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Huawei beats its own phone to the punch with the Mate 20 Lite

It's unveiled the Lite version of its Mate 20 handset before the actual Mate 20 proper. Go figure.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Never one to shy away from baffling decisions, Huawei has launched pared-back Lite version of its Mate 20 phone -- before it's actually unveiled the proper Mate 20. 

The Mate 20 Lite has a decent lineup of specs for a midrange handset. Beyond the 2,340x1,080-pixel 6.3-inch display, the phone packs a 20-megapixel rear camera paired with a secondary 2-megapixel camera to capture depth information for portrait shots. There's an impressive 24-megapixel front camera too, and that one also has a second 2-megapixel depth camera. Lovely stuff!

Huawei says that the decision to launch the Lite version before the actual Mate 20 proper (expected sometime in October) will excite people, making them think "If this is the Lite, the full-fat Mate 20 must be brilliant!" And therein lies the problem -- why would anybody want to buy a phone that they know is about to be usurped by a much better model? 

The Mate 20 Lite goes on sale in the UK in early October, and I suspect you won't need any encouragement from me to at least wait and see what the Mate 20 has to offer. 

The Lite will cost £379 when it hits shelves, which isn't a bad price for the spec sheet. It is, however, not much less than the OnePlus 6 ($529 at Amazon), which at £469 comes with more RAM and a splash-resistant design. I'm looking forward to seeing how these two phones compare in the full review.

US and Australian availability aren't yet known.

Huawei Mate 20 Lite key specs:

  • 6.3-inch 2,340x1,080-pixel display
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage
  • Micro SD card expandable up to 256GB
  • Kirin 710 processor
  • Dual rear camera (20+2 megapixels)
  • 24-megapixel front-facing camera
  • Android 8.1 software