Honor 8 Lite Review: Eye Candy, Performance Handy
Lite specs, Delightful looks
We mentioned in our First Cut article for Honor 8 Lite that not everyone wants the top of the line specifications of a flagship smartphone, but most of us do want those good looks. Samsung has done a decent job with their A series that aim to look like their Galaxy flagship cousins but don’t necessarily have the kind of muscles they have and don’t cost as much as they do either. Similar is the pitch with the Honor 8 Lite, costing close to 10 grands lesser than its flagship cousin, the Honor 8. But does the Lite deliver a similar performance like Samsung’s A series? Or are they dumbed-down too much in the pursuit of bringing down the costs? Read on as we bring you all the details and answers to the questions we have been getting.
The design and build of the 8 Lite have grown on us from the time since we did the First Cut article. One only has to use a smaller screen phone to appreciate how good it feels, a breeze to use as compared to the 5.5-inch screen phones that have become the norm now. The metallic frame that goes all around the phone did pick up few scratches even with our careful usage. And boy is the phone super slippery?! It didn’t miss out on one single chance in sneaking out of the pockets every time we sat down. And it did have a couple of falls, but thankfully, there was no damage done. The phone held on to its own. Honor has thrown in a thin plastic case which is handy but also picks up lots of scratches itself. It’s such a shame that these phones come with such glossy surfaces you would want to flaunt but protecting them take the top most priority. Having said that, the phone is easily one of the best when it comes to the design and looks when compared to the others in the price range.
The 5.2-inch display that packs in 424 pixels per inch is a full HD one and is quite gorgeous with all those vibrant colors being pushed out. The viewing angles are very good, and the touch sensitivity is top notch. The display can even take inputs even when the hands are slightly wet or sweaty. But the readability, and hence the visibility under the sunlight is below average. Even with the highest brightness, one would have to struggle a bit, and we found ourselves clasping the palm around the top or the sides to help us get through the task. And given that it’s a smudge magnet, it doesn’t assist the cause. The 2.5D curved nature of the display though is a pleasure to use.
Under the hood, the Honor 8 Lite packs a HiSilicon Kirin 655; an octa-core chip clocked at 2.1 GHz with 4 GB of RAM and a Mali T880 GPU. The phone comes with 64 GB of internal memory that can be bumped up to 256 GB via the microSD slot. The phone runs on Emotion UI 5.0 built off Android Nougat (surprise right!) which is not a common thing we see from the Chinese OEMs who pack lots of layers and features on their OS. From what we understand, the Honor 8 Lite is running the Lite version of EMUI 5.0, which means some unique features like knuckle sense are missing.
All the day to day tasks gets through without any hassles. Emotion UI finally brings in an app drawer option but has to be manually enabled. The icons are redone and look uniform. The overall color theme is simplified with just white and blue occupying most of it. There are subtle animations all over the place that give a nice touch and also ensure they’re not using a whole lot of the processing power. There is, of course, the theme store with few options that can be used. There are also some gestures that can run from the fingerprint scanner such as the swipe down to bring the notification and toggle menu without having to struggle much. Speaking of the notification and toggle menu, Emotion UI has now mashed the two sections it had before into a more stock Android experience. The on-screen navigation buttons can be expanded to have an option to bring down the notification and toggle menu and also swap their positions. All of this makes the one-handed usage of the phone such a breeze. The default applications are kept to a minimum and have lots of smartness in them. Do check our dedicated article on the all new Emotion UI that tells you everything, including the Dual apps option that let you configure multiple social media accounts.
Where the 8 Lite starts struggling a bit is when you start asking it do a little more than normal tasks. Bump up on the multitasking the phone becomes slightly sluggish and one has forced to close an app or two to smoothen it out. Heavy games showed some signs of struggle and frame drops during elongated gaming, but the lighter ones did just fine. One thing to keep in mind is the fact that the battery runs out a little faster than normal when the phone gets onto intensive tasks and gaming.
Speaking of the battery, the 8 Lite packs in the one with 3000 mAh capacity. There is no fast charging, and it takes anywhere between 2.45 to 3 hours to charge from 0 – 100% which is very very slow. The battery does last for a day with light-average usage, but on heavy usage, you will need a top up if you want to take the phone out for the evening until the end of the day. Call quality and signal reception are top notch, and we had no issues with dual sim and 4G LTE. Wifi, blue tooth, and GPS too worked without any problems.
Honor 8 Lite comes with a 12MP primary shooter with a f/2.0 aperture, and single LED flash. The camera app is studded with lots of options, but the opening screen is plain and intuitive. But the app itself is a tad too slow to load up. The camera can shoot slow motion, hyperlapse and maxes out at 1080 video shooting. There is a handy object tracking ability that can lock in and follow the subject as you make the video. The camera takes very good clicks in daylight but struggles to lock the focus and keeps hunting for it longer than the usual time we are used to. While the dynamic range is good, the white balance may need a bit of work. Good about of sharpness and details are found. The performance does take a dip under low-light and indoor conditions but the noise is kept to a minimum, and the pictures are very much usable and much better than the others in the segment. There is a pro mode, and in addition to that, there are some really cool ones for doing some long exposure shots. We thoroughly enjoyed our time with these and let the samples talk for themselves. Giving a pro mode is good but the majority of the users are overwhelmed but the options that it brings thereof and shies away from it. Honor has done an excellent job in pre-configuring those settings into neat options that can be readily used. It will ask you for just one thing – steady hands! The front facing 8MP shooter does a decent job as well.
Coming in at Rs 17,999, the Honor 8 Lite competes with the likes of Lenovo Z2 Plus, Lenovo P2, and the Moto G5 Plus. Where it differs from the rest (in a good way) is in its looks. It comes with a neatly optimized software with loads of features, but things like very slow charging, struggling on games, average battery life does get one thinking twice when making a decision. Being a dumbed-down variant of the Honor 8, the camera has been cut down to one sensor for the primary shooter. And this is where the Honor 8 Lite will face stiff competition from its own cousin – the Honor 6X which is one of the best when it comes to camera performances in the budget segment. But of course, the 6X lacks the style and looks of the 8 Lite.
The Honor 8 Lite has a long way to go to mimic what the A series do for Samsung. If only Honor threw in fast charging and a slightly more powerful processor, we would have blindly recommended the 8 Lite for everyone, but for now, the style, design and the options in the software give the 8 Lite a saving grace for the ones seriously considering it.
This is more beauty than a best!