Huawei Mate 20 Lite first look: The leaks were right

Huawei Mate 20 Lite hands-on: A sign of things to come

Huawei’s IFA 2018 showcase in Berlin was jam-packed with tech but the Huawei Mate 20 Lite was one absentee that Trusted Reviews was lucky enough to see behind closed doors, ahead of its October launch.

The leaked imagery that reared its head online on more than one occasion turned out to be right on the money, with a stylish new high-end mid-ranger now set for the scene toting a glass-backed design, dual cameras on the front and back, and the company’s new Kirin 710 processor, which boasts its own NPU (neural processing unit) granting the phone AI smarts.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite: Release Date, specs and price

Although Vodafone UK confirmed the existence of the phone before even Huawei did, we now have an official price and launch date for the Mate 20 Lite. The phone will sell for £379 in the UK, hitting the likes of Carphone Warehouse on September 5th, with EE being the only carrier currently confirmed to be ranging the phone in the country within the next couple of weeks.

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Huawei Mate 20 Lite in black top down

Whilst the leaks gave me some idea of the cosmetic direction the Mate 20 line might take, seeing the Mate 20 Lite in the flesh was a wholly different experience. There’s an excellent level of fit and finish on-hand here, now customary for Huawei’s devices. The Lite doesn’t support any form of IP certification against dust or water but that doesn’t make it any less of a looker.

The glass back curves at the edges seamlessly blending into the colour-matched polished metal frame – this phone is immensely reflective and highly-prone to fingerprints (however, in 2018 it’s harder to find a phone that isn’t). At 7.6mm it’s pleasingly slim and despite its size, slots into a pocket with ease, that said, the dual rear camera arrangement does protrude quite a bit off the phone’s back.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite in gold angled back view

With a large 6.3-inch, 19.5:9 aspect ratio display (giving the phone an 81% screen-to-body ratio), the Mate 20 Lite is a big phone; ideal for media fans and those who like to multitask, which with native support for pop-out video means you can juggle up to three apps on the Lite at the same time. The notch at the top of the screen holds not one but two cameras for advanced portrait mode functionality and 360-degree face unlock.

Why you’d need to unlock your phone upside down isn’t clear but Huawei must have a use case in mind. As it happens, the rear-mounted fingerprint sensor also works in any orientation and as it’s one of Huawei’s it’s characteristically snappy (and supports gestures too).

Huawei Mate 20 Lite in black camera bump

Diving deeper into those cameras the front-facing dual arrangement is comprised of a 24-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel depth sensor that support the phone’s AI selfie feature, which includes five states of virtual portrait lighting for your face, HDR support and Huawei’s take on Apple’s Animoji called 3D Qmoji, found under the AR lens in the camera’s settings menu.

The Mate 20 Lite is, in fact, the first of the company’s phones to support four cameras in total. The dual rear cameras fall vertically down the centre of the phone’s back, just as on last year’s Huawei Mate 10 Pro. The 20-megapixel primary sensor is supported by another 2-megapixel sensor that again reads depth to grant the camera a range of aperture-based effects.

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Huawei Mate 20 Lite in black camera perspective shot

Huawei’s AI-based scene detection has grown a few new modes too, making their debut on the Mate 20 Lite with support for bike, car, ancient building and panda of all things. There’s also a new artistic shooting mode that changes photos into drawing-like images and Huawei’s assistive AI composition tool comes built in to help frame shots with multiple subjects and automatically add beauty effects to your friend’s faces – if they aren’t pretty enough to begin with.

On the inside we get our first taste of the new Kirin 710 chipset, which here comes backed up by a decidedly conservative 4GB of RAM. There’s also 64GB of storage, which is respectable, plus microSD expandability up to a generous 256GB, so little chance of running out of room for the average user.

A big phone deserves a big battery too and thankfully, Huawei has decided to approach the greatness of the 4000mAh battery found inside the Huawei P20 Pro by giving the Lite a large 3750mAh power pack instead. It does support fast charging but sadly loses out on Huawei’s own SuperCharge technology, which seems to be reserved exclusively for flagships.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite in black perspective shot

Like the Honor Play that launched in the European market at the same show, the Mate 20 Lite is the first Huawei device to run the company’s EMUI 8.2 overlay atop Android 8.1 Oreo. It adds in a handful of new features like improved AI-based object recognition and search within the phone’s native image gallery and thanks to the inclusion of the company’s recent GPU Turbo update the included Game Suite application can help throttle performance to improve supported games whilst also silencing notifications intelligently.

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First impressions

The Huawei Mate 20 Lite looks as though it’s crammed full of features and equipped to dish out respectable performance, despite not rocking the newly-unveiled Kirin 980 flagship chipset destined for its more powerful siblings. Pricing places it in a tricky position, though, as it finds itself lodged between more affordable offerings with beefier specs (like the aforementioned Honor Play) and more powerful handsets like the OnePlus 6, which isn’t a huge leap cost-wise.

The post Huawei Mate 20 Lite first look: The leaks were right appeared first on Trusted Reviews.

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