8.0 Awesome

The Huawei Nova 3 features average AI cameras, good display but lack wireless charging, gorilla glass protection, and no stock android. It comes with a stronger battery life but falling short on some major features. The TechSeer will give it an 8.0 out of a solid 10.

  • Design 8.1
  • Display 7.5
  • Hardware & Performance 8.0
  • Camera 7.0
  • Battery 8.3
  • Value for Money 8.8

Huawei company is making better products than before starting with Huawei P20 Pro (Review) to Huawei P20 Lite (Review) and now Huawei Nova 3. The company is trying to beat its competitor Xiaomi and Oppo in the long run. Huawei franchise Honor has also achieved remarkable sales with Honor 10 (Review). The company has recently launched Huawei Nova 3 and Nova 3i on the 7th of August with new cameras featuring AI capabilities.

Huawei Nova 3 and Nova 3i Review

Pros

  • Great Design
  • Cheap
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Average Cameras
  • Only Full HD+ resolution
  • No stock Android

Key Differences between Huawei Nova 3 and Huawei Nova 3i

  • CPU: Hisilicon Kirin 970 vs Hisilicon Kirin 710
  • GPU: Mali-G72 MP12 vs Mali-G51 MP4
  • Rear Camera: 16 MP, 27mm, f/1.8 + 24 MP camera vs only 16 MP, f/2.2
  • Body ratio: 84.2% vs 82.2% screen-to-body ratio)
  • RAM: 6 GB RAM vs  4/6 GB RAM
  • Weight: 166 g (5.86 oz) vs 169 g (5.96 oz)
  • Battery: 3750 mAh vs 3340 mAh
  • Color: Black, Blue, Purple, Gold vs Black, Pearl White, Iris Purple

Pricing & Availability

Huawei Nova 3 and Nova 3i has a starting price of 350 Euro and 450 Euro respectively. We’ll discuss why the latter one more pricing further in this review. Huawei primary market is Asia including India but you can order it online from Amazon or eBay.

Huawei Nova 3 Design

A solid metal frame on the sides on Huawei Nova 3 is good for the grip. You will have a color choice of Black, Blue, Purple, and Golden to chose from. The purple one has a nice shading on it. The screen borders are thin enough with a taller display with a notch which we didn’t find in Oppo Find X.

The glass back is slippery just like other flagships out there. You will have a good metallic frame on the side but it still will be slippery and the glass can easily find smudges. Huawei Nova 3 can support a dual sim in the microSD slot which can be found on the left side. On the right, there are power and volume buttons. Luckily there is a headphone socket along with USB type-C (USB 2.0) speed and a speaker grill on the bottom. Huawei Nova 3 can support Dual 4G VoLTE.

Display

Huawei Nova 3 offers 6.3-inch display as opposed to Oppo Find X’s 6.42-inch and Xiaomi Mi A2 (Mi 6X)’s (Review) 5.99-inch and Vivo Nex (Review) 6.59-inch. It offers Full HD+ (2340×1080) resolution which we think is not good enough in 2018 but still, pictures are vibrant and sharp. There is no gorilla glass in this pricing, Nokia 3.1 (Review) and Nokia 5.1 (Review) comes with a gorilla glass protection with the same pricing so you definitely have to use a protector on the front and back if you want to keep away it scratchless.

Huawei Nova 3 somewhat looks like Apple iPhone X. Inside the notch, you will find 2 cameras, a notification LED, earpiece and an infrared emitter which is used for facial recognition in the low light. There is a fingerprint scanner on the back of the phone.

Hardware and Performance

Huawei Nova 3 is packed with Kirin 970, one of the high-end Soc which is also used in Huawei P20 Pro and Honor 10. Most of the flagships use Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 instead of Kirin 970 due to more raw CPU and GPU power but these flagships are almost at the double price such as Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (Review), Samsung Galaxy S9 (Review), and LG G7 ThinQ. These phones are higher in benchmarks but then again you would have to pay around 800 USD in order to have a phone with Snapdragon 845.

You will find a 6GB Ram and 128GB of internal storage on Huawei Nova 3 and there are no other variants. There were minimal lags when we played PUBG and Fortnite on it but no lags during multi-tasking. This could be due to new GPU Turbo technology implemented by Huawei in Huawei Nova 3 and 3i which boosts the gaming performance. Your Huawei Nova 3 will heat up pretty quickly because 970 Kirin takes a lot of energy. Make sure to check the temperature from fingerprint scanner side when you are downloading or using it as a mobile hot-spot.

There is no NFC on the Indian model of Huawei Nova 3. Also no wireless charging and IP rating for waterproof. 4k videos run fine and the mono speaker is not as loud as Razer Phone 2018 but pretty decent.

Software

Huawei has its own custom-made EMUI underneath stock Android just like Xiaomi’s MiUi. The interface is pretty okay and you will find much bloatware like what we found in MiUi interface. You will get 8.2 version of stock Android. You can change themes and launchers. Oppo didn’t give us any option of changing the launcher. You can hide the notch and can sign up for a free Huawei cloud service.

The Huawei Nova 3 has a visual search feature which is featured by Amazon Assistant. You can use the AI feature camera on the product and this search would lead you to that product on Amazon’s app or website. Apps like Camera 360 and TrueCaller are pre-installed.

Face recognition software works pretty fast in this patch and is accurate as well. The front cameras will use the infrared technology in low lights. Huawei’s own voice feature is of no use and filled with errors so better to go for Google Assistant.

Cameras

You will find a 16-megapixel f/1.8 aperture lens on the rear camera. Sure it can recognize things with AI technology but that is nothing new. There is no dual or single Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) setup. It can enhance color and saturate the picture according to the environment but don’t expect it to be any better than Vivo Nex. The picture looks a bit more artificial, overexposed and distorting. You can turn off the AI feature from the settings but we doubt it will change anything. Lack of OIS makes Huawei Nova 3 a bad choice for night photography.

The secondary lens is 24-megapixel with the same f/1.8 aperture. The auto and manual focus is bad. You can change the lightning, enhance the picture with filters on portrait and bokeh mode but you still wouldn’t find images very appealing.

The front camera on Huawei Nova 3i has 24-megapixels with a 2MP sensor. The front camera has AI features as well. There is an HDR Pro toggle mode to lower the brightness in the background if you are taking a selfie. You can use 3D Qmoji similar to Apple’s Animoji. The camera is capable of shooting 1080p videos at 60fps.

The rear cameras can go up to 4k resolution in video making at 30fps but lacks stabilization. The video quality is average as the cameras have some problem focusing which we think should be fixed in the next update hopefully.

Battery

Huawei Nova 3 comes with 3750mAh battery which holds a good charge on a full day moderate use. By that, we mean some light gaming, lots of messages and some internet surfing. Make sure to keep the charger as handy if you want to go for 2-4 hours of intense gaming.

The Huawei Nova 3 supports fast charging which we don’t think is fast enough. An hour of charging through the socket would take you from 0 to 50% only. The company might want to use the Dash Charge or Quick Charge 3.0 next time.

Verdict

The Huawei Nova 3 offers better build quality and excellent specs for a mid-range phone. It is a bit over-priced but still cheaper than Nokia 7 Plus (Review). You can find Xiaomi Mi 8 SE (Review) as a good alternative with the same pricing. You cannot compete it with phones like Oppo Find X and OnePlus 6 because it is available at almost half the price.

The Huawei Nova 3 features average AI cameras, good display but lack wireless charging, gorilla glass protection, and no stock android. It comes with a stronger battery life but falling short on some major features. The TechSeer will give it an 8.0 out of a solid 10.

 

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