Huawei is now the top smartphone vendor in China in Q2, 2018 with close to 27 per cent market share, according to a Canalys report. In India, Huawei’s sub-brand Honor has ramped up the number of devices and is trying to compete with market leaders like Samsung and Xiaomi. But it looks like Huawei is also introducing more phones in India, under its own brand. The latest is the Huawei Nova 3 series.
Huawei recently launched its premium P20 Pro in India along with mid-range P20 Lite, which costs Rs 19,999. Now, Nova 3 and Nova 3i have made it to the Indian market. Priced at Rs 34,999, the Nova 3 competes with the likes of Moto X4, Samsung Galaxy A8+, Nokia 8, etc. Nova 3i is a more affordable option at Rs 20,990. Both the phones come with dual cameras on front and back as well as FullView display. We spent a few days with Huawei Nova 3 and here is our first impression.
Huawei Nova 3: Design and Display
Huawei Nova 3 has a design similar to that of P20 Lite and it comes in the Twilight colour option as well. Then there’s the notch that sits on top of the bezel-less FullView display that has a 19:9 aspect ratio. The phone feels premium thanks to its build quality and minimalist design. The dual curved edges on the back makes it really easy to hold.
Nova 3 has a vertically aligned dual-rear camera setup and a rear mounted circular fingerprint sensor. Make sure you use the phone with a cover as its is slippery and the back is a fingerprint magnet. The Twilight colour option that I got for review got mixed reactions from my friends and colleagues, but it did catch everyone’s attention. The colour comes out really well and the phone does not look cheap, which is great.
Nova 3 has a big 6.3-inch FHD+ display with 19:9 aspect ratio and a notch. For those who do not like this feature, the good news is that it can be disabled from Settings. For me, it was a bit distracting in the beginning, but most apps work fine with the notch, which makes the experience better.
The display is stunning and viewing angles are good. I did not struggle to use the phone in bright outdoors, which is a plus. Another positive is the fingerprint sensor, which unlocks the phone almost instantly. The Face Unlock is not always accurate, especially in low-light, but it mostly performed well.
Huawei Nova 3: Camera
The camera is another great feature of Nova 3. The phone gets a combination of 16MP and 24MP sensor at the back. The front dual camera setup comprises of 24MP primary lens and a 2MP secondary lens. In addition, the camera offers several features such as Qmoji, which is a copy of Apple’s Animoji feature that we saw on the iPhone X. The camera also comes with an AR Lens feature, Bokeh mode and the option to add filters to photos, etc.
The photos that I clicked using the rear cameras were pretty good, and this is true for shots taken in bright outdoors as well as indoors. The photos have great amount of details and colour reproduction is close to natural. However, some indoor photos tend to appear a little bit too bright, while others are quite sharp, but more on that in our review.
The dual front cameras should keep most selfie buffs happy. The photos can go on social media with least editing, something that I liked. Of course, outdoor selfies are more detailed and sharp, but those taken indoors will also not disappoint.
Huawei Nova 3: Processor, battery and memory
Huawei Nova 3 is powered by the company’s own Kirin 970 processor, coupled with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage. The phone is fast when it comes to daily tasks such as browsing social media, making calls, messaging, listening to music, and streaming videos. The overall performance is good and I did not encounter lag or crashes during my usage. The battery is a 3,750mAh one, which should easily last for a day with moderate usage.
Huawei Nova 3: Software
Huawei Nova 3 comes with heavy customization and pre-loaded apps, which might put off some users. The review unit I have already had a couple of games, PhonePe app, beauty camera apps, as well as TrueCaller and a few social media apps installed. The good thing is you get the latest Android 8.1 Oreo version with EMUI 8 skin on top.
Huawei Nova 3: Early impressions
Huawei Nova 3 seems like a worthy competitor to OnePlus 6, thanks to its eye-catching design and excellent cameras. At Rs 34,999, Nova 3 appears to be a well-rounded smartphone. Though I wish that the user interface was user-friendly and less cluttered. Expect an in-depth review of Nova 3 in the coming weeks, as I’m still testing the device.