Honor 90 Lite£249.99
- Powerful chipset with 5G and plenty of RAM and storage
- Large, clear display with features to prevent eye fatigue
- Good performance from primary camera
- Battery life is strong, so you'll get two days or more between charges
- Secondary cameras are average
- Lack of stabilisation impacts on video recording
- No case or charger included in price of phone
The first of a new range of mid-range smartphones from Honor, a company continuing to grow in the UK with an impressive portfolio.
In a couple of weeks from the time of publishing this review, Honor will launch new phones in its 90 series of phones (see my Honor 70 review here). Before the Honor 90 and Honor 90 Pro are unveiled, the company has already announced the first model in the range, the Honor 90 Lite – and I received a review unit on loan to test it out.
Design & Build
First off, the Honor 90 Lite has a flat display and flat edges, influenced by modern iPhone releases.
The protruding camera lenses on the back are quite extreme, with a two-level protrusion and a love-it-or-hate-it overlap of the two ‘camera lenses’ that in reality aren’t giant lenses, but simply a placeholder for three individual cameras.
With the phone not shipping with a protective case (or a charger; more on that later) you would be strongly advised to buy a case, unless you want to risk getting the edges scuffed.
With that concern out of the way, moving on to the display, the phone comes with a large 6.7-inch LCD display with a Full HD+ resolution of 1080 x 2388, and it has a 90Hz refresh rate.
If that sounds subpar, with 120Hz, 144Hz and even higher screen refresh rates on many phones now, I would repeat what I’ve said in reviews before; 90Hz is noticeably smoother than 60Hz, and the improvements beyond 90Hz are less significant than the jump from 60Hz, at least unless you’re playing games that can benefit from the higher refresh rates.
For normal day-to-day phone operations, including scrolling up and down, it’s fine.
There’s quite a large chin at the base of the display, but it’s still a nice display and a screen protector is fitted at the factory.
One feature introduced on the Magic 5 series is the Circadian Night Display, which adjusts the screen temperature throughout the day to help you get to sleep easier – and for people that suffer eyestrain, there’s a dynamic dimming mode too.
On the right-hand side of the phone is a volume rocker and a power button with integrated fingerprint sensor. There’s nothing on the left besides the SIM tray (for two nano SIMs), and at the base there’s a single down-firing speaker, microphone and USB-C port.
Up top is another microphone and what appears to be an Infrared port, but there was no app included on the phone to use this – and I couldn’t download the app installed on the Magic 5 Pro.
The Honor 90 Lite’s main camera is an impressive 100-megapixel sensor, which can also be used to give a good quality 2x zoomed image, and go up to a maximum of 10x – but with quite a noticeable drop in quality should you wish to go that far, partly because there’s no optical image stabilisation and no dedicated image processing chipset.
It’s not that the phone can’t take good photos – it can (see below), but you will have to accept there are limitations on this particular model as you might expect for a phone that sits at the bottom of a series.
The ultra-wide camera is limited because of a 5-megapixel sensor, and even more so with its 2-megapixel macro camera. Video recording is limited to 1080p at 30fps also, again without any form of image stabilisation.
If you want more versatility, you’ll need to be looking at one of the other Honor 90 models. But, if taking photos on a phone isn’t a priority, or you’re fine to just use it as a simple point-and-shoot camera in the standard 1x (100-megapixel) mode, then you’ll be happy with the results in both day and night conditions.
The AI mode adjusts the settings for different environments pretty well, and you can get some good results from the portrait mode too. Full HD video is also going to be more than sufficient for a lot of people.
If you are a Google One account holder and use Google Photos, you can even use the enhanced photo editing tools like Magic Eraser, a feature once exclusive to Pixel phone owners.
The front-facing camera is 16-megapixels and can also capture video at 1080p.
Performance & Software
MediaTek is the supplier of the chipset here, with a 7nm Dimensity 6020 chip that supports 5G and Wi-Fi 802.11ac, the latter topping out at 433Mbps. The phone has two individual nano SIM trays with support for 5G on both slots at the same time.
