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Review: HUAWEI nova 3

Huawei has a series of flagships that gets updated every year. While its Mate series is the company’s top of the line flagship, the company’s P series is considered a flagship for those looking for a smartphone with excellent photography capabilities. The company also has a series of mid-range flagship devices under the nova series of smartphones and the company recently unveiled the new nova 3 on to the market. Since Artificial Intelligence is the key word these days, Huawei has built the AI camera experience into its new nova 3 smartphone.

Design and build quality is something Huawei is strong in and that holds true for the nova 3, too. The nova 3 is a seriously good-looking smartphone – it offers an excellent build quality with a sturdy metal frame and a shiny glass back. While the use of glass at the back does make the nova 3 prone to smudges and slightly slippery, that is something you will have to deal with, on devices that offer top notch design elements.

On the left edge of the device, you will find the hybrid dual-SIM tray, while the volume rockers and the power button is located on the right edge. On the bottom edge, you get the 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and the speaker grille. On the top edge, you get a noise-cancelling microphone. This phone comes with four cameras – two on the front and two on the rear. On the front, you get a 6.3-inch IPS display that offers a full HD+ resolution at 2340×1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 18:9. On the top of the screen, you will find a dual camera setup that includes a 24MP sensor coupled with a 2MP sensor, with the LED flash module fixed in the middle.

On the rear of the nova 3, you also get a dual camera module that includes a 16MP RGB primary sensor with PDAF and f/1.8 aperture lens, while the other is a 24MP monochrome sensor. Both the cameras are AI-enabled to offer you some really good looking images. Huawei says the AI-enabled sensors can recognise more than 200 different scenarios across eight categories. These include Blue Sky, Plant and Beach, and apply a unique set of optimisations for each scene to create enhanced shots.

Under the hood, the Nova 3 runs on Huawei’s flagship Kirin 970 processor and comes with 4GB of RAM. You also get Android 8.1 Oreo operating system with EMUI 8.2 running on top of it. For storage, there is 128GB of space available on the nova 3, which can be further expanded to up to 256GB using the microSD card slot.   

Photography Sample 1

While the nova 3 does not come with a flagship-grade processor powering it, performance was butter smooth. I did not find any late when launching and switching between multiple apps. Even during my gaming sessions, I did not find the Nova 3 heating up. The phone also comes with standard Huawei features such as scanning a QR code to connect another device to the Wi-Fi network, dual apps, the breakdown of battery usage, app lock, file storage vault and so much more.

Photography Sample 2

The camera is something that is the highlight of the HUAWEI nova 3. This time around, the camera on the nova 3 gets more functionalities. Huawei has tied up with Amazon to offer an AR-based shopping experience. And the camera allows you to enjoy fun things to do such as making 3D Qmojis which is Huawei’s take on animojis.

Photography Sample 3

As mentioned earlier, the cameras are also AI-powered. That means, the NPU on the Kirin 970 SoC helps the rear camera to detect around 22 different scenes that include food, sunrise, blue skies, beach, and so on. In addition, the front camera can also recognise up to eight different scenes. After understanding what you’re shooting,  Huawei’s algorithm goes ahead and applies more filters to make photos appear prettier. Most of the times, you do end up with better-looking shots.

The nova 3 is capable of shooting some amazing shots under both good lighting and low light conditions. When taking shots in the night, the AI camera automatically detects that the image is being shot under low light conditions and enhances the picture tremendously. The portrait mode on the HUAWEI nova 3 is also good, while the Aperture mode takes good images with Bokeh effects.

Colours available are Iris Purple, Airy Blue and Black – the review unit we received was the Black variant. When you buy the nova 3, Huawei offers a 12 months manufacturer warranty and a VIP dedicated Hotline Service, door to door device collection-repair-return and free engraving services, which is available at all Huawei Service centres across the UAE. For a price of AED 1799, the HUAWEI nova 3 is an excellent mid-range device, which comes with capabilities that can also make it your primary phone.

Price: AED 1799

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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