Huawei on Monday officially announced its Mate 10 series of Android smartphones but made no mention of the widely rumored Mate 10 Lite during its product event, with the mid-ranger being introduced in a much more discreet capacity earlier today. Just like its name suggests, the handset is meant to be a slightly less capable but also more affordable version of the regular Mate 10, providing consumers with respectable specs and some unique functionalities of the Mate 10 lineup at a competitive price point.
The Mate 10 Lite boasts a 5.9-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 2,160 by 1,080 pixels, with its screen adopting a tall aspect ratio of 18:9, i.e. 2:1. The overall design of the device features minimal bezels and doesn't even leave enough room for a physical Home button on the bottom, having consequently prompted the company to install the fingerprint scanner of the handset on its rear plate. The back side of the Mate 10 Lite also features a dual-camera setup comprised of a 16-megapixel sensor and a 2-megapixel module supported by a dual-LED flash unit, with the entire system being made and certified by Leica. The slim top bezel of the Android mid-ranger accommodates another two-sensor setup with a 13-megapixel module and a 2-megapixel one.
In terms of raw hardware power, the Mate 10 Lite should compete in the upper mid-range segment of the smartphone market, being powered by the Kirin 659, HiSilicon's SoC designed specifically for this product category, featuring eight cores clocked at a maximum operating frequency of 2.3GHz and the ARM Mali-T830 MP2. The silicon itself was manufactured on the 16nm process node so it may not be as energy-efficient as some of its alternatives from Samsung and Qualcomm, though the average user should find it to be suitable for their everyday needs. The Mate 10 Lite is powered by a 3,340mAh battery which isn't removable but supports quick charging, the Chinese phone maker revealed. The device ships with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal flash memory which can be expanded via a microSD card by up to 256GB. Huawei's newest mid-ranger is 156.2 x 75.2 x 7.5mm in size and tips the scales at 164g, thus having a relatively small physical footprint for a device that's well into the phablet territory.
While Huawei opted to stick with the traditional microUSB port for the Mate 10 Lite instead of moving to the objectively superior USB Type-C standard, the newly announced mid-ranger features a 3.5mm audio jack and supports NFC, A-GPS, and Bluetooth 4.2. The handset runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box enhanced with Huawei's EMUI 5.1 mobile software suite and will presumably receive an upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo in the near future, especially given how the Chinese original equipment manufacturer is already testing that particular OS build for the 2016 Mate 9 lineup and the rest of the Mate 10 series runs the latest Android version out of the box. The Mate 10 Lite will be available in Graphite Black and Prestige Gold for €349 in Europe, or just over $410. The dual-SIM device will eventually also receive an Aurora Blue color option, though it's presently unclear whether it's meant for a release in the United States. With Huawei not aggressively publicizing the announcement of the Mate 10 Lite, it remains to be seen which exact markets is the OEM targeting with this Android mid-ranger as only German retailers are presently offering the device for pre-orders with an estimated shipping date of November 1st. MediaMarkt, Saturn, and Notebooksbilliger all have the smartphone listed on their official pages, with previous leaks suggesting that the Mate 10 Lite is also planned for a release in the Netherlands with the same price tag.
From the looks of it, the Mate 10 Lite is actually a rebranded version of the Maimang 6 which Huawei debuted in its home country last month. That particular handset also came with Android 7.0 Nougat and was designed to emulate the look of the high-end Mate 10 series despite being meant to compete in a non-premium segment. Huawei's no stranger to advertising mid-range and flagship smartphones as members of the same series, with the Mate 10 Lite being a continuation of that established product strategy. Huawei's new offering will seemingly be released between the regular Mate 10 that's scheduled for a commercial debut in late October and the Mate 10 Pro and Porsche Edition Mate 10, both of which will start hitting select markets in mid-November.