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Huawei Nova 2 Lite Quick Review: Living Up to the Nova Line?

Hands-On with Huawei’s Sub-10K Contender

After making it official last week, Huawei has finally given us a little more time with their new device that they hope will rule the sub-10k category — the Huawei Nova 2 Lite. The company’s former champion in this price bracket, the Huawei GR3, has had a good run but times have changed and it’s time for a bit of an update for 2018 but will a 18:9 display and supposedly a great camera be enough to duke it out in an incredibly tough price range?

Well, we have to really put through the phone through its paces to give you guys a better idea so, until then, we’ll share our initial thoughts about this device.

Huawei Nova 2 Lite Specs

  • 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.99-inch HD+ IPS display, 18:9 display aspect ratio, 1440 x 720 resolution
  • 32GB of storage, expandable via dedicated microSD
  • 13-megapixel camera with f/2.2 aperture lens, 2-megapixel secondary camera with f/2.0 aperture lens, PDAF, LED flash
  • 8-megapixel f/2.0 front cameras with selfie toning flash
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS,
  • Fingerprint scanner, Face Unlock
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android Oreo with EMUI 8.0

Literally Light

The first thing we noticed upon picking up the device is that it was incredibly light; 155 grams to be exact. This is due to the fact that the device is primarily made of poly carbonate plastic. Unlike it’s bigger brother in the Nova series, the Nova 2 Lite departs from having a unibody design as well with a tapered back that meets the curved frame of the phone.

The phone we showed you during its launch had more of  matte finish in black, while the unit that was sent over to us for review has a mirror-like finish in blue. While it’s definitely eye-catching, it attracts fingerprint smudges quite easily; prepare to wipe it down frequently if you plan on using this device without a case.

Let’s the take the usual tour of the device’s button and port layout, starting with the right of the device where you’ll find the volume rocker and the power button.

Move on over to the left and you’ll see the access to the SIM tray. Huawei definitely gets plus points for giving us a triple-slotted tray, instead of having us choose between extra storage or a secondary SIM card.

The top of the device is void of any ports, which means the bottom of the phone houses the headphone jack, micro USB port, and the speaker grille.

The front of the device is dominated by a 6-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio at HD+ resolution or 720 x 1440 pixels; giving you a pixel density of 269 pixels per inch. While we definitely miss some of the sharpness brought about by a device with more pixels to push around, we understand not wanting to stress out the accompanying processing package of the device that should lead to more up time for the Nova 2 Lite as well. The panel itself has pretty decent color accuracy and great viewing angles with a good amount of brightness for outdoor use.

Above the display, sits the Nova 2 Lite’s 8-megapixel front camera at an aperture f/2.0 plus its self-toning flash that sandwiches the earpiece for taking calls.

Flip the phone over to the rear and you have its dual camera setup. The main camera is at 13-megapixels with an aperture of f/2.2, which is equipped with phase detection autofocus. This is coupled with a 2-megapixel camera at f/2.0 to help you get that smooth creamy bokeh Huawei devices have been known for. We’re a little bummed that the camera UI is lacking a pro mode, which we hope the company addresses in a future update.

Since you have an extended display up in front, the fingerprint scanner is also the back of the device and it unlocks the phone pretty quickly. The Nova 2 Lite also features face unlock but you’ll need to manually wake the phone to make sure it engages. It’s accurate with an adequate amount of light but, as always, we recommend using the fingerprint scanner for both security and the convenience.

Under the hood of the Huawei Nova 2 Lite is a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 quad-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage. We were a little surprised that the device didn’t ship with their homegrown Kirin SoC, but it isn’t uncommon to see the 430 at this price point either. While the processor is a little dated, initial navigation through the device’s menu and bouncing through our social media feeds have been a breeze, so we’ll see if the performance holds up with more rigorous testing.

The Huawei Nova 2 Lite gets Android Oreo out of the box with the company’s UI overlay on top of it — EMUI 8.0 — and is juiced up by a 3000mAh battery.

That pretty much wraps it up for this quick look at the Huawei Nova 2 Lite, which is now available for pre-order until March 23 and is priced at Php 9,990. We’ll be taking the devices through our usual tests to see if its worth considering, so do check back in a couple of days to see if this device can carry on the stellar path that the Nova 2i paved. You can also check out some of our articles where we do a comparison of the Nova 2 Lite’s specs against its competition in the links below.

Affordable 18:9 Display Phones Comparo: Huawei Nova 2 Lite Vs. OPPO A83

Affordable 18:9 Display Phones Comparo: Huawei Nova 2 Lite Vs. OPPO A83

Affordable 18:9 Display Phones Comparo: Huawei Nova 2 Lite Vs. OPPO A83

Affordable 18:9 Display Phones Comparo: Huawei Nova 2 Lite Vs. OPPO A83

Jamie Inocian

A self-confessed geek. Jamie started out helping out on the Unbox Podcast and became the Digital Sales Manager when he joined the team full time. He has since then transitioned into one of our Senior Editors and Head Video Producer.

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2 Comments

  1. As usual, mataas pricing ng Huawei for a phone with this soc. Saw their booth yesterday sa megamall.

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