Huawei Nova

399 (£TBC) • con­

Android Advisor - - Contents -

Huawei has gone from strength to strength in the UK, with re­cent re­leases in­clud­ing the flag­ship Huawei P9 prov­ing pop­u­lar in Bri­tain, but it isn’t done yet. An­nounced at IFA 2016 in Berlin, it launched a new range of smart­phones to take on the mid-range mar­ket, the Huawei Nova and Huawei Nova Plus (see page 54).


The Huawei Nova, along with the Nova Plus are both mar­keted as be­ing mid-range smart­phones. UK users will be able to pick up a Nova for €399 when it’s re­leased in Europe in the au­tumn.


Huawei’s brand new Nova isn’t to be sniffed at – sport­ing 2.5D glass and a curvy body, the Nova doesn’t look or feel like a mid-range smart­phone. This isn’t news though, as Huawei is fa­mous for of­fer­ing users a premium de­sign at a sub-premium price – think Huawei P9 and Mate 8. The 2.5D glass meets the smart­phone’s alu­minium uni­body per­fectly, pro­vid­ing users with a com­pletely seam­less de­sign that al­lows for smooth swipes from the edge of the dis­play.

The Huawei Nova isn’t a large phone – in fact, the 7mm thick smart­phone is sim­i­lar in di­men­sions to Ap­ple’s iPhone 6s de­spite the fact that the iPhone 6s fea­tures a 4.7in dis­play while the Nova fea­tures a 5in dis­play. How is this achieved? The Nova fea­tures in­cred­i­bly thin bezels and as the smart­phone fea­tures no phys­i­cal but­tons on the front of the de­vice (true of many Huawei de­vices), the dis­play can take up a larger por­tion of the front of the smart­phone.

The Huawei Nova fea­tures a brushed metal fin­ish on the side with a sand­blasted fin­ish on the rear, which pro­vides users with a nice in-hand feel and adds to the premium de­sign of the smart­phone. On the sand­blasted rear users may no­tice a cir­cu­lar fin­ger­print scan­ner sim­i­lar to that fea­tured on the re­cently an­nounced Honor 8, and is a step away from the square-shaped reader fea­tured on the Huawei P9, Mate 8 and even the Nova Plus.

The Nova is avail­able to buy in Ap­ple-es­que shades of Sil­ver, Grey and Gold.

What does this trans­late to in real life? Dur­ing our time with the Huawei Nova, we felt that de­spite

hav­ing a large dis­play it was easy to hold and use one-handed. This might have some­thing to do with the curved edges of the smart­phone, which al­lowed the Nova to sit com­fort­ably and per­fectly in our hands. It feels sim­i­lar in the hand to the iPhone 6s de­spite hav­ing a larger dis­play, which is a pat on the back for Huawei’s de­sign team when con­sid­er­ing the Nova is much cheaper than Ap­ple’s cur­rent flag­ship.


So, what does Huawei’s mid-range smart­phone of­fer users to tempt them away from the com­pe­ti­tion? Let’s start with the dis­play – the crisp and vi­brant 2.5D 5in IPS dis­play fea­tured on the Huawei Nova is ap­par­ently de­signed to per­form well in low-light con­di­tions due to the in­clu­sion of a blue light fil­ter to pro­vide ex­tra com­fort in evenings and other dark con­di­tions. At the other end of the spec­trum, the Huawei Nova’s dis­play can be

in­cred­i­bly bright for use out­doors, al­though we couldn’t test just how bright dur­ing our time with the smart­phone.

In terms of power, the Huawei Nova comes packing a Snap­dragon 625 pro­ces­sor and is cou­pled with 3GB of RAM. While we only had a lim­ited time with the smart­phone dur­ing our hands on, we didn’t ex­pe­ri­ence any kind of lag when nav­i­gat­ing around the var­i­ous menus and apps of the Huawei Nova, even when ac­cess­ing the cam­era (a stum­bling block for many smart­phones). It was re­spon­sive, snappy and we’ve got no com­plaints – es­pe­cially from a mid-range smart­phone.

