Introduction

It’s a fast-paced industry, and six months sounds like a long time for a phone to go without a successor. So Honor is following up on the 9X Lite with the 10X Lite. Hardly a groundbreaking update, but the new model, which we have for review now, brings a few meaningful improvements over the 9X Lite.

Among those are a couple of extra cameras on the back – the 10X Lite now gets an ultra-wide-angle module to complement the carried over 48MP main unit, and a 2MP ‘macro’ camera joins the already available depth sensor.

Another step in the right direction is switching to a USB-C port. On a semi-related note, the 10X Lite charges much faster at up to 22.5W (as opposed to the basic 10 watts of the 9X Lite), which is great because it can also hold more charge – the new battery has a 5000mAh capacity, up from 3,750mAh.

Huawei Y7a/P smart 2021 (left) next to Honor 10X Lite

That’s how the 10X Lite sits in the Honor X Lite lineage, but we should also mention that the phone is almost identical to the Huawei P smart 2021 we had over just last week, itself a differently named Y7a. If it weren’t for the rearranged cameras on the back, we’d have sworn that the Honor 10X Lite is the same phone.

  
Three identical phones: Honor 10X Lite • Huawei Y7a • Huawei P smart 2021

Honor 10X lite specs at a glance:

  • Body: 165.7×76.9×9.3mm, 206g; Colors: Icelandic Frost, Midnight Black, Emerald Green.
  • Display: 6.67″ IPS LCD, 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 395ppi.
  • Chipset: Kirin 710A (14 nm): Octa-core (4×2.0 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53); Mali-G51 MP4.
  • Memory: 128GB 4GB RAM; microSDXC.
  • OS/Software: Android 10, Magic UI 3.1, no Google Play Services.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, 26mm, 1/2.0″, 0.8µm, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.4, 120˚; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4; LED flash, HDR, panorama.
  • Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0; HDR.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 1080@60/30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
  • Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 22.5W.
  • Misc: Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, proximity, compass, FM radio, NFC.

Honor 10X Lite unboxing

The Honor 10X Lite arrives in a plain cardboard box, but this one has a bit more color on it than the P smart 2021’s – blue sides, a couple of pictures of the phone on top.

The box contents are the same – you get a USB-A-to-C cable and a power adapter aside from the phone. The adapter itself isn’t too shabby as it supports Huawei SuperCharge at up to 22.5 watts and will be much appreciated when having to fill up that big 5,000mAh battery.

Design and build quality

The Honor 10X Lite has a relatively generic design, though it is not out of touch with the current trends. Its plastic back and midframe don’t scream ‘premium,’ but the phone doesn’t give off a cheap feeling either.

Over on the front, the 6.67-inch display is surrounded by a black border that’s thicker than what you’d find on a flagship yet entirely in line with competing efforts in the 10X Lite’s segment. In fact, the 6.67-inch Poco X3 NFC and Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro have virtually identical bezels and footprints to the Honor handset. The smaller 6.5-inch Realme 6 and 7 are understandably ever so slightly more compact in footprint, but as bezels go, the Honor is like every other phone in its price range.

There’s a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera centered at the top end of the display, as notches remain favored by only a single premium manufacturer with a notch in its logo. It’s a reasonably large cutout, and much like on the P smart 2021, the slightly off-center screen protector application is bugging us a bit.

There’s no mention of the type of protective glass used on the Honor 10X Lite, and with the US-China trade clash, it’s probably not coming from Corning anyway. A screen protector is a good idea on any display regardless of trade name or price, however.

Our review unit is the Emerald Green colorway while two more options are available – Icelandic Frost and Midnight Black. This particular green is a different hue from the one we saw on the P smart 2021, and this one has a fine satin sheen as opposed to the P smart’s full gloss attire.

Huawei Y7a/P smart 2021 (left) next to Honor 10X Lite

Another minor difference when comparing the two is the camera arrangement. The P smart 2021 has all four modules stacked on top of each other, while the Honor has them 3+1 in an upside-down L shape. The LED flash is a different spot, too.

The assembly sticks out only a little, and while the phone will wobble a bit, it’s the slightest of wobbles and likely wouldn’t bother anyone but the most extreme wobble haters. We wind it negligible.

