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Watch: Huawei nova 8i is the sleekest-looking handset with the fastest charging speed for the price

Today, we have Huawei's 2021 affordable mid-range smartphone in the Philippines called the nova 8i.
Huawei nova 8i is the sleekest-looking handset with the fastest charging speed for the price
Back panel

Priced at 13,990, the Huawei nova 8i is a device focusing on style, screen immersiveness, charging speed, and powerful cameras for content creation.

Is it really that attractive? Let's see.

Watch: Huawei nova 8i is the sleekest-looking handset with the fastest charging speed for the price

Flagship look for less!

Huawei nova 8i Unboxing and first impressions
Huawei nova 8i

The material they used is glasstic with a polycarbonate frame and a glass display. 

On first look, no one can deny that Huawei did a great job in the design department.

In fact, the nova 8i is a mid-range device with flagship-like aesthetics.

At the back, the nova 8i uses a curved back design making it easier and more comfortable to hold.

On the top-center of its back, it uses the company's signature circular camera design found on its high-end Mate 30 or 40 smartphones.

It has a bit of a hump, but it isn't that wiggly on flat surfaces and let's be honest, it looks good.

On its left, you will see the "AI CAMERA" text along with the slim LED flash.

Underneath, it has the chrome-painted Huawei text.

It also has the regulatory information on the other side, but it is barely noticeable which is nice.

For colors, the unit that I have is the Interstellar Blue version and it has a beautiful gradient shine depending on where the light hits it.

It is also available in Moon Silver and Starry Black colors.

In the front, this is where it'll shine even more.

It has a 3D curved construction for a comfortable grip. Second, it has a circular camera hump. Third, it simply looks premium.

In front, it goes with a large 6.67-inch LCD screen with a pill-shaped cutout of the selfie camera.

It has a super slim top and side bezels. The chin bezel is a little thicker, but it is still slimmer than a lot of mid-range smartphones.

Because of that, the Chinese tech giant is claiming that it has an impressive 94.7 percent screen-to-body ratio!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is the slimmest bezel you will see for a more immersive viewing experience on a mid-range smartphone.

For example, if we compare its bezel to the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy A32 with fairly slim bezels for a mid-range, it'll look really thick against the nova 8i.

Even by flagship standard, nova 8i's bezels will definitely hold their ground.

In terms of durability, Huawei hasn't mentioned if it has glass protection by default.

But, thankfully, it has a pre-installed protective film that will prevent its main display from getting unwanted scratches.

On the sides, you will find all of its properly placed buttons and ports including the side-mounted fingerprint reader/power key that kept its back design clean.

Another thing, it has a red rubber gasket in the SIM tray slot suggesting some sort of protection against light water splashes.

Measuring at just 161.85 x 74.7 x 8.58 mm and weighing 190 grams, this handset is not that big and heavy in general.

For us, this device ranks among the sleekest if not the sleekest-looking handset at this price point.

Super-fast charging speed

66W SuperCharge in the box
66W SuperCharge in the box

Another highlight of the nova 8i is its use of the 66W SuperCharge technology.

The amazing thing? This fast charging technology can safely charge the 8i to 60 percent in 17 minutes and 100 percent in just 38 minutes.

That's really impressive as this handset has a pretty large 4,300mAh battery capacity.

If my memory serves me right, this is the device with the fastest charging speed in its class yet.

While its battery is not as big as the usual 5,000mAh we see on mid-range smartphones, phones with ultra-fast charging solutions even in the high-end segment are usually equipped with smaller batteries.

For a device with super-fast charging, 4,300mAh is not bad.

Besides, its battery performance is considered great.

At the PC Mark Work 3.0 battery life benchmark test, it clocked 16 hours and 31 minutes.

This score is stronger when you put it side-by-side against the similarly priced Galaxy A32 who recorded 12 hours and 42 minutes only.

For charging, Galaxy A32 needs 2 hours and 20 minutes to fully charge.

In real-life usage, nova 8i can last for a whole workday on a single charge with 30 to 40 percent left in the tank depending on your usage. Under heavy usage with data on, expect it to drain its battery faster.

