Late last month we had a wonderful surprise in Honor’s 10 Lite landing in South Africa and after two weeks with the handset we’ve remembered why we’re such big fans of affordable smartphones.
At R4 599, the Honor 10 Lite is the cheapest handset we’ve had cross our desk in some time and while we were initially hesitant about this “cheap” smartphone, we’ve been eating our words for two weeks.
Here is why.
The build quality
Let’s start by looking at the handset itself. The build features an array of plastics but that shouldn’t bring the word “cheap” to mind. In fact the handset feels rather premium in your hand.
There is a noticeable bezel around the display but we’re actually big fans of that as it makes an accidental button press less likely to occur.
In terms of interface you have a big 6.2inch display with a rather strange 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
The only speaker on the handset is located at the bottom of the display and fires directly into your hand. While it is common on more and more smartphones opting to make larger displays, we’re not fans of bottom firing speakers and we find ourselves unintentionally muting audio more often than we’d like.
Honor has also opted not to go with a USB Type C connector so you’ll find a microUSB port and 3.5mm jack at the bottom of the handset alongside that bottom speaker.
Overall, the Honor 10 Lite doesn’t come off as a cheap handset and folks often mistake it for a handset from the Huawei stable.
While it might look like a Huawei, how does it perform?
Inside the Honor 10 Lite is a HiSilicon 710 chipset which boasts an octa-core CPU. This is paired with up to 6GB of RAM but our model only sports 3GB.
Performance is decent for the specs and we haven’t noticed any glaring issues with performance aside from some slow-down when running Hearthstone, several tabs in Chrome and WhatsApp.
Of course this might be extreme for some but it’s a casual day in the office for us and it’s worth noting that multi-tasking won’t be as good as a premium handsets.
All of that having been said, for R4 599, the Honor 10 Lite performances above our expectations and we’re rather pleased with how it handles day-to-day operations.
Of course after compute performance we need to look at the performance of the camera which is by far the most important part of the handset these days, right?
Sadly images taken with the Honor 10 lack the contrast we’d like to see from a smartphone camera.
While snapping photos we noticed that variances in light aren’t handled too well by the camera.
Sadly when you focus on dark areas any part of the image that isn’t dark is over exposed.
The AI functionality of the camera is there to provide some help in making images look slightly better but for the most part it seems like the sensor is letting the team down.
The autofocus is snappy which is nice.
Something we would like to point out is that the Honor 10 Lite handles low-light photos rather well.
We’ve included a gallery of test shots taken with the handset, below.
Look, we understand that Honor and Huawei are separate brands operating with autonomy from one another but while using this handset you start to pick up things that are signature Huawei.
One of those things is the battery which measures in at 3 400mAh.
It sounds tiny but the Honor 10 Lite sips power and we’ve grown rather accustomed to charging the handset every day and a half with a nightly charge only being required on the most extreme of days.
Charging the Honor 10 Lite though is where the real magic happens. In just over an hour (1:12) the handset went from 9 percent to 100 percent.
It’s tough not to look at the Honor 10 Lite and see some Huawei influence, especially as regards the battery, silicon and interface.
At R4 599 it really is hard to find fault with the Honor 10 Lite.
Sure, the camera isn’t going to win you a photojournalism award but then, we don’t expect that from an affordable phone.
For most tasks such as browsing social feeds, instant messaging, taking calls and playing games, the Honor 10 Lite is a solid option.
The battery is incredible and if you’re looking for a handset that comes in below R5 000 with a mammoth battery, once again, the Honor 10 Lite is a contender.
Overall this is a fantastic handset and it has reignited our love for affordable handsets.
Well done Honor, now please, add a U to your name, typing this review has been hellish.