Sep 3, 2015
At this point, it seems fair to wholeheartedly include Huawei on the list of major Android OEMs, and as if to underscore that point, the China-based tech house has been coming to market with some nice Android smartphone hardware. One of its latest pieces, the P8 Lite hearkens to the strategy of being very price conscious, and we were eager to have a look.
We received the white unit to review (there’s also black and gold to pick from, the retail box has the device, charging materials and documentation); it’s a svelte object, packing a multi-touch 1280 x 720 HD screen on a 5.63 x 2.78 x 0.30 inch frame, and weighing in at 4.62 ounces. The white finish is accented by a chrome band which more or less separates the front from the back; the band houses the micro-USB and mics at the bottom, audio port at the top, and power button, volume rocker and sim slots and micro-sd slot on the one side.
The back feels textured, and the top piece on the front houses a subtle speaker grill, a 5 MP front-facing camera, which complements the primary 13 MP BSI camera on the back.
Under the hood, it isn’t shabby either. Out of the box, it comes with Android 4.4.4 OS. To run this , it sports a Snapdragon chip and Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU. It comes with 16 GB of internal storage (expandable up to 128 GB via SD card) and 2 GB RAM and a sealed lithium ion 2200 mAh battery. Wi-fi (plus hotspot), Bluetooth LE, accelerometer, NFC, proximity sensor, compass, ambient light sensor? Check (x7).
Based on specs alone, it seems competitive, and we couldn’t wait to put it through the paces.
Off the bat, from the on button press, the device is pretty snappy. Huawei overlays its skin over Android, and it is a gentle implementation that doesn’t distract too much from the core OS. The screen does do well; it isn’t a vivid as some high-end flagships, but it actually does pretty well in practice.
Google’s suite of mobile apps are front and center, and quite responsive; we rocked some heavy hitter games off the Play Store, and didn’t get any lag. The camera works well on conference calls, and the back one takes good snaps in the right lighting.
Call quality (via T-Mobile) was pretty good two. I used it over Bluetooth and without, and audio quality was better than anticipated; the audio and mic openings work well.
And then… we have the price. The $250 asking price is definitely one of the top features, making it a great no-contract mid-range offering.
Now, the aforementioned skin does take a bit of a shine off of Material Design, and the wi-fi direct capabilities are restricted to other Huawei devices.
In the end, the positives are clearly on the weightier side, and as an Android option, it holds its own.