Huawei P8 Lite (2015) review

Lite in both the name and benefits

Huawei P8 Lite
Huawei P8 Lite

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The 13MP shooter on the back uses a Sony sensor, and the P8 Lite shot good photos in the right lighting conditions. As per the usual, low-light photos were noisy. It takes about two full seconds after pressing the button for photos to process.

Huawei P8 Lite review

The skinned UI once again makes itself known in the stock camera app. There's panorama, HDR, and a "Best photo" mode, which is basically burst mode, and takes several photos in quick succession. "All-focus" attempts to put the entire image in focus, and "Watermark" is pretty self-explanatory.

Huawei P8 Lite review

While snapping a photo took longer than I would have liked, the camera tends to focus very fast, and you can swipe to the left to switch to video mode. One nice feature is the ability to open the camera by simply double tapping the volume button when the screen is turned off. It worked fairly quickly, taking about three seconds.

Huawei P8 Lite review

While not as good as the 8MP front-facing camera on the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, the 5MP camera on the P8 Lite is good enough for the average person. When you switch to the front-facing camera, the camera app automatically goes into "Beauty" mode, which uses some software tricks to give you more of a glow, and smooth out your skin. Sadly, software can't save all of us.

Huawei P8 Lite review

Battery life

With moderate use, I was consistently able to get around 16 hours with a little over 20% battery left. This was with around 2 hours and 30 minutes of screen-on time. However, it's worth mentioning that I had to manually adjust the display brightness, so with auto brightness turned on, I wouldn't expect to get the same numbers.

Huawei P8 Lite review

In our battery rundown test where we loop video at 100% brightness, the Huawei P8 Lite lasted 3 hours and 35 minutes. This was an hour and 20 minutes less than the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, which has a much larger 2,910 mAh battery.

We liked

Being able to quickly access the camera by tapping the volume button twice was a great added feature. Typically, a manufacturer's skin over top of Android can slow a device down, but Huawei managed to keep things running relatively smoothly.

We disliked

Unfortunately, I found there to be more dislikes than likes with the Huawei P8 Lite. The 720p display, while okay, isn't as good as comparable smartphones, and the fact that a new phone launched with Android KitKat is pretty disappointing.

The Lollipop navigation buttons are in bad taste, and the fake speaker grille, while looks good, just adds to that feel of trickery. The UI has been overly customized, and while may suit other folks, just isn't something I can fall in love with. However, I do have to hand it to Huawei for not letting it affect the performance too much.

Final verdict

With the Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 featuring a 5.5-inch 1080p display at the same price, there's really no reason to buy the Huawei P8 Lite. Even with the performance issues of the Idol 3, the better display, dual front stereo speakers, 8MP front-facing camera and better battery life make up for it. Also, there's the OnePlus One, which recently saw a permanent price drop to $249.

However, if a 5.5-inch display is too big for you – which I'd argue to test in person first, as you may just be surprised – the BLU Life One is a very interesting contender for those in the US. At just $100 after its June 19 launch, it'll offer a nearly identical display, rear and front camera, but takes a cut in performance and storage. All considered, the P8 Lite simply can't keep up with the competition.