Budget smartphone category, over the past few years, has seen the most releases and in this article, we will be taking a look at two of the best options available for this sector: Huawei P20 Lite and Oppo F7. Firstly, to define a budget smartphone, it must cost less than $400. Both Huawei’s P20 Lite and Oppo’s F7 fit this specification. However, the approach to each smartphone is quite different. Huawei has built up its P20 Lite to accompany the complete P20 series whereas the F7 from Oppo is a standalone offering. Ahead, we will discuss both phones in detail, listing the differences, real life and on-paper, both.
Smartphones in the budget range usually look to flagships for inspiration. Rather than offering a complete one-to-one experience of a flagship, these budget friendly phones skip some components that helps bring the price down while still maintaining a wholesome experience. Huawei P20 Lite and Oppo F7 both follow this exact philosophy. We see the notch being carried over from flagships, same goes for Artificial Intelligence photo processing and many more. For a more in-depth comparison of Huawei P20 Lite and Oppo F7, read ahead.
Technical Specifications – Huawei P20 Lite and Oppo F7
Despite being proven that specifications don’t really tell the whole story, still we will first run through the technical details for all the geeks out there like us.
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Design and Hardware Differences – Huawei P20 Lite and Oppo F7
As most smartphones continue to merge into this standard bar design, it is becoming increasingly difficult for each brand to come up with unique designs. Further, recent struggle for narrower bezels has rendered a notch on the front display of most smartphones and both P20 Lite and Oppo F7 fall victim to it. I would, however, argue here that the presence of notch on P20 Lite and Oppo F7 is more of a showing-off feature which didn’t originate from a struggle to fit in front sensors. Both smartphones feature a considerable bottom chin, which, if replicated on top would remove the need for a notch cut-out.
Discussing further about each smartphone’s display, both utilize IPS TFT panels with similar hardware technologies. Oppo F7 chooses to provide a larger 6.23 inch display based on 19:9 ratio whereas the P20 Lite goes for a smaller 5.84 inch one but with same ratio. Both P20 Lite and Oppo F7 run on a resolution of 1080 x 2280. On paper, all seems to be quite similar but P20 Lite takes it away in the display department. The colors, sharpness and even brightness levels are better on the Huawei smartphone. EMUI’s post processing is one thing to thank for this difference along with a marginally better PPI due to smaller screen.
Moving towards the rear, Oppo F7 and P20 Lite both choose to offer back-facing finger-print scanners along with full glass backs. Also equipped on the rear, are main camera sensors of each smartphone. P20 Lite offers a dual camera setup whereas F7 chooses to stick with one. We will be discussing more in-depth of each smartphone’s camera in the dedicated section ahead.
Further on design, Oppo F7 features a glossy ring that encompasses the whole phone whereas the P20 Lite goes for a matte one. One gripe with the Oppo F7 is the extra border it has for its display. If you inspect the F7 closely, you will notice that there is an extra edge that elevates the display over the glossy ring. This makes for an annoying and unnecessary edge when using the smartphone. Whereas, the P20 Lite’s front and back glass meet seamlessly with its plastic surround, no extra borders or edges.
Design and physical appearance being crucial aspects to a smartphone, the internals are equally as important. For the F7, we have a universal Mediatek MT6771 Octa Core processor whereas P20 Lite utilizes HiSilicon Kirin 659 chipest which is developed directly by Huawei. To accompany the processors, P20 Lite offers 4GB of RAM which is what we also find on the Oppo F7. However, F7 does offer a variant with extended storage and 6GB of RAM, absent for P20 Lite. Both phones also allow for microSD card expansion.
Tracing back to the processors, in our time with both phones, P20 Lite considerably outperformed the Oppo F7 in general navigation UI, which is due to better optimized EMUI 8. However, Oppo F7’s chipset does a much better job when dealing with hardware intensive applications due its newer technology and higher clock speeds. For reference purposes, we have attached benchmarks right below.
Huawei P20 Lite
To finish off the internals, Oppo F7 comes with a 3,400mAh battery whereas the P20 Lite features a 3,000 mAh module. Clearly, in this regard, Oppo has the upper hand however, Huawei’s ingenious power saving techniques in its EMUI skin along with its highly efficient processor, let the P20 Lite just as long, if not more when compared to the F7. On average, you can easily expect 6 hours and above of Screen On Time from both.
Camera Modules – Huawei P20 Lite and Oppo F7
For many years, cameras on mid-range smartphones were the weakest points. Bad low-light performance, lack of sharpness and overall bad photo quality was expected in older budget friendly phones but not anymore. As technology trickles down and as software processing grows exponentially, users have started to expect more from these devices. To cater this growing expectation, Huawei has taken a dual camera approach with P20 Lite while Oppo F7 has focused towards a single module but paired it with Artificial Intelligence. Not to be mistaken, AI is used on the P20 Lite as well.
Dual Cameras on the P20 Lite let users experiment with various portrait mode effects through the back camera. Portrait mode / effect is a generalized term which is used to refer to artificial bokeh added to pictures from smartphones in order to give resemblance towards higher-end DSLRs and lenses. Surprisingly enough, both phones shoot at 16MP but the photos on the P20 Lite have a completely different sharpness and color characteristic when compared with the Oppo F7. Unlike other dual lens applications, P20 Lite uses the secondary lens to better assess the foreground and background rather than provide extra zoom.
Critically comparing the pictures taken from each phone, P20 Lite comes out better. It has much sharper images that have accurate colors. However, Oppo F7 isn’t lagging behind dramatically as it outperforms the P20 Lite in certain low-light conditions thanks to its the lower aperture (allows more light) camera module. Attached ahead are photos taken from both phones.
Huawei P20 Lite
Software Differences – Huawei P20 Lite and Oppo F7
Inspecting software, both phones are on Android Oreo – P20 Lite runs 8.0 Oreo while Oppo F7 runs 8.1 Oreo. What sets each phone apart is the skin on top. From Oppo, we have ColorOS, a skin popular for its simplicity and ease of use while the P20 Lite ships with EMUI, known for greater number of customization options and faster updates.
The software skin on each phone executes the job equally as well. However, users who want to customize their phones and want faster updates, P20 Lite is the way to go due to Huawei’s previous track record. To be noted, both these phones have Project Treble — Google’s new strategy to streamline future Android updates.
A straight forward conclusion is always difficult when comparing smartphones that have so much in common. Huawei P20 Lite excels in display quality, offers a more versatile camera and in our opinion, has a much better Android skin overlay. As for Oppo F7, it sports a larger battery, more screen real estate and manages a 25MP selfie camera while overcoming rear camera hardware differences through AI. All in all, you can’t go wrong with any of these phones. However, Huawei P20 Lite will be a clear choice for us! We would love to hear what you would choose and why? Reach us in the comments!
Also, don’t forget to read our dedicated Huawei P20 Lite Review.