Huawei Nova 2i Review: The Best Mid-Range Smartphone of 2017?

Matthew Cuyugan

Huawei has been in the spotlight since the release of their Leica co-engineered smartphones that belong to the upper tier segment. But, there are more to Huawei than just flagship devices, their mid-range offerings are quite impressive too, and the Huawei Nova 2i is a good testament to it. That is the reason why we dedicate time to review it.

Huawei Nova 2i Review: The Best Mid-Range Smartphone of 2017?
Huawei Nova 2i Review: The Best Mid-Range Smartphone of 2017?

Is it the best midrange smartphone of 2017? Let's all find out in our Huawei Nova 2i Review!


Huawei Nova 2i Unboxing and Hands-on

Aside from the unit, the Nova 2i's packaging comes with bundled 5V/2A charger, a MicroUSB cable, earphones, the SIM ejection tool, warranty card, and a free clear case.

Huawei Nova 2i Retail Package
Retail Package

The 5.9-inch panel of the handset comes with Huawei's FullView display with a nearly bezel-less screen on the front, featuring FHD+ resolution that equates to 2160 x 1080 pixels. Some of the applications are not compatible with the full-screen technology, while some may need permissions to run in 18:9 aspect ratio. The color saturation on the display is great, and the viewing angles are vibrant, retaining the brightness. Unfortunately, the content on the display is not that great when we viewed in direct sunlight.

As we go on to the controls, the primary microphone is positioned in the uppermost part of the device.

Huawei Nova 2i Top Side

Sitting in the bottom part is the 3.5 mm audio jack, microphone, the MicroUSB port and the speaker grille.

Huawei Nova 2i Bottom Side

At the upper left is the dual-SIM trays and the dedicated MicroSD card tray. Nice one!

Huawei Nova 2i Left Side

The volume rockers and the power button are located on the right side.

Huawei Nova 2i Right Side

On the upper part of the front panel lies the dual selfie cameras, a couple of sensors, and the LED notification light.

Huawei Nova 2i Upper Front
Upper Front

Flipping on its back, we have the two dual camera lenses, one for telephoto and the other, for wide-angle, plus the dual-LED found in the upper part. The fingerprint scanner is located just below the camera modules.

Huawei Nova 2i Upper Back
Upper Back

Overall, the phone is pretty solid with great build quality, it is nice to look at and hold in your hand. To learn more about its physical appearance, please watch the video unboxing above.

Also Read: Huawei Mate 10 Review: Flagship Camera Smartphone At Its Best


Huawei Nova 2i Homescreen

The Android 7.0 "Nougat" is the operating system on the Huawei Nova 2i. As with the other models, Huawei relies on their own launcher, the EMUI 5.1, that allows different customizations like changing wallpapers, and themes. All of the applications are located on the home screen, but if you want the app drawer, then we can enable the style under the settings.

The iOS-like interface gives direct access to the camera interface from the lock screen by simply pulling up the icon from the bottom. On the home screen, widgets are available, with some are Android stock ones, while the others are designed by Huawei. Notification panel can be accessed by swiping down the screen.
The Phone Manager app, one of the pre-loaded applications that clean the cache and any unwanted applications that are continuously running in the background. On the bottom, the three navigation buttons can be customized, also in the Settings.

There is also a Phone Clone app, which as the name suggests, can easily copy or shall I say clone an old handset, whether it is made by Huawei, other Android device or an Apple iPhone.

All in all, the EMUI is easy to understand and comes with tons of features too. Yes, there are lots of users who preferred a stock Android, but proprietary skin like this gives a phone its very own software identity,


Huawei Nova 2i Benchmark Scores
Huawei Nova 2i Benchmark Results
Benchmark Results

The HiSilicon Kirin 659 mid-range system-on-chip is installed on the Huawei Nova 2i. It features eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores that divide into two clusters: four cores for power-saving that clocks at 1.7GHz, and the other four that are intended for performance-basis, which has the maximum frequency of 2.36GHz.

Below are the benchmark scores:

  • AnTuTu v7 - 80,951
  • 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme - 6,356
  • 3DMark Ice Storm - 10,194
  • 3DMark OpenGL ES 3.1 - 328
  • 3DMark Vulkan - 231
  • 3DMark Sling Shot - 501
  • API OpenGL ES 3.0 - 36,603
  • API Vulkan - 35,196
  • Geekbench Single-Core - 903
  • Geekbench Multi-Core - 3,229
  • Geekbench Renderscript - 2,607

The Huawei Nova 2i places itself in the midfield, with smooth performance. We didn't have any problems in using the pre-installed and downloaded applications. It doesn't quite harm, so you have no worries in using the device for a whole day.

The ARM Mali-T830MP2 graphics card is integrated into the chipset, which clocks at 900MHz each. It delivers a sufficient daily usage in non-demanding applications. In terms of gaming, casual games are easily playable, and we are happy to say that even high graphics and 3D games can be played smoothly. Just keep in mind that it is a mid-range handset, therefore gaming performance is different than flagship offerings.

