Huawei Nova 3 Review; A Mid-range Smartphone Packs with Flagship Features - TeknoGadyet
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Huawei Nova 3 Review; A Mid-range Smartphone Packs with Flagship Features

INTRODUCTION:


Recently, Huawei has unveiled its latest Nova Stars composed of a more premium device and its toned-down variant named as the Nova 3 and Nova 3i, respectively.

Huawei Nova 3 Review
Huawei Nova 3 Review; A Mid-range Smartphone Packs with Flagship Features

Initially, our team spent time with the Nova 3i, leaving us with an impressive overall performance. Then, we shifted our attention to the more capable handset, the Nova 3.

Now working as our main device, we could say that it really has better offerings than its brother. But considering that the Nova 3i is already one of the best bang for buck smartphones available in the local market, is it practical to spend another Php10k for the Nova 3?

With that, let’s dig deeper and find out what more it can offer to consumers!

PHYSICAL:

The Huawei Nova 3 shares an identical design with the 3i. Putting them side by side, you will obviously have a hard time distinguishing them. However, to give you exact differences in terms of its physique, the Nova 3 is big at 157mm x 73.7mm x 7.3mm while it weighs 166 grams. This makes it 0.6mm shorter, 1.5mm narrower, 0.3mm thinner, and 3 grams lighter than its sibling.


6.3-inch FullView IPS FHD+ Display
6.3-inch FullView IPS FHD+ Display

The new Nova series is really stunning. Comes with gradient color variants, these mid-ranger phones have a premium-looking design similar to the P20 series. It also boasts a 2D glass on its front and back, while it is dressed with a glossy metallic framing. Although it has a huge dimension, the device is still able to comfortably sit on our hands. In fact, we have no problem handling it with just one hand. It is easy to hold, plus its keys are all thoughtfully placed where we can easily reach it.

Similar to the 3i, the Nova 3 flashes a 6.3-inch screen with a notch. The latter houses its front cameras, sensor, earpiece, and LED notifications. Having a full view display, the device utilizes an on-screen navigation keys.

On-screen Navigation Keys
On-screen Navigation Keys

The right side of the handset accommodates its volume rocker and power/lock buttons, while its hybrid SIM tray is alone on its left cheek. Its secondary microphone is located on the top, while its 3.5mm audio port, main microphone, speaker grills, and USB Type-C port are sited at the bottom.

Iris Purple Gradient Variant
Iris Purple Gradient Variant

Although it comes with the same branding and labeling as the 3i, you’d notice that the Nova 3’s back has sexy curves on its sides. This also resulted into an easier grip. First found on the P20 line, its protruding rear cameras are aligned vertically, followed by its LED flash. Its fingerprint scanner is placed on its back, too, where our index finger could easily tap it.

DISPLAY:

The Nova 3 is equipped with a 6.3-inch FullView panel with an IPS FHD+ display. Having a notched screen, the device delivers a 2340 x 1080 resolution and 19.5:9 aspect ratio, translating to 409ppi.


It also comes with a notch!
It also comes with a notch!

Huawei packs its latest Nova series with new display settings that will elevate user’s mobile experience. First, user has an option to change their device’s color mode from normal to vivid, and its color temperature to its default, warm, or cold.

Display Settings
Display Settings

In addition, the Nova 3 can filter out blue lights through its Eye Comfort settings, allowing users to get rid of visual fatigue by having a warmer screen tint. The phone also offers a Smart Resolution feature that will intelligently lower its screen resolution to help you save some juice. Users can even lower down its resolution to just HD+ 1560 x 720 display.

Default or Hide Notch?
Default or Hide Notch?

Believe it or notch *pun intended,* if you prefer ditching its notch, you can simply go to your display settings and hide it. For us, we have no problem dealing with its notch as it isn't irritating at all. Personally, when I first encountered a notch on a smartphone, I just spent almost a day to get used to it. Trust us, just give it a try, and we're sure that it won't harm your visual experience.

Multi-touch Test
Multi-touch Test

Its display delivers a great viewing experience. Streaming videos is really impressive through its accurate and sharp colors. It has a balance temperature and tint, as well. Performing well in both indoors and outdoors, we prefer to put its brightness on its mid-level. The device can also handle games with heavy graphics including Tekken and it pre-installed games. Meanwhile, it scored 10 on multi-touch test.

