selfies, though this couldn’t be tested in our brief time with the phone.

Hardware

The Huawei P20 Lite is equipped with an octa-core Kirin 659 processor – same as other Honor mid-rangers launched during late 2017 or early 2018 in India. The chipset is paired with 4GB of RAM and you get 64GB of storage which can be expanded up to 256GB using a micro SD card.

Huawei P20 Lite Hands-On: Powerful Camera, Striking Build for a Satisfying Price - But no AI

As we noted earlier, there is a headphone jack, but it comes at the expense of the  speaker at the top. However, to enhance the sound quality via wired headphones, Huawei has added a feature called Histen 4.0 which augments the virtual bass boost, and creates a 3D surround sound-like experience.

Huawei P20 Lite Hands-On: Powerful Camera, Striking Build for a Satisfying Price - But no AI

Software

The Huawei P20 Lite runs EMUI 8.0 and unlike the P20 Pro is not updated to the latest version of Android, but runs one run below on on Android Oreo 8.0 instead. There are not many changes in terms of the user experience and UI elements in EMUI 8.0 and EMUI 8.1. Huawei has managed to add some features and that makes up for the slightly older Android version.

Huawei P20 Lite: Pricing and Availability

Just like the Huawei P20 Pro, Huawei P20 Lite will be sold as an Amazon exclusive device in India, starting May 3, 2018. Those keen on buying the smartphone can register themselves via “Notify Me” on Amazon India.

The Huawei P20 Lite is priced at ₹19,999 and should attract buyers looking for a great performer within the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. It is likely to face competition from other Honor devices as it’s very similar in terms of hardware, but will face its stiffest competition from the likes of the Redmi Note 5 Pro (6GB variant) and Asus ZenFone Max Pro.