Huawei P8 Lite (2017) review

Lite in name, but not in nature

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Interface and reliability

  • Runs the latest version of Android
  • Overlaid with Huawei’s feature-packed UI

Not only does the Huawei P8 Lite 2017 benefit from the very latest version of Android – 7.0 Nougat, in case you were wondering – it also showcases Huawei's custom skin, known as Emotion UI 5.0 – or EMUI for short.

Like any other custom Android skin, it sits on top of Google's own software, bringing its own customization and embellishments to the table.

Some of these are quite subtle – such as the way freshly-installed app icons ‘shimmer’ to denote that they're new – while others are more significant, such as the handy way the full settings menu pops out from the left of the screen no matter which settings sub-menu you happen to be in, or the way you can toggle between having all of your apps in a drawer or placed on separate home screens, iOS-style.

EMUI 5.0 also has special gestures associated with the fingerprint scanner, which can be used to perform certain actions. For example, swiping down on the scanner when the phone is unlocked will pull down the notifications shade, and you can move through your photo gallery by swiping from side to side.

The scanner itself is very fast and accurate, and we didn't encounter any issues with getting it to recognise our fingerprints. That might not sound like something to write home about, but budget Android phones do tend to suffer from ropey scanners.

Huawei has also included an ‘eye comfort’ mode, which apes the Night Shift feature of iOS, where blue light is filtered out to present an image which is easier on your eyeballs.

When it comes to customisation, EMUI allows you to tinker with what information appears in the notification shade and the arrangement of the navigation buttons that appear at the bottom of the screen.

To cap it all off, the ‘Smart Assistance’ menu comes loaded with options, such as the ability to flip the phone to mute incoming calls, a scheduled power on/off time and even a floating circular options menu, which includes navigation commands and shortcuts to recent operations.

EMUI also has battery management features, one of which informs you when an app is consuming too much power in the background, all of which adds up to a feature-packed if sometimes slightly cluttered interface.

Movies, music and gaming

  • 1080p screen is good for films and games
  • Internal speaker isn’t great
  • A microSD card is near essential

Having a good quality 1080 x 1920 screen makes a big difference when it comes to digesting movies and games on the go, so the P8 Lite 2017 is a surprisingly versatile media device.

The rock-solid viewing angles and excellent colour replication really bring films and games to life. There were odd times when 3D games stuttered ever so slightly in intense sequences, but overall there's little to grumble about here.

For music, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone socket means you can use your existing cans – Huawei hasn't joined Apple in ditching the connection yet.

If you prefer to listen to your tunes via the phone's built-in mono speaker though then you might find the lack of bass off-putting. As is the case with pretty much any mobile phone speaker, it lacks power and is only really good for talking over speakerphone or playing your ringtone.

Those who like to store as many tunes as possible in their phone's internal memory might find the 16GB of memory limiting, but you can boost this using the second SIM card tray, which doubles as a microSD card slot. 

This is pretty much essential, as the phone's firmware and core apps occupy 6.55GB of the base storage and cannot be deleted.

Performance and benchmarks

  • Performs well in most circumstances
  • Solid benchmark scores

The Huawei P8 Lite 2017 is packing the same HiSilicon Kirin 655 chipset as its stablemate the Honor 6X, as well as the same amount of RAM: 3GB.

This shouldn't come as a massive shock, as the two phones are similarly-priced, and the good news is that the P8 Lite 2017 performs well in a wide range of conditions – no mean feat when you consider that the chipset is having to push pixels on a full HD display.

In benchmark terms, the phone scored 57068 in AnTuTu, while in Geekbench 4 it posted a single-core score of 764 and a multi-core score of 3134.

When you consider this is a sub-£200 (around $245/AU$320) phone, those are quite passable scores, putting the P8 Lite 2017 in the same power bracket as the likes of the Moto G4 Plus, which scored 3047 in Geekbench, and the Honor 6X, which scored 3275.