Huawei’s Nova 2i was considered one of the best budget phones available in the market at the time of its release. The same trend continues with its successor the Nova 3i.

The Nova 3i comes to the market with a new updated design borrowing features from their current flagships the P20/ P20 Pro. The Nova 3i was announced together with a midrange-flagship model called the Nova 3, although the Nova 3 went on preorders early last month and launched a few weeks ago, the Nova 3i is only being launched into the market now.

Huawei Nova 3i; Image Credit: YouTube/Huawei Arabia

What’s new from the predecessor?

The most noticeable update has to be the design. The physical appearance of the Nova 3i in no way shares any similarities with its predecessor, the Nova 2i. The updated design share several design cues with Huawei’s flagship devices the P20/P20 Pro, from the gradient coloured back panel to the notch display, the Nova 3i undoubtedly one of the best-looking budget phones available right now. The display size has also been increased to a 1080 x 2340 pixels FHD+ 6.3 inch IPS LCD display of 19.5:9 ratio. Also worth mentioning is that the Nova 3i boasts an 82.2% screen to body ration compared to the predecessors 69.7% screen to body ratio.

Geekbench Scores; Huawei 3i vs 2i

Another major update is the new Kirin 710 combined with 4/6 GB of ram, instead of the usual Kirin 659, that is present on most budget Huawei devices.  The new Kirin 710 is said to be 75% faster in single core and 68% in multicore processing when compared to the previous Kirin 659. The new GPU is said to be 1.5 times faster than its predecessor. Also worth mentioning is that the Kirin 710 is much more power efficient thanks to the updated 12 nm manufacturing process. The new chipset will support the GPU turbo update, which is said to drastically improve gaming performance in most Huawei devices.

Updated camera and battery

The Nova 3i comes with a fresh set of quad cameras, two in the rear and two in the front. The rear cameras are a set-up of 16 MP f/2.2 primary and a 2 MP secondary camera for depth information. While the front setup is a 24 MP f/2.0 camera combined with another 2 MP camera solely for extracting depth information for portrait selfies and face unlock. The notch is also said to support a new set of sensors for faster and more secure face unlocking.

Thanks to these features, the front cameras now support HDR pro and AI scene detection. The rear cameras of the Nova 3i can recognize 22 categories of 500+ scenes, which changes the settings for a more pleasing photo.  Unfortunately, so, like every other Huawei budget device, the cameras do not have OIS and can’t shoot in 4K.

Huawei Nova 3i; Image Credit: YouTube/Huawei Arabia

The battery also has been updated from a 2950 mAh battery of the Nova 2i to a 3340 mAh battery. Unfortunately, the Nova 3i only supports a downgraded micro USB charging port instead of the predecessors USB Type C port.

Availability and Pricing 

The Nova 3i is touted to cost around 1200~1300 AED. Huawei currently has two smartphones at the same price range, the Nova 3i and the P20 Lite (Nova 3e in some regions). The Nova 3i is slightly expensive than the Pro Lite, but in comparison, the Nova 3i performs much better in terms of processing speed, cameras and battery.

The device is expected to be available across major retailers.

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