The Huawei P30 Lite is one of the best all-around phones you can pick up today without spending flagship money and blowing your budget fast.
If you haven’t read it, here’s our review of Huawei’s latest midrange smartphone. And in case you’d like to know how it stacks up against one of Samsung’s most popular and specced-out sub-flagships around, you can check out our comparison article featuring the Samsung Galaxy A50 and Huawei P30 Lite here.
For today, we’re going to focus on the aesthetics and design aspects that make this device stand out, while also highlighting its wins in the camera department. The P30 Lite delivers an impressive and versatile triple-sensor setup on a budget, and the 32-megapixel selfie shooter that sits in the notch at the top of the screen leverages on hardware and software integration to produce excellent results.
Flagship design and feel
One of the Huawei P30 Lite’s main draws is also one of the most obvious. We really like the materials used on the outside of this handset. It looks like an expensive piece of hardware in person and in photos, and feels even more premium in the hand.
Notably, the Peacock Blue version of the P30 Lite impresses with a gorgeous gradient color scheme on the back that transitions from blue to purple and flaunts an S-shaped pattern that is visible at specific angles as light bounces off its surface. It is available in solid black and white colors as well, with both sporting a glass-like finish for an equally upscale aesthetic.
Additionally, the design is streamlined with diamond-cut top and bottom chamfers that ensure a comfortable grip when using the phone in landscape mode. The precisely machined chamfers contribute to the overall visual symmetry of the P30 Lite and are a distinguishing feature of the Huawei P30 series.
Meanwhile, the dewdrop notch at the top of the screen is tiny in comparison with those of most other handsets on the market. It gives Huawei extra room to increase the screen size without impacting one-handed usage as much. It also contains a single 32-megapixel selfie camera that the P30 Lite shares with the flagship P30 and P30 Pro phones, but we’ll get to that in a moment. Calls are loud, thanks to the wide earpiece speaker located just about the notch.
Given its modest dimensions and balanced weight, the Huawei P30 Lite is pretty easy to use with one hand, and you won’t have any trouble slipping it in and out of your pocket. This thing is about as ergonomic as smartphones come these days and represents the sweet spot for most users. It is neither too tall nor too wide and feels relatively lightweight, weighing in at 159 grams.
The physical fingerprint reader on the back is faster and much more accurate than an under-display solution, allowing you to unlock the phone with ease, even without looking at where your finger is supposed to land.
Another thing we like about having a traditional fingerprint scanner is that you can almost always program it to do more than bypass your device’s security. With the P30 Lite, you can use the rear-mounted sensor to take a photo or video, answer a call, stop an alarm, show the notification panel, or swipe through the Gallery app.
Shooting without limits
The Huawei P30 Lite is praised for plenty of reasons — and image quality is, without a doubt, a huge one. The highlight of the triple-camera system on the back is a 24-megapixel sensor that sits behind an f/1.8 aperture lens for improved low-light shooting.
It is joined by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera that enables a 120-degree field of view, perfect for capturing expansive landscapes and interiors and taking group shots without leaving anyone out. There’s also a 2-megapixel snapper that serves as a depth sensor for portrait-style shots and completes the three-camera set in a vertical module.
Pictures taken with the Huawei P30 Lite. The second image was captured in Aperture mode while the last one was shot in Portrait mode
Pictures taken with the main sensor are crisp and offer accurate color representation and dynamic range that carry enough detail and texture from both highlights and shadows. In our testing, the P30 Lite produces pleasing results in dark scenes, even without clicking Night mode, which combines long exposure and machine learning to brighten shots significantly.
Other sample night shots
Meanwhile, the wide camera also captures images that are decently sharp and color-rich in good lighting. On top of that, it has tap-to-focus and tracking features — both of which are usually found only in wide-angle cameras of top-specced phones. The ability to adjust the focus and affect the exposure of a picture is an important factor in snapping a nice photo where it would be otherwise difficult to do so without the said feature.
The P30 Lite’s wide-angle camera has tap-to-focus and tracking features — both of which are usually found only in those of top-specced phones
The P30 Lite’s ultra-wide lens allows for a much wider field of view, while the extra focusing features Huawei includes in the camera package leave the door open to wider possibilities.
Another thing that stands out on the camera side of the equation is software, specifically AI scene recognition, which can be activated by tapping the AI icon in the camera application. Huawei says the cameras on the P30 Lite can identify a total of 30 different scenes and objects — like food, dogs, and sunset/sunrise — in real time.
The phone will automatically adjust the color and exposure settings within the camera app based on what you’re shooting to give you higher-quality images. The Huawei P30 Lite’s smart scene detection is available on the regular, ultra-wide, and front-facing cameras, though fewer scenes will be recognized by the latter.
Super-sharp selfies and more
Taking selfies is an important part of the camera experience on any modern smartphone, and the 32-megapixel shooter on the P30 Lite doesn’t disappoint. Huawei’s camera is sharp in good lighting and wide enough to easily fit two people in the frame, while skin tones appear flattering, not overexposed and ashy or gray.
The selfie snapper comes with auto-focus, plus a variety of shooting options including Beauty and Portrait modes with different lighting effects to choose from. Naturally, portraits will look better in daylight, with a good amount of bokeh in the background, but the edge detection is not the best we have seen.
The 3D Qmoji feature can be found under the AR Lens toggle
You can tell we’re having fun here, aren’t we?
There’s also the cutesy 3D Qmoji feature under the AR Lens toggle. It is pretty similar to Apple’s Animoji in that it lets you animate 3D characters using your facial expressions. You can send a 3D Qmoji to a friend in video or GIF format through your favorite messenger platform. If you wish, you can also send one with a quick voice message for greater impact.
Lite yet heavy
With its latest offering, Huawei shows that it can also deliver an exciting heavyweight in the midrange amid all the excitement and genius of the P30 and P30 Pro flagships. The P30 Lite is further proof that you don’t need to spend big for hardware that looks, feels, and performs well above its price tag. It is an outstanding smartphone if only for its cameras alone.
The Huawei P30 Lite is available for purchase now at offline and online retail in the Philippines for P16,990, or roughly $328 converted. You can also get it through a Globe Telecom or Smart Communications data plan at affordable rates starting at P999 ($19) monthly.
Huawei P30 Lite specs
- 6.15-inch display, 2,312 x 1,080 resolution
- Octa-core Huawei Kirin 710 processor clocked at 2.1GHz
- Mali-G51 MP4 GPU
- 6GB RAM
- 128GB expandable memory
- Triple rear cameras with 24 megapixels, 8 megapixels (wide), and 2 megapixels (depth sensor)
- 32-megapixel front camera
- Fingerprint sensor (rear-mounted)
- 3,340mAh battery with 18-watt fast charging via USB-C
- Android 9.0 Pie based on EMUI 9.0
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