HONOR, in a global scale, is going through a big change. We saw their magnificent HONOR View20 – which we loved – is selling like hotcakes. As for the mid-range segment, we have the HONOR 8X, the HONOR 10 Lite, and now with the HONOR 20 Lite. It is also known as the HONOR 10i in certain countries. Names aside, we’re calling it the HONOR 20 Lite in Malaysia.

How does the HONOR 20 Lite perform and compete in the dense mid-ranger smartphone market? Let’s find out in this in-depth review.

Unboxing

The HONOR 20 Lite comes with the same packaging color scheme as the HONOR 10 Lite – but of course, it now has the new updated HONOR logo and font as well.

HONOR 20 Lite

At the back we have no specs list and again, certifications are laid on a row there. Also again, the TÜV Rheinland certification is there as well.

HONOR 20 Lite

Inside our review unit, we found the charger, a microSD cable, and also the HONOR 20 Lite itself – with a screen protector pre-installed. We were told that there will be a TPU case included in the retail package.

HONOR 20 Lite

The all new HONOR 20 Lite actually looks and feels quite similarly to the 10 Lite. I still like its super lightweight body, the comfortable curved edges from the back which makes it extremely pleasant to hold. If you held the Xiaomi Mi A2 before, then you know exactly what I mean here.

HONOR 20 Lite

Then comes the fancy back design of their phones. Like any other HONOR smartphones, the back of the HONOR 20 Lite now comes with the beautiful reflections that we have seen on the HONOR 8 and also the HONOR 10 Lite – but with a twist.

HONOR 20 Lite

Introducing the Phantom Blue color. Underneath the mesmerizing reflections, the HONOR 20 Lite now comes with a gradient color from purple at the bottom to blue at the top. This creates a really beautiful color, by the way.

The HONOR 20 Lite also comes in Phantom Red color as well whereby the color gradient is from purple to red.

HONOR 20 Lite

But then again, with beautiful reflections come ugly lint and fingerprints. The HONOR 20 Lite is just a fingerprint magnet. All my pocket lint will be stuck around the perimeter of the camera – which I don’t even bother cleaning.

With most of the other smartphones around this price range, the HONOR 20 Lite does not have 5GHz AC WiFi support. Not exactly a problem given that 2.4GHz does indeed have better range.

HONOR 20 Lite

The overall ports of the phone is pretty much the same comparing with the HONOR 10 Lite. Starting off with the right side, we have the volume rocker and also the power button.

HONOR 20 Lite

At the left side we have nothing at all. It’s extremely shiny when looked from the left side, though.

HONOR 20 Lite

The top is where we’ll find the the secondary microphone and also the card tray. Once again it is showing similarities with the HONOR 10 Lite as it has a nano SIM + hybrid slot.

HONOR 20 Lite

At the bottom of the HONOR 20 Lite is where we’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack, micro USB port, and also the speaker grill. Nothing extra and nothing short of what we’re used to.

The new HONOR 20 Lite comes with the exact same display as the HONOR 10 Lite too. A 6.21-inch display with a waterdrop notch and 2340×1080 pixels in resolution.

HONOR 20 Lite

They both have the same display technologies too – with the COF technology to hide the display driver under the display itself, even has the same bezels and waterdrop notch.

The display is once again really saturated – especially when looking at the home screen and the wallpaper.

Like the HONOR 10 Lite, the reds on this display is once again, much punchier than the greens and blues.

This is HONOR’s first ever smartphone with a triple rear-facing camera setup. It is quite interesting to see that because of how mid-range smartphones get refreshed faster, they always get the new features first. The HONOR 20 Lite is no different here.

The HONOR 20 Lite comes with these cameras:

  • Triple rear-facing cameras (top to bottom)
    • Ultrawide: 8MP f/2.2 fixed focus
    • Main: 24MP f/1.8 with PDAF
    • Depth sensor: 2MP f/2.4
  • Selfie camera
    • 32MP f/2.0 fixed focus

HONOR 20 Lite

As always, click here to visit our full album at Shutterfly with the full resolution images alongside all the metadata. Though, the metadata on our HONOR 20 Lite is unusable gibberish.

Rear-facing cameras

Let’s start off with our usual places to take pictures. Once again, the camera in bright light condition is great, and turning on the AI mode does improve the dynamic range.

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 1
Without AI.
Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 2
With AI.

Now, the HONOR 20 Lite also comes with an ultrawide angle camera – which is new. The same logic applies here – AI has a better dynamic range but the ultrawide angle camera itself does have a smaller aperture.

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 3
Without AI.
Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 4
With AI.

Then we had some fun and take some other shots around the deck. I am honestly, quite impressed by the camera overall. Though the ultrawide camera does have a different color profile.

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 5

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 6

Also do take note that the ultrawide camera has a fixed focus of about half 100cm.

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 7
Main camera focuses and takes very good pictures.
Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 8
Ultrawide angle camera is darker and has a fixed focus, hence the plant at the back is sharper.

HONOR also automatically fixes the ultrawide angle camera distortion by default. What you see on the ultrawide angle camera is not what you get – so bear that in mind. There is no option to disable this fix for fisheye lens distortion. Some people actually prefer the fisheye lens distortion for a more artistic feel – but no luck with that here.

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 9
Distortion is automatically fixed.

Then comes the night mode. Yes, this is a mid-range smartphone that comes with the long exposure night shot as well. This decreases the megapixel count to 8MP, but the results are impressive.

