Huawei Nova 2 Lite In-depth Hands-on
Huawei just recently launched their newest contender in the budget smartphone market — the Huawei Nova 2 Lite. The company’s latest Nova hopes to recreate the craze that the Nova 2i did in the mid-range market last year. Only this time, it hopes to do it in the budget segment. We spent a little bit of time with the device during our media trip in Bohol and here are our initial thoughts.
Author’s Note: Huawei handed us a unit without the final retail software but an update is in the works and will be coming in a few days. So as of writing, some of the features of the device are still incomplete.
The Nova 2 Lite borrows some of the design cues of the Nova 2i. It has a unibody design, slim profile, and a seamless metallic chrome side. In fact, it doesn’t look like a budget device at first glance, thanks to its classy looks and premium feel. On paper, it’s a fairly large device due to the display, but the phone still manages to keep a relatively small and manageable footprint.
Up front, we’ll be greeted by the 5.99-inch 18:9 display. Just above it are the 8MP front camera, speakerphone, and sensors. The bottom has Huawei’s branding but is all-bezel as the device uses on-screen navigation keys.
Moving on to the sides. On the left, we have the triple card tray with dedicated slots for two SIM cards and a microSD card. While over to the right are the power/lock button and volume rockers.
The bottom of the device houses the micro USB port, 3.5mm audio port, primary microphone, and loudspeaker. The top side is left bare as all the ports are squeezed at the bottom.
Flipping the device over reveals the slightly protruding dual rear cameras, consisting of a 13MP + 2MP shooters accompanied by an LED flash. The cameras are at the top left corner and are arranged horizontally instead of vertically like what we saw on the Nova 2i. Also found here are the secondary microphone, fingerprint scanner, and Huawei’s logo.
The Nova 2 Lite is light and easy to hold thanks to its form factor and rounded edges. The rear has a sand-blasted-like finish which adds flair to the device, however, it is not enough to keep fingerprints and smudges away. Nonetheless, the phone exudes an aura that’ll make you think it’s more expensive than its price.
Going back to the display, the phone is equipped with an HD+ IPS screen, which is quite the bummer as it would’ve been better if it had a Full HD screen. While it’s not a bad display by any means, those who are accustomed to higher resolutions screens will feel the difference. In any case, the display itself has good color reproduction, accuracy and viewing angles. Brightness, on the other hand, is quite lacking and direct sunlight will slightly affect the viewing experience.
As for sound quality, we get a pretty average speaker. The Mids and Highs are good and it can get pretty loud without losing much clarity. Although, like every other device at this price point, Lows are basically non-existent.
Moving on to the cameras. Unlike its cousin, the Nova 2i, the Nova 2 Lite is only equipped with a single dual camera setup. The rear is composed of a standard 13MP camera and a 2MP wide-angle bokeh lens with 7-level bokeh adjustment while the front is equipped with an 8MP shooter accompanied by a soft light LED flash.
The camera software of the unit we have isn’t final yet so a few of the features are still lacking and quality might change. Either way, take a look at a few of the sample shots we took in Bohol.
Running the software department is Huawei’s very own EMUI 8 on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. It’s nice to see phones finally having Android Oreo right out of the box, especially at this price point. As for features, we get the full EMUI 8 and Oreo experience. The UI is your standard home screen affair where you access all of your apps by swiping left or right. If you’re not a fan of that then you can easily download your preferred launcher at the Play Store.
Oddly enough, the Nova 2 Lite isn’t powered by any of Huawei’s own Kirin chipsets but is instead equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 paired with Adreno 505 GPU and 3GB of RAM. We’ve seen the 430 in action quite a few times at this price point already and its a very capable performer. Initial performance is smooth and nice, mundane tasks like UI navigation, texting, and social media consumption are a breeze.
Multitasking is not an issue thanks to the 3GB RAM. Of course, we’ll be checking the device’s performance in full in the coming days, especially after we receive the incoming software update. In the meantime here’s the initial AnTuTu benchmark result.
The Huawei Nova 2 Lite is shaping up to be a strong contender at the sub-Php10k market. It has respectable performance, a good design, and a promising set of cameras. Although, we do have options from other competitors with better overall performance. Then again, the phone hopes to capture the market in entirely different categories.
The Nova 2 Lite is priced at Php9,990 and is now up for pre-order starting today until March 23rd. Those who avail of the pre-order will receive a free JBL Bluetooth headset priced at Php 4,599. Units can be redeemed the following day on March 24th.
Huawei Nova 2 Lite specs:
5.99-inch HD+ (1440 x 720) IPS 18:9 display, 269ppi
2.5D curved glass
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 1.4GHz octa-core processor
Adreno 505 GPU
microSD up to 256GB (dedicated slot)
13MP + 2MP rear cameras w/ LED flash
8MP f/2.0 aperture, 77-degree field of view front camera w/ soft light LED flash
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Android 8.0 Oreo w/ EMUI 8
158.3 x 76.7 x 7.8 mm
Blue, Black, Gold