Huawei Nova 2i Experience Review

The dawn of full screen, almost bezel-less display is upon us and most smartphone manufacturers are heading towards that trend. Even mid-tier devices are starting to catch on to this 18:9 aspect ratio. I originally posted an unboxing feature about the Huawei Nova 2i here.

This is my Experience Review of the Huawei Nova 2i.

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Huawei is offering a Christmas Bundle that comes with a Free Bluetooth Speaker



The front can be mistaken for any other phone save for the Huawei Logo at the bottom

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At first glance, the Nova 2i looks like any other black slab phone; albeit a little narrower and tall. It has the right amount of heft without being freakishly light and feels tough enough to survive day to day adventures. I got the Matte Black finish but would  also love to have had the Blue one.

The power and volume buttons are conveniently placed on the right side of the device

The device sports a 5.9 inch near bezel-less display similar to higher end devices

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Unlocking  the phone using the fingerprint sensor mounted at the rear, the phone comes to life which the 5.9-inch display seems devour the entirety of the device. This beautiful screen is housed within an aluminum body with the volume buttons and power key that can be found at the right side of the device (if it’s facing you). The bottom hosts the speaker grille, headphone jack and the Micro USB port. The front has the proximity sensor, the earpiece on top, and the Huawei logo on the bottom. At the back you will find the antenna line; and the fingerprint scanner which was very responsive like with all Huawei phones.

The Huawei Nova 2i comes with a free clear case to prevent those smudges and camera hump

The spotlight is half-trained on that 5.9 inch IPS Display with a resolution of 1080×2160 and a PPI of 407 – that’s enough for spec junkies. What matters is that it is bright with a very acceptable color range and is a delight to use for reading eBooks, websites and even scrolling on social media. The screen is tall enough to show more information but not cumbersome to use one-handed. Games and media on this are immersive but wished the speaker was a bit more refined because it can get real loud, though distorts when its starts to hit some of the higher and lower notes.

The screen was bright and clear enough under direct sunlight

The device performed day to day tasks like a champ and zipped through multi-tasking which was surprising at this tier. Powered by Huawei’s own Kirin 659 chip paired with 4GB of RAM, I would not go on saying that this is a powerhouse – but will keep up with your daily needs without a hitch. It also has 64GB of storage (Thanks Huawei!) for your apps and it can hold up to a 128GB Micro SD Card for your media and photos and other things (wink). Speaking of photos, you might want to shell out for that SD card because you’re going to need it, trust me. More on that in a bit. Huawei’s own EMUI 5.1 is highly customizable and could serve you well even without installing another launcher.

Gaming on this was enjoyable because of the screen and it ran light games seamlessly. More demanding games will require a shift-down on settings to medium. My trusty sidekick marches on without overheating and skipping frames. Most games are online and you will be happy to know that this device holds data connection and Wi-Fi connection really well. The data speeds though are out of the device’s hands – cough-Telco’s-cough. Throw in another cough there somewhere for good measure.

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Two front cameras for a Whole New Selfie

As for cameras, the front camera, oh wait, cameras – yes you read that right; the front camera set up is a combination of a 13MP and a 2MP selfie shooter. Huawei says that this device wants to introduce consumers to a “Whole New Selfie” being the f/2.0 13MP focuses on the image and the 1.75um 2MP color lens aim to capture an extensive depth of field to create those dazzling selfies. Bokeh lovers unite. And for those who use Beauty Mode, Huawei promises to deliver a more precise algorithm to achieve a more natural and more accurate finish. I will never post selfies here but I tried it and yeah, I see what Huawei meant there. On most lighting conditions I looked like a very decent likable human being which most times is hard to capture but the Nova 2i did it!  They also have a live photo kind of effect, a 2 second mini movie, a “Moving Picture Mode”. I am sure some people would find a good use for that especially if you plan to post those on online or share those fun moments to friends and family. Huawei is touting this as a selfie camera expert and I am inclined to agree. It also features tons of templates and editing tools as well as the ability to adjust focus after you shoot which can be very useful.

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The dual back cameras on this is a wonderful surprise

The back Camera is something I really enjoyed on this phone. I never was a selfie fan but boy did I have fun shooting with the rear shooter of this phone. It applies the same dual camera set up as the front but with a combination of a 16MP and 2MP shooters. Pictures are sharp and natural and I was amazed at how it adjusted quite well when I tested it on different lighting conditions. It even dawned on me that if you are not overly picky and understand how to use a camera well, you don’t even have to opt for higher end or even flagship phones to get decent photos. Heck, even on auto mode. The average consumer who just wants a suitable camera for any given moment, I highly recommend the Huawei Nova 2i. Video recording on this is equally impressive even on low light. I have a couple of flagship devices but I can really see myself using this as a regular shooter.

Early morning
Late Afternoon


Night with flash

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Night without flash. Not the best but acceptable.

For your #food Instagram posts or better yet, #mnlmasheats
I recently used the Nova 2i to shoot some photos of a recent event and the results were great


Here are some shots from a recent trip to Hong Kong. Yes, even for those quick capture memories this phone will hold up.

It captures a lot of your subject without losing much detail when you zoom in

Blurry good. I know, corny. But yeah, blurry good indeed.

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In some cases the reds tend to become over-saturated but far and few in between

Colors and skin tones are natural

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Howdy Woody!

Even on a foggy day, with ample amount of light the results were still very much acceptable

With a 3240 Mah Battery that requires almost 2 hours to fully charge from zero, the Huawei Nova 2i holds on to power quite well. At the end of a day of heavy use I still got around 30% around 10 PM with the device leaving the charger around 7am. That is with data enabled the whole day. So being on your way home from a hard day’s work worrying that you won’t have power left is something you don’t have to worry about much with the Nova 2i.
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I got this as part of Huawei’s Christmas Bundle and it came with a K3 Bluetooth speaker. Not the best out there but most definitely not the worst. It can clearly fill out an entire room but forget about the entire house. That being said, the quality is quite good especially if you factor in that it’s a freebie.

Free K3 Bluetooth Speaker on the Christmas Bundle

Overall, I like the Huawei Nova 2i. The price, the performance and the overall value of the phone is something really worth considering. Currently priced at 14,990 php, this can even change my smartphone buying habits. I can personally say that this is a keeper.
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The Huawei Nova 2i is also being offered on sweet deals by Smart and Globe and last I checked with them, the line for the device was quite long so there will be a bit of a wait time. Clearly it is a good sign that Huawei is on to something really good here.

The same deal that comes with a bag and selfie stick can be found here.

Let us know if this device is the one for you in the comments or over on Twitter @MNLMash.

Til, then, thanks folks and Mabuhay, Manila!

Photos by Kadin Tiu and Rowel Samarita

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