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 10
Without night mode.
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With night mode.
Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 12
Without night mode.
Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 13
With night mode.

Selfie camera

In terms of the selfie camera, the HONOR 20 Lite can some pretty decent selfie. I have to highlight again that I’m not really a fan of selfies to begin with.

Review - HONOR 20 Lite: Triple camera fun 14

Camera UI

The overall camera UI itself did not change much compared to any other HONOR smartphones in the market, honestly. The only big difference here is the button to swap between the main camera and the ultrawide angle camera.

HONOR 20 Lite camera UI HONOR 20 Lite camera UI

The position of this button could’ve been better as placing it at the side makes it quite difficult to reach. Once again, the camera UI shows the fisheye lens distortion but the software automatically fixes it when the picture is taken.

It dawned upon me as weird when I realized that the HONOR View20 that we love so much is using Magic UI. We thought moving forward, all of the HONOR smartphones will be using Magic UI instead of EMUI. But we’re wrong – the HONOR 20 Lite comes with EMUI 9 instead.

HONOR 20 Lite

It’s using the same software as the HONOR 10 Lite and I’m once again drawing the similarities here. There’s nothing wrong with EMUI in general – but at this point of time, I’d say that it’s nothing special too. Functionally, EMUI works and it works pretty good too. Aesthetically, maybe a little outdated – especially with the lack of a system-wide dark mode.

HONOR 20 Lite performance mode battery

The usual batter saving features are here as well, and surprise, surprise – the HONOR 20 Lite does have a performance mode option here. Does it actually make a difference? Let’s move on to the next section to find out.

The HONOR 20 Lite has a tradeoff in terms of specs compared to the 10 Lite. Though the core specs are the same, the HONOR 20 Lite’s RAM and storage configurations have been bumped up. The specs are as such:

  • 6.21-inch IPS LCD display with 2340×1080 pixels in resolution
    • Waterdrop notch
  • HiSilicon Kirin 710 chipset
    • 4x 2.2GHz Cortex-A73 + 4x 1.7GHz Cortex-A53
    • Mali-G51 MP4 quad-core GPU
  • 4GB RAM
  • 128GB eMMC 5.1 storage
  • 3,400mAh battery
  • Android 9.0 Pie with EMUI 9.0.1 (comes with GPU Turbo 2.0)

With such similar specs, we expect the benchmarks to be more or less the same as well – given that more RAM does indeed help in certain benchmarks and in multitasking.

HONOR 20 Lite 3DMark benchmark HONOR 20 Lite VRMark benchmark HONOR 20 Lite Geekbench benchmark HONOR 20 Lite Antutu benchmark

Not sure if it’s more RAM or EMUI has been optimized further to run better on the Kirin 710 chipset, but I do realize that some of the benchmarks do indeed run better.

Obviously with more RAM, you do get better multitasking capability as well. In day-to-day usage, that 4GB RAM is actually adequate for most users.

The HONOR 20 Lite also comes with performance mode which can be enabled in the battery settings menu – like the HONOR View20. We also did a comparison benchmark with performance mode turned off and on to measure how much of a performance boost we are taking about – but it’s not that much.

HONOR 20 Lite performance mode vs normal mode 3DMark benchmark HONOR 20 Lite performance mode vs normal mode VRMark benchmark HONOR 20 Lite performance mode vs normal mode Geekbench benchmark HONOR 20 Lite performance mode vs normal mode Antutu benchmark

We suggest to turn off the performance mode instead.

Gaming

Honestly, no difference with the HONOR 10 Lite or the HONOR 8X. However as mentioned earlier, the HONOR 20 Lite does come with performance mode. We are going to use it to test the gaming prowess of this phone.

Honkai Impact 3 runs fine at highest settings at 30FPS. Once again, if God Kiana is involved, then please lower the graphical settings as the Kirin 710 found in the HONOR 20 Lite just can’t keep up.

HONOR 20 Lite

Asphalt 9 runs fine at the highest graphical settings too – so no issues on that. I’m honestly impressed by how smooth the gameplay is, actually.

Then comes PUBG Mobile. Balanced graphics at high frame rate with anti-aliasing turned off is all it can do, and I can actually enjoy the game quite well on the HONOR 20 Lite.

The HONOR 20 Lite comes with a 3,400mAh battery – which is pretty adequate given that the Kirin 710 is pretty power efficient to begin with. With that said, the HONOR 10 Lite can still last nearly 11 hours in our standard battery test.

HONOR 20 Lite battery life test

Still, if you are thrifty with the battery, it can last for the whole day.

Charger

HONOR 20 Lite

The HONOR 20 Lite does come bundled with a 5V 2A charger to charge its 3,400mAh battery. Once again, pretty standard.

HONOR 20 Lite battery charging graph

It takes about 33 minutes to reach 50% battery charge and 57 minutes to reach 75% battery charge.

The HONOR 20 Lite, to me, feels the HONOR 10 Lite with more RAM and storage, and have another additional ultrawide camera.

That makes the HONOR 20 Lite unique in its own way. Mesmerizing back, beautiful display with triple rear-facing camera, pretty powerful hardware and lots of storage too.

HONOR 20 Lite

Considering everything that it offers, the price of RM949 is actually justifiable. It’s definitely not the cheapest mid-range smartphone in the market right now, but the most feature-packed in terms of camera. I think it’s a unique proposition.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design & Materials
9
Software
7
Connectivity and ports
7
Screen
9
Performance and gaming
8
Camera
7
Battery and charger
7
Value
7
The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!