Huawei Nova 2i

A modern gadget with top-of-the-line features, at half the price of other flagship phones.
Photo: Huawei

Apple or Samsung? Before we get into a debate over obstructive notches and pixelated Instagram Stories, both sides should consider: isn’t there more to life than queuing for hours to cop the latest exorbitantly priced smartphones?

As a long-time Apple worshipper, I’ve grown so used to the iPhone as the standard for smartphones that I hadn’t even thought of trying out a different brand.

That is, until I met the Huawei Nova 2i. Released in late October, it is the first from the brand with front and back dual-lens cameras. Yeah, that’s 4 cameras, my friend. And the best part? It’s only $448 without a contract. That’s a pretty good deal, compared to forking out over $1000 for the Samsung S8+ or iPhone X. Hey, as cash-strapped millennials, we’ve got tuition fees and bills to pay.

Soooo… How’s the phone like?

Look & Feel

With a thickness of 7.5mm (slightly thinner than the iPhone X), the Huawei Nova 2i is incredibly slick and lean. It is available in two colours: Aurora Blue and Graphite Black, with a matte full-metal body that keeps it simple yet fingerprint-free. Neat.

Surprisingly, it is also Huawei’s first device to feature the new FullView display technology, beating Huawei’s pricier flagship P series to the punch. It culminates in a wide 5.9-inch, 18:9 aspect ratio display that is incredibly clear, accentuating vibrant colour hues and contrast. What’s impressive is that the phone is smaller than an iPhone 8 Plus, yet has more screen display. Hmm…

There can never be “too much” screen. Photo: Huawei
General Usage

The phone runs on Android 7.0 Nougat, boasting Huawei’s proprietary 8-core Kirin 659 chipset. Without getting too technical, this allows users to run most high-end, graphic-intensive games, like Asphalt Xtreme and FIFA Mobile, and play your Korean dramas in HD without any problems. Its battery can easily last you over day and a half, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about a flat battery when you’re out and about. Unlike most newer models, the Nova 2i retains the audio jack. This means no awkward dongles or being unable to charge your phone while you listen to music. Dope.

What feels more old school about the phone is its micro-USB port and the lack of SuperCharge (Huawei’s fast-charging feature). In terms of wifi connectivity, it only works with 2.4GHz channels, which means that you can’t go full 5G on this baby, and it’ll take a little bit more time for your YouTube videos to load.

Well, what about the 4 cameras?

Now we’ve come to the important part. The Nova 2i boasts a 16-megapixel rear camera and 13-megapixel front camera, each accompanied by another 2-megapixel sensor. They work surprisingly well in low light and come with portrait mode, giving you the bokeh depth (blurry lights) effect for most shots. You can even adjust your aperture settings directly as you take a photo. Of course, the phone is no DSLR, but you’re definitely getting more megapixels out of this baby than your average Samsung or iPhone models. (Yes, even the iPhone X). In terms of the overall resolution and clarity, it serves as a pretty decent alternative to other high-end models.

Huawei’s camera app fully utilises its 2-megapixel sensor capabilities, coming equipped with a range of unique photography modes. They are special modes that allow you to shoot pro videos, take night shots, carry out light painting and record audio notes over a picture. It even has a “good food” mode that absorbs richer colours and takes in finer details. There’s no doubt that this phone is all ready to help you roll in the “likes” with your next Instagram post.

Huawei Nova 2i 2
That’s how you know it’s lit.

At the end of the day, what really stands out about this phone is how much value you’re getting for its price. At what is considered mid-range pricing, Huawei packs into the Nova2i several aspects of high-end models such as the near bezel-less, metallic frame and dual-camera capabilities. The phone runs well and works great for a casual user. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a similarly-priced model that can give you such a bang for the buck.If you’re tired of spending a ton just to get a good phone for snapping the best pictures, you may not need to look further than the Huawei Nova 2i.

Photo: Huawei
Huawei Nova 2i
  • Huawei Nova 2i
The Good

Value for money

Impeccable screen display

Audio jack 😍

The Bad

Connection can be slow

The fingerprint reader is on the back 😕