The plastic frame is colored to match the back hue and has a similar satin finish. The frame itself doesn’t pick up fingerprints, but the back is a lot more prone to smudging, even though it’s not quite glossy.

Since the handset uses an LCD, an under-display fingerprint sensor is out of the question. Rear-mounted capacitive sensors, on the other hand, have fallen out of fashion, and this leaves the Honor 10X Lite with a side-mounted reader built into the power button on the right.

It’s placed in a flattened portion of the frame, so it’s easy to find by feel, but it’s also where your right thumb falls naturally, so there won’t be much searching for it anyway. It also works with a left index finger – and we’d say it’s about as reliable as the other way around, which isn’t always the case with these side-mounted solutions.

The volume rocker above is plastic too, but clicks positively, no complaints.

On the opposite side of the phone is where you’ll find the card tray. It’s a triple slot that can accommodate two nano SIMs and a microSD cards. So you’re getting a dedicated memory expansion slot, and it’s the right kind of memory, as opposed to the NM Huawei tries to push with its high-end phones.

The USB-C port is centered on the bottom of the phone with the trio of audio bits around it. The loudspeaker is on the one side, the primary mic, and the 3.5mm headphone jack on the other. Up top, there’s just a secondary mic – sadly, no IR blaster on the 10X Lite.

6.67-inch LCD is adequate for the money

The 10X Lite packs a fairly large 6.67-inch display – a minor bump from the 9X Lite’s 6.5-inch panel. It’s an LCD with 1080x2400px resolution in a 20:9 aspect ratio for a pixel density of 395ppi.

We measured a maximum brightness of 426nits on the 10X Lite, a few nits less than what we got on the seemingly identical P smart 2021 and a relatively modest number, particularly for an LCD. We also didn’t see any boost with adaptive brightness enabled.

Black levels are reasonably well contained, and this results in a contrast of around 1200:1 – about average for a modern-day LCD.

Display test100% brightness
Black,cd/m2White,cd/m2Contrast ratio
Honor 10X Lite0.3384261260:1
Honor 9X0.3614641285:1
Huawei P smart 20210.3534421252:1
Huawei P40 Lite0.4254611085:1
Huawei P40 Lite (Max Auto)0.5015151028:1
Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC0.3544601299:1
Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC (Max Auto)0.5156311225:1
Samsung Galaxy A310423
Samsung Galaxy A31 (Max Auto)0635
Samsung Galaxy A510413
Samsung Galaxy A51 (Max Auto)0636
Realme 60.3434511315:1
Realme 70.314571474:1
Realme 7 (Max Auto)0.3745261406:1
Motorola Moto G8 Power0.3415001466:1
Motorola Moto G8 Power (Max Auto)0.537411398:1

Color reproduction is handled in a way familiar from previous Huaweis and Honors. There are two modes – Natural and Vivid, each with a Default/Warm/Cool selector and a color wheel for custom settings.

The 10X Lite comes with Vivid mode pre-set out of the box. With the ‘Default’ setting for color temperature, we measured an average dE2000 of 5.4 for our set of DCI-P3 test swatches, and a noticeable blue shift – white was about 8 units off the target, so slightly better than the P smart. The ‘Warm’ setting actually made things worse for white (dE2000 of 15 and a strong green tint), and the average deviation increased to 5.9. However, playing around with the color wheel got us a very accurate white point (dE2000 less than 2) and a reasonable 2.9 average.

Normal mode is the one for sRGB content, and it’s good enough with the ‘Default’ color temperature – 2.1 average dE2000 and only slightly reddish whites. ‘Warm’ was markedly worse, yielding a 7.8 average and a very yellow white point. However, with a custom setting on the color wheel, things got as close to perfect as we can hope for – a close-to-ideal white point and an average dE2000 of 1.6.

 
Custom setting for DCI-P3 • Custom setting for sRGB

The Honor 10X Lite makes no HDR claims, and its display has no HDR capability.

Honor 10X Lite battery life

The 10X Lite has a 5,000mAh battery inside, a generous capacity in general, and more or less the standard for the segment – the Poco X3 NFC has a marginally bigger 5,160mAh cell, the Galaxy A31, and the Realme 7 match Honor’s number.

In our testing, the Honor posted excellent numbers, with small differences here and there compared to the P smart 2021. Half an hour longer in the video test but an hour less in web-browsing is what we got on Honor, and voice call longevity is ever so slightly worse. Overall, the Honor 10X Lite posted an Endurance rating of 114 hours.

