HONOR 200 Lite 5G Review: Not Liteweight

The first big smartphone from HONOR for the second half of 2024 is not a flagship device or a foldable, but rather a mid-range offering in the form of the 200 Lite 5G.

The mid-range space might be the most difficult segment in South Africa to try to crack, especially as there is a wide breadth of options and when it comes to Android phones, the go-to option for many is the Samsung Galaxy A series.

So can the new phone from HONOR disrupt the status quo? We spent the past couple of weeks with the device to find out. Here’s what we learned about the HONOR 200 Lite 5G.

Unbelievably lite

This is a Hypertext phone review, so we start with design. On this front the 200 Lite 5G is not doing anything particularly special in terms of the aesthetics.

Our review unit is in the flashy Starry Blue colourway, and features a glittery back cover, accompanied by a metal frame that has a subtle blue hue to it. The rectangular camera array with rounded corners is sizeable on the rear, and there is a pill-shaped hole on the display that houses a large 50MP selfie camera underneath it.

All of this is fairly standard fare for mid-range phones these days, but the first (and potentially lasting thing) that sticks with you while using the 200 Lite 5G is just how lightweight it is. The specifications of this device note that it tips the scale at 166g, which when paired with its 6.78mm thin body, leads to a fairly svelte device.

One might think that the aforementioned rear camera array would make this phone feel top heavy, but this is far from the case, and in general, the HONOR 200 Lite 5G is well balanced in-hand.

HONOR has also highlighted the drop-proofness of the phone too, and while we never put this aspect of the 200 Lite to the test, it does feel well made and premium, with the glass back cover also not being prone to smudging.

This is a nice addition as, even for a few brief moments, you can feel comfortable using this phone sans cover. Should you not wish to chance it, a generic plastic one is present in the box, along with charger and accompanying USB Type-C cable.

The other notable specifications for the mid-range phone are as follows:

HONOR 200 Lite 5G
Display6.7″ AMOLED (2412×1080)
ProcessorMediaTek Dimensity 6080
Battery4 500mAh
Connectivity5G, WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5.1
Front camera50MP selfie
Rear camera108MP primary, 5MP wide-angle, 2MP macro
ColoursStarry Blue, Midnight Black
RRPR9 999

Power to surprise

Shifting to the performance and here the 200 Lite 5G punches nicely above its weight. HONOR has fitted it with a solid MediaTek processor that facilitates the 5G connectivity, along with pairing 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The in-hand performance, and in particular the speed with which navigating through the operating system and settings, switching between apps, and power consumption are handled, all go to show that tricks like extended RAM aren’t always necessary when the smartphone has been well-calibrated.

In our benchmarking, the 200 Lite 5G mustered a single-core and multi-core score on GeekBench of 780 and 1 966 respectively. While this does not stand out among similarly specced devices that we have reviewed this year, the actual performance tells a different story. Namely that HONOR has the 200 Lite 5G running as efficiently as possible.

It’s not all a perfect experience, however, as the UI still feels like Huawei. While HONOR has moved out from under its sub-brand status, the user interface still has a lot of that era in it.

This is something we noted in the HONOR 90 5G we reviewed last year, and the same issue is found here. We also need to make mention of all the bloatware and pre-installed apps present on the phone, as well as the duplication of applications and HONOR-specific ones, many of which cannot be deleted.

For those who like to keep their phones as lean as possible when it comes to how many apps are present, as we like to do, this can be a little irritating. It’s not a deal breaker on this phone, but something we’d like HONOR to address in future devices hopefully.

We must also talk about the camera experience, and here the 200 Lite 5G shines once again. The large 108MP lens on the rear is great for capturing plenty of detail.

You aren’t using all of those megapixels all of the time, however, with a Hi-Res mode needing to be toggled in the More tab of the camera app’s settings. Utilising this function will mean a longer time for the digital shutter to operate, as well as vastly increasing the size of images, which will ultimately impact storage. There’s an AI function too, which is designed to make colours pop more once you’ve captured an image, but in our experience, there is no significant difference between when this mode is on or off.

All in all, the camera array onboard the HONOR 200 Lite 5G is well appointed and won’t leave you wanting.

Final verdict

At R9 999 (RRP), the HONOR 200 Lite 5G is well-priced in a space that is as competitive as it comes. It’s not all about the price tag, however, as it performs above many of the similarly specced offerings in this segment locally.

If we are to critique the 200 Lite 5G, it is on the software side of things, as despite being an ultra-lightweight device, it is weighed down by a slightly stale feeling UI and a lot of bloatware.

Should you take the time to address all of this in the setup phase with the phone, you are left with a device that you will be happy to carry for a couple of years at the very least.



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