It’s pretty impressive for a low to mid-range phone, and should keep the phone future proofed for a while. Benchmark wise, AnTuTu v9 scored around 371,200.
It comes with Magic OS 7.1, based on Android 13, and while it looks very much like native Android (more so than even a Google phone these days) and may seem a little dated, you can customise with different themes – and there are loads of free ones available, including a good selection of replacement fonts.
With 8GB of RAM (increased to 13GB with Honor’s RAM Turbo virtual memory system) and 256GB of storage, you’re getting plenty of space to store your apps and content, and apps can stay in memory for longer too, speeding up the overall user experience. 8+256GB is the sweet spot for most devices in my opinion, and it’s great that even the entry level model in the Honor 90 series hasn’t compromised in this department.
I was a little surprised the Honor 90 Lite has a 4,500mAh battery, as many phones in this price range come with larger batteries than some higher end models. However, a less powerful phone usually comes with better battery life, partly because the owner isn’t as likely to be playing processor and screen intensive games, or using the camera for hours on end.
For making calls, listening to music wirelessly, or even watching video, this is a two-day phone with ease, and possibly even longer.
22.5W charging isn’t slow either, even if it can appear so given how fast some devices are these days (like the Realme GT3 with its 9 minute charging from a 240W power brick!). You don’t get a charger in the box though, so this might be an extra cost if you want to benefit from the full speed.
The intention of removing the power supply is of course to reduce e-waste and have you use an existing USB-C charger, but for the full speed you’ll need a Huawei/Honor SuperCharge compatible power adapter. This could be any type from the last few years, including newer 40W, 67W or 100W ones, and all will draw the correct amount of power – as well as charging any other Honor (or Huawei) devices you may have.
Being the cheapest model in the Honor 90 lineup, there are clearly compromises over the other two models soon to be announced. The Honor 90 and Honor 90 Pro come with higher megapixel sensors, with the Pro adding in a dedicated telephoto camera too.
There will be other improvements, like battery capacity, charging speed and the quality of the display – as well as faster Wi-Fi connectivity and stereo sound. But all of that will come at a much higher price, possibly as much as double or more for the Pro model.
The Honor 90 Lite has ensured it doesn’t compromise on the important things that any smartphone user would want and expect. You don’t get every bell and whistle, but many people don’t want them anyway.
Thanks to MediaTek’s excellent performance on mid-range chipsets, and Honor’s simple Magic OS UI, which remains very close to native Android in all the key areas, you end up with a well packaged phone that only really loses out on account of the need to spend a bit more to get a protective case!
|Honor 90 Lite|
|Size/Weight||162.9 x 74.5 x 7.48mm|
|Screen||6.7-inch LTPS LCD|
1080 x 2388 pixels
90Hz refresh rate
Circadian Night Display Technology
|Chipset||MediaTek Dimensity 6020 (7nm)|
Octo-core, Max freq 2.2GHz
ARM Mali-G57 MC2 GPU
|Camera (front)||Punch-hole 16MP|
1080p Video recording with 30fps
|Camera (rear)||Primary: 100MP (f/1.9)|
Ultra-wide & Depth: 5MP (f/2.2)
Macro: 2MP (f/2.4)
1080p Video recording with 30fps
|Connectivity||Dual band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)|
5G NR (SA & NSA) Sub 6
4G+ with VoLTE, ViLTE and VoWiFi
22.5W fast-charging (SuperCharge protocol) wired
|Other||Side-mounted fingerprint sensor & facial unlock|
Factory fitted screen protector
Dual SIM (Dual Standby)
No case or power adapter included in box
Early-bird deals available with price discounts and bundled accessories
Pricing & Availability
The Honor 90 Lite is available in a choice of three colours: Cyan Lake (as reviewed), Titanium Silver, and Midnight Black.
Priced at £249.99, the Honor 90 Lite can be purchased initially at a reduced price of £224.99 complete with a free pair of Earbuds X5s or a Honor Band 7 – until July 4th 2023.
The phone can also be purchased at Argos, Amazon, Very, and Currys now, or on Three from the end of July.