Hardware Phones Reviews

Huawei P30 Lite review: is it worth the risk and where’s the cheapest place to buy it?

Huawei P30 Lite review

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Huawei P30 Lite
Huawei P30 Lite review

Product Name: Huawei P30 Lite

Product Description: A lightweight phone that's great for less demanding users

Price: From £16 on monthly contract

Availability: OnlineOnly

  • Overall

Verdict

This is a premium phone in terms of its looks and its excellent display, with Huawei cutting the corners in most of the right places. The only question mark is whether the camera is good enough.

Overall
3.5

Pros

  • Looks fantastic and great screen
  • Fast enough for 90% of people
  • Great monthly price

Cons

  • Mediocre battery life
  • You can buy faster phones for the same price
  • Camera doesn’t live up to the hype

The war of words between Trump and China continues, and Huawei is stuck right in the middle. So where does that leave you if you want to buy the wee Huawei P30 Lite? In this review, I try to untangle that web by explaining the phone’s strengths, weaknesses – and where to buy the darn thing on the cheap.

Huawei P30 Lite review: the lowdown

The Huawei P30 Lite lives up to its name. Pick it up or slip it into your pocket and it barely registers; it’s a great day-to-day phone if you value compactness.

The “lite” aspect is reflected in its specifications, but this is still a speedy unit. Sure, rivals such as the Xiaomi Pocophone 9 are 50% faster for a similar price, but it’s also bulkier and way less attractive.

I tested the P30 Lite’s “peacock blue” version, and remain amazed that you can buy something that feels this premium for this price.

Rather than bore you with hordes of details, I’ve given ratings out of five for each of its key areas. I cover the camera in more depth below.

FeatureStar rating
Speed ★ ★ ★
Battery life ★ ★ ★
Camera ★ ★ ★
Screen quality ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Screen resolution ★ ★ ★ ★
Storage (128GB) ★ ★ ★ ★
Style/form factor ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Huawei P30 Lite review: the camera

The P in this phone’s name stands for photography, and while the P30 Lite doesn’t have the phenomenal zoom of the P30 Pro it’s still a handy camera.

It’s a triple-lens unit, with the main weapon being a 48-megapixel lens that can shoot photos with a 8,000 x 6,000 resolution. That’s overkill for most people, which is why the camera defaults to 12 megapixels (4,000 x 3,000). At this setting, the interface offers a 2x “optical” zoom, which is basically taking advantage of those extra pixels.

The second camera is an 8-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens, which will come in most handy for landscapes and group shots. And the final 2-megapixel lens is for Bokeh shots.

The reason I only give it three stars is that Huawei applies heavy compression to shots and the phone oversaturates images. They’re great compared to phones of two years ago, but steer clear if photography is a keen interest.

Is Huawei worth the risk?

There’s no doubt that buying a non-Chinese phone is the safest bet right now. What happened to Huawei could happen to others. So you do have to think, what’s the worst that could happen? And is it a big enough risk for me to care about?

The biggest risk is that all American-trading firms refuse to work with Huawei, and that Google in particular permanently suspends updates to Huawei’s phones. That would make them a security risk.

If you’re the cautious sort, don’t buy from the firm.

Personally, I’d be happy to buy a Huawei phone right now. Why? First, because Donald Trump has already hinted that Huawei will be welcomed back with open arms if only China would sign on the right dotted line. History tells us a compromise is usually reached.

Second, Huawei makes nice phones and has enough resources to create its own version of Android if necessary. But honestly, I don’t think it will come to that.

Huawei P30 Lite review: where can you buy it?

SIM free: John Lewis for £329

Recommended because it comes with a two-year warranty and you aren’t tied up in a monthly contract.

Pay monthly: Mobiles.co.uk from £16 per month (with cashback offer)

If you’re organised enough to claim cashback at six-monthly intervals then mobiles.co.uk is the best way we’ve found to buy the P30 Lite. The £16 deal only includes 2GB of data, but £18 buys 4GB of data. Note those prices already factor in the cashback.

Don’t buy from…

We also took a look at direct deals from BT, Three and Vodafone. Typically, you’ll be paying over the odds for not a lot of monthly data – and the prices skyrocket once you get over a certain data limit.

READ THIS NEXT: What’s the easiest way to transfer photos from Android to a PC?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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