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSer App. The endurance rating above denotes how long a single battery charge will last you if you use the Honor 10X Lite for an hour each of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. We’ve established this usage pattern so that our battery results are comparable across devices in the most common day-to-day tasks. The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you’re interested in the nitty-gritty. You can check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we’ve tested will compare under your own typical use.

Battery charging

The Honor 10X Lite comes bundled with a Huawei SuperCharge 22.5W adapter, a reasonable middle ground for a phone in this price bracket. Oddly enough, it was a few minutes slower from zero to full than the P smart 2021, yet it had 5% more at the half-hour mark. Realmes are champs at charging speeds, particularly in this segment, though Xiaomi competitors are also quicker to top up than the Honor. Samsung’s entries in the class are nowhere as fast, though.

The Honor 10X Lite has a couple of features to prolong the battery’s health over time. One of these is Smart Charge that will delay topping up to 100% depending on your charging habits. Unlike Sony or Asus, there are no settings for this one where you can dial in full charge target times or tie it to your morning alarm – it’s just a simple on/off toggle (on by default, by the way). But if the flagship Mate 40 Pro doesn’t let you customize that, we wouldn’t expect it from the P smart, right?

Smart Battery Capacity is also here – it limits full charges to just short of the battery’s top capacity so that your lithium-ion battery doesn’t stay at maximum charge, which is detrimental to its long-term health.

Speaker test

The Honor 10X Lite has a single speaker firing out of the bottom of the handset – the default setup for the segment, though the Poco X3 NFC and some Motos in this price ballpark have stereo speakers.

The phone posted an ‘Average’ score for loudness in our speaker-test, much like it’s cousin P smart 2021, only marginally quieter. Quality is nothing special either, and if speaker performance is important to you, you should probably look at the Moto G8 Power and G Pro or the Poco X3 NFC.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal “0db” flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Audio output quality

We’ve recently discontinued our audio output quality test.

The reason for that is that most phones that arrived for testing were already excellent in this regard. Whatever difference there was, it was marginal and probably indistinguishable to anything but our lab equipment.

The Honor 10X Lite comes with a quad-camera setup on its back, though as is common practice in the lower market segments, only two of them are ‘real’ cameras.

The main module uses a 48MP Quad Bayer sensor – what has become the go-to option for even the lower mid-tier devices. A non-stabilized 26mm equivalent lens with an f/1.8 aperture sits in front of it.

The ultra wide-angle cam has an 8MP sensor with a lens that has the field of view of a 17mm lens on a 35mm film camera. The aperture on this one is f/2.4.

Then there’s the 2MP fixed-focus ‘macro’ camera that works best at a focusing distance of 4cm. Another 2MP unit for depth detection completes the list.

The Honor uses Huawei’s camera app that is more or less the same among all lineup models. The zoom selector complaint we’ve been having with it is less of an issue on this one, simply because of the phone having fewer cameras, but its placement remains sub-optimal.

UI navigation is otherwise standard – you change modes by sliding the mode selector to the side (but not by swiping in the viewfinder). There’s a toggle for changing between the front and rear cameras (but not by swiping in the viewfinder).

There’s a Pro mode too, which is also the same as on the flagships – you don’t get that approach with every brand. Here you can adjust parameters yourself – ISO (50 to 3200), shutter speed (1/4000s to 30s), exposure compensation (-4 to +4EV in 1/3 stop increments), and white balance (presets and specific light temperature). You can also choose the metering mode (matrix, center-weighted, and spot) and the focus mode (single, continuous, and manual). If the phone thinks you messed up the exposure, an icon will pop up to warn you.

Huawei/Honor’s approach to faux bokeh has been two-fold for years – there’s both a Portrait mode and an Aperture mode. In Aperture, you can choose the simulated aperture in the range from f/0.95 to f/16. Post shot, you can change the aperture and the desired focus point within the Gallery.

In Portrait mode, you can enable and disable the background blur, but you can also choose the bokeh shapes – circles, hearts, or discs. You can add some beautification on a scale from 0 to 10, but the simulated lighting we last saw on the Mate 40 Pro isn’t available on the P smart 2021.


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