Huawei has just announced a new mid-range phone called the Nova 2i, but there's not much that's mid-range about it beyond its $499 price tag. For that cash you get a massive screen, a rear fingerprint reader, and dual cameras — on the back and front.
The Nova 2i gets Huawei's first 18:9 ratio 'FullView' display, a 5.9-inch LCD that stretches nearly edge-to-edge on the front panel. It's a 2160x1080pixel panel, so not incredibly high-res like a more expensive Samsung Galaxy S8 or LG G6, but hey, $499, remember? You get a fingerprint reader for that price, too, and it's in the (arguably) best position possible, in the centre at the phone's rear where it's easy to tap with a left or right forefinger.
The phone also gets a particularly strange quad-camera setup: a 16- and 2-megapixel pair on the rear of the phone and a 13- and 2-megapixel pair at the front. Those secondary lenses are mainly to add some depth-sensing for hardware-level bokeh blurring, we feel — but we'll give them a proper try-out when we get the Nova 2i in our hands later this month.
Everything runs on Huawei's mid-level Kirin 659 chipset, an octa-core CPU that looks to have some pretty decent performance figures. Tie that up with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a 3340mAh battery running the whole show (charging over MicroUSB), and you've got what looks like a pretty impressive piece of hardware.
The Nova 2i will be out in Australia in a dual-SIM variant for outright sale through Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi from October 25, and through Vodafone from December as a single SIM. Both will be $499, though you'll obviously be able to pay off the Vodafone one on a plan — at its RRP, too, with no inflated labyrinthine leasing deal like that telco's competitors run.