Huawei P8 lite Review: Unlocked And Affordable

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Huawei P8 lite Final Thoughts

While the freedom that comes with an unlocked phone can be attractive, there are usually some trade-offs that must be made. Often, those trade-offs mean paying more for the device, because it is unsubsidized, and settling for older or inferior hardware. In the case of the Huawei P8 lite, you’ll get a stylish phone for a reasonable price of $249, but the hardware lags behind today’s hottest phones. While real-world performance of the P8 lite was acceptable, a quick glance at our benchmark charts shows the P8 lite struggles to keep up with most of the phones we’ve reviewed recently.

Huawei P8 lite front1

We want to caution against ruling out the P8 lite based solely on the benchmarks, however. Although this device isn’t as fast as today’s flagship phones, it’s still very usable. In no way did we find ourselves pulling frustrated while using the phone. In reality, it’s not fair to compare the P8 lite to today’s flagship phones because they exist to cater to completely different markets.

The average Joe who needs am affordable, basic smartphone would likely be happy with the P8 lite’s real world performance. With that said, if you’re looking specifically for an unlocked phone we encourage you to look at the ASUS ZenFone 2 or the Nexus 6. Although both of these phones cost a little more than the P8 lite (the Nexus 6 is about $100 more), you’ll get a newer version of Android and better hardware specifications with these alternatives.

Huawei P8 lite angled1

Some of the biggest strengths of the P8 lite include its dual-SIM card capabilities and unique camera features. Travelers and people who often use multiple SIM cards will appreciate the dual-SIM capabilities of this phone, provided you're OK with sacrificing the microSD expansion slot to utilize two SIM cards. Images captured with the P8 lite’s rear-facing camera were very good and we liked the extra features such as All-focus that Huawei included. Although we’d never select a phone based on the camera alone, these features add some appeal to the overall package.

Huawei has some strong products in its current line-up, and we’re glad to see the company is continuing to pursue the US market. Since many consumers in the US are accustomed to subsidized phones in exchange for signing a contract with a wireless carrier, the selection of unlocked phones with an affordable price tag are minimal. If you are considering an unlocked phone, or are looking for an affordable way to buy a phone without signing a contract with a carrier, Huawei will be a company to watch.

  • Affordable for an unlocked phone
  • Dual SIM capabilities
  • Attractive design
  • Good camera
  • Dated Android KitKat OS
  • Unimpressive battery life
  • Screen brightness is adequate, but left us wanting more

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