Huawei nova 2i

Huawei unleashes a killer quad-camera smartphone, and it’s not even a flagship

World number two smartphone maker Huawei has been teasing a quad-camera device for a little while. Today, it uncaged it to the wild. The nova 2i is the latest in Huawei’s mid-range stable, and boy, is this baby going to fly off the shelves.

So, here’s the pitch. There are couple of key trends in the smartphone area. First, consumers prefer big phones. Or at least big displays. Secondly, dual-camera setups are becoming a norm. With the coming of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, Samsung Galaxy Note8, LG V30 and iPhone X, the next wave is about big, near bezel-less displays in a compact chassis.

Finally, consumers love taking selfies. And based on statistics, Malaysians love selfie-taking too.

Huawei’s nova 2i aims to cover all these bases. How does it fare?

Huawei nova 2i

From a design standpoint, you’ll find elements of the Huawei P10 Lite and the honor 8. In short, it looks and feels good, and exudes premium build.

On the front you’ll find an expansive 5.93-inch Full HD (2160×1080) display with an 18:9 screen ratio, housed in a near bezel-less chassis.

Huawei calls this FullView, and it’s the first smartphone in the brand’s portfolio to feature this. The screen-to-body ratio is pretty impressive, at its price point.

In the hand, it will feel like 5.5-inch device.

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Huawei nova 2i

Under the hood, the nova 2i is very much like the pricier nova 2 Plus. It gets the same octa-core Kirin 659 processor, and 4GB of RAM. While the nova 2 Plus packs 128GB of storage, the nova 2i gets 64GB.

Round the back there’s a fingerprint sensor that sits below a vertically-positioned dual-camera setup. If it reminds you of the Mate 9, you’re spot on.

Huawei nova 2i

Now that we’re on the subject of cameras, the nova 2i takes multi-camera setups to the next level. The device rocks four cameras: dual cameras on the front and back.

Why? Because it can.

Taking on the “Selfie Expert” OPPO and “Perfect Selfie” vivo, the nova 2i’s front-facing cameras consists of 13MP f/2.0 + 2MP f/2.2 units. The secondary unit is used for depth sensing, giving the device “bokehlicious” power especially in Portrait mode.

In low light, selfies are aided by a front-facing LED flash.

Huawei nova 2i

On the rear, the main shooters are a 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 combo. Again, the secondary camera takes care of depth information, which translates to better depth of field effects. Unfortunately, it lacks OIS but that’s expected at this price point.

This set-up differs from other dual-camera setups namely the Galaxy Note8, iPhone 8 Plus as well as the LG G6. Those devices use a wide-angle and telephoto lens implementation.

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On the camera software front, there’s of course Beauty Mode, Wide Aperture mode, and Motion Picture (like the iPhone’s Live Photo). You’ll find these familiar if you’re coming from another Huawei device.

The nova 2i runs EMUI 5.1 based on Android 7.0 Nougat. There’s a considerably large 3,340mAh battery that charges via microUSB.

Huawei nova 2i

Pricing and availability

The nova 2i is literally making a mockery of the competition, pricing itself at an incredible MYR1,299. That said, it might cannibalise its own nova 2 Plus which is similarly spec-ed (but with slightly better build, bigger storage and better cameras); as well as sub-brand honor’s range.

It’s great value-for-money, and it’s difficult to see how a rival phone like the just-launched vivo V7+ compete with this device spec-for-spec, and on price.

The nova 2i will hit retail channels starting 13 October and will come in Graphite Black, Prestige Gold and Aurora Blue.

Early birds will receive Huawei goodies worth MYR499.

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