Review of the HUAWEI nova 2 lite – better than just entry-level
Unlike the Mate 10 Pro, the nova 2 lite is an entry-level smartphone.
Although it may not be the best time to launch a smartphone right after Samsung debuted its Galaxy S9 a few weeks ago, the nova 2 lite belongs to a separate category, catering to people who are fun and outgoing, according to Huawei.
At just S$298, one may quickly doubt the quality of the smartphone and its capability without handling the real thing. Good thing for us, we are glad that Huawei hooked us up with one set to try out for ourselves so that we can tell you if you are right or wrong.
Design and specifications
The nova 2 lite is comfortable to hold thanks to its curved edges and its light-weight. At its front, the 5.99-inch smartphone has a 1,440 x 720 pixels HUAWEI FullView Display and a decent 306 PPI (pixels per inch). It is relatively sharp, but the clarity drops when it’s used under bright sunlight.
If you are looking for a Kirin 970 on the nova 2 lite, don’t. Unlike the nova lite that had a Kirin 655 processor, the nova 2 lite is running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430, Octa-core 1.8Ghz and an Adreno 505 GPU. What may surprise you is that it is running Android 8.0 (OREO) out of the box but not without the Emotion UI (EMUI) 6.0 running along with it.
In the storage department, the nova 2 lite has 32GB of internal storage that is expandable up to 256GB. The 3GB of RAM onboard is sufficient to run a few apps at the same time. Sliding of the screen is smooth, but if you use a high-end smartphone before, you will notice a few hundredths of milliseconds lag, that is if you want to nitpick on an entry-level smartphone. Other than that, the speed is fine.
The nova 2 lite has a dual rear camera and one front camera.
The rear cameras comprise a 13MP and a 2MP lens that creates the shallow depth of field or Bokeh effect for your picture. In other words, it’s similar to the portrait mode.
You can tap on the subject that you wish to take a photo of and with the Bokeh effect surrounding it, it gives you the portrait mode look & feel. One thing we noticed is that when you tap to select the subject, the Bokeh effect feels a lot like Instagram’s tilt-shift setting. So the outcome of the image may not be as perfect as you thought it would be.
In well-lit condition, the 13MP camera is sufficient to capture most details. But the lack of image stabilisation also means that you need to hold the phone still to take an image especially when the shutter is a tad slower as compared to other smartphones.
The quality of the image drops when night falls as noises start to creep into the pictures. What has always been our advice when it comes to taking night photos with a smartphone is, don’t do it, unless you have a tripod and a camera app that gives you the power of the manual mode.
At the front is an 8MP camera with an aperture of f2.0 with Selfie Toning Flash which automatically detects the lighting on the subject’s fact and adjusts the level of brightness automatically. We’ll leave it to you to decide for yourself how are the images. But don’t judge me.
It was no surprise that the nova 2 lite only has one speaker, which is located at the bottom of the smartphone, right beside the soon-to-be-extinct 3.5mm headphone jack.
We found that at full blast, the speaker was loud and clear, although it lacked a little bass. Here’s a sample of it:
The nova 2 lite is packed with a 3,000mAh battery that depletes impressively slow. It lasted us two days almost without having to juice up, probably because of the Power Saving 6.0 function that reduces mobile power consumption by detecting high-power consumption apps. However, charging it took longer than usual. It took us an hour to charge it from 50 percent to full. Imagine that you are at 0 percent.
When iPhone launched its Face ID feature on iPhone X, it caused a massive rave from the Apple fanatics. Fast forward a few months later; the nova 2 lite also has a facial recognition function called Face Unlock. Powered by AI algorithm, the high-precision facial recognition function can automatically detect 1,024 points of a human face and perform high accuracy mapping. In short, it is accurate and can unlock your screen within 900 milliseconds.
If you are not a fan of the function, you can always opt for the old school fingerprint scanning. The scanner is located at the back of the phone, which is easy to reach and it reacts very fast to your touch.
The HUAWEI nova 2 lite does more than just basic. Although it’s considered as an entry-level smartphone, it is still packed with some above average features and functions such as the Face Unlock, dual-rear cameras with bokeh effect and impressive battery life.
In our opinion, the Nova 2 Lite is suitable for the following consumers:
- People who always say that they don’t need a good smartphone. They just need to call, text and is capable of taking decent photos.
- I’m buying my child’s first smartphone, but I do not want to spend too much on it.
- I lost my smartphone, and I need a replacement for the time being.
- I love taking selfies everywhere I go.
- I’m young, and I do not have the spending power yet. Anyway, “can use can already lor (Singlish).”
If you fall under these categories, S$298 for a decently good smartphone is a steal.
- IT SHOW 2018: Booths 8139 & 8205
- All Huawei Concept Stores
- Telcos: M1, Singtel and StarHub Stores Island-wide
- E-commerce: Lazada.sg and Qoo10.sg
- All Major Consumer Electronic Stores (Best Denki, Courts, Harvey Norman and Sprint
- Cass) and all Huawei Authorised Resellers