Just like its bigger sibling, the Huawei P8lite arrives in style. The retail box is impressive, all-white and very tastefully made with a coat of textured finish that instantly makes a premium impression. The insides are also quite intriguing.
The box contents are neatly arranged inside two separate compartments, one for booklets and one for all the accessories. They are not plastic-coated like in the Huawei P8's packaging, most likely to keep the cost down, yet the presentation is still just as impressive.
Besides the phone itself, the package contains a 1A A/C Adapter, a USB cable and a set of Huawei earphones, reminiscent of Apple's current design.
Despite the lack of metal, the Huawei P8lite is still a gorgeous device all around and definitely carries the characteristic design of the P8.
Looking at the Huawei P8lite, we can't avoid the parallels to the Huawei P8 and that's obviously the desired effect for any lite version of a handset. We were happy to see that the phone is just as stylish as its bigger sibling and, judging by the excellent build, we can safely say that the differences in materials and finish are in no way detrimental to the overall look and feel.
The styling is simple and has a universal appeal. Like we already mentioned, there is no metal on the P8lite. It has been swapped for plastic, which may be mainstream but by no means cheap. The back feels really sturdy, perhaps even more so than the metal on the P8. There's a subtle texture to the rear finish, which feels good and looks quite impressive. The sides are all plastic as well, but there is still a frame masterfully crafted to look like brushed metal and the effect is quite convincing.
The P8lite is both smaller and lighter than the P8. It is 143mm tall and 70.6mm wide. It isn't as thin as its metal sibling but 7.7mm is actually a slim enough profile. Naturally, it is also lighter, weighing in at 131grams. The P8lite has slightly bigger bezels and a screen to body ratio of 68.2%, compared to the 71.4% of the P8.
It's also worth mentioning that just like the P8, the P8lite has kept to a flush back design with nothing protruding and no camera bump. Granted, that is a lot less impressive when the 13MP camera doesn't have OIS, but it is the general principle that counts and having your phone sit flush on a flat surface is becoming a rare occurrence.
Huawei has decided to stick with the glass insert in the top portion of the rear panel - not a reception issue here obviously but simply an attempt to keep a consistent look and feel. It is a small touch but indicative of the attention to detail the manufacturer has put into the P8lite. The glass is even coated with Gorilla Glass 3.
The controls on the Huawei P8lite are almost identical to those on the P8, which in turn take after the Huawei Ascend P7. Buttons are laid out conveniently and everything is within easy reach. The buttons are also quire responsive, so we are definitely glad that Huawei hasn't been changing things too much.
The P8lite has retained the signature minimalistic design of its sibling. Nothing is really out of place or out of measure. Huawei has opted for a 5.0-inch IPS LCD panel, which may not be as impressive as the Full HD IPS screen of the P8, but more than reasonable for the class.
With the main controls on the actual screen, the only thing underneath is a company logo. They could've easily done without, like on the P8, which simply makes for a cleaner design. However, we should note that the lack of a logo on the P8 is perhaps dictated by a concept called film navigation that allows the user to add capacitive buttons via a special screen protector.
This is not an option on the P8lite, which is worth noting if you happen to be familiar with the clever navigation trick on the P8 and expect the lite version to offer it as well.
There is not much else in plain sight on the front of the device. There is the earpiece and the 8MP front-facing camera, tightly packed next to it. There are also proximity and light sensors beside the earpiece, but they are very well concealed. There is also a very small status LED near the top left corner, but it is absolutely invisible when off.
Going around the device, we find the left side bare, just as it is on the P8. Even the small plastic inserts are gone, as they are no longer needed.
On the right side is where it gets busy. It houses a total of four controls and yet doesn't really feel cluttered. The volume rocker is on top, with a nice oval shape and precision cut design.
Right below it is the power switch, which still resides in its own groove, just like on the P8. This really helps in guiding your thumb to the right place. These controls are really an almost exact replica of those on the P8, just made from plastic rather than metal. Still, the design and feel is absolutely identical, even the circular pattern of the power button.
Below the button, we find two separate card slots, both sitting flush with the frame. One houses the primary microSIM card, while the second tray accepts either a microSD card or a secondary nanoSIM card.
The 3.5mm headphone jack is placed at the top of the device. Next to it is the secondary noise-canceling microphone. These are perhaps the only controls that have been slightly rearranged compared to the P8, but it is nothing really significant.
The bottom of the Huawei P8lite has two symmetrical grilles, but only one of them houses a speaker. The main microphone is hidden under the other. The P8 does also have a set of screws for the main body assembly, which are missing here, so perhaps the back plate has to be pried open to disassemble the device.
The back side is perfectly flat, without a protruding camera lens. Like the rest of the exterior, the back of the P8lite is quite similar to the P8. The metal finish might be gone but, as far as plastic goes, we really can't find any fault with the kind Huawei used on the P8lite.
The camera sits in the top left corner, but slightly further away from the edge, which might help prevent incidental covering, a problem on the P8. The dual tone LED flash has been swapped for a simpler single LED, placed on the other side of the lens.