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Huawei P9 Lite review

 Review: June 2016  

Last updated August 2017

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Huawei P9 Lite is one of our top-rated phones for 2016. Priced at just under 300, it's a mid- to higher-end phone with an impressively skinny metal design, a big 5.2 inch Full HD display, and an 8-core processor. A big battery life and 16GB of memory complete the package.


P9 Lite: design & looks

Did somebody order a Chinese? Oh yeah, it was us. We ordered a "Lite" meal - the P9 Lite in fact, and it turned out to be a very tasty dish indeed.

The first thing we noticed about the P9 Lite was the bill. It costs about £150 less than the P9. That means you can get it for less than £300 sim free or pay as you go, and makes it a real bargain.

The P9 Lite is about the same size as the P9 - perhaps half a millimetre thicker, but still what we'd call ultrathin - and it weighs a gram or two more. It's a good weight for its size - not heavy, but feeling solid. That's not surprising for a metal alloy phone, of course. Available in Black, White or Gold, the P9 Lite shares the good looks and high build quality of the regular P9, with sleek design, chamfered edges that catch highlights, and twin speaker grilles at the bottom edge, giving it serious HTC-inspired looks. On the back of the phone you'll find a square fingerprint scanner, used to unlock the device.

The P9 Lite has the same size screen as the P9 at 5.2 inches. The screen resolution is the same - 1920 x 1080 pixels - making it both big and sharp. This Full HD display is bright, with well-saturated colours and good viewing angles.

8-core Kirin processor

Like the P9 itself, the P9 Lite uses an octa-core Kirin 64-bit processor. It's a slightly slower model, but still very capable, with 4 cores running at 2GHz and 4 at 1.7GHz. Fitted with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM, depending on the version, it's a good high-end CPU.

The P9 Lite has half the flash memory of its big brother, which is fair for the price. The 16GB of storage plus microSD card slot should be plenty for most users, and you won't find a phone with more memory for this kind of money.

Android 6 Marshmallow

The P9 Lite runs Android 6 Marshmallow, with the latest version of Huawei's Emotion UI on top. This Apple-inspired user interface adds some interesting features, but isn't our favourite mod. It doesn't appear to give the phone any noticeable performance hit however.

13 megapixel camera

Perhaps the most obvious reduction in specification compared with the P9 is the fact that the P9 Lite has a single rear camera, instead of the dual lens configuration of the P9. But we have no complaints. The 13 megapixel Sony BSI camera with autofocus and flash is as good as most mid- to high-end phones, and performs competently under most lighting conditions. It's a good everyday camera that will meet the needs of most users.

Similarly, the front camera will serve the needs of the selfie-seeker, with a fixed-focus 8 megapixel sensor, and wide angle f/2.0 lens. The screen lights up as a flash in low lighting.


The P9 Lite misses out on the USB-Type C connector of the P9, being equipped with a more conventional array of connectivity options - 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, micro-USB, NFC, and a headphone socket. GPS and Glonass positioning are included, as well as a compass.

Strong battery life

Often the "Lite" version of a phone loses out when it comes to battery life. Not so with the P9 Lite, which shares the heavy-duty 3000mAh battery of the P9. Considering that its Kirin 650 processor uses less power, this gives the P9 Lite an impressively long battery life - between 1 and 3 days in our estimate.

Conclusion - as good as the original

Of course the P9 Lite isn't quite as good as the P9. But when you factor in the substantially lower cost, we'd rate it as an even better buy.

The P9 Lite makes cuts in the right places - eliminating the dual lens camera, and opting for a lower-spec but still fast processor. The memory has been cut to 16GB too, but for the price bracket, we think that the P9 Lite gives more than any other phone.

Update (August 2017): The new Huawei P10 Lite doubles the memory to 32GB and brings a few other welcome improvements.

Huawei P9 Lite features include:

User questions

Sorry - questions and comments on this page are now closed.

How do you zoom in when about to take a photo?

Asked by Chris from England on 20th Dec 2017

I bought my phone in south africa, but it doesent want to take an international sim and its supposed to be unlocked. Can this be fixed?

Asked by Darrilyn from USA on 14th Sep 2017
On a ceuiseliner working, want to put At&t sim for when we in US PORTS.

How do I make the P9 lite connect to Windows Media Player?

Asked by Jan Townsend from GB on 13th Apr 2017
All my previous smartphones have connected automatically to WMP but the P9 lite doesn't. I want to put music of my choice on the phone. How can I do this?

See all 11 questions

Huawei P9 Lite user reviews

Sorry - reviews and comments on this page are now closed.