A while back, we reviewed the HONOR 8X. That smartphone in itself is aimed towards the mid-range market, but it does have a few big differences compared to the HONOR 10 Lite that we have here today. Though they both have the Kirin 710 chipset, these are two very distinct smartphones.
So what does the HONOR 10 Lite offer as a whole package? Let us take a look in this in-depth review here.
The HONOR 10 Lite comes in a pretty standard packaging that is not that flashy to begin with. Just a blue box with the words “honor 10 Lite”. Fun fact: HONOR just changed their logo, and I guess that the HONOR 10 Lite is still in transition – hence the presence of the old logo on the box itself.
Looking at the back of the box, it’s clean and do not have the specs list of the HONOR 10 Lite printed. However, do pay attention that there is a certification by TÜV Rheinland – that is important.
Opening up the box we can see that the HONOR 10 Lite is wrapped in a very simple plastic bag.
Under the phone, we can find the accessories box. More on this later. Under the accessories box is where we can find the charger and micro USB cable.
Digging out everything, we have the HONOR 10 Lite itself, a charger, a micro USB cable, and also a transparent TPU case. What we don’t have here are the documentations – which is fine by me.
Another thing is that the HONOR 10 Lite already has a film screen protector pre-installed.
Looking from the front, the HONOR 10 Lite looks pretty common like any other smartphones in the market. However, the screen-to-body ratio is over 90% for the HONOR 10 Lite – and that’s because it has this little notch design. More on that later.
Looking at the back of the phone is where we can see the piece of glass at the back of the phone reflects light differently depending on what angle you are looking.
It sort reminds me of what the 2-year old HONOR 8 has – the 15-layer craftsmanship and 3D grating effect which makes every reflection unique.
Not only that, the new HONOR 10 Lite is also thinner on the sides since the back curves towards the front elegantly. It actually feels more like the Xiaomi Mi A2 on the hand compared to any other smartphones in the market – which is feels fantastic on the hand.
There’s something wonderful to see elegant designs of yesteryear being implemented in a much more elegant way.
The included transparent TPU case that is bundled with the HONOR 10 Lite is sufficient to get you started. It is with decent quality and its cutouts are very good. It even makes the buttons very pleasant to be pressed too.
Also, the case itself has a little notch (yes, a notch) for the earpiece at the top. By the way, the HONOR 10 Lite always has a film screen protector pre-installed.
Let us take a look at the ports of the HONOR 10 Lite. It comes with only 2.4GHz WiFi, which means you can only utilize N-WiFi and that means you cannot utilize the complete Unifi Turbo experience if you are beyond 300Mb/s. Fret not though, as you can still get ~170Mb/s on average. And it’s not like you are moving big data back and forth anyway.
We then took out the SIM card tray and see something more conventional – a dedicated SIM 1 slot and another hybrid slot. This is a major difference compared to the HONOR 8X that was launched recently.
At the right side is where we can find the power button and volume button. Pretty standard in terms of button layouts so far.
At the bottom of the phone is where the 3.5mm audio jack, a microphone, the micro USB port, and also the speaker grill are found. I personally prefer 3.5mm audio jacks and for them to be located at the bottom of the phone since I always have my phone inverted in the pocket.
The earpiece – which does not function as a secondary speaker – is located right above the notch.
Unlike many other phones in the market these days that has an ugly iPhone-like notch, the HONOR 10 Lite comes with what we are calling the semi-circle notch. It’s not quite like the waterdrop notch on the OPPO F9 as it is extended downwards.
Its 6.21-inch screen with 2340×1080 pixels in resolution that has a total of over 90% screen-to-body ratio is certainly something worth talking. That is because for some reason, the colors do look like they are really saturated – especially when looking at the home screen and the wallpaper.
I asked our photographer and he told me this – the red color on the HONOR 10 Lite is especially saturated compared to green and blue. Deducing this information, it makes sense since human eyes are most sensitive to the color red. For me, the screen does look good.
The little semi-circle notch is still a notch – but due to its small size and how it is literally occupying as little space as possible, I feel like this particular notch is acceptable. The notification icons are beside the notch – and there is enough space on both sides to show critical notifications as well.
When it comes to games however, the notch will definitely obstruct certain buttons, but the little notch is not that bothersome.
Taking a look at the cameras, the HONOR 10 Lite comes with a total of 2 cameras at the back, and another one that nicely occupies the notch only. The HONOR 10 Lite has two different cutouts at the back for its cameras instead of having a single piece of glass that covers both the cameras. This makes it less prone to breaking – which is something that I absolutely support.
The HONOR 10 Lite’s cameras are as such:
- Rear-facing cameras
- 13MP f/1.8 with PDAF
- 2MP depth sensor
- Selfie camera
- 24MP f/2.0 fixed focus
As usual, you can check out the full album alongside with all metadata at our Shutterfly album.
First off, the rear-facing camera actually great for social media posts. It is still a little noisy under direct sunlight, but generally is sitll okay. The white balance is also something that I personally prefer as it got the colors right.
Speaking of colors, take a look at the AI mode. Once again, turning on AI mode will create a much saturated image overall and has HDR turned on. Depending on the situation, it actually looks better with AI turned on.
The depth sensor does a fantastic job in separating the image as well. Take a look at this little plant.
