Huawei Nova 2i unboxing and hands-on
The Huawei Nova 2i is a significant departure from the company’s usual approach, especially for a mid-ranger. It is also the first time that Huawei is introducing an almost bezel-less display, way ahead of the flagship Huawei Mate 10 which will be revealed next week.
Here’s our unboxing video of the Nova 2i:
The Nova 2i is a nice-looking device, somewhat akin to the Huawei P10 but simpler and more subtle. 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 size of the display, thanks to the 89% screen-to-body ratio.
The Nova 2i comes in various colors but the one we have here is in dark blue which is the best color we’ve seen for the device. It’s only 7.5mm thin and 164 grams in weight which is pretty good for the display size. The metal body feels solid on the hands and the matte finish gives it the classic look that’s similar 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 good 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 aspect ratio is becoming the norm this year and the Nova 2i follows that’s convention. Great looking display — bright and crisp, great for watching videos or streaming on YouTube.
The power button and volume controls are on the right side; the 3.5mm audio jack, loudspeakers, and micro-USB 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 supports a microSD card slot. Only the 1st SIM tray supports 4G LTE while the second one only supports 2G.
At the back is the fingerprint sensor where it is normally 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.
Also note that the Nova 2i is 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 good 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.
Here are some sample photos we took using the rear camera:
The Nova 2i is powered by a Kirin 659 octa-core processor. It’s the first time we’ve tested a phone running this chipset but an earlier release of the Nova 2 and Nova 2 Plus already had this in its hardware. The Kirin 659 has a top clock speed of 2.36GHz for the set of 4 cores and another low-power Cortex A53 running at 1.4GHz. This is paired with a Mali T830 GPU which is the same as in the Huawei GR5 2017 and the Galaxy J7 Pro.
Synthetic benchmarks gave the Nova 2i a fairly good score with a high of 62,964 in Antutu benchmark (puts it around the Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 625 chipset).
We’ve yet to test battery life but the built-in 3,340mAh Li-Ion battery should provide ample power for the entire day. So far, we’re really liking this phone. We like the design, that immersive screen looks pretty nice, above average performance, interesting quad-camera setup and the battery capacity is promising though we still need to really test that out in our full review.
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
expandable via microSD up to 256GB (uses SIM2)
16MP+2MP rear cameras with LED Flash
13MP+2MP front cameras
Hybrid Dual-SIM (nano+nano/microSD)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Huawei EMUI 5.1 (Android 7 Nougat)
3,340mAh Li-Ion battery
Dimensions: 156.2 × 75.2 × 7.5mm
Weight: 164 grams
The Nova 2i will also be available in 3 color variants — blue, black, and gold. We’re expecting the Huawei Nova 2i to be released in the Philippines later this month. We’ll also know the suggested retail price later today.
Updated: Suggested retail price is Php14,990 based on the prices being stated by local retail stores.
Read more: Huawei Nova 2i Review