I love a mid-range handset. The competition in this part of the market is so much more interesting to me. At the top you get your usual best camera, AI this and that, and a phone that’s made from glass. But in the mid-range, they’ve got to think about their budgets, their selling costs to stay profitable, and it just makes for a much better ride. I’ve got here the Honor 50 Lite, which is their newest mid-range handset.

There’s something about mid-range handsets and their design. They have this flair to them that the top dogs just don’t seem to go for. Like for example, the very bright shiny blue rear of the phone. It looks really great, though it is a bit of a fingerprint magnet. It’s not quite as premium feeling as a glass-covered back on a flagship handset, but the rear plastic back does curve nicely around to meet the frame around the side. The curve makes it nice to hold in the hand too and give you a bit more grip. Up top, there’s also a circle of cameras, four in total, but more on that in a moment. Round the side, you’ve got the unlock button on the right in a comfortable position for your thumb on one-handed use, and above that is a volume rocker.

Around the front is a 6.67-inch screen with a resolution of 1080×2376 and a pixel density of 391. It’s bright and text is easily readable, and the screen itself is surrounded by quite skinny bezels. There is a small selfie camera notch towards the top right of the screen, which feels like it’s kept right out of the way to give you as much real estate on the screen as possible. Media playback also offers some decent colour too and YouTube videos and even Netflix looked great. Sound quality has left a lot to be desired though, but it’s not out of place in a mid-range handset market. Just don’t expect glorious sound to come from this device.

The Honor 50 Lite when it was shipped to me was running Android 11 and I’ve not been told if Android 12 will be making its way to the handset. It’s using the Magic UI 4.2, which is fairly nice to use. What wasn’t expected though is the amount of Bloatware that came preinstalled. There were a few games in a folder on the home screen and Train Pal, Trip.com and WPS Office. All apps that I would never touch if I had the choice, so I uninstalled them. The Optimiser saves battery power, cleaning up files and data usage as well as a virus scan. There’s also an Honor Store that makes you look at two adverts every time you open it and shows you phones and accessories you can buy, and the Honor Club which shows you Honor news and gives you some free wallpapers and such. There are no real unique settings inside of the menu on the Honor 50 Lite either, and if you’re a current Android user, everything will be nice and self-explanatory.

One interesting thing when setting up the phone was the fact I could choose a search engine provider. Of course, Google was there, and that was my go-to choice being in the UK, but I also had the choice of Ecosia, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Bing, GMX, Norton Safe Search, Ask.com, Fairsearch, Search Mail.ru, Yandex and Presearch. Of which I’ve probably only heard of a few of them, and Yandex because we went in one of their self-driving cars in Vegas last CES.

Inside the phone, you can find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 662 processor and 6GB RAM memory. There’s a decent amount of storage coming in at 128GB, though it is quickly becoming the norm for mobile handsets now as cameras and video capabilities increase. Geekbench 5 threw back a result of 307 single-core score and 1,274 as a multicore score which for a mid-range phone is pretty decent, and was easily enough to keep up with the likes of the Redmi Note 7.

The highlight though here is the camera, as it’s featuring four individual snappers, that all do something different. Going clockwise around the device, you have a 64-megapixel main camera with a 2-megapixel depth camera. The third is a 2-megapixel macro lens and the last is a 17mm 8-megapixel wide-angle camera. All sensors have an f/2.4 aperture, except the main camera that hits f/1.9. The quality of the images here are okay, they’ll suit an upload to social media, but don’t expect the fine quality of the newer Samsungs or iPhones that have recently hit the market. However saying that it’s really nice having a dedicated macro lens, as these images actually come out looking quite decent. So if you’re a macro photographer, you’re going to be happy here. Colours however do feel very muted, so make sure you get a copy of Snapseed to boost that vibrance and saturation.

Camera modes are on par with other handsets out there, including a Pro mode for changing your settings manually, and a panorama, slow motion, timelapse and all that kind of jazz. The HDR mode isn’t great at all and really struggles to expose for both lower light levels and blown-out highlights, like the scene of my studio where the window was still really blown out. Portrait mode was nice, but the separation between subject and background wasn’t the best, and I’ve definitely seen better from mid-range handsets. There’s an aperture mode that can drop it right down to f/0.95, but it looks quite false and didn’t really produce a super sharp image, and the focus was very heavily reliant on where you tapped on your subject. Tap their face, and everything else just dropped from focus. It definitely needs some refining for their next set of handsets, that’s for sure.

Another highlight which actually sits on par with better flagship phones out there is the battery life. You’ve got a 4300 mAh with a 66-watt fast charge capability, and that’s what’s exciting about it. The phone easily last me all day, and I work in social media for my day job, so my phone usage is among the higher users of this world, and the phone lasted me all day. I did have to charge when I got home, but I never felt like I needed to take a charger with me in my bag to plug in when I got to the office. It’s just a nice touch on this mid-range handset.

The Honor 50 Lite isn’t a bad phone, despite its downfalls with the camera. It’s definitely fast enough to handle all of your daily needs and social media that kind of thing. The screen is great and produces some nice images for media playback for YouTube or on-demand apps, and the phone actually looks really cool. I’ve got it in blue here, but they do a black and silver version too. Blue though is definitely the best for sure! It’s a shame about the camera. If photos were better quality, then this phone could be the unstoppable handset in the mid-range market, but they’ve got to improve them first.