Huawei P40 Lite best buy in all. And with FreeBuds 3 even more irresistible. The review

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.
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We have tried for several days the new entry-level of the Huawei P-Series, the most awaited in these weeks. Huawei P40 lite is a € 299 smartphone that promises to bring some of the high-end features at a much more affordable price. We put it under tight pressure, and here is the result of the tests in our full review.

 

Characterized by three main models, the Huawe P Seriesi is the most important for the Chinese giant, and among the most important ever when it comes to Android smartphones. It normally consists of three models: the standard model, which in tradition is a top of the range pure; the Pro model, which instead represents the maximum technological expression at that time for Huawei; and finally we have the model Quarrel. The latter is historically a different smartphone than the other two, with more sacrificed hardware and slightly less attention to detail. In fact, however, the Lite model is not only often among the most convenient devices of the Chinese giant, but it represents one of the best solutions with Android on the quality-price front.

In past years Huawei has in fact managed to offer a smartphone similar in appearance to the two flagships and with excellent finishes, all with less powerful hardware and a decidedly affordable list price. The company proposes the same recipe with the 2020 generation, in which the Lite model represents the first to arrive showing what could be the highlights of the top of the range. Will he be able to repeat the qualities of his predecessor? The answer in ours full review of Huawei P40 lite.

Article index

  • Technical features
  • Equipment, prices and availability
  • Software and user experience
  • Technical analysis
    • Benchmark
    • Display
    • Autonomy
  • Camera
    • Shooting examples
  • Final thoughts

Technical specifications

Huawei P40 lite it improves practically in all respects compared to its predecessor as regards the integrated hardware and the external appearance, which always remains very clean and elegant, but characterized by colors that become more and more jaunty. The new entry-level of the P Series is clearly aimed at a young audience, but not only, and is proposed with the Kirin 810 processor which it offers as a reference point in the mid-market segment. The processor is printed at 12-nm and has eight cores, with in this case two 2.27GHz Cortex-A76 cores and six 1.88GHz Cortex-A55 cores designed to maximize energy savings.

The smartphone is offered in a single cut which in our opinion could please everyone: 6GB of RAM may suffice, especially in this price range, while i 128GB of storage seem – net of the needs of today’s user – an eternity. For those who want a little more, they can still purchase a NanoSD to be inserted in the slot, unfortunately shared with the second SIM. Either you choose one option or the other, impossible to have a second SIM and memory expansion together. Huawei P40 lite it also has a large 6.4 “full HD + resolution display (2310×1080 pixels), with a pixel density of 398PPI and with an excellent perceived image quality.

I’m well four rear cameras, all crammed inside a rectangular box and very close together. A design solution, that of Huawei, particularly refined and very elegant at the sight, since it leaves much of the backcover very clean. The LED flash is located in the lower part of the box, and is flanked by the writing AI Quad Camera, which is a whole program. There are three colors available at launch: Sakura Pink (that of the sample we are testing), Midnight Black is Crush Green. But back to the cameras: the main one mounts the bulk 48MP sensor with f / 1.8 lens, and is flanked by an ultra wide angle module (8MP, f / 2.4) and a dedicated module for macro (2MP, f / 2., 4). Finally we have a dedicated module for depth effects, also from 2MP and f / 2.4.

Huawei P40 lite
OS (at launch)
Android 10.0 Open Source (EMUI 10)
Processor
Huawei Kirin 810 7-nm
2 x Cortex-A76 @ 2.27 GHz
6 x Cortex-A55 @ 1.88 GHz
memoirs
6 GB of RAM
128 GB Expandable via NanoSD
Display

6.4 “IPS LCD
2310×1080 px (398 PPI)

Cameras
Back:
Wide: 48 MP f / 1.8
Ultra-wide: 8 MP f / 2.4
Macro: 2 MP f / 2.4
Bokeh: 2 MP f / 2.4 Front:
Normal: 16 MP f / 2.0

Extra

4G LTE-A Cat. 13
Wi-Fi ac 2.4-5GHz
Bluetooth 5.1
NFC
Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano)
Side fingerprint sensor

Ports
USB Type-C
3.5mm audio jack
Battery
4,200 mAh
Quick charge 40W
Weight
183 grams

On the front instead stands a 16MP camera with f / 2.0 lens, inserted inside a hole on the upper left part of the display. No notch, therefore, but only a small hole that is actually never invasive during daily use. Huawei P40 lite it also has a 4,200mAh battery that promises an excellent result in terms of operating autonomy, but it is surprising – especially considering the price range – the presence of 40W fast charging with Huawei SuperCharge proprietary technology.

