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Huawei Nova 2i Review

Out of this world: Huawei launches its Nova 2i on October 21.

Huawei is launching the Nova 2i in the Philippines this October 21. It’s the first smartphone from the company that sports an almost bezel-less display, a feature that we only usually see in high-end smartphones.

The Huawei Nova 2i joins several other mid-range smartphones to go the way of an immersive display, along with the LG Q6 and the Vivo V7+.

The device is a nice-looking smartphone, looks somewhat similar to the Huawei P10 but simpler and subtler. It comes with an all-metal unibody design and a slim profile despite the humongous 5.9-inch display.

The size of the phone is still manageable, comfortable actually considering the large display, thanks to its 83% screen-to-body ratio.

It’s only 7.5mm thin and 164 grams in weight which is pretty good for the size. The metal body feels solid on the hands, and the matte finish gives it that classic look akin to the P10 Plus. In fact, the two almost have the same exact dimensions and net weight — except that the P10 Plus is just 5.5 inches and the Nova 2i is 5.9 inches.

Speaking of the display, the Nova 2i comes with a huge 5.9-inch screen and a full HD+ resolution which is still attractive and crisp at this size. It has an almost bezel-less display at the front with the glass slightly curving out around the edges. The 18:9 screen aspect ratio is becoming the norm this year, and the Nova 2i follows that’s convention.

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The power button and volume controls are on the right side; the 3.5mm audio jack, loudspeakers, and microUSB port are at the bottom along with the primary microphone. Up top is the noise-canceling mic and on the left side is the SIM slot. The Nova 2i supports dual nano-SIM trays with the second one that can also handle a microSD card slot. Only the first SIM tray supports 4G LTE while the second one only supports 2G.

At the back is the fingerprint sensor where it is typically found in Huawei devices, just below the rear cameras that are stacked on top of each other. A single LED flash sits on top of them while the antennas bands run across the top and bottom corners are visible yet subtly placed.

The Nova 2i gets the distinction as the first smartphone from Huawei to sport a quad-camera setup — that’s two rear cameras and two front-facing cameras. The second rear camera is used to provide depth-of-field and simulate very large aperture which is as wide as f/0.95 to f/16. The front-facing camera also comes with LED soft light for better selfies.

The Nova 2i is powered by a Kirin 659 octa-core processor with a top clock speed of 2.36GHz for the set of 4 cores and the other cluster has low-power Cortex A53 running at 1.4GHz. This is paired with a Mali T830 GPU which is similar to the ones used in the Huawei G5 2017 and the Galaxy J7 Pro. Performance is good – the phone is snappy and responsive, gaming is smooth and over-all performance of the Nova 2i is spot-on. The phone manages to easily chow down anything we throw at it, including intensive games such as Asphalt8 and NBA2k17.

The device comes with a built-in 3,340mAh Li-Ion battery. Based on our daily use, it could very well last the entire day with spare juice for the next day and it also has excellent stand-by time. In one standard test, the device lasted 8.5 hours running mixed multimedia use. Too bad Huawei decided to still use the old micro-USB port instead of the faster USB Type-C. That goes without saying that charging time is quite long – around 2 to 2.5 hours.

The Nova 2i is a well-balanced and well thought-out smartphone. We like the design, that immersive screen looks very nice and expansive, performance is above average, the quad-camera setup is interesting and the battery life is very good. And, with a suggested retail price of just P14,990, it’s going to be the mid-ranger phone to beat this year.   

Back to the future: Huawei Nova 2i sports an almost bezel-less display, a feature in high-end smartphones.

Huawei Nova 2i specs

5.9-inch 18:9 IPS display @ 2160 x 1080 pixels

2.5D Curved Glass Display

2.36GHz Huawei Kirin 659

4GB RAM

64GB internal storage

expandable via microSD up to 256GB (uses SIM2)

16MP+2MP rear cameras with LED Flash

13MP+2MP front cameras

4G VoLTE

Hybrid Dual-SIM (nano+nano/microSD)

WiFi 802.11 b/g/n

Bluetooth 4.2

GPS, GLONASS

NFC

Fingerprint Scanner

Android 7.0 Nougat with Huawei EMUI 5.1

3,340mAh Li-Ion battery

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