The Mate 10 Lite is a rather affordable mid-ranger, so it goes without saying that its performance will never match the flagships, including the Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro. In general use, the phone is reasonably fluid, but even from the moment you set it up it does feel slower than the top of the line options.
While that's quite easy to get used to, especially if you don't have another phone around that happens to be a flagship from the last couple of years, the problem with the Mate 10 Lite's performance is consistency.
At the best of times it will give you 90% of the perceived speed and 'smoothness' of a Huawei P10, for example.
But at any point those times may be abruptly ended by a wave of stutters, or even worse - a freeze. The former are easiest to accomplish if you update an app in the Play Store and then try and do anything else at the same time. And if you want to freeze the Mate 10 Lite for at least a couple of seconds, add some Bluetooth music streaming on top of that. In such a scenario, we've had everything from a 2-4 second freeze to a one minute period in which the device simply stopped responding to our touches.
Something like this would have been unforgivable for a flagship in this day and age, but the Mate 10 Lite isn't that despite what its name wants to make you think. So we're giving it a bit of a pass here, but not entirely - we understand the need to hit a specific price point comes with compromises in all aspects of a product, but we would have appreciated it if the Mate 10 Lite was more resilient. Two of the three animation duration settings are 0.5x by default to aid in perceived UI speed (the Android defaults are 1x for all). If you enjoy this 'tweak', you can go even further by disabling animations entirely by activating the Developer Options and digging in there.
Huawei uses the Kirin 659 chipset in a bunch of devices, and it seems to be its only mid-range SoC at the moment. It's a shame that the company didn't choose something like the Snapdragon 660 for the Mate 10 Lite, instead preferring to keep things in-house. With that chipset and an optimized software stack on top, we assume the phone would have had none of these issues, or they would have shown up only in the rarest of occasions under very specific circumstances. That would also have made it much more worthy of carrying the Mate 10 name.
As it is, the handset forces you to constantly consider how to best go about doing things without crossing the threshold of what it can handle. To an extent that's true of all midrangers of course, yet we can't help but feel things could have gone better for the Mate 10 Lite on this front - maybe with another chipset, or who knows, perhaps only with more optimized software. It doesn't seem to be able to do a lot of things at once, and this is going to possibly require some adjusting on the part of your usage. If you're updating apps, let that finish before you jump into doing anything else if you want to have a smooth experience - things like that.
While some mid-range smartphones do ship with bigger batteries, the Mate 10 Lite's 3,340 mAh cell isn't small by any definition of that term. And yet we were not very impressed with the battery life we managed to get out of it. It's definitely not a record-breaker in this regard, not even close.
What's more, we've seen some pretty erratic battery life unfortunately, for which we haven't been able to pinpoint the culprit(s) despite EMUI having a pretty detailed Battery section in Settings.
Standby battery life seems to take a pretty big hit when the handset isn't connected to Wi-Fi but only to 4G, and streaming music via Bluetooth appears to consume much more than it does on devices using other chipsets. The same goes for GPS positioning, which takes quite a toll on the Mate 10 Lite, with the battery level dropping fast if you're navigating somewhere.
Our Screen-On time record is five hours before we hit 3% left in a usual 16-hour day, during which the phone was mostly connected to Wi-Fi, with a couple of hours of 4G connectivity, an hour of phone calls, and about one hour of music streaming via Bluetooth.
We have also seen as little as three hours of screen on time if we used 4G for 3-4 hours and streamed music for 2-3 hours, so your mileage may obviously vary, and possibly by a lot. That's always how things go when talking about battery stats.