Skip to main content

The Huawei Mate 20 Lite is A.I.-powered, attractive, and affordable

Huawei Mate 20 Lite review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Huawei is working hard to bring its premium A.I.-driven technology to everyone, regardless of price range. That seems to be the idea behind the Huawei Mate 20 Lite, which launched at IFA 2018. It’s the first of the new Mate 20 range to be released, and it bodes well for the release of the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.

With a powerful new Kirin 710 processor, four camera lenses, and a huge 6.3-inch display, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite could be one of the phones to bring artificial intelligence into everyday life. Unfortunately, there are no plans to bring it to U.S. shores. Here’s everything you need to know about the Huawei Mate 20 Lite.

Design and display

Huawei Mate 20 Lite review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Despite being a midrange device, the Mate 20 Lite is made from premium materials. There’s glass on the front and back, sandwiching a metal frame. It’s a similar design to previous Huawei devices — but we haven’t grown sick of it yet. It comes in glossy black, sapphire blue, and platinum gold.

It’s bad news for notch-haters though, as the Mate 20 Lite definitely has a notch. However, it should be easy to forgive and forget when it’s embedded in a massive 6.3-inch IPS LCD display, running a crisp 2,340 x 1,080 resolution in a super-long 19.5:9 aspect ratio.

Specs and battery

Huawei Mate 20 Lite review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Mate 20 Lite is a strictly midrange device, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have some bite to back up its bark.

Key Specs

  • CPU: Kirin 710
  • Memory: 4GB
  • Storage: 64GB
  • MicroSD card slot: Yes, up to 512GB
  • Screen size: 6.3 inches
  • Resolution: 2,340 x 1,080
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.2, NFC
  • Battery: 3,750mAh

This is the first time we’ve seen the revised Kirin 710, and while we don’t expect it to match Huawei’s Kirin 970 (or brand new Kirin 980 processor), we have high hopes for performance based on Huawei’s fine pedigree. 4GB of RAM should mean the phone keeps on ticking regardless of what you throw at it. 64GB of internal storage and a MicroSD card slot should give most users more than enough room to breath — and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, too.

Huawei’s new GPU Turbo is included in this phone, as well as an A.I.-powered Game Suite mode that prioritizes game performance. Despite the lower-powered processor, this combination will hopefully see solid performance from the Mate 20 Lite.

There’s a massive 3,750mAh battery backing up those specs, and a battery of that size should keep the Mate 20 Lite powered for a good amount of time. We saw great battery performance from the Mate 10 Pro and the P20 Pro, and we expect that the Mate 20 Lite will keep up this tradition. Huawei’s 18W fast-charging tech will also be included, so it won’t keep you waiting for long when the battery does need refilling.

Software and special features

Huawei Mate 20 Lite review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

A.I. is at the center of almost every consumer-based technological advance, and Huawei is making a big push to be at the forefront of that tech — and the Mate 20 Lite is apparently leading the Chinese company’s next big charge.

Huawei’s aim is for the Mate 20 Lite’s A.I. to seamlessly merge into your life. A.I. Noise Cancellation cuts out background noise during phone calls, ensuring high quality phone calls. A.I. Smart  Gallery uses A.I. to recognize and sort your pictures into automatic albums. The A.I. Shopping Assistant is perhaps the most interesting new feature, and it takes the hassle out of online shopping by using A.I. to find the products you want. Mate 20 Lite users will be able to long-press an image of any product in order to pull up an A.I.-created list of stores that stock that item.

Outside of the A.I. assistance, you’ll find Huawei’s usual EMUI 8.2 skin laid over Android 8.0 Oreo, along with Huawei’s face unlocking feature.


Huawei Mate 20 Lite review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Mate 20 Pro comes with not two, not three — but four A.I.-powered camera lenses. There’s no P20 Pro-style triplecamera though — it’s two on the front, and two on the back.

You’ll find a 20-megapixel lens working with a 2-megapixel lens on the back of the phone, providing a professional-looking bokeh blur effect. The rear-facing cameras have also been injected with A.I. capabilities, and they’re capable of recognizing over 500 scenarios across 22 categories — including Portrait, Blue Sky, Snow, Ancient Building, and more. The A.I. then alters the camera settings to match the scenario it sees, hopefully giving you the best possible snap every time. The A.I. also offers composition tips during your shooting, providing suggestions on framing and gradually teaching users photography basics.

