Price (RRP): $399
The Huawei Nova 2i has been around since late last year. It hit the market at $499, but a recent price drop to $399 makes it a worthy competitor in the mass-market segment.
While the Huawei Nova 2i has some impressive specifications in screen size (5.9-inch) and four cameras (dual front and rear) it is made to meet a price. That means some compromises. For the most part, these are totally acceptable in a $399 handset.
Specifications: Huawei Nova 2i Model RNE-L22
|Screen||5.9-inch, 2160 x 1080, 407ppi, 18:9, IPS, 76.5% S-T-B-R|
|Processor||: HiSilicon Kirin 16nm 659, eight-core Cortex-A53, 4x 2.36GHz and 4x 1.7|
|GPU||GPU: Mali T830 (MP2)|
|RAM||RAM/Storage: 4GB LPDDR3/64 (48GB usable)/microSD to 256GB (second sim slot 2G only), OTG|
|Rear Camera 1||16MP f/2.0, focal length 27mm , HDR, Digital Zoom, Sony IMX298 4608 x 3456 4:3, LED flash, 1080p|
|Rear Camera 2||2MP, 120° wide-angle f/2.0, PDAF, HDR,|
|Front Camera 1||13MP, digital zoom, [email protected]|
|Front Camera 2||2MP for bokeh refocus|
|Comms||Wi-Fi N, Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX support, Wi-Di|
|Sound||Mono speaker, dual mic with ANC, Standard earbuds/mic|
|Other||Fingerprint sensor on the rear|
|Battery||3,340mAh, micro-USB 2.0, 5V/2A, charge time 2.5+ hours|
|LTE||Cat 6 300/50Mb/s, Bands 1, 3, 5 7, 8, 28, 38, 40, 41. Supports VoLTE|
|Dimensions||156.2 x 75.2 x 7.5 mm x 164g|
|OS||Android 8.x with EMUI 8 (review unit shipped with Android 7.0 and EMUI 5.1)|
|Colours||Graphite Black or Prestige Gold. Clear bumper case included|
|Missing||NFC, IP rating, Gorilla Glass|
|Price||$399 from major retailers|
Out of the box – Huawei Nova 2i
- 64GB Smartphone
- 5V/2A Charger
- Micro-USB to USB-A cable
- Standard Earbuds/mic
- Clear protective buffer case
The first impression is a slim 18:9, large screen, glossy slab with a matte black metallic back. Very similar to all the other 18:9 glossy slabs.
Screen – big for the price
Huawei calls it a Full-Vision display. It uses an RGB matrix which tops out at a respectable 450 nits. Contrast is good at over 1800:1.
Except that it never looked that bright and daylight readability was poor. You can play with colour temperature, but it never reaches a pure white.
I found the auto-brightness adjustment too aggressive favouring battery life over usability. Turn it off and manually set brightness to suit.
There is no mention of a screen protector. It is not Gorilla Glass, yet the fingerprint magnet capacity indicates there is some screen protection. I suspect it is a GFF (the upper level of the screen is a tempered glass).
But remember a mass market device it is not going to be like Huawei’s P20 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S9.
On that basis, the screen is good as good as you get.
Performance – adequate but no powerhouse
Huawei is chuffed with the success of its HiSilicon chip design and Kirin SoC. It knows that to compete with Samsung et al. it must have design level access to the silicon and better supply chain control.
In practice apps loaded fast, multitasking was OK, and all worked well. Unfortunately, when it comes to the usual benchmarks, the Nova 2i’s Kirin chipset scored the bottom of the pile.
To put this in perspective, the Kirin 659 is about half the benchmark speed of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660.
As a mass-market device, it is as good as you get.