Huawei Nova 3: Initial Impressions & Hands on review

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Huawei after the huge success of the Nova 2i is back with another pair of Nova smartphones, the Nova 3 and the Nova 3i. Launched just a week ago in Nepal, the phones have people talking! Among the two smartphones launched, I am particularly excited for the Nova 3. It comes with some heavy duty specs and features, all for a price of Rs 59,900. But is the phone worth the price? Is it the best premium mid-tier smartphone among all the competition out there? Well, before we answer these questions, let’s take our first peak and see what the phone is all about.

Huawei Nova 3 Initial Impressions and Review

The Huawei Nova 3 arrived at our office four days ago, and I have been using it ever since. The phone, itself, comes in some pretty good packaging with a white lid and some shiny graphics representing the product. Popping off the lid, you are immediately greeted by the phone itself in all of its glory. Moving the phone aside and lifting the plastic divider, you get another smaller box. Sitting on top of that box is a neat looking sim-ejector tool! Pulling the contents of the box, we are greeted with a transparent TPU case and some paper works. Putting them aside, the last three items in the box are the European style charger, a USB Type-C cable, and an earphone.

Going back to the phone, on initial impressions, it feels and looks amazing! The metal chassis with the glass back gives the phone a premium touch. Although I personally love the Iris Purple color, the Black variant that I received is as good. That said, the glass back is coated with a glossy finish which I didn’t expect. After using the Nova 3e, I kind of expected it to have the raw glass feeling rather than the coated finish. Nonetheless, the phone still looks as stunning as the Nova 3e, if not better.

Huawei Nova 3 Initial Impressions and Review

Something the Nova 3 excels at, compared to 3e, is its ergonomics. The phone has a curvy glass back which helps in proper wielding of the device. Although it does make the phone a bit slippery, the in-hand feeling is a positive trade-off. I also appreciate the slight heft and the narrow bezels of the phone. The front panel of the device is also clean, ditching the Huawei branding in favor of a thin and rounded bezel.

Besides, the build I immediately fell in love with the 6.03-inch Full HD+ (1080 x 2340) display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio the phone flaunts. The infamous notch makes a return, now with an even wider avatar, residing on the top center of the phone. This coupled with the 2.5D glass further adds to the appeal and usability of the device. Not only the physical aspect but the display itself is very good! Though being an IPS display, it is pretty vibrant with a variable scale of brightness level. Watching some Youtube videos and firing up a quick game was a pleasant experience on this phone.

Huawei Nova 3 Initial Impressions and Review

Under the hood, the Nova 3 goes all out with an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor along with the Mali-G72 MP12 GPU. Backing up all that silicon is 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. For those unaware, this is the same configuration that the P20 Pro, Huawei’s flagship smartphone, packs. These beastly combinations made up for quite a pleasant experience. The phone was easily able to handle everything I threw at it! Everything from scrolling through Facebook to playing graphics intense games was a smooth experience on the phone. Speaking of which, gameplay on this device was a surreal experience due to the presence of the 19.5:9 near bezel-less display. The contents felt very immersive!

Moving on, at the software end, the Huawei Nova 3 runs EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. This iteration of EMUI is minimal in appearance but packed to the gills with features. All the usuals like the Hi-board, Game Suite and the customizable navigation keys make a return. Something new with the UI is the Party mode! What is basically does is it allows Huawei users to sync up their music, in a close proximity, to create a louder and party like music output. This is a great way to turn the volume up, at a gathering, when a clumsy friend forgets to bring the Bluetooth speaker.

Huawei Nova 3 Initial Impressions and Review

The Nova 3 also comes with a fingerprint scanner embedded into the phone’s back panel. I was easily able to unlock the phone in no time at all. It works that well! The phone also offers Face Unlock which now uses a new 3D mapping technique. This in simple terms means faster and more secure face unlock. And its real-world performance is justifiable to this claim. Just a glance and the phone unlocks in a jiffy!

In the camera department, the Huawei Nova 3 packs a quad-camera set up with 2 lenses being on either side of the device. At the rear, we have a combination of f/1.8 16MP and a 24MP sensor accompanied by an LED flash. While the front boasts a f/1.8 24MP and a 2MP sensors equipped with a screen flash. Images taken from the cameras were very good with an exuberant amount of vibrancy, sharpness, and depth. With my limited time with the phone, I was somewhat surprised with its low light capabilities. The phone was able to take some amazing shots even in less than ample lighting conditions.

Huawei Nova 3 Initial Impressions and Review

Something I enjoyed using with the camera is the new 3D Qmoji. Although a bit limited, it is a fun little feature to have. Another great addition is the inclusion of AI right into the main camera app. This feature aids in picking the suitable mode to shoot a picture. It also learns to use the right settings while taking a photo, over time. I will cover the camera more vigorously in our full in-depth review. On initial impression though, I am highly impressed with the camera offerings of the Huawei Nova 3.

Also Read: Huawei Nova Series: Beauty and the Beast

And finally, powering the device all up is a 3750mAh non-user removable battery. The battery life of the phone was amazing in my four days of use. I got somewhere around 4-5 hours of on-screen time with the phone. This without a doubt will be enough to get users through a day of usage on a single charge. And if the battery does run out, the included Fast Charger will aid in swiftly charging the phone.

Early Verdict: Huawei Nova 3

The Huawei Nova 3 is a great premium mid-tier smartphone that has a lot to offer. It builds on what the Nova 2i and the Nova 3e had to offer. Huawei is brandishing the Nova 3 as an AI backed camera phone and I can see why! The quad-cameras, coupled with the AI features, are amazing and to be honest, I am absolutely in love with them. Other inclusions like the powerful chipset, near bezel-less notch display, and flagship grade specifications are a welcomed addition. Overall, I completely adore the Nova 3 and what it has to offer!

Huawei Nova 3 Initial Impressions and Review

But is the phone the best premium mid-tier smartphone among all the other competitors? Is the price well worth it? Well, it is still too soon to answer those questions. I will put the phone through its paces in the days to come and finally answer these questions for you guys in our full review. So stay tuned for that! One thing, though, I can say without hesitation is that the Nova 3 is one of the better phones under Rs 60,000 here in Nepal.

Also Read: Huawei Nova 3 and Nova 3i officially launched in Nepal

Thank you for reading! For more coverage of the Huawei Nova 3, like our Facebook page and subscribe to our Youtube channel. If you have any questions or confusions, please feel free to ask them in the comments down below. We will answer them as soon as possible.