Huawei Nova 2i and Oppo R11

First Look: Huawei Nova 2i and Oppo R11

Over the years, mobile phones cameras have gotten better and better, with bigger sensors, dual cameras, improved lenses, and more manual options. The biggest innovations have always been to the rear camera, with the front-facing camera neglected, even though Google estimates that more than a million selfies are taken every day. Enter the Huawei Nova 2i and Oppo R11.

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Oppo R11

Both phones are mid-range Android 7 devices. They’re light and thin, with dual rear-facing cameras, fingerprint sensors, and good, but not top-of-the-line, processors. However, both have done interesting things with their front cameras.

The Oppo boasts a 20MP front camera, a size normally associated with rear cameras. By adding more pixels (coupled with a good sensor), it adds more detail to your shots. So Oppo bumping up its front camera means selfies look fantastic.

Beyond the camera, the Oppo has a cool gesture trick: you can quick-load certain apps by drawing letters on the lock screen (for example, draw an M to launch the mail app). You can customise these in the settings.

Huawei Nova 2i

Huawei went in a different direction and added another camera to the front. Dual cameras are give you depth, which allows for bokeh effects without software trickery or filters.

Both these phones have another trick up their sleeves: dual SIMs. This feature will be a godsend for some. Dual SIMs mean you can easily switch back and forth – for example, between a work SIM and a personal SIM to keep those plans separate. Or if you’re travelling, you can insert a local SIM without removing your home one.

These are not small phones. Both phones have screens larger than 5”, but are still thin and light. At a time when flagship phones are priced well over $1000, it’s refreshing to find good phones with excellent cameras at mid-range prices: the Oppo R11 is $750, while the Huawei retails for $500. And it’s worth it for photos that will make all your social media followers jealous.

  Oppo R11 Huawei Nova 2i 
Price 750 $500 
Display 5.5” AMOLED  5.9” IPS 
HxWxD 154.5x74.8x6.8mm 156.2x75.2x7.5mm 
Processor Octa-core (4x2.2GHz Kryo 260 & 4x1.8GHz Kryo 260) Octa-core 4xCortex-A53 (2.36GHz + 4xCortex-A53 1.7GHz) 
Rear camera Dual 20MP (f/2.6) + 16MP (f/1.7)  16MP + 2MP 
Front camera 20MP, f/2.0  13MP + 2MP 

First Looks are trials of new and interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.

The Oppo R11 was loaned to the writer by Oppo; the Huawei Nova 2i was loaned by Huawei.

By Hadyn Green
Technology Writer