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Huawei Nova 2i Unboxing And First Impressions

Huawei's game in the higher-end smartphone segment in the country has always been strong. It's actually very evident w/ their P and Mate series for the past two years. However, in the local midrange mobile department, Huawei is just doing okay.
Huawei Nova 2i Unboxing And First Impressions
Meet Huawei Nova 2i

That is just fine, but this time, the company won't settle for just that. Huawei has a new goal of bringing the very best and most innovative handset you'll find in the hotly contested midrange smartphone scene.

That innovative handset that Huawei is talking about is the newly launched Nova 2i, the first smartphone in the world w/ a wide 18:9 screen and quad cameras!

The more exciting part? The Nova 2i is at least PHP 3K cheaper against other competing devices. It's priced at just PHP 14,990!

Huawei Nova 2i Specs

Display: 5.9-inch FHD+ FullView 2160 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved class at 409 ppi
CPU: 2.36GHz 64-bit Kirin 659 octa-core processor
GPU: Mali-T830 MP2
ROM: 64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera: 16MP + 2MP f/2.2 w/ PDAF, and dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera: 13MP + 2MP f/2.0 w/ softlight flash
Battery: 3,340mAh
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat w/ EMUI 5.1
Connectivity: WiFi, LTE w/ VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, aptX, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
Others: Fingerprint sensor, dual microphones w/ noise reduction, Colors: obsidian black, streamer gold, and aurora blue
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, sound, magnetic
Dimensions: 156.2 x 75.2 x 7.5 mm
Weight: 164 g
Price: PHP 14,990 (PHP 13,990 sale price)

Disclaimer: This unit was provided by Huawei Philippines for an unbiased review.

Unboxing / Accessories

The Nova 2i arrived in an easy to open white box w/ a clean purple label of the handset. Inside, it has most of the standard inclusions you'll find in most handsets today.
The box
The box

It has the usual 2A USB wall charger, USB to micro USB data / charging cable, 1 earbuds w/ mic, protective case, SIM ejector tool, pre attached TP protective film, warranty card, quick start guide, and warranty card.
What's inside?

Build Quality / Design

Study and sleek profile
Study and sleek profile

Coming from their previous midranger, Huawei GR5 2017, the Nova 2i is on a higher-level in terms of construction and aesthetics.

Premium and tough!

It arrived w/ a more premium type of metal unibody design. Its body feels sturdier and tougher compared w/ most of the mainstream competition. The paint finish behind isn't also that prone to hairline scratches and fingerprint smudges. In front, there's no mention of Gorilla or Dragontrail glass protection, but there's a pre-installed screen protector. 
Microphone on top
Microphone on top
3.5 mm jack, micro USB port, another microphone, and single speaker below
3.5 mm jack, micro USB port, another microphone, and single speaker below
Ejectable jybrid SIM tray slot here
Ejectable jybrid SIM tray slot here
Power button and volume rocker at right

Design-wise, this is the BEST looking handset in the sub PHP 15K price range yet. The near bezel-less 18:9 screen is simply gorgeous, it is slim at just 7.5 mm, has nice curves all over, and not that loud antenna band design.

The Nova 2i is the probably sleekest looking midranger right now!

Ergonomically, it also has a smaller form factor than your average phablet. It has a 5.9 inch display in a body of a 5.5 inch regular sized smartphone. In particular, this phone measures at just 156.2 x 75.2 mm. In comparison, the Galaxy J7 Pro w/ smaller 5.5 inch screen measures at 151.5 x 74.9 mm.

In the hands, this handset feels nice and comfortable to hold w/ 2 hands. All buttons and ports including the fingerprint scanner behind are also quite easy to reach.

We also like the fact that it has no sharp edges all over. However, if your grip isn't that tight, it is slippery.

Initial Findings

1. Build is good, design is stellar! This handset is one of the very few to boasts an 18:9 screen at this affordable price point. Speaking of the screen, brightness is average and has nice colors. There's no mention of glass protection, but it has 10 points of touch.
2. Huawei's new Kirin 659 chip is one of the fastest at this price when it comes to opening apps, loading images, and most of the basic smartphone task. The GPU is still at Mali T830 though. But, it is coupled LARGE 4 GB RAM and 64 GB expandable ROM (hybrid slot). Battery is also big enough at 3,340 mAh. In our initial battery test, we recorded 5 hours and 44 mins of SOT under normal usage w/ LTE on all the time.
3. This phone is also equipped w/ the better EMUI 5.1 skin based on Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. It is simply intuitive and fast. It is rich in features as well.
4. The Nova 2i is one of the very few to have a quad camera setup. The 16 MP + 2 MP setup behind shoots nice photos w/ properly saturated colors and sharp details. It even has PDAF for better focus and OIS for stabilization. The 13 MP + 2 MP dual selfie cameras are also better than some selfie-centric contenders. It also has cool stickers and flash. Bokeh on both cameras are very impressive too. See our first camera samples link below.
5. It has LED light indicator, fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate, and OTG works. It is not on USB Type C yet, has no gyroscope, and it has no NFC.

Related: Huawei Nova 2i: First Camera Samples

As of the moment

The Huawei Nova 2i probably the midrange phone to beat right now. Based on what we saw and experienced, this handset has game changing design, specs, and features for the price.

For us, this phone can even beat or compete w/ some phones in the over PHP 18K price point. 

It isn't perfect, there are few minor weaknesses, but this handset is looking very good for the price.

Hype is real so far!

For our review: 
Huawei Nova 2i Review - The King Of Midrange Phones?
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