But again, that's alright for me as its super-fast charging tech can easily fill its long-lasting battery in minutes.

Content creator-focused cameras?

Rear camera module
Rear camera module

At the back, this device is sporting a large 64MP f/1.9 main shooter with a PDAF focus.

It is assisted by the 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2MP f/2.4 macro camera, and 2MP f/2.4 depth camera.

The cameras come with the usual easy-to-use Huawei camera interface with AI scene detection, several filters, Portrait, Aperture, Macro, and even the Night mode.

By default, it has the ability to take images with crisp details and close to accurate color reproduction.

Since it is using a 64MP main camera, it can capture lossless zoom images up to around 2x.

It also has a decent 8MP ultra-wide-angle camera and macro camera for daylight shots.

Thanks to its depth camera, it can also take a shot with a background blur effect.

In low light, even its main shooter will struggle.

But since it has a Night mode, users can still take bright and decent-looking images on nonmoving subjects.

For selfies, it has a single 16MP f/2.0 snapper that takes detailed images in daylight.

It also has a beauty mode for those who need it.

There is also a Night mode that you can use for selfies.

For taking videos, it shoots up to 1080p 30fps in quality.

We would have liked it better if it has stabilization. But this is still usable if you have a tripod or steady hands.

For selfies videos, it can take up to 1080p 30fps with a minimal crop as well.

The rest of the experience

Huawei's HarmonyOS
Huawei's HarmonyOS

In general, this handset is an alright companion to anyone needing a casual handset.

Its 2.0GHz 11nm Snapdragon 662 octa-core processor is not meant for heavy usage or gaming, but it is good enough to run most of the usual apps with ease.

Personally, it never had hiccups when running social media apps like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and TikTok.

It also worked well for browsing the internet, checking our emails, accessing banking apps, ordering via Grab, watching on Netflix, editing images using Snapseed, and even mobile video editing.

Likely, its use of the improved EMUI 11 skin helped in keeping its performance quite fast even if it is not packed with a higher-end processor.

WiFi also works, 4G LTE is stable on areas with good signal reception, the fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate, and its speakers are reasonably loud.

As expected, it also worked great for calls, SMS, and doing file transfers via the Huawei Share.

In case you are wondering, it has no Google out of the box similar to most Huawei devices.

But, you can still have access to them.

Personally, I use the default Email app to attach my Gmail account and use the Petal Search Widget to create shortcuts to most Google services that are web-based.

As you can see, we can still access Keep, Drive, Maps, and many more.

If you really need the actual Google apps, you can use GSpace.

The rest of the apps could be found either at the ever-evolving AppGallery or Petal Search Widget.

Some of the most commonly used top apps that we were able to download are GCash, PayMaya, TikTok, Grab, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Messenger, Facebook, Instagram, Zoom, GigaLife, Netflix, Viu, iQIYI, and more to name a few.

Huawei nova 8i Specs

Display: 6.67-inch 2.5D curved LCD screen w/ FHD+ 2376 x 1080 resolution at 391 ppi
CPU: 2.0GHz 11nm Snapdragon 662 octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 610
ROM: 128GB
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.9 w/ PDAF + 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 16MP
Battery: 4,300mAh w/ 66W SuperCharge
OS: Android 10 w/ EMUI 11
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Others: Side-mounted fingerprint sensor, USB-C, Colors: Moonlight Silver, Interstellar Blue, Starry Black
Dimensions: 161.85 x 74.7 x 8.58 mm
Weight: 190 g
Price: PHP 13,999

Quick thoughts

At PHP 13,999, the Huawei nova 8i could be a pretty good option for those who are looking for a handset with high-end-looking aesthetics for less.

Thanks to that, the nova 8i is very flauntable and it arguably has the most immersive-looking display in its class.

It even has the fastest charging speed at this price point paired with decent battery life which is a helpful technology for those who are always in a rush.

The cameras are also respectable in daylight and in the dark on non-moving subjects with the help of the night mode.

In terms of speed, it may not have the fastest performance around, but it can get the job done in most of the basic apps and tasks we use.

What do you guys think?

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