We received the test sample before it arrived on the market, when there was little information available: at the sight of the power supply we immediately thought of an error by Huawei, but instead it is just like that. A 40W mid-range charger. What does it mean? That in half an hour you will have your mobile phone from completely unloaded to 70% load, that is enough to be calm and get through a full day.

The smartphone also features a fingerprint reader on the side, unlocking with 2D face recognition, support for LTE-A, dual-band Wi-Fi ac, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 and everything you would expect from a good device of the 2020. There is also the 3.5mm audio jack.

Unfortunately, we know what is missing: Huawei P40 lite is sold with HMS (Huawei Mobile Services) and has no Google Play services. We cannot say that it is not a problem, however as we have already said before it is nothing insurmountable. Just re-parameterize your usage habits and you can completely forget about Google and its services without being in any way limited. In addition, we have already talked about TrovApp, a very interesting solution especially for the less experienced that allows you to download and find apps (or valid alternatives) in a simplified way.

Huawei P40 lite: prices and features

We’ve talked about pricing multiple times but haven’t revealed it yet: Huawei P40 lite will be sold in Italy for only € 299, a price that becomes even more interesting if you add the Huawei FreeBuds 3 earphones that are supplied with the smartphone.

  • Huawei P40 lite 6 + 128GB: € 299.00

The equipment is standard: in addition to the smartphone we will have the 40W SuperCharge charger, a USB Type-C cable, traditional headphones, and the forms traditionally offered for the sale of a new smartphone. However, there is no protective case, but the smartphone is sold with a film already applied on the display.

As for the promotion to get the FreeBuds 3 for free through the smartphone preorder, we invite you to consult this page of the Huawei official website. The product can also be purchased on Amazon, which adheres to the promotional initiative. Find everything you need to know in the promotional page on Huawei P40 lite on Amazon.

Software and user experience

Huawei P40 lite is sold with the EMUI 10 that we have come to know and appreciate over time. In a few years it has turned from heavy and invasive Android personalization to one of the best reinterpretations in terms of efficiency, customization and aesthetics. The EMUI, in its latest versions, offers a great capacity in the management of idle times and, for the most demanding, also the possibility of setting energy savings finely.

There are also different settings as regards the management of the “Drawer” of the apps: by default all the apps are poured into the Home, such as iPhone, while through an option it is possible to enable the Drawer to place only the most used apps, and access the complete list only through a specific screen. There is no shortage of gestures, with one of the best Android implementations and different settings related to Security, Privacy, also thanks to the new features integrated on Android 10, and “Digital management”. On this page you can set not only restrictions on the use of the smartphone, for example to avoid abuse, but also a parental control protected if the smartphone is addressed to a child.

Huawei P40 lite it is also offered natively with AppGallery and with i Huawei Mobile Services, replacing the Google Play Store and Google Mobile Services. Among the apps and integrated functions we have i Themes, the application Health of Huawei for the analysis of fitness data, a client E-mail, an app for the File management, an app to optimize mobile performance and autonomy, the app Tunnel and the essential apps for basic day and mobile management. There is also a Notepad, Calendar and Clock, Calculator, Voice Recorder and a Mirror app.

Very interesting Phone Clone, useful to clone what is present on another Android smartphone inside P40 lite, and we also recommend the installation of TrovApp, which is not natively installed but which allows you to conveniently search and install the apps on AppGallery and other stores, or even through the official websites of the developers. We talked about it extensively here.

The million dollar question is: but is it really possible to use an Android smartphone without Google services? It is clear that we have doubts but, as we have already said in the review of Huawei Mate 30 Pro, in our opinion living without Google is possible. The main apps are all somewhat installable without too many problems, and the limitations are very few and very limited. For example, one of the apps you can’t do without, Google Maps, you can use it safely but without being able to access the Google account and therefore synchronize browsing data (it can even be an advantage on privacy!).

Examples could be wasted in this sense, however what we want to say is that Huawei P40 lite offers a great user experience in any area, with the restrictions imposed by the Trump government that are not felt on the level of daily use.

Technical analysis

Huawei Kirin 810 it is the beating heart of Huawei P40 lite, a mid-2019 processor printed with the 7-nm production process, although it is not intended for the top of the range. The processor uses theArtificial intelligence with DaVinci architecture internally made by the Chinese company. This allows the new SoC to achieve a very high score when considering the computational power of the NPU.

