Huawei Nova 2 Lite Review | Keeping Things Lite

While Huawei is more known in Singapore for their top of the line smartphones such as the P series and the Mate series, they also manufacture and market their entry level and mainstream smartphones in Singapore as well. Their Nova 2i has gained considerable popularity locally for its great value, providing high-end features at mainstream prices. To complete the whole product line-up, Huawei has launched an entry-level smartphone, the Nova 2 Lite (which is also known as the Y7 Prime 2018 in mainland China) - targeting consumers who are on a tight budget. Let’s take a look at the kinds of value that this smartphone brings to the table.

What’s the main differentiating factor?

The Nova 2 Lite is probably one of the first entry-level smartphone that is equipped with an 18:9 aspect ratio 5.99” Huawei FullView display. As compared to its predecessor (Y7 Prime 2017), the Nova 2 Lite has a larger screen size to phone body ratio. This new change has given the Nova 2 Lite a brand-new look, allowing it to stand out from any other entry-level smartphones in the market.

Many things come in pairs for the Nova 2 Lite. While the display is in 2:1 aspect ratio, the phone also sets itself apart from other entry smartphones by having 2 cameras at the rear (supposedly to allow the capture of photos with bokeh effect) and 2 SIM-card slots. Unlike many phones which trades off a SIM card slot for a microSD card, the Nova 2 Lite supports both simultaneously.


When it comes to performance, the Nova 2 Lite should be sufficient for daily usage. It is powered by the Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 430 chipset, while being equipped with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage space. The chipset is not the latest in the market, with it being announced 2 years back in February 2016. Regardless, it still features an Octa-Core Cortex-A53 processor running at 1.4GHz and a dedicated Adreno 505 GPU. The lack of adopting the newest technologies in the market, such as the USB Type-C connector can also be attributed to it older chipset.

Huawei Nova 2 Lite has a Micro-USB Port
On the other hand, the Snapdragon 430 still features Quick Charge 3.0, which was able to charge the Nova 2 Lite up quite quickly. We managed to reached 50% of the 4000mAh capacity in about 45 minutes. However, it is quite ironic that the included charger for the Nova 2 Lite did not support Quick Charging. We had to use third party Quick Charge 3.0 chargers to properly utilize the feature. *Do take note that Huawei officially states that QC 3.0 is not directly supported on the Nova 2 Lite


The Nova 2 Lite is preinstalled with the latest Android 8.0 Operating System and Huawei’s EMUI 8.0, bringing a suite of software features to the smartphone. We really like Huawei’s EMUI 8.0 software, as it is highly customizable to any user’s preference. For a start, you could change the positions of the back button and the overview button. This allows for users who are migrating from other smartphones to easily get used to the Nova 2 Lite. Moreover, users can also choose between 2 kinds of Home Screen Style – Standard, where all apps are shown on the home screen, or Drawer, where all apps are shown in the drawer.

There were also complaints from other tech sites complaining about the lack of intuitiveness of EMUI 8.0, but thankfully, Huawei’s team is quick to respond, and has updated the phone to further improve the user experience on EMUI 8.0.


Thanks to the improved display, the Nova 2 Lite is almost identical in terms of size as compared to its bigger brother - Huawei Mate 10 Pro. It is also because of this aspect ratio that we can have a better grip on the phone as it is narrower, fitting better into most palms. However, the use of a glossy and slippery material on the sides of the phone can be a turn off to some. Additionally, the sides also do not seem to fit well aesthetically with the matte finish on the phone’s rear.

The rear of the Nova 2 Lite does however look premium. The choice of a matte finish makes the smartphone less susceptible to grease and stains. The fingerprint sensor is also adequately placed, allowing for an easy reach. However, we also noted that the camera bump on the Nova 2 Lite is noticeable. We do recommend that users purchase a case for this smartphone to prevent any damages or scratches to the protective glass of the lens.

Camera Performance

Even though the Huawei Nova 2 Lite comes with two rear cameras, the camera app only uses one for all the different shots. It is said that the additional 2MP camera will aid the main 13MP camera for shots that produces bokeh effects.Here are some images taken from the Nova 2 Lite, as compared to the flagship Huawei Mate 10 Pro.

Nova 2 Lite - Low Light
Mate 10 Pro - Low Light

Nova 2 Lite
Mate 10 Pro

We felt that the Wide Aperture mode feature is worth the added mention. In the wide aperture mode, the user can select an aperture size ranging from 1 to 7. The lower the value, the more obvious will be the image’s “depth of field” and bokeh effect. It should be noted that this effect is enabled by software, as it allows for the changing of focal point for this effect AFTER taking the image.

Other than that, the images taken were fairly average. Like many other entry-level smartphones, the Nova 2 Lite’s shutter response were not up to par. Images were taken only a second after the shutter button is pressed, with focus performing similarly. As such, the Nova 2 Lite camera fails to stand out from competition in this aspect.

User Experience

The Nova 2 Lite works well under simple use cases such messaging or web browsing. However, when it is put under heavier load, stutters and lags are apparent. One example would be browsing Facebook, with images, videos and other contents needing to be loaded on the fly.

Despite having an 18:9 display, the Nova 2 Lite has only a 720p resolution display (It’s 1440 x 720). The low 268dpi display pixel density means that content on this device does not appear as sharp, which is quite common for entry-level smartphones. Although the 18:9 display aspect ratio helps with the viewing of more content, the backlight of LCD is quite distracting on the black side bars when viewing videos in the typical 16:9 format. This somewhat detracts the whole entertainment experience on the Nova 2 Lite. Moreover, the mono speakers that are directed away from the user does not help too. 


The Huawei Nova 2 Lite does provide good value for the features that it offers, but we felt that more thoughts could have been put into the design of the phone before ultimately releasing it. Even though it is an entry-level phone, some unnecessary features could have been taken away to make it even more affordable. For example, we still have yet to figure out the use of the second rear camera on the phone. The 18:9 display does make the Nova 2 Lite unique, but it does create some annoyance while viewing videos in 16:9 formats. The lack of a Quick Charge compatible charger for a phone Quick charge support also feels odd.

Regardless, we must not forget about the positive aspects of the phone, which mainly comes from its software. The close integration of EMUI on top of Android 8.0 has enabled a largely customized and personalized user experience. The software features on the camera app also enabled photos of different depth of fields with bokeh effect, which is not possible on other similarly priced smartphones. It’s also still considered a phone that brings great value to the users as certain features on high-end smartphones are made available to you at an entry-level phone and price point. 

As for us, well, we were just simply happy that there’s a 3.5mm jack still lying there. 

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