The front-facing selfie lenses are even more impressive. There’s a 24-megapixel lens running alongside a 2-megapixel lens here, and they work together to provide bokeh “portrait mode” selfies, as well as boosting your selfie game with HDR Pro and Studio Lighting support. Like the rear-facing camera, they’re capable of changing settings to match what they’re looking at — but it’s a reduced number of over 200 scenarios across 8 categories. Though that’s probably more than enough for all but the most prolific of selfie snappers.

Huawei is also diving into the Animoji/AR Emoji game with its own version of personalized emojis, called 3D QMoji. These are easily exportable as gifs or videos, meaning they’re super-easy to share on social media.

Keen video users will also be able to record in slow motion, at a speed of 480 frames per second. That’s not as impressive as the 960 fps super-slow motion on the Galaxy S9 and Xperia XZ2 Premium, but it’s still impressive for a midrange device.

Release date and price

The Huawei Mate 20 Lite will be available to purchase in the U.K. from Vodafone, EE, and Carphone Warehouse from October. Prices will start at 380 British pounds. Unfortunately, there’s been no word of a U.S. release, so if you’re U.S.-based and want to get your hands on the new Mate 20 Lite, you’re probably going to have to import it.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen is an avid follower of everything that beeps, bloops, or makes pretty lights. He has a degree in Ancient &…
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus vs. iPhone 11 Pro Max: Get Plus or go Max?
samsung galaxy s20 plus review back

Love a big phone? The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is still one of the biggest and best around, with a massive 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED display and an incredibly versatile quad-lens camera. It's not the only big phone out there, though, and it seems everyone has one they prefer. For many, Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max was the best phone of its generation when it was released in 2019, with powerful flagship hardware, a long-lasting battery, and a jaw-droppingly good camera.

If you're due for an upgrade or simply want something new and shiny, both of these massive, powerful flagships are tempting purchases. At over $1,000 for each, though, it's unlikely you can buy both. Which is better for you? We found out.

Read more
Huawei Mate X2’s outstanding hardware stuns, but there is a shocking downside
huawei mate x2 hands on features price photos release date side hinge

By ditching the “folding back on itself” design for the new Mate X2 folding smartphone, and adopting the same “open book” style as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2, Huawei has schooled every other company on how to make an utterly fabulous folding phone. It’s genuinely one of the most breathtaking phones I’ve held -- the definition of high class, worth-every-penny supertech that has more in common with a luxury vehicle than it does a normal smartphone.

Except while the hardware is leaps and bounds ahead of the already delectable Mate XS, the camera -- a traditional Huawei high point -- hasn't kept pace, and is a surprising misstep. I’ve been using the Mate X2 for just under a week, which isn’t enough time for a full review, but more than enough to understand where the latest Huawei folding smartphones strengths lie, and where its weaknesses hide.
Open and closed
The Mate X and Mate XS’s unfolded screen folded back in itself to become the front and back of the closed phone, effectively giving the device three screens. The Mate X2 has two separate screens, just like the Galaxy Z Fold 2. Unfolded it’s an 8-inch, 90Hz, 2480 x 2200 pixel OLED, while on the closed front of the phone you look at a 6.45-inch, 90Hz OLED screen with a 2700 x 1160 resolution.

Read more
The best lite apps for Android and iOS
Files Go

If you constantly struggle with limited storage and memory on your smartphone, jockeying between uninstalling apps, removing excess data, clearing out your photos, and other tricks to save space, can be time-consuming and confusing. It doesn't help that many of the most popular apps in the U.S. -- Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat -- are large downloads and resource-demanding. An older phone with 16GB of storage and 1GB or 2GB of RAM will quickly run out of space for new apps or photos or music, and running such apps will cause overheating, slowdowns, and crashes.

What's more, those apps also consume a ton of data, which is not ideal if you're on a budget or use your phone as your primary access to the internet -- which holds true for 20% of Americans, according to a Pew report. Thankfully, there is an alternative. The majority of the most-used apps on the market offer "lite" versions that reduce the drain on your phone and monthly data allotment. If a lite variant isn't available, platforms often have Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), which provide basic functionality through a mobile browser. PWAs don't require a download and are much less processor-intensive. Often, companies cover their bases by making their web app into a lite app, offering identical service on both.

Read more