The Huawei Nova 2i is a brand new midrange phone sporting a world first for smartphones: it uniquely features dual lenses for both front and rear. These days, manufacturers are telling us if anyone is not doing dual lenses, they are probably not doing it right.
The design is appropriately contemporary with a metal body and 2.5D curved glass. It is the go-to factor for all trendy phones and is by no means a bad thing. This creates a familiar but also trendy impression and has enough heft to feel premium. The all metal device has a fingerprint sensor on the back. That leaves the all glass front to remain smooth and clutter free.
It has a lot of screen for the size: 5.9 inches squeezed into a 5.5 inch form factor. That’s phablet screen territory packed into a smaller, easier to hold case. The screen is what is called FHD+ Full View display of 18:9 aspect ratio. This is still not fully common stuff even on flagships models. The sharp, FHD screen provides punchy, slightly saturated colours. While the deeper reds and blues may be preferred by most, you can adjust the colour according to your preferences. While the auto brightness feature works quickly, screen brightness is a little low when viewing in direct sunlight.
Software is the EMUI 5.1 based on Android 7.0 Nougat. You can set up your homescreen in two styles. You can opt for either the app drawer that pops up in typical Android style. Or you can have all your icons on the homescreen like in iOS. Bloatware is low as Huawei has answered to plenty of complaints on unnecessary apps. Yes, power to people as only they decide what to put in their phone.
Power comes from Huawei’s own mid-range Kirin 659 processor. These days anything below 3GB of RAM seems to belong to the times when dinosaurs ruled the earth. Which is why the Huawei comes battle ready with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage.
Gaming is powered by a Mali-T830. You can run most games without the device getting hot. This may not be a high end GPU yet graphics heavy titles like Asphalt Airborne run without noticeable lag. Smooth gaming on a big, sharp screen? Who wouldn’t want that.
It features dual lens cameras both front and back. Is it a gimmick? Or does it work?
Both cameras are supplemented by a smaller 2 megapixel unit. The smaller sensor provides depth of field information to create those interesting bokeh effects for your social media feed. The bokeh effect is excellent even though it is digitally produced. Where most other phones end up having a halo-like effect around the subject, this creates a much smoother graduated appearance. If you didn’t know, this looks almost natural like the pricier optics created blurs in DSLRs. Considering the clutter in our crowded city, the portrait mode background blur is a great feature to have. Their flagship P9 from 2016 revolutionised the portrait imagery but wasn’t perfectly smooth. The P10 improved upon that and now those improvements have made their way to a device in the category populated by Nova.
To answer our question: does it work? Yes. The portrait blur works best with faces but may occasionally struggle with objects. For that, you can adjust the blur effect so it looks more natural.
So what are the images like? Daylight shots are very good although a lot of sharpening is evident if you zoom in. This creates the only downside of losing very fine detail. For most of your social media instances, none of it will really matter. Not unless you are CSI investigator trying to zoom in on a car number plate in the distance.
Dynamic range and colour reproduction are quite neutral and realistic. Night shots can be a little grainy but will produce very impressive shots if you use the Pro mode, a tripod and set a longer shutter speed. To sum it up, the photo quality is above average in auto mode in decent lighting conditions.
3340mAh of battery power averaged a little over a day of typical usage. Yes, you can cross 24 hours if you keep brightness low and avoid heavy gaming/Facebooking and GPS off. We managed to typically last through a day with standard calls, messaging, an hour of Youtube and an hour of social media.
Who is this for?
Specifically two types of people. If you watch a lot of movies while sitting in Dhaka traffic, this is quite the right device. It can hold its battery charge while offering a huge display in a compact space. The dimensions also make it easily pass our pocket test.
It is also for photographers on a budget. It takes very good photos especially if portraits are high on your preference. Most daylight shots come with good detail while the front does brilliantly on selfies. That makes it a great tool for the budget conscious young people who are becoming increasingly social media savvy.
Check our gallery just below for sample camera images. These have been resized to load faster.
Display: 5.93-inch FullView FHD+ Display in 18:9 ratio
CPU: Kirin 659, octa-core 2.36GHz
RAM: 4 GB
ROM: 64 GB
Back Camera: Dual 16MP + 2MP
Selfie Camera: Dual 13MP + 2MP
Battery: 3,340 mAh
OS: EMUI 5.1 on Android 7.0 Nougat
Price: Tk 26,990/-
Photos: Md. Sadman Islam Rahin & E Raza Ronny