Huawei nova 12i Review

Huawei nova 12i review device (23)

Contents (maximize to view)

8.1Expert Score

A good-looking phone running an old processor, decent cameras, good battery life, with 2022 pricing.

Design and Build Quality
Camera (Stills)
Camera (Video)
  • Good looking design
  • Capable cameras
  • Great battery life
  • Single speaker
  • Runs an old processor
  • A bit pricey for what it offers
  • No 4K video recording

On paper, the Huawei nova 12i is a mid-range smartphone that offers a compelling blend of features and performance at an affordable price point. You get a good-looking design, seemingly capable cameras, and a battery that can keep up with your routine. We’ll explore its strengths and weaknesses to help you make an informed decision.

Design and Build Quality

Huawei nova 12i review device (52)

The nova 12i sports a sleek and modern design that is typical of Huawei’s current lineup. Measuring 163.3 x 74.7 x 8.4 mm and weighing approximately 199 grams, the device is comfortable to hold and operate with one hand. The rounded corners and slim profile contribute to its premium aesthetics.

Huawei nova 12i review device (76)

However, it’s worth noting that the build quality is primarily plastic, which may not appeal to those seeking a more premium feel. As expected, there’s no headphone jack, and it only has a single speaker, located at the bottom.

Huawei nova 12i review device (62)

The huge camera module reminds me of the Mate series, and I think it jives well with the overall look of the phone. Speaking of which, the rear panel boasts a glittery finish and seems to resist fingerprints well.

Huawei nova 12i review device (24)

Huawei nova 12i has a 6.7-inch FHD+ LCD. While it won’t compete with OLED panels, this screen still offers decent color accuracy and brightness levels. The adaptive high dynamic refresh rates of 30/60/90 Hz ensure a smooth scrolling experience, and the 270 Hz touch sampling rate responsive touch input.

The rounded corners add to the overall sleek design, while also slightly reducing the effective viewable area. You can enable the Always on Display feature to have a quick glimpse at the time and battery level without having to unlock the device.


Huawei nova 12i review device (60)

The camera setup on the nova 12i comprises a 108 MP main camera, a 2 MP depth sensor, and a 32 MP front-facing selfie camera.

Images captured by the main camera offer good levels of detail and sharpness, as well as accurate colors. The absence of an ultra-wide camera means you’ll have to physically move the phone or move yourself to capture more in the frame, which can be a challenge in less spacey areas.

The 8MP front-facing camera delivers selfies with decent levels of detail and texture, as well as a convincing depth of field effect, also with decent edge detection.

Video recording is limited to 30 fps, which is still enough for short form content like reels but may not be enough for full length videos or for those who are looking at high resolution vlogs.


The nova 12i comes equipped with a Snapdragon 680 chipset, which is kind of getting a bit old now, and in some instances, you’ll feel that the phone is just slightly sluggish. It also packs 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of internal storage, which should be sufficient for most users.

It’s worth noting that the available internal storage may be less than advertised due to the space occupied by the operating system and pre-installed apps.

Huawei nova 12i review device (48)

For gaming, the phone can play Mobile Legends at Super frame rate + Ultra Graphics just fine. For Honkai: Star Rail though, you’ll have to dial the settings down to the lowest to get a decent experience.

Battery Life and Charging

Huawei nova 12i review device (35)

One of the standout features of the nova 12i is its 5,000 mAh battery, which promises excellent battery life. With moderate usage, the device can easily last a full day or more on a single charge. Heavy users may still need to recharge before the end of the day, but the large battery capacity provides peace of mind.

The 40W HUAWEI SuperCharge Turbo fast charging ensures rapid top-ups when needed. It’s important to note that the actual charging speed varies depending on the usage scenario and environmental conditions. In my case, zero to full took around 1.5 hours. Not the fastest, but definitely not slow.

Audio and Multimedia

Huawei nova 12i review device (41)

The nova 12i comes equipped with HUAWEI Histen audio technology, which aims to deliver an enhanced audio experience. It supports a wide range of audio and video codecs, ensuring compatibility with most popular media formats.

However, it’s worth mentioning that the device lacks a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, relying instead on the USB Type-C port for audio output. While a minor inconvenience for some users, it aligns with the industry trend of removing the headphone jack.

Then there is the single bottom firing speaker, which sounds decent overall, but needs work on how airy it sounds.


The device runs EMUI 14 based on Android and offers a user-friendly interface along with range of options to personalize.

Huawei nova 12i review device (43)

Apart from Huawei’s own apps, there are several folders with shortcuts to install apps. These, I think, should be optional to reduce clutter.

Huawei nova 12i review device (30)

Of course, Google Mobile Services isn’t present here, so app installations will have to be via Huawei’s own AppGallery, via third-party websites, or you can also install Gbox to get access to the Google Play Store. In my case, I utilized all three methods, but it’s important to note that many popular apps for productivity and social media are already available via the AppGallery.

While it only took a couple of steps to set up Gbox, those who aren’t willing to tinker with the device even a bit may opt for another phone. Fortunately for me, all apps that I installed worked perfectly. These include Spotify, YouTube, Facebook, and Messenger.

Huawei nova 12i: Verdict

Huawei nova 12i delivers good battery life, capable cameras, and a respectable set of features. On the flip side, it’s running an old chipset, it could use a higher refresh rate, and of course, depending on which apps you’ll need, you may have to do additional steps for installation.

If you’re in the market for a reliable daily driver, the Huawei nova 12i may not offer the cutting-edge specs of flagship devices, but it delivers a satisfactory user experience for most day-to-day tasks. If performance and value are your priorities though, you may want to look elsewhere.

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

Related Articles

300x300 GP


Show next
Gadget Pilipinas | Tech News, Reviews, Benchmarks and Build Guides
Compare items
  • Total (0)