As I've said many, many times before; I'm not a fan of selfies.
The main reason? I'm usually in them. Nobody wants to see that.
But what if I could take selfies that actually make me look, you know... okay?
Study this picture very carefully and you might discover the little thing that makes the Huawei nova 2i quite unique. It's up at the top there. Right next to the camera. Yup. Another camera.
While there are plenty of phones out there offering some kind of dual-lens configuration for the rear-facing (or main) camera, the nova 2i is the first one I've encountered to bring those same features around to point at my face.
The results are quite simply breathtaking.
Often, when you read smart phone reviews, there'll be a lot words written about the performance of the rear-facing (main) camera, with a few lines tacked on to talk selfies. I'd suggest the nova 2i is such a game-changer, the (main) needs to be shifted to that front-facing camera too. Half the people I know take most of their photos with that camera so they can plug themselves directly into the Matrix. Why wouldn't they consider that camera to be the (main) one?
This is definitely the phone for them, no contest.
All the effects, filters and special settings available on the rear-facing camera can be applied to your selfies too. Most importantly, the now legendary bokeh effect (sharp foreground, blurry background) is simply an on-screen icon push away.
There are two other features that magically brought my selfies to life. Firstly, the Smile Capture setting. This is definitely the most natural way to get the camera to catch you in a more normal pose, rather than reaching for the camera button, especially if you're not using a selfie-stick. What's more, it really works. Admittedly, if you're going for a group selfie, only one of you has to be smiling for the photo to happen - but that usually results in a group smile anyway.
Secondly, and just go with me for a moment here, I actually dabbled with Beauty Mode. Don't worry - I'm not talking eye enlargement or a weirdly skinny face. There's an easily accessible icon on screen that lets you ramp up (or down) the beauty mode. It's mostly about evening out skin tone. Whereas previous "Beauty Modes" have resulted in making me look like some kind of weird anime cartoon character, I found the nova 2i's setting was much more natural, removing unsightly blemishes like wrinkles. And age. Nobody ever complained about that.
Of course, this is not just a selfie machine, it's a phone as well. If it doesn't perform like one, there's no point, right? Luckily, the nova 2i is a pretty decent phone. You'll find many of the features of Huawei's most recent high-end Mate 10 range on this device too. It has excellent battery life and multi-tasks well. While the operating system isn't the latest or greatest, the EMUI 5.1/Android 7.0 combo isn't clunky at all. What's more, you get my favourite (and hardest to find) function; a rotating home screen, from portrait to landscape, something I consider essential on a device with a screen of this size.
The nova 2i boasts a 5.9" display, with that new 18:9 long, skinny profile all this year's coolest phones have. The screen is pretty much edge-to-edge, and with the super-fast fingerprint sensor on the back, there are no physical buttons to clutter up the front of the phone. This means a genuinely big display, but on a phone that still fits easily in one hand.
The metal rear casing is solid and attractive, giving the impression of a very high-end phone indeed. There are plenty of other high-end specs here too; 64GB of built-in storage and 4GB of ram. Once again, Huawei manages to squeeze more performance out of the nova 2i's Kirin processor than black-and-white numbers suggest. Operation is fast, smooth and reliable.
Only one catch really... the price. You won't be boasting to impress your friends.
Unless they love a bargain. The nova 2i is only $499.
Are the best selfies you've ever taken worth $499?
You'll find the phone with 4 cameras in a most unexpected price range, just in time for Christmas.