Huawei, a global top 3 smartphone brand, who have made their presence prominent in the Nepalese market is here with their latest mid-tier smartphone the Huawei Nova 2i. The Nova 2i is unlike any smartphone we have seen before as it packs a total of 4 cameras. Not only that but the phone also keeps up with the trend by sporting an 18:9 near bezel-less design. But will an additional camera and a bezel-less design persuade you to buy the Huawei Nova 2i? Is it the right smartphone for you? Well, let us find the answers to those questions in this full review.
Hold up! Before we get into the review I would like to mention that I have been using the Huawei Nova 2i for almost 2 weeks now. Unlike other reviews, this one is going to be purely based on my experience and how the device held-up in the above mentioned time span. So without wasting your time any further, let’s get started!
The Huawei Nova 2i is a multi-media powerhouse! The large 5.9 inch 18:9 IPS LCD display with a near-borderless design makes for quite an amazing multimedia experience. Binge watching the latest season of Riverdale or catching up on some Detective Conan (Anime) action was a true bliss on the Nova 2i. Images and videos looked sharp with true to life colors and optimal brightness level. Though the visuals were off the roof, the same can’t be said about the audio quality. The sound output from the single bottom firing speaker was good but not great. It lacked a bit of bass and depth, which obviously is needed for a rich multi-media experience. That said, the speaker is by no means bad and it definitely got the job done.
And speaking of getting the job done, the Huawei Nova 2i is a workhorse in the gaming department. The Mali-T830 GPU coupled with 4GB of RAM tore through all the games that I through at it. Playing games with a native 18:9 resolution was a surreal experience. Though the phone provides a fit option for all games, I would suggest you refrain from it. Fitting the game will cut off many key elements and controls necessary to play the game. I particularly noticed this while playing Clash Royale, a card-based strategy game. That aside, I was facilely able to play titles like Asphalt Xtreme, InJustice 2, Dead Trigger 2, and Sonic Boom 2 without any issues.
The Huawei Nova 2i like I mentioned earlier packs a total of 4 cameras- 2 on each side of the phone. That in simple terms means bokehlicious portraits and now even selfies. The Nova 2i packs a combination of 16MP and 2MP sensor accompanied by an LED flash on the rear side. Shooting pictures with this pair of cameras was a delightful experience. I took many photos over the course of time and I really loved how the images came out to be! On default settings, the phone took some amazing shots with great details, sharpness, and warmth. Dialed a bit into the settings and I found myself face to face with the Pro-mode! And let me be the one to tell you how feature packed it is. You can tweak almost everything ranging from ISO to the metering scale. As a DSLR user, this helped me get the shots the way I wanted it to be.
And staying on the subject of DSLR, the camera packs options like the portrait mode, and the wide aperture mode to give photos an eye-pleasing bokeh effect. These features when used properly produced images that blew my socks off. I enjoyed using them to get some shots which were comparable to photos from an actual DSLR. That said, Huawei still has a long way to go before it perfects the Portrait mode/Bokeh Mode. The same picture taken on the Samsung Galaxy Note8 with the Life Focus Mode (Bokeh Mode) came out to be a lot better. I know, pinning the 100k+ priced Note8 against the Nova 2i is like comparing apples to oranges. That said, one could hope to meet the same level of perfection maybe with a software update or in the phone’s next iteration.
And to make up for that shortcoming, the Nova 2i packs a ton of modes like slow-mo, time-lapse, pro video, and much more. Another feature I loved using on the Huawei Nova 2i was the Moving Picture. What it basically does is it takes a short video before and after clicking a picture to create, well, a movable picture. This sure comes in handy when you want to recall a memory of an event.
The phone also has a dual-camera set up at the front combing a 13MP and a 2MP sensor. The front also comes equipped with an LED flash- handy in situations where there is no ample lighting condition. Selfies taken from the phone were as good as that from the rear camera. The front shooter also comes packed with a portrait mode which is good at taking those bokehlicous pictures we all love so much. Overall, the cameras on the Huawei Nova 2i are great especially considering its price.
My day to day activities constitutes of scrolling through Facebook, checking my E-Mail and calendar, posting insta pics, and a lot of messaging & web surfing. Like any decent smartphone of 2017, the Huawei Nova 2i was easily able to perform all these tasks. Not only that but it was able to do it without any visible lags or stutters. This is largely thanks to the octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 659 processor the phone comes with. I also listen to a lot of music and use a gazillion apps on a daily basis. The, already available, 64GB of internal storage and the support for micro-sd card helps keep the phone ready for more files.
Not only the internals but the externals of the phone is also very congenial. The all-metal uni-body design looks and feels very premium. Wielding the phone with no case on, I was not that scared of breaking the phone (compared to glass back phones). One thing though that I didn’t like was how prone to fingerprints the phone was especially in the matte black color option.
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The battery life with my day-to-day usage also has been very good. The 3340mAh battery was able to get me 5-6 hours of on-screen time with my medium to heavy usage of the phone. With the power-efficient Kirin processor and optimized software, the battery life of the phone has been very generous. That said, the phone packs an outdated USB Type 2.0 instead of USB Type-C which is quite a bummer. The phone also doesn’t have any fast charging capability making juicing the device up a pain in the tush. Overall, the day-to-day experience of using the phone was very good and I quite liked it!Software Experience
The Huawei Nova 2i runs EMUI 5.1 based on Android 7.0 Nougat. The software experience of the phone was very captivating. Huawei certainly has come a long way on the software front! Everything is where it should be with the option for more customizability. EMUI, the custom skin from Huawei, brings a lot of functionality to an already feature-packed Android Nougat. Features like the HiBoard, App twin, customizable navigation key, split-screen multitasking, and quick switch came in handy at times. I also love the changing lock screen which gave me an interesting wallpaper to glance over.Call me old-fashioned, but I love having an app drawer instead of the now typical everything on the home screen approach. The software from Huawei is so flexible that it let me have an app drawer over the default set-up. I know, I can always install a 3rd party launcher but having it on the default launcher is always welcomed. That said, one thing I really disliked about the UI is the presence of a lot of bloatware. Booking.com, CNN, Quik, and Flipboard are some of the apps that I found were unnecessary to include. I, however, could easily uninstall them but not having them all together would have made the UI much cleaner. All in all, the software experience was very sleek with no hiccups and lags whatsoever.
The Huawei Nova 2i is a great smartphone that has all the elements in check. For a price of just Rs 33,990, the phone offers a lot including a nearly bezel-less design, a quad camera set-up, a premium build, and some powerful internals. Using the Nova 2i in this 2 week time span was a complete bliss. I still can’t get enough of it! So who is the Huawei Nova 2i for? Is it the best smartphone on the market right now? Well, the answer is simple-It is for Photography enthusiasts on a budget, heavy media consumers, and almost anyone looking for a top of the line mid-tier smartphone. And it definitely is the phone to beat right now! So weighing everything the Huawei Nova 2i has to offer we award it with our Editor’s Choice Award 2017.
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