Over the past few weeks, we have seen some excellent affordable mid-range phones released with the three stand out options, in my opinion, is the Nokia 7.1, Huawei Mate 20 Lite and the Honor Play.

While I have not used all three phones, whichever you choose will likely be a great option, I think they are all well specced for the money.

If you are on the lookout for an affordable mid-range phone, you may wonder how these three models differ and which one is best for your needs. Hopefully, the below will help shed some light.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite

As it currently stands, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite is the most expensive option at £379, I have reviewed this phone and can vouch that it is excellent. You get the latest mid-range system on chip from HiSilicon the Kirin 710 which is an octa-core chip with a variety of AI features. This is combined with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM.

At 6.3-inches it is quite large but thanks to the slim bezels and 81.7% screen-to-body ratio it doesn’t feel too big in your hand. There is an impressive 3750 mAh battery which I found comfortably lasted me over a day.

The cameras are probably its main selling point, and you get a 20 MP  f/1.8 lens with a 2MP depth sensor on the rear. The front has 24 MP f/2.0 with a 2MP depth sensor.

It comes with Android 8.1 (Oreo) installed, but Huawei is quite good at doing regular updates, so it should be updated to Android Pie soon. The software is heavily skinned with EMUI 8.2 which some people are not fond of and it does have some aggressive battery management features.

Buy the Mate 20 Lite from Amazon

Honor Play

The Honor Play is  £90 less and has a more powerful Hisilicon Kirin 970 SoC which is a year old now, but still excellent; my Mate 10 Pro still runs perfectly today. A lot of the specification matches up with the Mate 20 Lite, and you get 64 GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, the same 3750 mAh battery and a similar screen specification of 6.3 inches with 83.0% screen-to-body ratio.

It is not quite as well specced in the camera department as you get a 16MP f/2.2 lens with 2MP depth sensor, then on the front a single 16MP f/2.0 lens.

Similar to the Mate 20 Lite this comes with Android 8.1 (Oreo) that is modified with EMUI 8.2

Buy the Honor Play from Amazon

Nokia 7.1

Released last week the Nokia 7.1 is definitely going to sell well this year, priced at £299 it is a little more expensive than the Honor Play. Nokia also uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC this is slightly lower specced than the Kirin 710 found on the Mate 20 lite, but in real-world usage, I doubt you would notice the difference.

This has a much smaller 5.84-inch display with an 80% screen to body ratio, which will make it a popular choice for people that are not fond of huge phones.

The £300 option only has 32GB of internal storage, but this is expandable via microSD. It also has slightly less RAM than the other options at just 3GB.

The rear camera specification is 12 MP f/1.8 with 5 MP f/2.4 and on the front your get 8 MP f/2.0.

The battery is only 3060 mAh but with the mid-range chip, you should still get a days use out of it.

The main selling point for the Nokia is its use of Android One. It comes shipped with Android 8.1 Oreo but Android 9.0 Pie is due to be pushed out to it shortly. With Android One there are no modifications to the Android system, and you get three years of security updates and regular features updates which are only a little slower being released than Pixel phones.

Buy the Nokia 7.1 from Carphone Warehouse


All three phones will make a great choice, being priced similarly I would not say anyone stands out from another.

If you have a specific usage scenario or personal preferences, then each phone has appealing aspects.

The Huawei Mate 20 Lite is a great affordable phone for photography, especially selfies, and the battery will keep you going for well over a day.

The Honor Play is marketed as a gaming phone, and the inclusion of the Kirin 970 makes it excellent at precisely that. It sacrifices a couple of features in favour of a much more powerful processor over the other options. Just like the Mate 20 Lite, it has a superb battery size.

The Nokia 7.1 may not match up to the other models in raw specs but Android One is fantastic and a major selling point. While I have grown to like EMUI, I would still prefer no modifications to the software, and guaranteed updates.

Buy the Mate 20 Lite from AmazonBuy the Honor Play from AmazonBuy the Nokia 7.1 from Carphone Warehouse

BODY158.3 x 75.3 x 7.6 mm (6.23 x 2.96 x 0.30 in)157.9 x 74.3 x 7.5 mm (6.22 x 2.93 x 0.30 in)149.7 x 71.2 x 8 mm (5.89 x 2.80 x 0.31 in)
Weight172 g (6.07 oz)176 g (6.21 oz)160 g (5.64 oz)
BuildFront glass, aluminum bodyFront/back glass, aluminum frame
SIMSingle SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
DISPLAYLTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colorsIPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colorsIPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
Size6.3 inches, 97.4 cm2 (~81.7% screen-to-body ratio)6.3 inches, 97.4 cm2 (~83.0% screen-to-body ratio)5.84 inches, 85.1 cm2 (~79.9% screen-to-body ratio)
Resolution1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~409 ppi density)1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~409 ppi density)1080 x 2280 pixels, 19:9 ratio (~432 ppi density)
PLATFORMAndroid 8.1 (Oreo)- EMUI 8.2Android 8.1 (Oreo)- EMUI 8.2Android 8.1 (Oreo), planned upgrade to Android 9.0 (Pie); Android One
ChipsetHisilicon Kirin 710 (12 nm)Hisilicon Kirin 970 (10 nm)Qualcomm SDM636 Snapdragon 636 (14 nm)
CPUOcta-core (4x2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)Octa-core (4x2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)Octa-core 1.8 GHz Kryo 260
GPUMali-G51 MP4Mali-G72 MP12Adreno 509
MEMORYmicroSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)microSD, up to 400 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
Internal64 GB, 4/6 GB RAM64 GB, 4/6 GB RAM64 GB, 4 GB RAM or 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
MAIN CAMERA20 MP, f/1.8, 27mm (wide), PDAF16 MP, f/2.2, PDAF12 MP, f/1.8, 1.28µm, Dual Pixel PDAF
2 MP, depth sensor2 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor5 MP, f/2.4, 1.12µm, depth sensor
FeaturesLED flash, panorama, HDRLED flash, HDR, panoramaZeiss optics, dual-LED dual-tone flash, panorama, HDR
Video1080p@30fps2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps (gyro-EIS)
SELFIE CAMERA24 MP, f/2.0, 26mm (wide)2 MP, depth sensor16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0µm8 MP, f/2.0, 24mm
3.5mm jackYesYesYes
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspotWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspotWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth4.2, A2DP, LE4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR, aptX HD5.0, A2DP, EDR, LE, aptX
NFCYes (SNE-LX1 only)YesYes
RadioFM radioNo
USB2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector, USB On-The-Go
SensorsFingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compassFingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compassFingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
- Fast battery charging 9V/2A 18W- Fast battery charging 18W- Fast battery charging 9V/2A 18W
BATTERYNon-removable Li-Ion 3750 mAh batteryNon-removable Li-Po 3750 mAh batteryNon-removable Li-Ion 3060 mAh battery
ColorsSapphire Blue, Black, Platinum goldMidnight Black, Navy Blue, Violet, Player Edition Red, Player Edition BlackGloss midnight blue, gloss steel




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