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Huawei Nova 12i review, tradition followed, the Nova lives on

Electronics consumer group Huawei introduced a charismatic Nova series lineup to us at the end of March 2024 in the form of a Huawei Nova 12i, the Huawei Nova 12 SE, and the Huawei Nova 12s.

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Huawei promised to deliver the devices to South African shores by April and thank goodness they didn’t launch the device on April 1st, the association to a fool would surely have us questioning the Nova series.

We digressed, the point is we finally have the Huawei Nova 12i in our hands and this is our review of the glistening contender.

Huawei has a solid message when it comes to the Nova series. Follow tradition and stick to what works, nothing more. We remember the introduction of the Huawei Nova series around 2016, with Huawei introducing a device lineup option for those who may have a lighter budget.

The message for the Nova series was simple back then, a device that would be the alternative for those who could not reach Huawei’s flagship level. Before your ego gets dented, understand that we all shop for a device for a myriad of reasons, some factor in price, some a status symbol, while we focus more on a well-rounded device that ticks most of our boxes.

Tradition, evolution consistency, battery life improvement, camera, and overall display are some of our requirements for a decent device, and in our look at Huawei’s latest offering to the market, we looked for a step forward from Huawei.

The Huawei Nova 12i appears to be a noble contender and we see tradition followed in the form of a slightly rounded back on Huawei’s Nova 12i.


It’s very modest to look at and ours came in the emerald green colourway with another option being the obsidian Black. The emerald green option shows off a shimmer on the rear thanks to what Huawei calls the aurora borealis, a fancy term for shiny thing, associated with one of my favorite sky phenomena known as the northern lights.

There’s a silver star orbit ring around the series of cameras and a silver Huawei brand name on the bottom rear. The first criticism is that if the colour scheme for the entire device was a gold star orbit ring green body and black hues here and there, this would tilt the looks scale towards a more opulent-looking contender on looks alone.

This is not a train smash, the device is here, and looking at how it handled being prodded, we see a slight step up from Huawei shadowed by the fact that we have seen better from the Huawei camp.


It’s interesting how Huawei teamed up with South African football club SuperSport United to launch the 6.7 inch, 270Hz refresh rate Huawei Nova 12i. Huawei highlights a cool smooth dimming control feature on the Nova 12i and it makes sense when considering how long our eyes stay glued to our device screens.

We spotted a seen before 163.3mm x 74.7mmx 8.4mm screen-to-body ratio at 94,15% as opposed to its predecessors’ 94.9%, incapsulating a selfie camera dimple in the middle of the display screen with a brightness of 500 nits on paper.

A 6.7-inch screen makes an appearance with 2388 x 1080 resolution as opposed to its predecessors’ 6.8-inch full-view display.

There are EMUI 14-powered themes, which include a live view feature that presets the application process in different floating windows. This simply means it multitasks at a decent rate, and it really does. The EMUI operating system includes an app-tracking management system to track user activity on other applications and websites. Don’t forget that the EMUI 14 operating system contributes incrementally to Huawei’s SuperHub feature which allows photos to be easily shared, across different devices. A fun fact is that the Nova 11i came with an EMUI 13 indicating a convincing step forward from Huawei.


The battery is a seen before 5000mAh of battery power which is the staple for a full day’s device use. The battery supports a 40W Huawei supercharge turbo which charges up to 62% in 30 minutes. This does need an original Huawei Supercharge charging set, which is something device manufacturers never stress.


A healthy 108MP main camera alongside a 2MP in-depth camera sensor are stylishly grouped together inside a silver star orbit ring. It’s a stylish camera setup, but falls just above average on image delivery. A usual 8MP front camera makes an appearance as opposed to its predecessors’ 16MP.

The Nova12i brings in AI snapshots in its arsenal of camera features, which also include mid-motion clarity and the usual impressive night shot photography. We spot a Huawei staple on the selfie camera which is Huawei’s noise reduction feature for images to get rid of those unwanted blemishes. It basically adds some AI to images highlighting their most positive focus points.

Camera features such as slow motion, panorama, our personal favorite, the time-lapse feature, multi-camera, and dual view make an appearance. This is modest, enough to deliver some worthy content.


The Huawei Nova 12i retails at R 6999.


We notice how Huawei stuck to the usual functional recipe, a solid battery, above average specs alongside 256GB of storage. It’s an option for the mid-weight phone user as usual.

It’s a stylish attempt but does lack distinctive features to set it apart from its competitors. It could have looked better.

Looking at battery life, camera quality, and display brightness, the staple for any review, we see ordinary, but ordinary is not nothing. It is purely sticking to something that works as opposed to gambling with Nova’s tradition of solid battery life, standard features, and a device that meets user requests at necessity.

We appreciated how Huawei had preloaded apps such as X, TikTok, Instagram, and WhatsApp ready at the first power startup. We see a device that delivers just what you need and not much more. This is okay. Ordinary is always better than terrible.

Also read: Huawei introduces Nova 12 series, Nova 12i, Nova 12SE, nova12s

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