Huawei P9 Lite Smartphone Review

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Huawei P9 Lite is the latest entrant in the P9 lineup. This version features a slightly different size and specs while the certain features remain intact so as to reminiscent the original flagship.

Huawei has supplemented the P9 series with a smartphone that may be termed as a downgrade owing to the evident cuts made. I must admit that P9 lite has got nothing on P9 but for its marked price, I can assertively say that it offers more than many smartphones within that price range.

Talking of the telecoms giant, there appears to be a slight problem; some of us still need some vocal warm-ups before pronouncing the name ‘Huawei’. Few say ‘hooway’, most ‘Hooowaway’, some ‘Hu-Are-Wei’ while to others it is ‘Wah-Way’, either way we get it.

Time to look at the good, the bad and the ugly and whether it is a worthy successor of P8 Lite:

Damage: 27,000 kshs

What You Need to Know

  • Android 6 Marshmallow
  • 5.2-inch display packing 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • 13MP primary Camera with LED flash, 8 MP secondary Camera
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 4G, Bluetooth v4.1, microUSD v2.0, 3.5mm earpiece jack
  • Processor-Kirin 650, octa-core, 64-bit processor
  • Memory-16GB ROM expandable by up to 256GB, 2GB or 3GB RAM,
  • Battery-3000mAH non-removable
  • Fingerprint Scanner-Yes

What we Think You Need to Know

Design and Display

Display is impressive, Design, nothing new really. The P9 Lite comes with a vibrant, saturated and bright display along with impressive viewing angles. This is not a very common combination in many mid-range smartphones. The handset features a 5.2-inchdisply, a 1080 x 1920 full HD resolution and a 424 pixel density. Color representation and brightness are good. The colors are vibrant and quite accurate and the user reserves the autonomy to tune the color temperature according to preference.

Some corners have, however, been cut with regard to the display glass. Huawei opted for a simple cover yet the Gorilla Glass 4 would have been a better option.

The InCell Technology was employed leaving no gap between the display and glass cover. This is good news for those whose environment is dusty since chances that dust will accumulate are slim plus it does look good. However, kindly invest in a screen protector if you are one of those with a history of dropping phones.

The tagline New Style of Look is a little misleading. The P9 Lite design resembles that of the rest of P9 series. Yet, some strategic cuts have been made; hence, the competitive price. First, the handset is encrusted in a metal frame with a polycarbonate back. While the rear is lodged in a plastic cover, this is not easily noticeable since the coating has a metallic look.

Huawei was evidently on a budget owing to the choice of materials: thrifty is actually the correct word to use. The big price difference from predecessors can be largely attributed to this. There is an evident difference between P9’s aluminum unibody and that of P9 Lite. Despite this, I can describe the latter as elegant and feels good on the palm.

An aspect that further makes the phone fit the description of a downgrade is the narrow band fitted on the upper section of the rear. To keep it within budget, the band does not house a Leica camera like P9 but a 13MP casual camera with LED flash. A detailed review of the camera can be found in the camera section.Fingerprint scanner is comparable to that of P9 and the device comes in black, white and gold.

Performance

The performance package must have been carefully-thought out and designed. It is good even though it cannot compare to that of P9. The gadget packs the new HiSilicon Kirin 650 consisting of an octa-core ARM Cortex A53 CPU. The processor is further endowed with the Mali T830 graphics chip, an expandable 16GB ROM and 2GB or 3GB RAM. This is a nice set of features and that may explain why P9 Lite is fast. The 3B RAM version can handle heavy apps and multitask without being overwhelmed or lag.  This is not the case with the 2GB RAM since it is a bit slow and may lag slightly when operating heavy apps.

P9 Lite allows you to comfortably play your videos, most games, open several apps and switch between several of them. Unlike some mid-range devices from Infinix, you do not have to worry about overheating: it only gets acceptably warm after sessions of heavy use.

Although P9 Lite rocks half the flash memory of P9, we will take it! Such capacity is ample for most users, and before you whine just know that it is hard to get a handset like P9 Lite at such a price.

Camera(s)

The Leica dual camera has been replaced by a more casual 13MP main camera. The camera does not rock the dual camera system and it is prudent to attribute this to the slashed prices. Despite this downgrade, I can afford to live with the changes. This is perhaps the most subtle downgrade in specifications when compared to P9. However, the rear camera captures descent photos in most lighting conditions. In poor lighting conditions, the quality of the images deteriorates, not that I expected different results anyway.

The camera may be one of its most outstanding features but does not fit the description of a sharp flagship camera. While it emerges competitive in its segment, there are a few mid-range devices that can outperform it.

Although it struggles in low light, this should not be a deal breaker since most phones within this price range struggle too. The 13 MP Sony BSI camera can comfortably meet the needs of most users particularly those who are not very specific on whether it is an improvement from predecessor or not.

The selfie lover will also be able to capture okay images thanks to the 8MP camera. The images are not as detailed as the camera resolution suggests but they are not that bad. Comparing P9 and P9 Lite images, it is evident that the Leica features were helpful since the latter lacks sharpness found in P9 camera.

Over time, however, I have noticed that the camera was a little slower and this meant missing some moments. This comes as no surprise though.Despite these snags, I would describe the camera as solid considering its Pro features and friendly price.

Battery Life

It is acceptable. The 3000mAh battery capacity is the same as that of its flagship variant. This is one of the few features that have not been downgraded. The battery life is okay and lasted for 10 hours on heavy web browsing, gaming, Whatsapp, and video playback.

I was, however, a bit disappointed with the charging features. While this handset has the capacity to support two amps and 10 watts of power from a charging system, the company opted for one amp and five watt power resulting in extra charging time. Not good.

An interesting feature has to be the battery manager which gives users the option of three power plans. Each of these has a unique degree of management of certain phone features. A user can determine which apps should remain active when the phone is in sleep mode or other modes.

Final Verdict

There has been noticeable downgrade in P9 Lite when compared to its predecessor. Despite this, the handset sports a well-crafted package with weaknesses that can be overlooked. The display and design give the impression of a well-crafted mid-tier smartphone. Most Huawei smartphones lack first-rate features; hence, we have to look closer if we are to uncover serious flaws.

A worthy successor? Well, I would not say exactly yes. Let’s be clear on one thing though: the downgrade does not result into a shoddy product since P9 Lite is a solid middle-tier smartphone. The price is quite competitive and it serves as a major selling point given that there has been some software and hardware downgrade.

So Rad

  • Good camera
  • Impressive processing power
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Competitive price
  • Impressive battery life

Makes us Sad

  • Slow charging
  • Simple glass cover

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