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.

Huawei P10 review: Chinese smart phone goodness

Huawei P10 (around $1000)

Huawei’s P10 smart phone.

After a month using Huawei’s P10 smart phone, I’m starting to wonder whether the other phone giants should be looking over their shoulders.

Since arriving in the New Zealand market in 20XX, Chinese manufacturer Huawei has been starting to make inroads in the smart phone market dominated by Apple and Samsung. The P10 is one of the company’s flagship models (the other is the P10 Plus), aiming itself at Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy S range.

I put my own Galaxy S7 and the P10 side by side & they’re roughly the same thickness. The P10 doesn’t have a physical home button on the front of the phone’s chassis and the only physical buttons are the volume rocker and a stylish red-coloured power button. The P10’s finger print scanner¬† is blazingly fast. Amazingly fast, actually.

Often with the fingerprint scanner on my S7, it’ll take two or three times before it’ll unlock my phone. With the P10, it was unlocked instantly and first time. Powered by a Kirin960 Octacore CPU and packed with 4Gb RAM, Huawei’s phone has a 5.1-inch full HD panel, a 3200 mAh battery, 64Gb of storage and is running Android 7.0.

I used the P10 every day for pretty much a month and was impressed with it. I used it for a mix of social media, web browsing and general day-to-day stuff and the battery life seemed about standard with a modern smartphone these days (about a day). Call quality was good and the camera excellent.

With dual Leica lenses (20MP on the back and 12 MP on the front), the P10’s camera is damn good. I was impressed with the resultant images, taken in a variety of light conditions (although I only have shots of the lake near my house here). I’m still undecided whether the camera is good as that of my Galaxy S7, though, which is my benchmark for smart phone cameras, though.

If there was one thing I wasn’t that keen on with the P10 it was the EMUI user interface: I just didn’t like the look of the interface as much as that on my Galaxy S7 or stock Android. That’s just my personal preference, though, and isn’t a deal breaker as the rest of the phone is so damn good.

I really enjoyed testing out the Huawei P10 and I’d definitely consider buying one if my Samsung Galaxy S7 suddenly died tomorrow.