Review

Honor 10X Lite review: A great value package despite its limitations

A few weeks ago, Honor introduced the 10X Lite, the first member of the 10X family, and the successor to the 9X Lite, which was launched just a few months ago, at the start of the year. The 10X Lite keeps a similar power level to its predecessor, but it delivers some key improvements to the camera, battery, and design.

Those improvements come with an increase in price, with the Honor 10X Lite costing €229.90, but the overall value is still pretty great. Of course, like all other Huawei and Honor phones, there are no Google services on here, but that's been the case for some time now. Plus, Huawei has been making some strides in fixing the "app gap".

Honor initially sent me a pre-production unit in the black color variant, but because of some issues with updates on that device, the company ended up sending me another phone. This one is a production model, so the experience is more likely in line with what you'll get if you buy it yourself.

Specs

CPU

HiSillicon 710A - four Cortex-A73 at 2GHz, four Cortex-A53 at 1.7GHz

GPU Mali G51
Display 6.67-inch IPS LCD, 2400 x 1080, 394ppi
Body 165.65 x 76.88 x 9.26mm, 206g
Camera 48MP main + 8MP ultra-wide + 2MP depth sensor + 2MP macro; Front - 8MP
Aperture f/1.8 + f/2.4 + f/2.4 + f/2.4, Front - f/2.0
Video capture 1080p 60fps
Battery 5000mAh
RAM 4GB
Storage 128GB
Colors Icelandic Frost, Emerald Green, Midnight Black
OS Magic UI 3.1
Price €229.90

Day one

Design

The design of the Honor 10X Lite is about as standard as it gets. The back and frame are both plastic, which isn't shocking at this price point. As you can see in the video above, Honor initially sent me a black color variant of the phone, but because it was a pre-production model and there were some issues with getting production software on it, I got a second model in the Icelandic Frost color, which is much nicer. I really like the gradient here, even if it doesn't do any crazy effects like some other Huawei/Honor phones do. There's a quad camera setup on the back, which is housed in a relatively small bump.

Looking at the sides of the phone, the right has the volume rocker, along with a power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor. I'm actually a fan of fingerprint sensors in the power button, and this one works pretty well.

Over on the right, there's the nano-SIM card slot, which can also be used to expand the internal storage of the phone.

On the top edge, there's only a microphone hole.

And on the bottom edge, there's a USB Type-C port for charging. The phone comes with a 22.5W SuperCharge charger which is very nice to have at this price point, and a major upgrade over the 9X Lite. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microphone hole, and a speaker grill for the only loud speaker on this phone.

Display and sound

The display on the Honor 10X Lite is a 6.67-inch IPS LCD panel, and it comes in at a 2400x1080 resolution. As I've said many times before, this is totally fine for a phone screen, especially at this price. My biggest concern with lower resolution is that display scaling can often be a little too large, but Honor gives you display scaling options, so that's not a problem. And yes, as long as some manufacturers insist on not providing this option, I will keep praising the ones that do.

The display looks fine in general and the colors look nice enough for an IPS display, though obviously better ones exist. I'm still a little taken aback by the "eye comfort" feature on Honor phones, since it appears to get more of a green hue than a yellow one, which is more common on other devices. Still, it's not a huge deal, or maybe I'm just getting used to it.

Another big change from its predecessor is that the front-facing camera isn't in a large notch, and instead there's a punch-hole cutout in the center of the top edge of the display. I like this kind of camera cutout and find it to be the least intrusive, though this particular one isn't the smallest I've seen.

As for sound, the single speaker setup here could be a downside, but it honestly gets pretty loud and packs enough punch for my taste. It doesn't sound tinny or too distorted at high volumes, so I'd say it's definitely good enough for this price.

Camera

The rear camera setup on the Honor 10X Lite is made of up four sensors - a 48MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro camera. The last two are the usual throwaway sensors that are basically only here to make quad cameras a feature to put on the spec sheet, but someone might have a use for them.

The main attractions are, of course, the main camera and the ultra-wide lens, with the latter being a notable addition compared to the 9X Lite. The camera also has a night mode, which is a wonderful feature to have, and something that still isn't that common on phones at this price. The LG K61 or TCL 10L I reviewed earlier this year didn't have it, and they were both more expensive than this, so that's great to see. Night mode isn't available on the wide-angle camera, though.

