Huawei has established itself as a major mobile phone company, making some great phones in the past. Huawei recently released its latest series of Mate phones in November including the Mate 10, Mate 10 Pro and Mate 10 Lite. Today we will be focusing on the Mate 10 Lite; a budget variation of the Mate 10.
Rumors started to come in about the Mate 10 having four cameras and these rumors were confirmed when it was released on November 15th. The highlight of this phone is its four cameras, but are they any good? Keep reading to find out!
Design and Display
Right off the bat, the phone feels spectacular. Neither too light to make it feel cheap and nor is it too heavy to make it annoying for single-hand use. The front with little bezels on the top and bottom give you a stunning display. No curved screen but hey, remember that this is a budget smartphone. You won’t get everything.
On the top of the screen, you’ll find the dual-cameras along with the earpiece and notification LED. On the left side, the phone has the SIM tray and on the right side, you’ll find the volume rockers along with the power button.
On the bottom, the phone has the usual parts: a microphone, a single speaker and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Good thing they haven’t removed the headphone jack yet. On the top, there is another microphone. The phone has a fingerprint scanner on the back – which is easily reachable – and the dual-cameras along with the LED flash.
There are a couple of things that I’d like to point out about the design. First of all is the protruding camera bump. The phone is slim but the camera bump makes the phone rock back and forth on a table. Another problem is “Huawei” written on the front. It is simply unnecessary. The name could have been replaced with maybe a fingerprint scanner on the front or maybe reduce the bottom bezel even more. It serves no function.
The display is superior to its fellow smartphones. The Huawei Mate 10 Lite has a 5.9 inch 1080 x 2160 IPS LCD display. Unlike the usual 16:9 aspect ratio, the Huawei Mate 10 Lite has an 18:9 aspect ratio, making the display taller than usual. This looks fantastic everywhere because you get more screen real estate to read articles, chat messages, and video calls but there is one problem: when watching videos, you will see black borders on the sides. On the bright side, the tall display is great for browsing the internet and for multi-tasking.
The display is great indoors and the good enough outdoors. The warmth of the display can be changed according to your comfort. The colors are vivid. The phone also has a feature called “Eye Comfort” which reduces eye strain — by filtering blue light after sunset — and theoretically helps you get better sleep at night.
This is the most interesting part of the phone. The Huawei Mate 10 Lite has four cameras! I’m sure you must have been surprised to read that. But the devil is in the detail. While it does have four cameras – two on the back and two on the front — the second camera in each case is for creating the blurred background effect, also known as bokeh in photography terms. They aren’t similar to — for example — the telephoto and wide angle combination of the iPhone 8 Plus or iPhone X which uses a separate technique to create bokeh in software.
On the back there is a 16MP and a 2MP (for background blurring ) camera. You’ll also get an LED flash on the back. While on the front we have a 13MP and a 2MP camera along with an LED flash on the front which is rather unique. The camera app is not well designed. I didn’t understand its beautification control. I also didn’t understand how to turn off the portrait mode for the longest time.
Picture quality is decent overall. Low-light pictures are really grainy and picture quality becomes terrible. In the outdoors, the pictures are good but the HDR isn’t effective; it only bumps up the brightness. The bokeh effect is not particularly great either. A small space between the subject and background is not blurred which makes it feel as if the subject has been photoshopped into the picture by someone with terrible editing skills. Look at the gallery pictures to see what I am saying.
However, one has to understand that the bokeh effect is done in software, and software can improve with time so we’re hopeful it’ll get better. And even if it doesn’t, one has to realize that this is a budget smartphone. For Rs. 30,000, it’s an acceptable camera setup.
Software, Battery and Performance
You won’t get Android Oreo out of the box. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei’s skin on top. The skin is much simpler and better than previous versions but there is room for improvement. It’s not as clean as stock Android and there is bloatware. Some people might use themes but the Huawei skin isn’t too bad. It’s a bit too much like iOS which doesn’t feel right.
The huge size of the phone allows it to have a big battery pack. The Huawei Mate 10 Lite has a 3340 mAh battery. Even with the large display, the phone lasted throughout the day with moderate-heavy use which included playing games, watching videos, browsing the internet with mobile data. You could use the power save mode to squeeze another couple of hours into your day.
The Mate 10 Lite has 4GB RAM, 64GB internal storage (with a microSD slot) and a Kirin 659 octa-core chipset. These are powerful specifications and we can see that through the smooth performance of the phone. Multi-tasking is sublime and with little hiccups. The fingerprint scanner works really fast. Only on some occasions, you might have to wait for apps to start up. It’s great for playing basic games, but it won’t play power-sucking games like Dead Trigger or Bullet Force as smoothly as other phones like the Galaxy S8 but that is expected since this is a budget smartphone.
Is it worth it?
For the price of 30,000 rupees, the phone is amazing. The camera hype didn’t live up to its expectations but other than that, the phone is great. The battery, the display, the performance all hit the bulls-eye. If you are looking for a budget Android smartphone, then the Huawei Mate 10 Lite should be on your list of choices.