Comparing the Mate 20 Lite and iPhone 8 Plus is a bit like, well, apples to oranges. Huawei has assembled a fine device for those who want a large screen, plenty of storage, decent performance, some camera trickery, and all for a very affordable price. Apple never usually gives itself the latter restraint, so the iPhone 8 Plus is a premium handset, boasting high-grade construction, excellent cameras, and a weighty hit on your wallet. In truth, if you want the best of the classic iPhone design then it’s a simple, if conservative, choice. Should money be tighter, then there’s a lot going for the Mate 20 Lite. In all honesty we wouldn’t buy either right now, and instead wait to see what Apple reveals for the year ahead. If nothing else, it will mean the iPhone 8 Plus at least gets a bit cheaper.
Price When Reviewed
64GB $549 | 128GB $599
With the recent release of models like the P20 Pro and Mate 10 Pro Huawei has been making a claim as a serious contender in the premium smartphone market. Now, in a slightly sideward move, the Chinese company has released the mid-range Mate 20 Lite which boasts fantastic bang-for-your-buck specifications.
But, will the low price be enough to tempt those looking at Apple’s large format champion, the iPhone 8 Plus? We compare the two to see how much you gain or lose when you save money.
Price and Availability
Revealed at IFA 2018 this September, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite is already available in the UK on Vodaphone and SIM-free through Carphone Warehouse, with EE set to offer the device from early October.
The asking price is a very reasonable £379 for the sole 64GB version, which has a microSD card that can expand the storage by up to 256GB. No doubt the contract deals will require a lot less investment up front.
No US release date has been announced so far, with the recent government imposed ban of Huawei’s devices sure to complicate matters going forward.
The iPhone 8 Plus is due to be replaced by the 2018/2019 line-up Apple is expected to announce at its Special event on 12 September. This should mean a price drop for the device, usually of around £100, but in the meantime you’ll need to spend rather a lot more than on the Mate 20 Lite.
There are two current models available directly from Apple, priced at £799/$799 for 64GB of storage and £949/$949 if you require 256GB.
Due to the popularity of iPhones they are available on contract deals from pretty much every mobile operator. So, be sure to check our Best iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus deals guide for the most tempting ones currently available.
Design and Build
With the expected iPhone X-style models sure to be unveiled at the Special event in September, the iPhone 8 Plus will probably be the last to bear the design first introduced back in 2014 with the iPhone 6 Plus.
Not much has changed externally since then, with the only notable additions being the glass back that was introduced with the 8 Plus to allow wireless charging, and the dual cameras on the rear. One thing that was taken away was the headphone jack, sadly.
It’s a classic design, but one that shows its age in the era of curved glass, tiny bezels, and – dare we say – notches on the front panel.
Huawei take a far more up-to-date approach with the Mate 20 Lite, bestowing upon it an almost bezel-less front panel, smooth glass back, and generally pleasing aesthetics all round.
In terms of size the Mate 20 Lite is very similar to the iPhone 8, being in fact marginally slimmer and lighter than the Apple model. This in spite of the fact that it comes with a much bigger 6.3in display when compared to the 5.5in panel on the iPhone.
- Huawei Mate 20 Lite: 158.3mm x 75.3mm x 7.6mm; 172g
- iPhone 8 Plus: 158.4mm x 78.1mm x 7.5mm; 202g
The iPhone 8 Plus does offer waterproofing and wireless charging though, whereas these are lacking on the Mate 20 Lite.
Mate 20 Lite in Pictures
iPhone 8 Plus in Pictures
Specs and Features
The outside of the iPhone 8 Plus may be somewhat dated, but the internals are a far more impressive collection. Apple installs an A11 Bionic chip, which is the same one used in the iPhone X, and this is paired with 3GB of RAM to provide plenty of power for users.
An LCD panel is used for the 5.5in display, but this boasts Apple’s True-Tone technology to deliver consistent performance no matter the environment, plus there’s the 3D touch feature which we’ve heard some people use occasionally.
Dual 12mp cameras adorn the back, one a wide-angle f/1.8 and the other a telephoto f/2.8, which are truly excellent. 4K video can be shot at 60fps, with a variety of features such as OIS, Slo-Mo at 1080p and 240fps, noise reduction, and stabilised Time Lapse video making the iPhone a creative powerhouse.
Huawei can’t match the specs used by Apple, mainly due its device being almost half the cost, but there is still a respectable amount of power and performance on offer.
The Kirin 710 Octa-Core chip is firmly rooted in the mid-range rather than the high performance company that the iPhone 8 Plus keeps. That being said, early tests show that its capable of solid, if not class-leading, speeds.
4GB of RAM is a healthy amount, and the ability to expand the internal 64GB of storage through microSD cards will be a welcome addition to those with large music or photo collections.
Dual cameras also appear on the Mate 20 Lite, both on the front and back! The front facing ones are comprised of a 24mp f/2.0 main shooter and a 2mp accompaniment for bokeh and depth of field effects.
Huawei also includes a range of AI based camera modes, Animoji-style animations, and a portrait mode.
The rear cameras are comprised of a 20mp f/1.8 lens a 2mp sidekick. It’s too early to fully know the capabilities of these optics, and while they are a fine set of hardware for a phone of this price, we’d be very surprised if they reached the dizzy heights of the iPhone 8 Plus.
Apple iPhone 8 Plus:
- A11 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture, Neural Engine, Embedded M11 motion coprocessor
- 64GB or 256GB storage
- 5.5-inch (diagonal) widescreen Retina HD LCD Multi-Touch display, 1920×1080 resolution at 401 ppi, 1300:1 contrast ratio, 625 cd/m2 max brightness
- dual lens 12Mp wide-angle (ƒ/1.8 aperture) and telephoto (ƒ/2.8) rear-facing cameras with optical zoom, optical image stabilisation, Quad-LED True Tone flash with slow sync, 4K video recording at 24fps, 30fps or 60fps, slo?mo video 1080p at 120fps or 240fps, Portrait mode and Portrait Lighting (beta)
- 7Mp rear-facing camera with 1080p HD video recording, Retina Flash, ƒ/2.2 aperture
- stereo speaker
- rated IP67 water- and dust-resistant under IEC standard 60529
- claimed battery life up to 13 hours of internet use
- 802.11ac Wi?Fi with MIMO
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Touch ID
- 158.4mm x 78.1mm x 7.5mm
Huawei Mate 20 Lite:
- Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2
- 6.3in Full-HD+ (2340×1080) 19.5:9 IPS display
- Kirin 710 processor ((4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB storage
- microSD card slot (up to 256GB)
- 4G LTE
- Dual or single SIM (dual uses microSD slot)
- Dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX HD
- Fingerprint sensor (rear)
- 20MP (f/1.8) + 2MP rear camera
- 24MP (f/2.0) + 2MP selfie camera
- 3750mAh battery
The Mate 20 Lite arrives with Android 8.1 onboard, augmented by Huawei’s EMUI 8.2 skin. This makes it not quite the stock Android experience that many swear by, but it’s a friendly, usable version that takes very little time to get used to.
At the moment the iPhone 8 Plus runs on iOS 11, but this will change when iOS 12 is released in the coming weeks.
While iOS 11 has had a few issues, as you can see from our iOS 11 problems and fixes feature, the prospects for its successor are good, with Apple focussing on stability and speed rather than a barrage of new features.