Huawei Nova 3e
APART FROM THE rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, the Nova 3e is a deadringer for the company’s flagship P20 and, the more you compare the two, the more sense it makes that the Nova is known as the P20 Lite in the global market. The handset is rocking that 2018 aesthetic, with a flat glass-esque, plastic back (it really is convincing) and a slightlyrounded aluminium edge trim. There’s a prominent notch — love it or hate it — and a slight brand-touting chin, but the display is otherwise mostly bezel-free. The dimensions are near-identical to the P20, which is a comfortable one-handed size thanks to its narrower 19:9 display ratio, and there’s only 20g in weight separating it from its heavier older brother. As with its design elements, many of the Nova’s specs and features are borrowed from the P20 as well — notably its 4GB of RAM and 1,080 x 2,280, 5.84-inch display.
The reason we’re spending so much time comparing this handset to its sibling is that the Huawei P20 costs $999, a full $500 more than the Nova 3e, and we’re impressed with how much of its premium sheen gets shared around. The construction quality seems equally as solid, the fingerprint reader’s snappy, and Huawei-favourite features such as face unlock and beautification settings in the camera app are all accounted for. A signature feature of the company’s flagships is their powerful camera capabilities, and while the Nova 3e gets a dual snapper, it isn’t developed in partnership with Leica like its bigger siblings. With that said, many of the depth-of-field portrait tricks are present in the Nova and it takes incredible daytime snaps considering the handset’s price. If you are after super clear night-time shots, though, you’ll likely need to jump all the way up to the P20 Pro (which excels in this field) as mid-range phone cameras unequivocally fall short at this hurdle.
One great trick is the ultra quick shot, where the camera can be activated by double pressing the down volume button when the screen is off. You will need to hold the camera still so the lens can focus, though. Also present is slow-motion, and offers excellent editing controls on playback.
If we take a look at the $399 price point in Australia, the most potent and direct competition that the Nova 3e faces is the Motorola Moto G6, which performed very similarly in our benchmark tests across the board. The G6 offers a slightly longer average battery life and comes with an actual glass chassis, but the 3e edges it out in most CPU and GPU intensive tasks and has an arguably more premium and contemporary aesthetic (despite its plastic back).
None of this is to say that either handset’s performance is lacking — both offer ample power for fluid everyday use, handle moderate media and gaming tasks admirably, and both manage to comfortably get a solid day of activity out of their battery. As such, the question essentially boils down to one of aesthetics, as we’d gladly recommend either handset if you’re looking to spend anywhere between $300–$600.
WE’RE IMPRESSED WITH HOW MUCH OF THE HUAWEI P20’S PREMIUM SHEEN GETS SHARED AROUND.