Huawei have expanded their new Mate range of smartphones to include a brand new budget model, but don’t be put off by the lower price point, this Mate 20 Lite still manages to impress.
Turning the phone on, the 6.3 inch screen looks impressive with its 2340 x 1080 resolution. It’s bigger than last year’s P20 with thinner bezels but has a larger notch at the top to allow for the double front camera. The colours look natural, if a little more muted than some other phones and the response to touch is really quick and accurate.
Face recognition and fingerprint recognition can be used for securely unlocking the phone and both worked well. The Face recognition is the easier of the two as it just works when you hold the phone up, though it had issues in low light and I found that I had to go back to relying on the fingerprint in darker conditions. The fact that the fingerprint sensor is on the back didn’t seem to be an issue and the indent means that it’s easily found without having to turn the phone over.
The Mate 20 Lite also has a proper headphone port (yey!) and, more surprisingly for a budget phone, a USB C port for charging and connecting to a PC.
Android 8.1 is installed by default but it immediately notified me of an update to Android 9, the brand new OS, which was a nice surprise. Many of last year’s phones still haven’t got 9 yet. Overlayed on top of this is the latest version of Huawei’s own EMUI front end which changes some of the icons slightly and adds their own tools to the mix. Having used previous phones from them, I’m used to this and find the tools fairly useful. Things such as Huawei Health 9 are well designed alternatives to other health apps.
The camera on the back is 20mp plus another 2mp for blurring and distance effects with a f/1.8 lens. It won’t beat top end phones but takes some nice photos, none-the-less. There are a wealth of options and the AI helps you to get good photo in seconds by recognising the subject. I’ve tried this on flowers, dogs, landscapes and even the moon and it managed to recognise them all, providing a suitable photo mode to match. Surprisingly, the front facing camera is 24MP + 2MP which seems a bit much for selfies but I’m not complaining. Optical bokeh effects on both cameras are easy to use and edit with some good results.
Video recording is only 1080p at 60fps with no 4K option. This may be due to the CPU but it’s a shame that it isn’t an option. The video picture is still sharp and clear, though.
The 3,750mAh battery keeps the phone going all day. I’ve used mine over almost 2 days for calls, photos, internet and gaming before the battery finally gave out and needed a recharge. Thankfully, it has fast charging via the USB C port, though sadly no wireless charging in this model. Huawei have brought back additional storage via Micro SD card this year. The included 64GB on the phone should be fine for apps but having a 128GB or 256GB card in the phone is great for media. In line with other Huawei devices, the Micro SD can’t be used for storing Apps, only data, which I still find puzzling.
Gaming-wise, the Mate 20 Lite is average, as expected, the Kirin 710 chip copes fine with Asphalt 8 and Real Racing 3 but struggled a little with Fortnite on full detail. It’s perfectly fine for general casual gaming, though and should suit anyone addicted to Candy Crush or The Sims Mobile.
Overall, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite is a great budget phone for those who don’t want to spend huge amounts but want something that looks good, is fast, up-to-date and, more importantly, has a great camera that can take impressive pictures. It won’t bother the more technical models for speed or features but it’s still impressive for the price.