Huawei Nova 2i Unboxing, Quick Review: Is This The New Mid-Range King?

by John Nieves  October 10, 2017

We go hands-on with Huawei’s Nova 2i!

Huawei’s been teasing us their Nova 2i for quite a while now and finally it’s here. The Nova 2i is the first member of Huawei’s Nova linuep here in the Philippines, and what a debut device it is. While most companies are pushing 18:9 bezel-less displays or dual-camera sensors, Huawei’s latest mid-range device has both features in one extremely sexy device. Actually, scratch the dual-camera part – the Nova 2i has FOUR(!) cameras scattered in its body, a first for the company. All of those features as well as an aggressive Php 14,990 price tag (according to one retailer) make the Nova 2i a very tempting device for people looking to upgrade to a mid-range phone.

Huawei Nova 2i specs

  • Kirin 659 octa-core processor
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 5.9-inch Full HD display, 18:9 display aspect ratio
  • 64GB of storage, expandable via microSD
  • 16-Megapixel and 2-Megapixel rear cameras with PDAF and LED Flash
  • 13-Megapixel and 2-Megapixel front cameras with LED Flash
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
  • 3,340mAh battery
  • Android Nougat with EMUI 5.0

Packaging and contents:

Huawei’s Nova 2i in an all white-box with the product’s name printed on the side. Once you open it up, you’ll see the phone along with a freebie plastic case, USB cable, charger and a pair of headphones. There’s also documentation included in the box for the retail version.

Initial impressions: full metal unibody construction, quad-cameras plus 18:9 display make it a potential mid-range winner

We’ve seen enough Nova 2i renders by now to know what the phone looks like, but you really have to see the phone in person to appreciate its good looks. The phone comes in a variety of colors, but our review unit came in really nice looking blue color variant that we really like.

The phone has a mostly flat back and curved corners, though the two rear cameras are housed in a module that protrudes a few mm from the body. We highly suggest using the included solid plastic case when you use the phone so the lens of said cameras don’t get scratched up when you place it screen up on rough surfaces. Speaking of cameras, the Nova 2i uses a main 16-megapixel rear camera that is combined with a 2-megapixel depth sensor which allows you to add bokeh effects to your photos.

Right below the camera module is the fingerprint scanner of the Nova 2i, which is pretty fast and accurate to use. Control placement is pretty standard – you have your power button and volume rocker on the right, SIM tray on left, 3.5mm jack and the USB port and speaker grille on the bottom.

Moving to the front, you’ll see the 5.9-inch 18:9 full HD+ FullView display, plus the two front-facing cameras. The main selfie snapper is a 13-megapixel unit that’s paired with a 2-megapixel depth sensor that allows you to put additional bokeh when you take a selfie.

Let’s talk about that display for a minute. The Nova 2i is Huawei’s first ever phone that has a 18:9 display, with the total size of the full HD+ panel coming in at 5.9-inches. There’s very little top and bottom bezel, which means the phone is as big as a regular 5.5-inch smartphone. That bigger aspect ratio allows you to see more real-estate on the phone, which is handy if the app that you’re using is optimized for the aspect ratio. Stuff like webpages, Facebook and other apps that you scroll down on vertically are easier to use. The aspect ratio isn’t as handy when you’re watching clips and movies though, since most video content is optimized for the 16:9 aspect ratio. You’ll see two black bars on either side of the screen when you’re viewing stuff in landscape mode, which essentially gives you the real-estate of a 5.5-inch phone.

Internally, the Nova 2i runs Huawei’s own mid-range Kirin 659 octa-core processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Kirin 659 runs well enough for the intended user, though it doesn’t run quite as well as Qualcomm’s 600 series of processors though. The phone comes with Android 7.1 Nougat out of the box and EMUI 5.

At Php 14,990, Huawei’s Nova 2i will be giving a lot of their competitors headaches. We’ve yet to complete our full review, but if the cameras deliver (and aren’t just feature fillers) then the Nova 2i may just be the best mid-range phone that you’ll be able to buy at its price range. According to a local retailer, the phone will hit stores come October 20 for Php 14,990,  though final pricing is yet to be announced by Huawei. 

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    they really have to put the speaker to have a compensation against the fast charging and built quality, IPS is indeed expensive to manufacture but targeting the price range seems a bit off.