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Huawei Nova 3 Hands-On Review: Stunning Design and Impressive Cameras

After unveiling in China earlier this month, Huawei today launched its Nova 3 series smartphones in India. The Huawei Nova 3 and Nova 3i were launched today that come with features like notch display, four cameras, and many more other features.

Both the new Huawei smartphones are Amazon Exclusive and will be available for sale starting next month. Ahead of the launch, we managed to get our hands on the Nova 3 and here is our initial impressions about the device.

Stunning Design

Huawei is known for making premium looking smartphones and Nova 3 is no exception. The Nova 3 comes with a glass body that offers it a premium quality but there are some downsides of the glass back as well. The phone feels slippery without a case and the glass body is fragile and very prone to smudges.

The front comes with a full-screen display with a notch at the top that also houses an earpiece and two front-facing cameras. It features minimal bezels around the edges and there are on-screen navigation buttons.

Just like most recent phones, the Nova 3 comes with a taller screen and some users might find it difficult to use the handset with one hand. However, the power and volume buttons are placed on the right side of the phones that are easily accessible.

Similarly, the fingerprint sensor located in the middle at the back and the camera is placed on the top left in vertical orientation. The 3.5mm headphone jack, USB C port, and the speaker grille are at the bottom. The Hybrid SIM card slot is located on the left.

Notched Display

Coming to the display, Nova 3 sports a 6.3-inch FHD+ (2,340 x 1080 pixels) IPS notched display offering an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The notch at the top also includes dual front camera sensors and an earpiece. The display offers decent brightness levels and good viewing angles in all lighting conditions.

Four AI Cameras

The Huawei Nova 3 comes with four cameras. The dual rear camera setup consists of a 24MP monochrome sensor and 16MP RGB sensor, both with f/1.8 aperture, assisted by an LED flash. At the front, the dual camera set up consists of a 24MP sensor and a 2MP sensor, both with f/2.0 aperture.

There are a number of modes available in the default camera app. There is a Portrait mode, AR Lens, and variable Aperture mode. In portrait mode, there are bokeh feature, 3D lighting and beauty level. If you click on ‘More’ there are options like Light painting, 3D Panorama, Slow-mo, Pro Mode and Time-lapse etc.

The AR Lens feature is like iPhone’s Animoji and you get different animations. There is 3D Lighting in portrait mode that offers studio lighting, soft lighting, classic lighting mode. Also, there is a cinematic portrait feature that allows clicking pictures in a wide frame.

Cinematic Portrait

If we talk about the camera performance, the Nova 3 manages to click some really impressive pictures in all lighting conditions. The AI feature claims to recognize around 22 different scenes and objects and enhances the images accordingly. The AI feature works quite well and the images taken with the AI mode on were better than the original image.

The dual front camera is equally impressive as well. The front camera setup offers good color reproduction with HDR Pro mode. There is a portrait mode as well. Overall, the four AI cameras are impressive in most conditions. Rest will be known when we will do a detailed review of the camera.

Check out some of the camera samples taken by the Nova 3 here.

Powerful Hardware with GPU Turbo

The Nova 3 is powered by powerful Kirin 970 SoC, which is the company’s flagship processor. It is further coupled with a dedicated NPU for AI-related functionalities. There is ample 6GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage, which is also expandable up to 256GB via microSD card.

Notably, the smartphone also comes with Huawei’s GPU Turbo tech for the smoother mobile gaming experience. We played the PUBG mobile at high graphics settings and it did not show any lag. Other games like Asphalt also run smoothly. Otherwise, as you might expect from the processor, the smartphone tackled multitasking and other games without breaking a sweat.

Software, Performance

The Nova 3 runs Huawei’s EMUI 8.2.0 out of the box based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The smartphone comes with some pre-installed apps and games. There are not many new features in the latest EMUI version.

Notably, the UI feels smooth and we did not face any issues while navigating through the apps or multitasking. If we talk about the performance, the Nova 3 managed to run most of the apps with ease. The face unlock feature and fingerprint scanner also work fast.

Battery, Connectivity

The Huawei Nova 3 is powered by a 3,750mAh battery that supports fast charging with the bundled charger. The handset easily managed to last for a full day on a moderate use during our initial testing. On the connectivity front, there is Hybrid dual SIM slot, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 LE, Dual 4G VoLTE, GPS, and a USB Type-C port.

Early Verdict

Huawei’s Nova series comes for the first time in India. The Nova 3 with its premium design, powerful processor, and impressive camera quality comes out as a good option in the mid-range segment. The Huawei nova 3 is one of those phones that bridge the gap between high-end and mid-range devices. With Rs 34,999 price tag, the Huawei Nova 3 is competing against the likes of ASUS Zenfone 5Z and OnePlus 6.


Satyendra Pal Singh

Satyendra explores the latest happenings in the tech world and writes stories about those. He likes to play around with the latest gadgets and shares his views through articles. In his free time, you can find him watching movies/TV shows and/or reading books.