Huawei Kirin 810 provides an octa-core structure (2 + 6) divided into two architecture-based cores Cortex-A76 with frequency of 2.27 GHz and you’re core Cortex-A55 with a frequency of 1.88 GHz. As always, this type of structure provides the possibility of exploiting the power of the more powerful cores (A76) or saving energy by exploiting the less powerful ones (A55).

The integrated GPU is one Mali-G52 MP6 (always of ARM origin) which should lead to a performance increase of 162% compared to Kirin 710 also supporting Kirin Gaming + technology. To make a comparison, performance should improve by 44% compared to the Snapdragon 730 (Adreno 618) GPU.

As you can see on the benchmarks that we report below, the performance of Huawei P40 lite they are higher than other mid-range devices in all areas. We have performed tests with the device in standard mode, while activating the Performance mode it is likely that the results may be even higher.

Benchmark

Display

The sore point of many mid-range smartphones is the display, one of the most expensive components to produce and therefore among the first to be sacrificed on mid-range devices. For its entry-level P Series, Huawei has chosen a 6.4 “panel diagonal with resolution 2310×1080 pixels and density of about 400PPI. We have, in this case, a LCD IPS with a small hole that encloses the front camera, characterized by a good screen-frame ratio (the officially declared one is over 90%. The display does not support HDR or other esoteric modes typical of the top of the range, but does not behave badly.

The maximum luminance recorded in our laboratory tests is 516nits, very good value for an IPS LCD panel, which can only be reached in the presence of strong ambient lights (manually it can be set up to 450nits). The contrast ratio is quite high, and is equal to 1010: 1 in Intense Mode, it’s at 890: 1 in Normal mode. There are in fact two predefined modes that can be set via software: Intensa offers a wide color saturation referring to the standard DCI-P3Normal instead stops at the standard parameters sRGB. The user can then set Warm, Cold or manual calibration color temperatures.


Intense mode


Normal mode

Excellent analysis of the gamut. In intense mode the DCI-P3 reference triangle is perfectly covered, with excellent values ​​compared to the reference. The white point is slightly shifted towards cold tones, and therefore cyan and magenta are also slightly inaccurate. Overall they were very interesting for a terminal from 299 €. The situation improves in Normal Mode, compared to the reference triangle which in this case is sRGB. The maximum color saturation is much less extensive, but accuracy is optimal.


Intense mode


Normal mode

From the analysis of white balance we note a feature of the panel that can also be seen in the gamut triangle. On both modes we find a certain shyness in the red component, which is always in deficit compared to blue and green. In general, however, the white balance is very good on both modes.

Autonomy

As we have already written, Huawei P40 lite offers a 4,200mAh battery, which offers excellent results following our tests. In addition to extremely long idle times, probably due to flawless software optimization in this sense, the new smartphone from Huawei also allows you to maximize usage times. In our test carried out by setting the display to a brightness of 200nits, and executing an automated script that simulates human interaction in online browsing, Huawei P40 lite was the third smartphone in absolute terms, after only at Zenfone 6 and Huawei Mate 30 Pro smartphones that have a higher list price.

However, what surprised us most is the fast charging: in addition to a record autonomy, P40 lite fully recharges in less than an hour and 70% in about half an hour of use. It is one of the very first smartphones for less than € 300 capable of offering one 40W charging technology (the owner Super Charge) and, based on our experience, we can say that it works very well without heating the device. It is practically impossible, with due care, to remain uncharged with Huawei P40 lite during the day.

Camera

The shooting experience of Huawei P40 lite it is typical of the company’s smartphones. There are really many shooting modes, including Pro to set everything up manually, Panorama, the mode Opening to “pretend” the bokeh effect, a mode HDR customizable, Moving image, Light Painting and we also have different modes Video, as the Slow motion, Time-Lapse. The smartphone allows you to simulate some shooting techniques, and do it in a very simple way without getting lost in settings of all kinds.

Do not miss the contribution ofArtificial intelligence, which allows in some cases to transform a photo with mediocre light into an excellent shot, based on the cricostranza. With Huawei P40 lite you shoot by default a 12MP, with the main camera, but we can set the shot to 48MP with or without AI Ultra Clarity.

What’s this? AI Ultra Clarity is a mode that we had seen on Honor View 20 for the first time and is in our opinion impressive: through prolonged exposure and analysis of multiple shots taken in a short period of time, the smartphone allows you to reach a level of very high detail, even in contrast to the photos taken with quality digital camera.

