Honor 10 Lite Hands-On: A Reasonably Good Budget Smartphone
January 7, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Honor just released its latest smartphone, the Honor 10 Lite, in Malaysia. Positioned as yet another budget offering from the Chinese company, the 10 Lite is a promising phone on paper; but is it any good? Retailing from RM749, it’s definitely affordable, but let’s see if it’s worth considering for most folks.

One of the most appealing aspects of the Honor 10 Lite is its design, and I really dig the back panel’s aesthetics on this Sky Blue variant. It’s unmistakably plastic, but despite this, it still looks and feels great for an affordable smartphone. The gradient finish is attractive, and the glossy, plastic frame feels nice to the touch.

Build quality is pretty great on the 10 Lite too. The phone doesn’t creak, it feels solid in my hands, and the slightly curved back panel makes it a comfortable phone to use for long periods of time. Turn the phone around, and you’ll see the 10 Lite’s small notch and minimal bottom bezel; very aesthetically pleasing.

While I’m quite impressed with the Honor 10 Lite’s design language, there is one thing I’m not particularly fond off: the microUSB port. This isn’t a huge issue, of course, and we have to keep in mind that this is an affordable smartphone. Most devices in this price range still use this port anyway.

Next, we have the 10 Lite’s 6.21-inch 2340 x 1080 LTPS display, which looks decent. The colour does shift slightly when viewed off-angle, but as a whole, it’s a perfectly acceptable panel quality. Colours are still punchy, and the display is plenty sharp despite its 1080p resolution.

In the performance department, the 10 Lite works well enough. Its Kirin 710 chipset – said to be equivalent to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 SoC – delivers a good level of performance, and the phone doesn’t feel particularly sluggish. There is, however, a slight stutter here and there, especially when switching from one app to another. Do note that the unit I tested is the 32GB variant with only 3GB of RAM.

Packing a 3,400mAh battery, the Honor 10 Lite should be able to return good battery life. It’s not a very generous battery capacity, but the phone does have a rather compact 6.21-inch 1080p display. Chances are, the 10 Lite should have above average battery life. We’ll definitely put this to the test if we’re able to do a full review of the phone.

As for software experience, EMUI 9 on the 10 Lite is a functional version of Android. It works as it should, but I’m not a fan of the user interface’s design. It doesn’t look particularly modern, and I find the app icons to be a tad too large. This is a subjective matter, and not everyone will share my sentiment.

Like most phones in the market now, the 10 Lite comes with several biometric security options. The rear fingerprint sensor works great, and the face unlock system can recognise my face in a relatively quick manner. However, enabling the face unlock feature does increase the amount of time the phone takes to wake from sleep, which can get quite annoying.

Last but not least is the Honor 10 Lite’s camera performance, which is not too bad. The phone’s 13MP f/1.8 + 2MP f/2.4 dual camera system can capture decent-looking photos in broad daylight (a given, really), and the camera app is pretty darn responsive.

But in low light conditions, the 10 Lite’s camera performance isn’t as good. The shutter speed slows down considerably, and noise is quite apparent too. To be fair, we haven’t spent a lot of time photographing with the 10 Lite, so we can’t say for sure (yet) if its camera performance isn’t good.

Plus, I haven’t extensively tested the 24MP f/2.0 front-facing shooter yet either, which does seem quite promising.

The Honor 10 Lite is a sleek, budget-friendly smartphone with reasonably good user experience, but this can also be said of another smartphone from the company: the Honor 8X. Not only are both phones powered by the same Kirin 710 processor, the 8X feels like a more premium device too, thanks to its glass and metal construction.

However, the 10 Lite is much more affordable. The 32GB base model with 3GB of RAM goes for RM749 in Malaysia, while the 64GB variant with the same amount of RAM retails at RM799. In contrast, the Honor 8X carries a RM949 price tag.

Honor is pricing the 10 Lite aggressively for the Malaysian market, and that’s necessary for the phone to stand out in this highly competitive price segment. But as affordable as it is, it remains to be seen how the 10 Lite compares to other similarly priced phones – we can only give our final verdict in a full review of Honor’s latest smartphone.

Update, 8 January 1PM: This article has been updated with the Malaysian pricing of the Honor 10 Lite.