When it comes to indoor shots however, that’s where the quality of the images taken start to take a toll. The images just looks… somewhat fuzzy and blurry overall.
The camera continues to underperform in low-light shots, showing high amounts of noise and fuzziness. If you’re wondering why the image looks purple, that is because of the ISO being raised too high.
With a 24MP selfie camera but does not have autofocus, the image will never look sharp or pretty enough for a print. However, they are once again very usable for social media.
The camera UI did not change much since the HONOR 8X. Still is the same camera UI here.
The Pro mode on the HONOR 10 Lite can go down to ISO 50 and a shutter speed of 1/4000s to 8 seconds. The shutter speed slider is clunky to say the least – but works.
The overall software experience with the EMUI 9.0.1 is actually no different from what we experienced with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro – granted that there are certain options are removed.
However, the HONOR 10 Lite is clean – there is only a minimal amount of bloat here. Most of them are HONOR’s own utility. Apps like HiCare can be disabled through the settings menu. There are some included 3rd party apps – like Messenger, Netflix, and Camera360 – can be removed.
Once again, there is the option to enable a more traditional home screen whereby there is a drawer instead of having all the apps scattered across pages. There’s also something called HiBoard that can be accessed by scrolling to the leftmost home screen page. It acts like a dashboard for all the utility that EMUI 9.0.1 that offers into a single page.
There’s also something called HiVision that is integrated to EMUI 9.0.1 itself. Essentially, it intelligently identifies objects shown through the camera or on the screen (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and queries it on Amazon or Google. It can even read QR codes for that matter.
It works a lot better now at identifying objects compared to what we experienced on the Mate 20 Pro. Now, Amazon isn’t a particularly popular shopping platform in Malaysia – but we do hope that they integrate Lazada or Shopee or even Taobao/Tmall for that matter.
The HONOR 10 Lite that we have here comes with this list of specs:
- 6.21-inch screen with 2340×1080 pixels in resolution with waterdrop notch
- HiSilicon Kirin 710 chipset
- 4x 2.2GHz Cortex-A73 + 4x 1.7GHz Cortex-A53
- Mali-G51 MP4 quad-core GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB eMMC 5.1 storage
- 3,400mAh battery
- Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI 9.0.1 (comes with GPU Turbo 2.0)
It is here that we truly see where the HONOR 10 Lite differentiates itself from the HONOR 8X. It offers the same premium experience like the HONOR 8X, but curated towards those who do not need the most storage or RAM. You can still play games and browse Facebook without any problems – just that multitasking with the 3GB RAM is a little restricted.
Anyway, as for the benchmarks – we cannot run Antutu or Geekbench on our unit because we don’t know why. It just fails to install. But our other benchmarks run fine – so here are the graphs.
Once again, we can see that we performance is right in between the Snapdragon 660 and Snapdragon 636 chipsets – just like the HONOR 8X. 3DMark’s OpenGL score does seem like an anomaly, though.
Gaming on the HONOR 10 Lite
As for gaming, we tried our 3 games as well. Starting off with Honkai Impact 3. Once again, the Kirin 710 flexes its muscle as it proves to be a powerful mid-range chipset. It can run Honkai Impact 3 at highest settings at 30FPS, but with occasional frame rate dips. However, if you are using the flashy “God Kiana” then please don’t play in highest settings.
Then comes PUBG Mobile. The game automatically sets itself to medium graphics and it actually runs pretty well – like the HONOR 8X. There are occasional frame rate dips as wel, but they are rather far and few between in Sanhok.
With a 3,400mAh battery, it might seem like the battery is somewhat tiny in comparison with many other smartphones in the market these days. Actually – thanks to its efficient chipset, the 3,400mAh can last for quite a long time in our battery test.
UPDATE: We realized that the HONOR 10 Lite’s battery can last for about 10 hours and 8 minutes only. We apologize for this mistake on the graph.
One thing to note here is that the battery test revolves around a single app only. Since the HONOR 10 Lite only has 3GB of RAM, switching between multiple apps mean that there will be apps relaunching constantly and that will tax the CPU even more.
Still, that the HONOR 10 Lite does score surprisingly well in our battery life test even with its 3,400mAh battery.
As for the charger however, the HONOR 10 Lite comes with a pretty basic 5V 2A charger and charges through micro USB port. Nothing too fancy.
It takes around 33 minutes to reach 50% charge and a total of 57 minutes to reach 75% charge. Not too bad, considering that the battery life of the HONOR 10 Lite is quite good to begin with.
Overall, the HONOR 10 Lite is a surprisingly good mid-range device. It still offers something different compared to the HONOR 8X, but still offering a fantastic mid-ranger experience. It excels in gaming – particularly even at games like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9.
Sure, the camera is not that good and the battery capacity is smaller. Multitasking is a bit of a problem since there is only 3GB RAM. And it only has 32GB of internal storage – though you can expand using the microSD card slot. However, that means you’ll either live with 32GB of total storage, or use the dual SIM feature.
For the price of only RM749, you get exceptional value for the HONOR 10 Lite. It’s certainly cheaper than the Realme 2 Pro and the ASUS ZenFone Max Pro (M2) which are using the the Snapdragon 660 chipset while having performance that is comparable.