Finally, we have a specific mode for photos Macro (those super close to the subject), which works through a dedicated module on the back of the device. Here are the characteristics of all the rear modules.

Huawei P40 lite, camera features

  • Standard
    • 48 MP sensor
    • Objective f / 1.8
  • Ultra-wide
    • 8 MP sensor
    • Objective f / 2.4
  • Macro
    • 2 MP sensor
    • Objective f / 2.4
  • Bokeh
    • 2 MP sensor
    • Objective f / 2.4
  • Video Full HD @ 30 fps

Examples of shooting Huawei P40 lite

Wide 12MP module – No AI vs AI

Ultra-Wide 8MP module

Wide 12MP module

Wide 12MP module

Wide 12MP module with Auto LED Flash

Macro module 2MP

Macro module 2MP

Macro module 2MP

Huawei P40 lite it offers a solid and versatile photographic experience, both under sunlight and in interior spaces where lighting is not the best. Definitely interesting is the implementation of Artificial Intelligence, which not only serves to “color” the photograph better: when activated (for example in the first shot) it is possible to notice a marked improvement in the detail imprinted on the photograph. The shutters appear in the center, on the left the bell tower is much more defined, the words Bar and Circolo are better read, and the trees around the bell tower are extremely defined, branch by branch. It is a a result that not even some of the best top of the range can offer. Shooting indoors is excellent (the photo of the warehouse), with great precision in the details of the writing, and the representation of the photo in the dark (the bee) is surprising for a smartphone from € 299: the details are there, and the noise has been totally eliminated. Huawei has managed to tame the 48MP sensor.

The photos taken with the ultra wide angle module are a bit more mixed, while the Macro module is certainly an excellent addition, which can easily focus in a few centimeters from the sensor. In short, a very versatile photographic sector with great potential finally in the mid-range too.


AI Ultra Clarity – Off vs On

The mode AI Ultra Clarity allows you to shoot at 48MP trying to solve the inevitable defects generated by the integrated sensor by merging multiple photos taken in rapid succession. He does it very well, but only in some circumstances. In this case he managed to represent the foliage of the tree in an excellent way, much more mixed in the normal shooting mode at 12MP, but when he is unable to analyze some elements it can generate some artifacts.

Final thoughts

Huawei P40 lite is yet another confirmation from Huawei: a smartphone capable of aggressively addressing its market segment with an extremely interesting list price and some technical characteristics that are taken up – with due proportions – by the very high end of the manufacturer.

On the new entry-level of the P Series we have not encountered heavy problems. The display is quite bright and offers excellent image quality managing to cover the entire gamut triangle according to the DCI-P3 reference, while the performance is the highest you can find inside a mid-range smartphone. P40 lite looks like a device fluid and responsive, well optimized in terms of software also with regard to energy efficiency.

The autonomy exam is also passed with flying colors: not only Huawei P40 lite it is among the very first smartphones in our ranking, but with the 40W Super Charge fast charge it is practically impossible to remain without a smartphone. We have not measured the charging times but we can assure you that they are very short. Everything is surrounded by a excellent quality photographic sector, based on a myriad of additional functions with which to “play” to create (even too much) simple creative shots.

Huawei P40 lite is today the best smartphone in the price range around € 300: complete, versatile and very powerful in relation to competitors, the new device is certainly worth considering among the midrange. Of course, Google Mobile Services are missing and for some this can represent an obstacle (more psychological than anything else), but alternatives are not lacking and the experience of using the smartphone is not in our opinion compromised by the absence of Google services.

Then there is the speech FreeBuds 3, Huawei’s true wireless earphones, which can be found on the market today at a price between 120 and 150 €. Earphones are offered as a gift to the purchase of P40 lite in presale. This is a promotion that in our opinion makes a smartphone that has many aces up its sleeve even more irresistible, with or without GMS.

In particular: those who pre-order from 13 to 26 March must finalize the purchase at the same store no later than April 12. Instead, in case of immediate availability of the product, the purchase must be finalized no later than March 26th. In order to receive the prizes, it is necessary to register for the promo, attaching the required documentation (pre-order proof and proof of purchase), no later than April 19th. The promo will be active starting March 13 on the official Huawei website.

Find everything you need to know in the links below:

PRO

  • Powerful autonomy and fast charging
  • Excellent performance
  • Good display for the price
  • Nice design
  • Extremely versatile AI camera
  • Excellent value for money

VERSUS

  • GMS is missing

 

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