Huawei P30 Lite Hands-on Review; Value for money with an eye-catching finish

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Huawei’s P30 Pro is a stunning handset, and was a genuine pleasure to review. But at a minimum price of Kes. 99,999/-, it just isn’t for everyone. The P30 is also a possibility, of course, with a lesser specification and a lower price of Kes. 72,999/-. Although if you want an up-to-date Huawei handset at a more affordable price, there’s the 6.15-inch P30 Lite, which costs Kes. 29,999/-. Naturally there’s a much-reduced set of features compared to the Pro and the standard model, but the smartphone is still a very serviceable smartphone.

This new mid-range phone from Huawei has many of the same design cues as its more expensive brothers, though gets by without the power of Leica’s branding.

In the trade-off, the 2x zoom camera is done away with on the Lite, you get a less capable main camera and a less powerful CPU. But at Kes. 29, 999/- the Huawei P30 Lite is a great deal.

An up-side for the Huawei P30 Lite is the availability of the headphone jack, which is now usually missing from top-end phones. The Huawei P30 Pro lacks it but has the USB Type-C headphones.

Just like so many of today’s handsets, the Huawei P30 Lite has a slippery, curved glass back.

Key Features

PerformanceOcta core
Display6.15″ (15.62 cm)
Storage128 GB
Camera24MP + 8MP + 2MP
Battery3340 mAh
Ram4 GB
PriceKes. 29,999.00

Huawei P30 Lite – Design, specs and features

The P30 Lite shares some design similarities with its more expensive brothers, namely that curved rear, vibrant colorways, and triple camera layout. Huawei was one of the original masters of affordable metal and glass phones. You’ll find a few more plastic ones in its line-up today. The P30 Lite’s back is curved glass and the sides are glossy aluminium, while its display borders look as trim as an iPhone XS’s.

The Huawei P30 lite is also wrapped up in an eye-catching color finish. While our P30 Lite review unit came in an elegant and understated Peacock Blue, the P30 Lite comes in two other colors: Pearl White and Midnight Black.

The rear of the phone holds a triple camera module just like the more expensive P30, though the cameras no longer bear the Leica branding.

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The P30 Lite also sheds the in-screen scanning solution present in its more expensive brothers, opting instead for a physical fingerprint scanner on the rear. 

As for the display the P30 Lite sports a 6.15-inch FHD+ IPS display, with 3D curved glass on it and packs a 2312 x 1080 resolution . There’s a small notch at the top, and Huawei has hidden the earpiece near the top bezel to give the phone as much screen real-estate as possible. This is a switch from the OLED Huawei has used in the other P30s.

The much lower price makes the P30 Lite a more accessible phone than the spectacular P30 Pro I used just before this review. Its shape is more accommodating too. Several millimetres shorter and narrower, it fits in hands and pockets much more easily.

The devices side buttons are plastic-coated rather than metal, there’s a tiny sliver of plastic between the front glass and aluminium, and there’s no official water resistance. Please don’t go fishing with this phone.

I may have mentioned this earlier but it’s worth mentioning again, the Huawei P30 Lite has a headphone jack!

Huawei P30 Lite – Software and Performance

The Huawei P30 Lite runs Android 9.0 and has the same custom Huawei interface as phones like the P30 Pro. The Huawei P30 Lite does not have one as standard, but you can add a drawer in settings. Huawei does like to include its Gallery and Music apps, its own App Gallery and its own Health app. If you don’t like these apps, you can just drop them all into a folder and forget about them.

The Huawei P30 Lite is powered by a Kirin 710 chipset which sits as the brand’s mid-range option, along with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. This device isn’t as powerful as the P30 Pro, but there should still be enough oomph inside it to get the job done.

This is an octa-core CPU with a true mid-range core structure. There are four Cortex-A73 cores and your Cortex-A53s. Cheaper phones tend to have eight lower-power Cortex-A53s.

