Huawei Nova 2i unboxing and hands-on

Huawei Nova 2i unboxing and hands-on

Huawei is launching the Nova 2i in the Philippines later this month, following the announcement in China (Maimang 6), Malaysia (Nova 2i) and India (Honor 9i).

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
64GB storage
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
Bluetooth 4.2
Fingerprint Scanner
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

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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10 Responses

  1. Jaculcul says:

    Specs are good for 15k, battery lang talaga pumalya eh :(

    • xy says:

      Okay na sakin yung battery.
      Yung ayaw ko eh yung hybrid sim tray.
      You cant fully utilize yung dual sim and expandale storage functions ng phone.

  2. K L says:

    eew di pala usb type c

  3. Arv says:

    The reviewer never saud that the battery is “pumapalya”.he said they never fully tested the battery but it looks promising.meani g di pa nila nate test ng buing araw ang battery pero mukhang ok.anyway,i know some people are really having a hard time understanding english,opapatagalog na lang natin next time para tama ang pagkakaintindi mo.

  4. Rico says:

    This is comparable to j7 pro (16k)

    Is latest form important to you? Nova

    Is ergonomics important? Then Nova.
    16:9 5.5 screen (and up) like j7 pro is challenging to manipulate (small hands) even with swype typing. Prone to carpal tunnel syndrome in long term.

    Nova Specs are competitive, esp it’s processor which is comparable to SD 625. Exynos 1.6 on j7 pro is slow to propel it’s 1080p screen. Obvious when multi-tasking, Nevermind heavy graphics games.

    But before you buy, check the UI of different phones, coz Samsung latest UI from j7 pro is same as Galaxy s8 – elegant, highly intuitive, customizable with addtl focus on security (secure folder). It’s latest UI is miles behind competition.

    Nova for modern screen ratio, mid range speed and ergonomic handling

    J7 pro – beautiful AMOLED screen! 3600 battery. Exynos cpu heat protection, Dual Sim + micro SD (not hybrid). Auto adjust screen brightness. Secure folder is like 2nd phone within a phone. elegant design and Very intuitive
    -cons slow cpu, just not meant for gamer. Cheap power and volume rocker

    • Zed says:

      hi rico! It seems you are knowledgeable about phone specs. Based on your opinion, which has better power saving features? SD430. Exynos 7870, or Kirin 659? And which is better for MOBA gaming?

    • Niggerfaggot says:

      You probably own a j7 pro am i right?

  5. rico says:

    I own j7 pro. Despite of cons I mentioned. I have no buyers remorse. Value over performance exceeded my expectation of what I paid for 16k.

    Yeah. Nitpicking on cons of j7 pro. I’m a Samsung snob ever since, I hate their UI and bloatware, plus cartoonish vivid colours of old (vivid is ok for landscape, but terrible on skin tones (unnatural)..

    but when they started implementing Samsung experience UI this year, its a game changer – no need for vanilla Android or third party launcher. They have exclusive Samsung app for customization. I put dark/Black theme UI to take advantage of AMOLED. Black is pitch black and consume zero power – hence add to power savings.

    Medium Power saving feature on Samsung will limit cpu power to 70%. But will extend battery life+ 20% approx. Phone will get slower at this stage. There would be lag, but I find it tolerable- I’m not a gamer but heavy on multiple Apps open. Android Recommend to not close frequent used apps coz they will wake up anytime soon on their own – taxing your power,

    SD 430 low end chip. SD 6xx are their mid range chips which is comparable to Exynos 7870.

    Arguably, comparing same price class chips, SD are faster than Exynos. But SD run hotter ESP with their fast charger, they focus on volts . Exynos SoC are known cooler compared to SD, their phone charging principle is old school but good for (slow charging benefit is less stress on your battery) . MediaTeks are more prone to elevated temp even with their latest 16nm chips, never mind their 28nm chips.
    Kirin? They are good and competitive in their price class, even faster in some benchmarks.

    Buying decision is a mix of compromises

    “I really like s8+ but not willing to fork out 46k.
    There are budget phones @5k but lack features I need and want” ?

    At the end of the day, it’s your money and decision, choose your compromise wisely

    The mid range segment is considered the sweet spot for really good value for money. Happy hunting ?

  6. rico says:

    Last tip for buying your next smartphone,

    Don’t just focus on specs or hardware,

    There are many cheap Chinese-made phones with impressive spec sheet but lack soul

    Factor the UI (phone’s user interface) in your decision too

    Why is it important? Coz that is how you interact with the phones

    Compare the features on how usable the phone is.

    Many phones in the market have basic features, akin to generic or bland UI

    On the other hand, there are are phone manufacturers that want to differentiate their products from the rest. They really put money on R&D and design team in an effort to improve its usability, add features and/or hardware not seen on competition

    That is product differentiation in marketing and it’s an edge over comparable specs from competition

    Oh, and don’t forget warranty support too. Avoid one week warranty as much as possible, tas May bootloop na in a second week or month

  7. Jewel says:

    I have seen a sample model of this phone over Huawei concept stores and I must say that it really is a game-changer in the mid-range category. I was originally planning to buy Xiaomi A1 but with this new release, I’m having second thoughts.

    Can somebody give me an advice on what phone should I buy? I do love the pure Android experience that the A1 offers though the 18:9 screen ratio and quad-camera of Huawei is really appealing. I’m a certified ML gamer so I’m currently torned between the two.

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