Honor 8 Lite Review – Huawei’s lower mid-range getting better

Huawei Honor 8 Lite Review featured top
Huawei Honor 8 Lite - Image by KA / Tech Prolonged

OS / Software - EMUI 5

OS / Software – EMUI 5, An App Drawer Introducer

Honor 8 Lite comes out-of-the-box running Android 7 Nougat – with its heavily done EMUI 5 interface layer on top. Android 7 is not something new that you would learn about but EMUI 5 is.

While a quick visual feel in EMUI 5 is mostly similar from previous iterations but it has good changes here and there into key elements of usability. It also brings an several change under the hood with features and the ways users interact with the system. The software will hardly leave anyone intact with reservations they had with Huawei’s Emotion UI. Those thoughts will change – as the Chinese phone maker has adapted exactly what the consumers wanted.

You will see a big change in navigation flow in EMUI 5 with the elements like small pop-out menus when you tap over “more” button in the app navigation. Previously, Emotion UI used to offer full-screen overlay even with a single item in a “menu” on a grayed-out background.

EMUI 5 - Honor 8 Lite

The biggest change sure is the app drawer that Huawei has featured as an option for your smartphone’s home screen style. The default style is the same as you know EMUI for – it puts all apps on the home screen, but you can opt-in to use the app-drawer to list all apps and have only a few on the home screen.

This feature alone should silence many of the Android users who always wanted to have an app drawer in their phones. Sure this allows less cluttered home screen but exactly according to how users want it to be for them individuals.

EMUI 5 – Option to choose from Huawei’s traditional Home Screen or new Home Screen with App Drawer

Besides the app drawer, home screens do not bring anything new but the standard home screen is also more finished. I personally had no objections with that interface as well – as this purely a personal choice. Folder view interface is common in both home screen styles.

EMUI 5 – Home Screen and App Drawer User Interfaces

Lock screen also has a decent change with the slim and small shortcut icons when swipe from the bottom edge, instead of those bold and large square icons. Live cover can be paused on the lock screen or remove from the slide.

Customizing home screen – whether it’s default home screen with all apps or with separate app drawer, is all the way identical and same as previous iterations. Long tapping on a free area on home screen activates customization – same can be done with a pinch-in gesture anywhere on the home screen. You can choose between 4×4 or 4×5 home layout grid of icons.

EMUI 5 – Lock Screen, Home Screen Customization and Background Apps View

There is the same app search box from previous versions when you swipe down on the screen. Background apps now are more AOSP-like in a carousal sliding vertically. Previously, flat app view used to appear on screen horizontally.

Another big change is non other than the notification panel. There are no more two tabs to switch for notifications or shortcut switches. It’s now one panel for everything – similar to most variations from different vendors – but to be true, this variation seems appealing with smaller flat toggles.

Honor 8 Lite EMUI 5 Top Panel

Notifications appear below the switches which do look awkward in white boxes with rounded corners. Notifications are still expandable with swipe gesture. Oh, there is also brightness slider between toggles and the notifications.

Unified notifications and toggles in EMUI 5

Whereas swiping down on home screen brings a search box, swiping anytime from the top edge brings notification panel down. Notifications, in turn, can be expanded with the down-arrow along each notification box. A second swipe gesture on upper half expands the toggles. Like previously, you can still choose which toggles you want to have in top panel.

App Twin

Another feature EMUI 5 supports is the App Twin, that lets you use two accounts with one app – such as Facebook. When turned on for an app, the feature places another app icon on the home screen that allows you to sign in with another account. The app runs in a separate process and store data separately so you can use both the app sessions simultaneously. The feature is limited to select apps – e.g. WhatsApp is not capable to run in two sessions.

Unfortunately, this feature is only present in high-end devices which run EMUI 5. This Honor 8 Lite doesn’t have app twin. Likewise, probably, other mid-range devices might not have the feature.

Other features like split screen, floating dock, on-screen navigation relocation, One handed UI with Mini screen view or Shifting keyboard. Some other features including Eye Comfort are similar from previous iterations.

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