While the Snap­dragon 625 pro­vides a snappy user ex­pe­ri­ence, it’s not the only rea­son it was fea­tured in the Huawei Nova – Huawei was keen to point out that the Snap­dragon 625 pro­vides users with 30 per­cent bat­tery life than the Snap­dragon 615. This cou­pled with a fairly sub­stan­tial 3200mAh non-re­mov­able bat­tery should pro­vide users with two days of bat­tery life, al­though we’re yet to test and ver­ify Huawei’s im­pres­sive claim. It’s charged via USB-C too, like many other re­cent Huawei-branded smart­phones.

With re­gards to stor­age, you’re look­ing at 32GB out of the box and while this isn’t that im­pres­sive, it’s ex­pand­able thanks to Huawei’s ‘Hy­brid slot’, which of­fers ei­ther mi­croSD and SIM or dual-SIM ca­pa­bil­i­ties de­pend­ing on your re­quire­ments.

The cam­eras fea­tured on the Huawei Nova are sur­pris­ingly good, too. Why? Let’s start with the rear-fac­ing cam­era – a 12Mp snap­per with 1.25μm pix­els and an aper­ture of f/2.2. What does this mean in the real world? It means that pho­tos

taken in low-light con­di­tions should come up much clearer – and that’s some­thing that we can con­firm.

While our test­ing was far from thor­ough, a quick cam­era test dur­ing our hands-on showed us that the Huawei Nova per­forms bet­ter in low­light con­di­tions than Ap­ple’s cur­rent flag­ship smart­phone, the iPhone 6s. There was more de­tail in the pho­tos, and they were gen­er­ally lighter than those taken on the iPhone. The only real dis­ap­point­ment was not be­ing able to save the pho­tos taken on the Nova for use in this ar­ti­cle.

The front-fac­ing cam­era isn’t to be sniffed at ei­ther – an 8Mp cam­era with f/2.0 and sim­i­larly im­pres­sive re­sults in low-light con­di­tions. While there’s no ded­i­cated front-fac­ing flash like on other Huawei smart­phones, the com­pany con­firmed that those that need more light could sim­ply use the Nova’s dis­play as a flash.


So, what does the Huawei Nova of­fer in terms of soft­ware? The Nova comes with An­droid 6.0 Marsh­mal­low com­plete with Huawei’s own Emo­tion UI (EMUI for short) over­lay. While many peo­ple aren’t fans of skins that es­sen­tially re­design An­droid, we’re a fan of EMUI from the time­line-style no­ti­fi­ca­tion cen­tre to the cir­cu­lar icons used through­out the op­er­at­ing sys­tem – al­though it does take some get­ting used to.


So, what do we think of the Huawei Nova? For a mid-range smart­phone, it boasts im­pres­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties – es­pe­cially in the cam­era depart­ment.

While it doesn’t have dual-snap­pers like the P9, its per­for­mance in low-light con­di­tions is im­pres­sive. It’s gor­geous too, and feels com­fort­able in the hand – in fact, it feels more like a high­end smart­phone than a mid-range smart­phone, the hall­mark of Huawei.

The big­gest ques­tion is – is it worth the money? While no UK pric­ing has been an­nounced, the €399 price tag puts it in line with smart­phones in­clud­ing the OnePlus 3, which of­fers a more pow­er­ful pro­ces­sor and more RAM – but we’ll hold our reser­va­tions un­til we get one back to An­droid

Ad­vi­sor tow­ers. Lewis Painter


• 5in (1920x1080, 443ppi) IPS • An­droid 6.0 Marsh­mal­low • Snap­dragon 625 CPU • 3GB RAM • 32GB stor­age • Mi­croSD sup­ports up to 128GB • 8Mp front-fac­ing cam­era • 12Mp rear-fac­ing cam­era • Nano-SIM • GPS • A-GPS • Glonass • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n • Blue­tooth 4.1 • USB Type-C • Fin­ger­print sen­sor • 3020mAh lithium poly­mer bat­tery • 141.2 x 69.1x7.1mm • 146g

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