In terms of the results, the main camera is alright. It doesn't get as much detail as higher-end sensors, and it has a tendency to make colors a little brighter than they appear in real life, but pictures have decent contrast, and I almost always like how clouds look in pictures taken with this phone. Night mode can help quite a bit in low light, but it's never an ideal situation for this camera. The wide-angle, however, isn't that great, which seems to be a theme with these cheaper Honor phones. It's there if you really need the bigger field of view, but pictures don't look very sharp or detailed, especially as it gets darker.

The camera app does support HDR, but it's a mode hidden in the "More" section of the app, which I always find odd. It doesn't seem to help a whole lot, so maybe that's why it's not front and center. There's also the usual Pro mode, which offers manual settings for pictures. For video features, there's slow-motion video recording at 120 frames per second and super slow-motion mode, which can record about a second of video at 480 frames per second, which turns into a 10-second video file.

Software, performance, and battery life

The story is getting old at this point, but you can't talk about a Huawei phone without talking about the lack of Google services. You may think anything you want about Google, but most people get an Android phone and expect to be able to find any and all apps they need in the Play Store, and you can't do that here. Plus, any Google service you want to use just won't work normally.

However, Huawei has recently taken a pretty significant step in addressing the "app gap". While its own AppGallery is still pretty barren, the company has introduced a new feature called Petal Search, a search engine that can be used to search the web in general, but it has a focus on finding apps. You can use Petal Search to look for any app you want, and it will scour the web and a multitude of app repositories to find it. It also simplifies the install process, so you don't have to go through all the hoops some repositories put you through when downloading an app, since it can handle .xapk packages by itself. It's incredibly convenient and it makes it that much easier to overlook the lack of a Play Store.

There are still some issues with apps on Huawei devices, though. Some apps will tell you they require Play Services and simply won't work, as in the case of Microsoft Authenticator, which I sorely miss. Other apps may simply crash constantly. I've noticed that Microsoft Launcher has a tendency to crash and restart if I have it open for a few seconds without opening an app, which can be a bit annoying.

Otherwise, though, performance is actually pretty good on this phone. For a phone as cheap as this, the only times I really wished I had something else was when apps didn't work at all. In terms of overall speed, I had little in the way of complaints. Let's take a look at benchmarks, starting with AnTuTu, which is a general performance test:

The results here are pretty good for the price point. The Honor 10X Lite trounces the more expensive LG K61, and is nearly tied with the TCL 10 L, which officially costs as much as the LG phone.

Moving on to GeekBench, which is a CPU-focused test:

Once again, the Honor 10X Lite has very solid results, well ahead of the LG K61 mentioned above, and even the TCL 10 L in multi-core performance. Finally, we have GFXBench, which tests the GPU:

Battery life on Honor devices is always great, and the 5,000mAh battery on the 10X Lite will easily get you through a day. I would have expected two-day battery life with a battery this big, and you can make it last that long if you use the phone more conservatively, but it's not going to happen as often as with something like the Honor 9A. Of course, that's an even lower power device, so that's to be expected. You still easily get all-day battery life, which is what really matters.

Conclusion

The Honor 10X Lite isn't a terribly exciting phone, and that's pretty obvious just looking at its price tag, but it's nothing to scoff at, either. It offers pretty great performance and battery life for its price point, plus it has a decent camera, display, and sound, in addition to some niceties like 22.5W fast charging. It's an all-around enjoyable experience that doesn't carry a lot of compromises you get on other phones in this price range.

Of course, the lack of Google services is going to be a problem for many, but the addition of Petal Search goes a long way in making apps easier to find and install without the Play Store. The experience is getting that much more usable, even if it's not at the same level as phones that have Android licenses from Google.

Considering that phones like the LG K61 or TCL 10L have an official retail price that's €50 higher, the Honor 10X Lite is a legitimately good option, as long as you know what you're getting into without Google services.

The Honor 10X Lite is available in a few European countries, including France and Germany, and it usually costs €229.90. You can find different discounts or bundles depending on where you are, though.

 

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