Huawei Nova Plus
€ 429 (£TBC) • consumer.huawei.com/en
In the previous preview (page 48), we looked at the Huawei Nova. It’s now time to look at its sibling – the Nova Plus.
So before we go any further, let’s first discuss UK pricing and availability of Huawei’s latest smartphone. The Huawei Nova, along with the Nova Plus are both marketed as being mid-range smartphones, meaning they’re not designed to
compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S7 or iPhone 6s – and the price reflects that. UK users will be able to pick up a Huawei Nova for €429 when it’s released in Europe – we’re yet to hear about UK pricing. As announced by Huawei during its IFA 2016 press conference, the Nova Plus will be available to buy in over 50 countries from October, although a date is yet to be set.
While the Huawei Nova Plus is the bigger brother to the Huawei Nova and the two share the same design philosophy, there are subtle differences to tell them apart – unlike with previous Huawei phones which are near-on identical (Huawei P9 and P9 Plus, for example).
While the Huawei Nova Plus sports the same 2.5D glass and metal curved unibody as its smaller sibling, it features an entirely different rear design. The Nova features a P9-esque black segment housing the camera along the top of the rear, while the Nova Plus features an all-metal rear with a protruding camera in the centre, reminiscent of Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and Huawei’s Mate 8.
The Nova Plus features a 5.5in display, although you wouldn’t be able to tell when holding it in the hand. Why? Huawei has been smart when designing the Nova Plus, utilising small bezels to fit a larger display into a smaller-than-usual chassis. This provides a comfortable holding experience over extended periods, and is surprisingly easy to use one-handed. Of course, it’s never going to be as easy to hold as the iPhone SE, but it’s a step forward for those of us with a love for phablets.
The Huawei Nova Plus is a gorgeous smartphone with the same brushed metal finish on the sides and sandblasted finish on the rear as the Huawei Nova, and really doesn’t feel like a mid-range smartphone in the hand. All the small details, from the seamless connection from display to body, to the different finishes on different parts of the chassis provides the look and feel of a high-end, premium smartphone.
So what can we expect from the Huawei Nova Plus? It features a larger IPS display than the Huawei Nova at 5.5in, although the resolution remains the same at 1080x1920 (full HD). We found the display itself to be incredibly bright, crisp and vibrant during our time with the smartphone, and it’s worth noting that it too features a blue light filter that should make using the smartphone in the evenings a little bit more comfortable on the eye.
Inside the Huawei Nova Plus, users will find a Snapdragon 625 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, much like its younger
sibling. The 32GB of storage can be expanded too, thanks to the ‘Hybrid SIM tray’ that lets you use either one SIM and a microSD card, or two SIMs at once. Like its sibling, the Nova Plus was extremely responsive during our time with the smartphone, and we experienced no lag at all. Although with that being said, we’re a bit confused as to why both smartphones feature identical processors and RAM – if Huawei is to charge more money for the Plus, it might want to make the smartphone more appealing than only offering a slightly larger display and a slightly bumped up camera. While the Snapdragon 625 is a decent processor, we expect a little more from a €429 smartphone.
Speaking of the camera, the Nova Plus features a rear-facing 16Mp snapper, up from the 12Mp camera offered on the standard Nova. That’s not all either, as the Nova Plus also features Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS for short), which should help capture sharper images and smoother videos. The camera is generally quite impressive and images captured are quite sharp and well lit, although we’d like to get it back to Android Advisor towers and put it through its paces before giving it the official thumbs up.
On the flip side, the Nova Plus features the same 8Mp front-facing camera as the Nova. The front-facing camera is good for taking selfies and performs well in low-light conditions, but it won’t light up dark conditions – for those, users have the option of using the 5.5in display as a forward-facing flash.
The Snapdragon 625 processor provides users with around 30 percent better battery life than the
Snapdragon 615, and when that’s coupled with a fairly large 3340mAh battery, Huawei claims that the smartphone will last 2.2 days on average. To compare, Apple’s similarly sized iPhone 6s Plus features a 2750mAh battery, 590mAh less than Huawei’s Nova Plus.
The Huawei Nova Plus comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow complete with Huawei’s own Emotion UI (or EMUI for short) offering Huawei’s own spin on the Android software. For those that don’t already know, EMUI is about as far from stock Android as one can come, with almost every element of the Android interface being redesigned or at least tweaked for Huawei devices.
Although this may be slightly controversial, we love EMUI – it looks good, and offers functionality not available on standard Android devices, like tapping the screen to take a screenshot, and being able to view your notifications in a timeline-esque view. Yes, it may take some time to get used to, but we feel that the learning curve is worth it.
While we’ve only had a limited time with the Huawei Nova Plus, we’re happy with what we’ve seen. The display is bright and crisp, and the build quality is similar to that of a flagship smartphone. The 16Mp rearfacing snapper with OIS is also an
attractive point, allowing users to take crisp, sharp and detailed photos and smooth videos. While no UK pricing has been announced, the €429 price tag makes it more expensive than the OnePlus 3, which offers a more powerful processor and more RAM. Lewis Painter
• 5.5in (1920x1080, 401ppi) IPS
• Android 6.0 Marshmallow
• Snapdragon 625 CPU
• 3GB RAM
• 32GB storage
• MicroSD supports up to 128GB
• 8Mp front-facing camera
• 16Mp rear-facing camera
• Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
• Bluetooth 4.1
• USB Type-C
• Fingerprint sensor
• 3340mAh lithium polymer battery