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Huawei Nova 3i vs Nova 2i Specs Comparison, Is it worth the upgrade?

The Nova 2i is a very good phone for the price last year. Unsurprisingly, Huawei launched its upgrade this year, the Nova 3i.
Huawei Nova 3i vs Nova 2i Specs Comparison, Is it worth the upgrade?
Nova 3i and Nova 2i

Now, the question is, is the Nova 3i worth the upgrade coming from the Nova 2i?

Let's find out!

Huawei Nova 3i Specs vs Huawei Nova 2i Specs Comparison

DeviceHuawei Nova 3iHuawei Nova 2i
Display6.3-inch 2.5D curved IPS screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi5.9-inch 2.5D curved IPS screen w/ FHD+ 2160 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi
2.2GHz 64-bit Kirin 710 octa-core processor
2.36GHz 64-bit Kirin 659 octa-core processor
GPUMali-G51 MP4 w/ GPU TurboMali-T830 MP2
ROM128GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera16MP f/2.2 + 2MP w/ PDAF, contrast focus, Master AI, and LED flash16MP f/2.2 + 2MP w/ PDAF, and dual tone LED flash
Selfie Camera24MP f/2.0+ 2MP w/ AF, Master AI, HDR Pro, and screen flash13MP f/2.0 + 2MP w/ softlight flash
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo w/ EMUI 8.2Android 7.0 Nougat w/ EMUI 5.1
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz), 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, HWA, aptX, and aptX HD, FM Radio, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM (hybrid)WiFi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, aptX, OTG, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIM (hybrid)
SensorsAccelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, sound, magnetic
OthersFingerprint sensor, 3D face unlock, Colors: classic black, white, iris purple gradientFingerprint sensor, face unlock, Colors: obsidian black, streamer gold, and aurora blue
Dimensions157.6 x 75.2 x 7.6 mm156.2 x 75.2 x 7.5 mm
169 g
164 g
PricePHP 15,990
PHP 14,990 (PHP 11,990 sale price)

Quick Analysis

In terms of specs, the Nova 3i is HUGE step-up coming from the Nova 2i. It has an upgraded design, better overall specs, and more features.
Metal and glass or metal only?
Metal and glass or metal only?

Build/Design - The unibody metal design of the Nova 2i could still be a bit more durable. But, the 2.5D glass design with metal frame of the Nova 3i is definitely sleeker. It even has a new iris purple color option.
Bigger screen with notch or smaller screen without notch?

Display - The Nova 3i has a bigger 6.3-inch IPS FHD+ panel compared to the Nova 2i 5.99-inch FHD+ screen. But, they have the same pixel density at 409 ppi. Why? The Nova 3i has a wider 19:5:9 aspect ratio with 2340 x 1080 resolution versus the 2160 x 1080 of the Nova 2i.

It even has screen-to-body ratio of 81 percent. As a result, the bezels are slimmer on the top and on the chin.

It has a notch though. But, fortunately, there's an option to turn off the notch in the display settings.
AnTuTu score of Nova 3i and Nova 2i
AnTuTu score of Nova 3i and Nova 2i

Specs - The specs of the Nova 3i is way higher than the Nova 2i. The Kirin 710 chip with Mali-G51 MP4 GPU w/ GPU Turbo is almost 2x faster than the ageing Kirin 659 last year. Insane!
Geekbench scores
Geekbench scores

The RAM and battery size are still at 4GB and 3,340mAh. But, it now has 128GB of storage coming from 64GB last year. By the way, in our review, the Nova 3i is more power efficient than the Nova 2i last year too.
Dual cameras at the back
Dual cameras at the back

Cameras - Both the Nova 3i and Nova 2i has quad camera setups.

At the back, the Nova 3i and Nova 2i has the same 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP dual cameras. But, the Nova 3i now has contrast focus and Master AI tech. The contrast focus can detect light and dark situations while the Master AI tech is for auto scene detection.

It now has more camera features too. In particular, it now has up to 30s shutter speed coming from just 8s of the Nova 2i.

You can take long exposure lowlight shots better with the Nova 3i.

For selfies, the upgrade is HUGE. It now has a 24MP primary sensor paired with 2MP coming from just 13MP and 2MP last year.

It now has HDR Pro tech to make your type shot decent even if it is against the light.

However, it has no dedicated softlight LED flash like the 2i. It has a bright type of screen flash though.

Other features - The Nova 3i has an improved 3D face unlock coming from just the regular face unlock of the Nova 2i last year. It has 3D face detection too which allows you to use the 3D Qmoji feature.

Huawei Nova 3i advantages - Metal and glass build, bigger screen with smaller bezels, more powerful processor and GPU, huge 128GB storage, AI-powered cameras, gyroscope sensor, newer OS, 3D face unlock
Huawei Nova 2i advantages - No notch, dedicated LED flash

Our thoughts

No question, the Nova 2i is still a good phone. But, the Huawei Nova 3i has the much better design, performance, and selfie cameras. It goes with an improved battery performance and more features as well.

So yes, the Nova 3i is worth the upgrade! If you have extra cash to spare.
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