Power is a little less impressive where it matters most in real terms: the GPU. The Kirin 710 has a quad-core Mali-G51. The Huawei P30 Lite is significantly weaker than even the lower-end Adreno 615, seen in the Pixel 3a XL. Proven by techies across the globe at most levels, Qualcomm CPUs beat Huawei’s HiSilicon chipsets and Samsung’s Exynos-es.

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This is not as punchy as the Adreno 615 or 616 used by some rivals. It’s about as low-powered a GPU can get and still provide decent 1080p performance. All in all the phone performs well when faced with most daily tasks, and even picture taking. There’s minimal lag when split-screen multitasking.

In terms of space for your stuff, the P30 Lite’s 128GB of internal storage coupled with microSD card support is just great. There should be enough room for your apps, movies and music, and while it isn’t the most affordable 128GB device around, it may well be one of the best looking.

Connectivity is also good. Naturally, 4G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are all on board, though it’s not Bluetooth 5. Instead, the P30 Lite packs Bluetooth 4.2. There’s also NFC for mobile payment and one-touch pairing support, as well as a USB-C port for charging and data.

Huawei P30 Lite – Camera

Cameras have been the highlight of the P30 and P30 Pro as the Leica-engineered lenses produce some stunning photos. You don’t get that Leica branding on the P30 Lite, instead it’s triple camera array does things a bit differently.

Its triple camera rear setup includes a main 24-megapixel camera with an f/1.8 aperture, 8-megapixel ultra wide and a 2-megapixel bokeh camera for helping add some depth to photos.

The Lite version of the P30 doesn’t feature any of the zooming wizardry or the periscope lens of the Pro model, which should hardly come as a surprise considering where this model sits in the lineup and the price tag.

The P30 Lite’s primary snapper is higher resolution than that of the Huawei P30. What it lacks however is optical image stabilization of any kind, and there’s also no 4K video support.

You’ve also got a 32-megapixel camera around the front for all the selfie addicts.

Huawei P30 Lite – Battery

Battery life has been a real strong point of the P30 variants but we doubt you’ll get the same kind of stamina here, with the 3340mAh cell, this has been making it through the day without too many issues.

READ  Hands-On Huawei P30 Pro Review: Rewriting Smartphone Photography Rules

Although this endurance might also be aided by the EMUI 9 software layered over Android 9, which boasts of loads of battery optimizations. Huawei offers a lot of optimization tools buried in the settings that limit background processes, turn off unused connectivity features, and alert you as to which apps are going rogue and eating into your battery.

The P30 Lite supports Huawei’s Quick Charge tech using an 18W charger. We were able to charge up the phone from flat in just over an hour and fifteen minutes, which isn’t that bad for a mid-range smartphone.

Conclusion

After Huawei’s suspension on future access to Android Play Store and security updates by Google, there are serious question marks over the future of Huawei and Honor phones.

The P30 Lite is the most affordable of the three P30-series smartphones, which should give it some appeal despite all this. Instead of cutting back across the board to hit its price target, Huawei has delivered an attractive industrial design and an above-average camera system, at the expense of screen technology and battery capacity. If you’re happy with these trade-offs, the Huawei P30 Lite is definitely a good buy.

Display
Size6.15 Inch
Resolution1080 x 2312 pixels
Performance
CPUDual core, 2.6 GHz + Dual core, 1.92 GHz, HiSilicon Kirin
RAM6 GB
Storage
Internal memory128 GB
External memoryNot Specififed
Battery
Capacity3340 mAH, Li-Polymer, Non removable
Camera
Primary camera24 MP
Secondary camera32 MP
Connectivity
Network supportDual SIM 4G
Other optionsWi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS
Others
Fingerprint sensorPhysical rear-mounted
Operating systemAndroid 9.0 Pie

Pros

  • Fantastic glass and metal build
  • Eye-catching finish
  • Solid performance
  • Good main camera
  • 18W fast charging
  • Option for MicroSD or second SIM
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

Cons

  • Battery life doesn’t match Huawei’s best
  • No wireless charging
  • Night photos are only passable
  • No IP rating for dust/water resistance