Huawei nova 2i: A budget smartphone in a premium package

The fingerprint scanner on Huawei’s nova 2i smartphone, which retails for less than $500NZ, is blazingly fast.

It’s so fast that for the first few hours I had the phone I just locked it then unlocked it using the fingerprint scanner as many times as I could. BAM! Unlocked. SHAZAM! Unlocked. KAPOW! Unlocked.

Even my son, who has a Samsung Galaxy S8, was impressed with the speed of the nova 2i’s fingerprint scanner (he still screwed his nose up a little because it’s a “mid-range, budget” phone). It’s a small thing, but the speed of the fingerprint scanner is just one of many pleasing features on this budget handset, to be honest, and the quality belies the cost.

Sporting a 5.9-inch IPS screen (maximum resolution of 2160 x 1080), a Kirin Octa core CPU (1.7Ghz),  4Gb of RAM, 64Gb of on-board storage and Android 7.0, the nova 2i has impressed the pants off of me – but the biggest thing that has impressed me is the price: I still can’t believe that it’s only $NZ499.

Huawei says the nova 2i is its first smart phone with dual-lens front and rear cameras and it takes remarkably good images. I’ve posted a variety that I took. Colours seemed to be vibrant and the phone seemed to handle low-light conditions pretty well.

For a mid-price smart phone, the nova 2i has a build quality that is top-notch. It doesn’t feel like a budget smart phone, thanks to the metal and glass construction. Sure the display might not pop as vividly as those top-end phones like the iPhone X or Galaxy S8 but remember, the nova 2i isn’t a top-end phone: It’s a mid-range, budget model and one that I would gladly use every day.

I was impressed with the battery life, too: sporting a 3340mAh battery, the nova 2i handled a day or more of average use before needing a charge. It lasts a heck of a lot longer than my Samsung Galaxy S7, although granted it’s an older phone with a smaller capacity battery.

Look, the nova 2i isn’t going to knock the top-end Huawei, iPhone and Samsung models from their perch but that’s not its target market: It’s not aimed at the user who must have the latest smart phone bling. It’s the perfect candidate for someone who wants a quality value for money smart phone but doesn’t want to break the bank.

Thanks to Pead PR and Huawei in New Zealand for providing the Huawei nova 2i for review.