I do not remember who started the trend of releasing a smaller version of a flagship phone but my earliest memories of that trend comes from Samsung. Their flagships like the Galaxy S3, S4, and S5 all have mini variants which are not only smaller but have watered-down specs. Huawei does the same thing too but uses the word ”Lite”, and in what can be regarded as little or no fanfare at all, they have released the Huawei Mate 9 Lite.
The Mate 9 Lite is the Mate 9 for those on a budget. It has a metal build and a 5.5” 2.5D screen like the Mate 9 Porsche Design and Mate 9 Pro but lacks a 2K resolution, instead it settles for 1080p. There is a Kirin 655 chip under the hood paired with either 3GB RAM + 32GB ROM or 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM.
Huawei has also retained the dual camera setup on the rear. However it is a 12MP + 2MP combo that doesn’t have Leica’s branding. The 12MP sensor has 1.25nm pixels and PDAF. It does the bulk of the work while the 2MP sensor captures depth information. There is an 8MP shooter in front for selfies.
The Huawei Mate 9 Lite has a fingerprint scanner on the rear, a 3340mAh battery, runs Android Marshmallow out of the box and doesn’t even get EMUI 5.0. While it is too early to say, the chances of it being upgraded to Nougat are slim but might get EMUI 5.0 though. I guess toning down the software is also part of the ”lite” definition.
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The Mate 9 Lite weighs 162g and is 8.2mm thick. Pricing has not yet been disclosed but it will be available in gold, gray, and silver.