See Also: Huawei Mate 10 Pro Now Available at Smart GigaX Plan 2399


Huawei Nova 2i Camera Interface
Camera Interface

The camera interface is similar, if not the same with other Huawei phones. So, if you have used one in the past, navigating with the UI is very easy. And even if this is the first time you got one, it is still  quite simple to understand. Moreover, if you are not comfortable with the Pro Photo, there are tons of other modes that can provide the same result.

Main Camera Sample Photos:

Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Daylight (Auto)
Daylight (Auto)
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Daylight (Without HDR)
Daylight (Without HDR)
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Indoor (Low Light)
Indoor (Low Light)
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Foodie (Pizza)
Foodie (Pizza)
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - No Zoom
No Zoom
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - 2x Zoom
2x Zoom
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Close-up
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Portrait Mode
Portrait Mode
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Long Exposure
Long Exposure
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Night
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Lunar Eclipse
Total Lunar Eclipse (thru reflector telescope)
Huawei Nova 2i Camera Sample - Light Trail
Light Trail

With the dual rear cameras, that is 16MP plus 2MP sensors, the Huawei Nova 2i is one-of-a-kind in terms of capturing photos in its price point. The images captured are of decent quality, with almost full of details and color reproduction. Indoor shots can be taken in good point if there's an ample lighting. The low-light suffered from noise, but in respectable amount only.

Front Camera Sample Photos:

Huawei Nova 2i Front Camera Sample - Indoor (Auto)
Indoor (Auto)
Huawei Nova 2i Front Camera Sample - Indoor (With Screen Flash)
Indoor (With Screen Flash)
Huawei Nova 2i Front Camera Sample - Indoor (Portrait)
Indoor (Portrait)
Huawei Nova 2i Front Camera Sample - Outdoor (Portrait)
Outdoor (Portrait)
Huawei Nova 2i Front Camera Sample - Group Selfie (Outdoor)
Group Selfie (Outdoor)
Huawei Nova 2i Front Camera Sample - Group Selfie (Indoor)
Group Selfie (Indoor)
Huawei Nova 2i Front Camera Sample - Group Selfie (Low Light)
Group Selfie (Low Light)

The 13MP plus 2MP selfie cameras offer the beautification and portrait mode, so, the fans of taking self-portrait photographs will be happy. The resulting images are nice and realistic. To wrap it up, the value of the camera is above-average compared to its competitors.


The Huawei Nova 2i supports five LTE bands (B1/B3/B7/B8/B20), three WCDMA bands (B1/B5/B8) and four GSM bands (B2/B3/B5/B8), which simply means good receptions across all networks. The LTE speed can theoretically download files up to 300 Mbps and 50 Mbps for uploads. Wi-Fi module has the standard single band IEEE 802.11 b/g/n. As with the other connectivity features, there is Bluetooth 4.2, micro USB 2.0 port with OTG function, GPS, with A-GPS, GLONASS, and BDS for accurate navigation, and an FM broadcasting for radio listening.


Huawei Nova 2i PC Mark Battery Life Score
PC Mark Battery Life Score

The 3,340mAh battery secures the Nova 2i with not-so-high power consumption. It scored 7 hours and 30 minutes, which is considerably low compared to other devices with the same amount of power, however, in real-time, we managed to get at least one day without needing any charger. Unfortunately, there's no fast charging technology, and it usually needs 2 hours and 45 minutes before the battery is already 100% again with the use of the charger included in the package.


Huawei Nova 2i
Huawei Nova 2i

The Nova 2i is a well-made smartphone from Huawei, a mid-range device that offers plenty of positive features, the trending 18:9 FullView display, the highly anticipated quad camera setup, lots of storage available, plenty of RAM, fast fingerprint sensor, and near solid overall performance. Things that consumers can easily love and appreciate, things that make it one of the best in its price segment.

Huawei Nova 2i Specs:

  • Dual Nano SIM, dual standby, supports LTE connectivity
  • 5.9-inch IPS capacitive FHD+ (2160x1080) touchscreen LCD
  • Dimensions: 156.2mm x 75.2mm x 7.5mm
  • Weight: 164 grams
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.1
  • 64-bit quad core 2.36GHz Cortex-A53 CPU + quad core 1.7GHz Cortex-A53 CPU, ARM Mali-T830MP2 GPU, HiSilicon Kirin 659 chipset
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via micro SD card, uses SIM 2 slot
  • 16MP + 2MP main cameras with dual-tone LED flash, 1080p video recording
  • 13MP + 2MP  secondary cameras with soft LED flash
  • Multimedia player
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Micro USB 2.0 with OTG support
  • Bluetooth v4.2
  • Sensors: fingerprint, accelerometer, light, proximity
  • Battery: 3340mAh lithium-ion, non-removable
  • Price: Php14,990
  • Colors: black, blue, gold

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