SOFTWARE:

EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo
EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo

The Nova 3 carries an Android 8.1 Oreo operating system with EMUI 8.2 skin on top. Its interface is totally alike with the 3i, giving a clean and simple one.

With that being said, the device also loads multiple home screens to accommodate your apps. Users can still organize it by simply creating an app folder. Navigating it is familiar, too. Swiping down from the top will show your notifications and some of its settings, while swiping to the leftmost will bring you to HiBoard.

Packed with 128GB of expandable storage, you won’t mind its numbers of pre-installed apps, as it would leave you with so much more. It comes with Huawei native apps, Google apps, Facebook, Messenger, camera apps, Netflix, Lazada, Booking.com, and various games.

PERFORMANCE:


Kirin 970-powered Smartphone!
Kirin 970-powered Smartphone!

If you’re currently scratching your head, and thinking that the Nova 3 is exactly the same as the 3i, then, think again. Huawei won’t add another Php10k on its price tag for just a plain profit. In fact, the most interesting thing about this device is actually found on its performance.

The Nova 3 is backed with a more powerful Kirin 970 octa-core processor – a top-of-the-line chipset usually used in Huawei’s flagship phones, including the P20 series and Mate 10 line. Complemented with Mali-G72MP12 GPU, the unit also bags a whopping 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, which is expandable up to 256GB via microSD card. A real monster for its segment, isn't it?

Knowing that it is a powerful device, we still ran it on various benchmark apps to see a preview of its full capabilities. Here are the results:

Benchmark Results
Benchmark Results


  • AnTuTu - 204,596
  • 3DMark - Max (Ice Storm Extreme)
  • 3DMark - 31,119 (Ice Storm Unlimited)
  • 3DMark - 3,506 (Sling Shot)
  • PCMark - 7,395 (Work 2.0 Performance)
  • Geekbench - 1,902 (Single Core)
  • Geekbench - 6,594 (Multi Core)

Yup, through its performance, it’s safe to say that the Nova 3 is a flagship smartphone mistakenly placed on mid-class phones. But maybe, Huawei intentionally did it to bully other smartphones on its price segment. Nevertheless, having these specs, consumers who consider buying a new P20 should think twice now. In comparison, the P20 has only 4GB of RAM and a smaller battery. This means that this premium-like Nova device could accompany you better on your daily mobile tasks.

The phone could handle heavy usage without any obvious issues. Switching from one app to another was also smooth and fast. It didn’t heat up, as well, when it’s approaching its low battery level while we're playing games with heavy graphics. So far, we're happy about it's performance when we're running games such as Tekken, DB Legends, Mobile Legends, PUBG Mobile, and some of its pre-installed games.

See Also: Huawei Nova 3i Review; The New Mid-Range Star!

CAMERA:


16MP f/1.8 RGB PDAF + 24MP f/1.8 monochrome B/W PDAF cameras with LED flash
16MP f/1.8 RGB PDAF + 24MP f/1.8 monochrome cameras with LED flash

The Nova series banks on equipping its devices with quad-camera setup. Jumping off to its photography department, the Nova 3 is impressively mounted with 16-megapixel f/1.8 RGB PDAF + 24-megapixel f/1.8 monochrome sensors at the back, and another generous 24-megapixel f/2.0 + 2-megapixel selfie snappers. Both of its cameras have A.I. capabilities to upgrade your mobile photography without having to spend much on its Leica-backed flagship phones.

Camera Features
Camera Features

Its cameras can detect up to 22 objects and scenes. The device also packs numbers of camera modes including Night, HDR, 3D Panorama, Portrait, Aperture, Pro, Time-lapse, monochrome, slow-mo, document scan, and light painting. It comes with various filters, as well.

Its AR lens feature, on the other hand, offers 3D Qmoji, Effects, Backgrounds, and 3D Objects, which are all set to make your experience more exciting.

Sample Photos:


Outdoor (AI Disabled)
Outdoor (AI Disabled)

Outdoor (AI Camera Enabled)
Outdoor (AI Camera Enabled)

Outdoor (AI Camera Enabled)
Outdoor (AI Camera Enabled)

AI Camera Enabled (Darwin Del Rosario of Filipino Tech Addict)
AI Camera Enabled (Darwin Del Rosario of Filipino Tech Addict)

Plants
Plants

Bokeh Effect
Bokeh Effect

Indoor
Indoor

3D Objects
3D Objects

3D Objects
Selfie

Although the 3i is also equipped with quad cameras, it's obvious that the Nova 3 produces better images. The device makes sure that it will enhance your photos while still giving a natural-looking one. It won't overdone and exaggerate its colors, too, as the device would just make it more lively.

