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Huawei Nova 2 lite Unboxing and First Impressions

Huawei's new Nova 2 lite is the company's most affordable smartphone with the modern 18:9 screen aspect ratio and dual cameras yet.
Huawei Nova 2 lite Unboxing and First Impressions
Meet Huawei Nova 2 lite!

Even at just PHP 9,990, Huawei was able to fit a big 5.99-inch HD+ 18:9 screen with minimal bezels and a promising 13MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.0 dual camera setup with bokeh mode for portrait shots at the Nova 2 lite.

It also has a nice type of 8MP f/2.0 front camera "Smart Selfie Toning Flash" which allows the phone to automatically and intelligently adjust the lighting for natural looking selfies even in the dark.

In addition, it has decent overall specs for the price and the updated Android 8.0 Oreo OS w/ Huawei's homebrewed EMUI 8.0 skin.

Huawei Nova 2 lite Specs

Display: 5.99-inch HD+ 1440 x 720 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass at 269 ppi
CPU: 1.4GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 505
ROM: 32GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 128GB (dedicated)
Main Camera: 13MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.0 w/ PDAF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8MP f/2.0 w/ softlight LED flash
Battery: 3,000mAh
OS: Android 8.0 Oreo w/ EMUI 8.0
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, 4G LTE w/ VoLTE, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, sound, magnetic
Others: Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, dual microphones, Colors: black, gold, blue
Dimensions: 158.3 x 76.7 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 155 g
Price: PHP 9,990

Disclaimer: Huawei seeded us with a unit of the Nova 2 lite for our constructive take.

Unboxing / Accessories

The Huawei Nova 2 lite will come with the usual USB wall charger, USB to micro USB cable, earphones with microphone, SIM ejector tool, and the product manual. We also noticed that Huawei attached a pre-installed screen protector inside. It has no case included inside though.

Build Quality / Design

Dual cam, mic, and fingerprint scanner behind
Dual cam, mic, and fingerprint scanner behind

Hauwei Nova 2 lite's construction is decent, but it is far from Huawei's usual metal clad standard found in the PHP 10K and above price tag. Unlike the Y7 Prime, GR5 2017, and Nova 2i, the body of the Nova 2 lite is made out of polycarbonate material that's also known as plastic.
Sexy glossy blue finish
Sexy glossy blue finish

The body will come with two types of finish. The back and gold color variant will have the traditional matte-like back cover texture while the blue version will come with a 
glossy finish that looks a bit more premium than the matte-like finish.

Polycarbonate construction instead of the usual metal build.

In front, the big 5.99-inch FHD+ 18:9 display has a layer of 2.5D curved curved glass. Huawei added a pre-installed screen protector on top to prevent it from having unwanted scratches. However, Huawei failed to mention if it has Gorilla Glass protection.
Nothing on top
Nothing on top
3.5 mm headphone jack, micro USB, microphone, and single speaker below
3.5 mm headphone jack, micro USB, microphone, and single speaker below
Dual SIM and microSD card slot at left
Dual SIM and microSD card slot at left
Power button and volume rocker at right
Power button and volume rocker at right

Design-wise, the black and gold variants of the Nova 2 lite looks like your traditional minimalist smartphone. It is great for those who needs a phone with good yet not that catchy design.

On the other hand, the glossy blue version is stunning and flaunt-worthy for the price!

The phone also looks quite small for a phone with big 5.99-inch display due to its small top, bottom, and side bezels. Those bezels are obviously slimmer 

It also has good curves at the back and on the sides and corners. The backplate is a bit prone to fingerprint smudges.

The phone is also quite good to hold and has no sharp edges around. All the buttons and ports are easy to reach too. The fingerprint scanner placement is in a strategic and proper in the middle placement at the back.

Initial findings

AnTuTu score of the Nova 2 lite
AnTuTu score of the Nova 2 lite

1. The build is decent, but it isn't as tough as their other metal clad offerings in the PHP 10K and above price range before. The design is great, we like its minimal bezels and the tall 18:9 screen ratio. The glossy blue variant is simply gorgeous. The screen is quite good looking too despite the lower-res HD+ resolution coming from the FHD+ of the Nova 2i.
2. Overall specs are decent. It runs with the speedy enough 64-bit Snapdragon 430 chip with Adreno 505 GPU paired with enough 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. It also has 3,000mAh of battery that's surprisingly efficient so far. We would have liked it better though if Huawei included a newer chip like the Snapdragon 435 (like the Y7 Prime) or a something that's a bit higher than that.
3. Interestingly, this it the most affordable Huawei smartphone equipped with the new Oreo based EMUI 8.0 skin! It is really smooth, feature rich, and has minimal bloats. It even has an option where you can pick the standard (no app drawer) or the drawer (with app drawer) modes. Huawei even added a "Karaoke mode" feature that could be useful for some.
4. At the back, it goes with a 13MP f/2.2 primary sensor + 2MP f/2.0 depth sensor. It is one of the better shooters at this price point so far. The bokeh mode for portrait shots looks cleaner than ever as well. However, it has no pro mode anymore. All the other mid-range Huawei devices in the past has pro mode. For selfies, the 8MP f/2.0 selfie of the Nova 2 lite is one of the best for the price. It also has an intelligent type of softlight LED flash for natural looking selfies in the dark.
5. It has an LED light indicator on the upper left part of the phone, USB OTG support, and fingerprint scanner + face unlock combined. Both the fingerprint scanner and face unlock are speedy and reliable so far. However, it has no gyroscope sensor.

Related: Huawei Nova 2 lite: First Camera Samples

As of the moment

The Huawei Nova 2 lite is an interesting sub PHP 10K contender. We like that it has a modern 5.99-inch 18:9 big screen, decent specs, good cameras, and fingerprint scanner + face unlock technology.

Note: Those who will pre-order the Nova 2 lite from March 14 until March 23, 2018 will get a FREE JBL E40BT headphone worth PHP 4,500.

For our review: Huawei Nova 2 lite Review - GREAT Dual Camera Phone with BIG Screen for LESS?
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