Huawei officially launched its P30 range in the United Arab Emirates last night, including a budget variant dubbed P30 Lite, which will be offered alongside the more expensive P30 and P30 Pro.
As the name suggests, the P30 Lite discards several important features of the more sophisticated P30 phones, but aims to maintain the spirit of the P30 series, delivering stunning cutting edge design alongside a proper camera setup.
In addition to the teardrop notch and the colored back, the P30 Lite has little in common with its siblings. Specifications are reduced to include as many internal features as possible, such as Huawei's Kirin 710 chipset, and a modest triple camera configuration. But the competition, thanks mainly to Huawei, is tough in the low-cost market.
Does the P30 Lite have what it takes to stand out and be the king of value phones?
Price of the Huawei P30 Lite and release date
The series of P30 handsets arrive in stores on April 11 in the United Arab Emirates. Being the most accessible member of the series, the Huawei P30 Lite will be available for AED 1,099.
This gives you 4 GB of RAM and generous internal storage of 128 GB, which is great value for money.
Design and display
The P30 Lite looks similar to most recently launched Huawei phones and has a slim and light profile. It has a curved 3D glass on the back that makes it sit more comfortably in your hands, although we are not fans of the cheap and shiny-looking frame around the body. There is a fingerprint sensor on the back and a protruding camera protrusion that houses the three sensors on the phone.
The volume rockers and power button are hidden right. They feel plasticy and are the first pointers to the origins of the phone budget. At the bottom you will find a modern USB-C port and a single mono-triggered downward speaker that is blatantly lower but can be skipped instead of a 3.5mm headphone jack where you can connect your favorite wired headphones.
We receive the vibrant Peacock Blue color for review with the Huawei gradient finish that goes from blue to purple and looks great. One of the most striking features of the design on the back is the elongated inverted S that shines when it captures light and makes the phone look more premium than it is. But as is the case with most glass backs, the P30 Lite takes fingerprints and stains very easily, requiring regular cleanings.
Turning, you'll find a large 6.15-inch high-resolution LCD display that occupies just over 84% of the front. The frames are thin on the sides and the corners are elegantly rounded, although there is a bit of chin on the bottom.
Watching videos and viewing content on this screen was a good experience so far. The screen is impressive for an economical phone with ample brightness, crisp quality but not very crisp and excellent color reproduction. The dewdrop point is much less intrusive than the larger notches we've seen on other phones and, most of the time, gets out of the way.
Of course, the IPS LCD panel may not be as potent as the QHD on high-end smartphones or the AMOLED screens that Samsung now offers in its Galaxy A budget but hits well above its weight against most phones in that price range .
Triple Camera Setup
Shutterbugs will be happy to find a capable triple camera setup on the back that consists of a 24MP master sensor that can capture detail pockets, a 2MP depth sensor for bokeh effects and an ultra wide 8MP sensor that lets you crank in more scenarios.
The highlight is the front snapper, which features a generous 32MP sensor. It can capture a good amount of detail and AI embellishment on board allows quick selfies. While some prefer this, the processing is a bit much to our liking. You can also blur the backgrounds by activating the bokeh through the camera application or add in depth after the photo is taken.
The EMUI 9 also features a myriad of AI effects and image recognition to add a touch of elegance, but most of the time the photos turn out to be overly processed and unnatural. The camera application is also full of features and is in line with Huawei's highest price offerings. AI scene recognition is able to identify objects even when there is a lot going on and the bokeh in the rear camera is fast.
The initial results are impressive, especially when there is a lot of light around, but we do not expect you to be impressed. Even with lots of lighting, there is a noticeable loss in detail and noise often invades, resulting in unwanted dark spots.
Performance, EMUI 9 and battery life
Hardware is where the P30 Lite shows its true budgeting nature. It is compatible with Huawei's Kirin 710 chipset found on phones such as Honor 10 Lite and Honor 8x. Although your phone is able to keep up with the average daily usage, do not expect to switch easily between power-hungry applications or play in demanding games without hiccups.
In the end, the P30 Lite runs Android 9 with the clean EMUI 9 cover from Huawei. It includes several features you can activate to make your life easier, such as gesture support, performance and battery optimization, and a simpler menu settings. You can access them easily.
The battery of the P30 Lite is on the smaller side, at only 3,340mAh, but with modest internal, the battery probably will not be taxed. We anticipate that the phone tank will last a day of moderate use, including streaming videos and scrolling through social media. But let's make sure the battery runs during the full overhaul.
Huawei has confused the distinctions between budget and conventional phones so often that we are rarely surprised when the company launches a competent low-priced phone that hits above its weight. The P30 Lite takes the envelope a little further, offering a highly polished design, large screen and a camera configuration proficient with artificial intelligence to initialize.
Performance and games on the phone will probably slow you down, but the phone can handle most of the tasks well enough for casual users. You can easily get a day of moderate use with conservative battery capacity and if you happen to run out of power, the phone can charge relatively quickly with the included quick charger.
Overall, the P30 Lite seems to be a valuable addition to Huawei's already saturated budget line and brings an interesting mix of specs and hardware to the mix, especially for those who are low on cash. However, in a sea of great budget phones, little does stand out in a unique way and we are curious to see where it will land after we finish our detailed tests.