Both of its front and main cameras performed well in places with dim lights. Moreover, we could say that its bokeh effect improves from the 3i.

However, we noticed that photos became a little bit unnatural when we switched on its A.I. especially when taking scenery and self-photos. It's still tolerable, though.

Meanwhile, our team will post a separate article for more sample photos. So, stay tuned!

Also Read: Honor Play versus Huawei Nova 3i

CONNECTIVITY:

Just like its toned-down version, the Nova 3 is a dual SIM device that supports LTE connectivity. Unfortunately, you cannot use two SIM cards if you want to expand your storage as it has no dedicated slot for the microSD card.

The handset comes with basic connectivity features including WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. All of these functioned well during our test. Also, it has good signal reception, allowing us to send and receive SMS, email, and calls without having an interruption.

As an upgrade from the Nova 3i, the phone sports a USB Type-C. And of course, we’re really happy that it still has a 3.5mm audio jack. A turn-on factor, isn’t it?

BATTERY:

In terms of stamina, the Nova 3 is geared with a slightly bigger 3750mAh battery compared to the Nova 3i’s 3340mAh juice.

On stand-by, the Nova 3 could last for how many days. Our actual usage suggests that it could last for almost 13 hours before it notified us with its low battery status. Our daily mobile tasks include basic communications, browsing of our social media accounts, and casual gaming.

PCMark Battery Life Test
PCMark Battery Life Test

On the other hand, the device is only limited to 9 hours and 21 minutes when we actively used it. Heavy activities include continuous usage for basic communications, data/WiFi connection on, casual gaming, and browsing of our social media accounts.

However, according to its score on PCMark Battery Life test, the phone could last for 11 hours and 54 minutes.

Moreover, it supports a 9V/2A (18W) fast charging solution that helps us reaching its 100% from 0% in just 1 hour and 47 minutes. In comparison, it took 2 hours and 33 minutes to reach Nova 3i’s 100 percent status using its 5V2A charger.

CONCLUSION:

Huawei Nova 3
Huawei Nova 3

Overall, Huawei managed to put its latest Nova 3 device in between the flagship and mid-range segments. Its price is cheaper compared to other flagship devices like the P20 line and Mate 10 series. As a premium mid-range smartphone, the device delivers the things you'd look for a Php26K-smartphone, giving a good fight against other phones at this price point, too.

The Nova 3 has a great performance as it is powered by a flagship Kirin 970 chipset. It can accompany you on your heavy mobile activities, as well. Moreover, as a photography-centric smartphone, it can produce impressive images that can easily battle out other brand's offerings.

If you got Php25,990 right now, then, you're up for a good deal if you consider getting the new Nova 3. Having flagship-like features, it could easily dominate the already crowded mid-range market.

Related: Xiaomi Mi 8 versus Huawei Nova 3; Battle of Affordable Flagship Devices

Huawei Nova 3 Specs:


  • Dual SIM, dual standby, supports 4G LTE connectivity
  • 6.3-inch FullView IPS FHD+ (2340 x 1080) touchscreen display, 19.5:9 aspect ration, 409PPI
  • Dimensions: 157mm x 73.7mm x 7.3mm
  • Weight: 166 grams
  • EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Octa core (4x2.3GHz Cortex A73 + 4x1.8GHz Cortex A53) CPU, i7 Co-processor, Mali-G72MP12 GPU, HiSilicon Kirin 970 chipset
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via MicroSD card, uses SIM 2 slot
  • 16MP f/1.8 RGB PDAF + 24MP f/1.8 monochrome B/W PDAF cameras with LED flash
  • 24MP f/2.0 + 2MP front cameras
  • Multimedia player
  • FM Radio
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • USB Type-C with OTG function
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual band (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
  • Sensor: fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
  • Battery: 3750mAh, non-removable, supports 9V/2A (18W) fast charging
  • Colors: black, blue, gold, purple
  • Price: Php25,990

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