Released several months apart, the Huawei P8 Lite (2017) and the P9 Lite are two mid-range smartphones from the Chinese manufacturer which have many similarities, but also many of differences which, at first glance, maybe aren’t apparent. Here’s an in-depth comparison to help you decide between the two smartphones.
Both the P8 Lite (2017) and the P9 Lite have beautiful designs. While the first seems to reflect the design of the P10 generation, the second is a reminder of the P8's design. The P9 Lite has more squared angles than the P8 Lite (2017), it doesn’t offer the bezel-less effect that you find on the P8 Lite (2017), and a housing in the plain style of the P8 with a camera module surrounded by a transparent border.
The P9 Lite reminds me more of the P8 generation, whereas the P8 Lite (2017) reminds me more of the P10 range.
The P8 Lite 2017 device’s body is just as solid as that of the P9 Lite, with thanks to the more squared angles and a less smooth polycarbonate casing. The differences in size are minimal (147.2 x 72.94 x 7.6 mm compared to 146.8 x 72.6 x 7.5 mm for the P9 Lite). The loud speaker (mono), the volume and power buttons, the Nano SIM and SD card (or double SIM card) slots, the Type-C USB port as well as the headphone socket, are located identically on both devices.
You’ll find a fingerprint reader on both smartphones – circular in shape on the P8 Lite (2017) and square in shape on the P9 Lite – which work well: they are fast even if you touch them with different parts of your finger. Although the P9 Lite doesn’t collect as many fingerprint marks as its rival, the P8 Lite (2017) has a more top-range look. This is achieved with the glass panels at the front and back, the 2.5D screen and a plastic casing, whereas the P9 Lite has a metal casing, plastic panel on the back and a glass panel on the front.
The glass-plastic combination, although it collects more fingerprint marks, is more attractive than the P9 Lite’s polycarbonate casing. For this reason, regarding the physical appearance of the two smartphones, I think that the P8 Lite (2017) is the clear winner.
Huawei P8 Lite (2017) vs P9 Lite: display
On paper, the devices are twins. The screens on both the P8 Lite (2017) and the P9 Lite have a diagonal measurement of 5.2-inches, 1080 x 1920 pixel Full-HD resolution with LCD IPS technology, and display clear, detailed images. On the other hand, upon increasing the brightness to the maximum, it’s important to note that the P8 Lite (2017) has a brighter, more detailed screen with more vivid contrasts. As you can see from the screenshots below, both devices are displaying the same wallpaper and the result is far superior on the P8 Lite (2017).
The visual angles are good on both devices. In sunlight, you won’t see a lot unless you increase the brightness to the maximum. However, when the smartphones aren’t in direct sunlight, you’ll have no problem reading any content, provided that you increase the screen brightness.
Of course, among the additional options available by default on the P8 Lite (2017), you’ll find the eye protection mode which is useful if you want to use the smartphone when there is little light (perfect for reading before bed). On this device, in the display settings, there’s also an option that allows you to improve readability in sunlight, but it doesn’t change much.
Huawei P8 Lite (2017) vs P9 Lite: software
The software on the P8 Lite (2017) benefits from being several months newer. The P9 Lite, launched during MWC 2016, runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, whereas the device that arrived on the European market at the start of 2017 runs onAndroid 7.0 Nougat by default.
In terms of performance, not much has changed but, in the long term, the most recent Kirin 655 can do even more. The big difference, as I said, is the adaptation of the operating system for different interfaces: the P9 Lite was launched with EMUI 4.1, then upgraded to Android Nougat 7.0, whereas the P8 Lite 2017 already has version 5.0, the same interface as the Huawei Mate 9, with all the advantages that Nougat brings along.
Huawei P8 Lite (2017) vs P9 Lite: performance
Under the hood of these devices, you’ll find two Huawei house processors: the HiSilicon Kirin 655 on the P8 Lite (2017) and the Kirin 650 on the P9 Lite. On the first device, there’s an octa-core chip with 2.1 GHz quad-cores and four others at 1.7 GHz. On the second device, quad-cores running up to 2.0 GHz and four others at 1.7 GHz. Both devices have a Mali T830 GPU chip with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable internal memory via microSD (up to 256GB).
However, even though both devices appear to be identical on paper, in reality, the photographic results aren’t the same. Depending on the situation, they show different details. In order to get an expert opinion, I asked my colleague Stefan Möllenhoff what he thought:
For photos of the countryside/towns, the P8 Lite is better because it highlights contrast and vibrant colors. Even with selfies, the P8 Lite (2017) is better because the exposure concentrates mainly on the subject instead of the background. For wide shot photos with the main camera, I prefer images taken with the P9 Lite because they capture even more detail, but the difference between these two smartphones is minimal.
Regarding selfies, the P8 Lite 2017’s camera software certainly helps. The Beauty mode is better, in the sense that it masks flaws better than the P9 Lite, but without exaggerating as was the case on the previous P8 Lite. You can establish a level of Beauty from 0 to 10 on both devices but, once again, the feature on the P8 Lite 2017 works better. Alternatively, you can find the same features in the settings.
To get a better idea of the performance of these two smartphones, take a look at these photos taken with the devices:
Huawei P8 lite (2017) vs. Huawei P9 lite technical specifications
Huawei P9 lite
147.2 x 72.94 x 7.6 mm
146.8 x 72.6 x 7.5 mm
1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)
1920 x 1080 pixels (424 ppi)
7.0 - Nougat
6.0 - Marshmallow
HiSilicon Kirin 655
HiSilicon Kirin 650
Number of cores:
Max. clock speed:
HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 4.1
HSPA, LTE, Bluetooth 4.1
Huawei P8 Lite (2017) vs P9 Lite: battery
Under the hood of both these devices, you’ll find a 3,000 mAh non-removable battery to power the 5.2-inch screens and Full HD IPS technology. Battery life and battery performance has never been a problem for Huawei. The devices didn’t disappoint us during our reviews: they both lasted a full day (using calls, videos, internet, WhatsApp, etc.).
During the benchmarks carried out with the P8 Lite 2017, it lasted 4 hours and 53 minutes with the WiFi and brightness set to the maximum. The P9 Lite, with the same settings, lasted 4 hours and 35 minutes. Unfortunately, the devices don’t have the quick charge capability that can charge devices in around two hours.
If you’re a little short on battery, you can always resort to the options in the Battery section in Settings. The P8 Lite 2017, as well as having an energy saving mode, also offers the Ultra option which allows you to activate the use of only certain applications or certain display features. On the P9, you can choose between the Performance mode (recommended for gamers), Intelligent mode (for daily use) and the Ultra option (for when you need to save battery).
I have to be honest, I was a bit biased when I set out to write this article. I had already compared both phones to each other for another article, and although they're similar, the P9 Lite had left a better impression on me. But, looking at them more closely, I see that they're more similar than I had realized - especially now that the P9 Lite has been upgraded to Nougat. It's a close call with the camera quality as well, since a keen eye can tell that the P9 Lite was capable of getting better shots sometimes.
Nevertheless, the P8 Lite 2017 has a more attractive look, more up to date software (which will be updated again in the future), the battery performance is slightly better, as is the photo quality, and the screen is brighter. And, last but not least, it is even slightly cheaper!
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