Huawei Nova series has been one of the most popular smartphone series here in Nepal. These smartphones are well known for their camera, design, and performance. The Nova 3 and the Nova 3i proved to be the best seller in 2018. And Huawei is back yet again with a bang. The Huawei Nova 4 is the first smartphone to land in Nepal with the pinhole cut-out display. The phone comes with impressive internals and a pretty eye-catching design. So, let’s take a look at the Huawei Nova 4 and see how it has fared in the long term.
Huawei Nova 4 Review
The Nova 4 is the first smartphone in Nepal to feature the Pinhole display. And let me remind you! the pinhole is not just for design. Under the punch hole, you’ll get the 25MP (f/2.0) lens.
The Huawei Nova 4 comes in 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 get a transparent TPU case and some paper works. Putting them aside, the last three items in the box are a 15W wall adapter, a USB type-C cable, and a basic earphone.
The Huawei Nova 4 looks stunning! The rear side of the phone looks somewhat like the P20 Pro with similar camera array. The new Aurora Blue color of the smartphone can astonish anyone. The fingerprint sensor is on the rear side which, for me, is in a perfect position. While many smartphone manufacturers, nowadays, are trying hard to push the fingerprint sensor under the display, Huawei has made the Nova 4 as simple as possible.
The Nova 4 has a glass on glass design sandwiched by a metal frame. The phone feels premium in hand and I could find none of my friends and family complaining about the phone. It is really beautiful and will surely turn some heads! Although it does make the phone a bit slippery, the in-hand feeling is a positive trade-off. Also, the glass back is prone to fingerprints and smudges. So if you want your phone to look new for long, you better get a protective case.
Now let’s talk about the most differentiating feature about the phone, “the notch”. But wait! It’s not the regular notch anymore. The notch has now grown up to become a pinhole. Now that sounds interesting, doesn’t it? The pinhole houses the 25MP (f/2.0) front shooter which is capable of taking some amazing shots. Now, the front camera can also shoot the real-time AR emojis.
The 19.25:9 aspect ratio, that the phone packs, translates to a tall display with narrow bezels. The usual power button and volume rockers are on the right side of the phone. While the dual SIM tray is on the left side of the device. The bottom houses a microphone, a USB Type-C port, and speaker grills. The top portion of the phone, on the other hand, has the 3.5mm audio jack, a secondary noise cancellation mic, and an IR Blaster.
Huawei Nova 4 is a big phone with a huge 6.41-inches Full HD+ display. Despite having a huge display, the Nova 4 doesn’t feel unwieldy. The phone is quite easy to hold! The display of Nova 4, despite being an IPS panel, is pretty vibrant with a variable scale of brightness. The images are sharp, colors are good, and viewing angles are excellent. Watching Youtube videos and firing up a quick game was a pleasant experience on this device. Playing games like PUBG and Fortnite on this device was divine. And yes, you heard it right, the Nova 4 really supports Fortnite.
The Kirin 970 chipset might seem a bit old. The 2018 flagship chipset was previously seen on the most popular handsets like the P20 Pro and Nova 3. But honestly, the phone feels snappy as always. So far, I have played PUBG, Fortnite and Asphalt 9 on this device. I also put the phone through different tasks and challenged it, unlike any other phones. But guess what! The phone still survived and shined like a boss. The phone doesn’t even seem to lag a bit. Good going, Huawei!
The 128GB storage of this device is more than enough for me, at least for now. The data transfer also seemed faster than other devices. Heating, on this device, is not an issue at all. I’ve played PUBG for more than 3 hours straight but could feel no heating. However, I could feel the phone getting a bit warm after a long session of gameplay.
The camera is the main highlight of this phone. The phone really shined in that department. The front 25MP sensor is impressive and can take amazing selfies. It has an f/2.0 aperture which makes it capable of taking some decent shots in the low lights. The front camera also supports some extra features such as AR Lens and Studio Lighting. This time, the AR Lens supports the LIVE face swap too.
Talking about the rear cameras, the phone doesn’t sport one or two, but three lenses. The triple rear camera setup includes a 20MP (f/1.8) sensor with 78 degrees Field of View (FOV), 16MP (f/2.2) sensor with 117 degrees FOV and a 2MP (f/2.4) sensor with 78 degrees FOV for depth sensing. The cameras are just wow!
The camera performance on this phone is just amazing. The phone is capable of taking some mind-blowing shots in the daylight but suffers a bit in the dark. The phone comes with dedicated Night Mode in the stock camera app itself, and the improvements are just amazing. The portrait mode too is good. However, Huawei needs to work a bit in the background blurring. The blur sometimes seemed a bit unnatural.
As always, Huawei has done a good job in the camera department but that’s not all for its camera. The phone also has a 16MP Ultra Wide lens. This lens can capture 117 degrees Field of View. Also, the Wide Angle shots look amazing. This is the first phone in the Nova Series to sport a wide angle lens and Huawei nailed it. You can have a look at the camera samples too.
The Huawei Nova 4 comes with Huawei’s own EMUI 9.0 right out of the box. The EMUI 9.0 is tailored on top of the latest Android 9.0 (Pie) and it is undoubtedly the cleanest version of EMUI we’ve ever seen. Like the previous EMUI 8.0, the EMUI 9.0, too, have a lot of customization options. The UI is packed with a lot of handy features such as gesture navigations, performance and battery optimization, video ringtone and many more. The UI is filled with a lot of bloats but many of these can be uninstalled right away.
The Nova 4 doesn’t come with an app drawer by default. You can, however, find the option to enable it under settings. Since I am not a guy who is a big fan of Stock Android, I had no issues using this device. This UI also has support for themes, and you can customize your phone to your preference. There’s also a face recognition feature that uses the selfie camera to scan your face and unlock the smartphone. It isn’t the fastest but gets the job done. There are features like Voice control and Motion Control that help you interact with the phone using gestures.
Huawei Nova 4 delivers a solid performance that should be more than enough to satisfy most everyday smartphone users. The AI camera mode can make the photos even better but sometimes, you will find the photos to be a bit more saturated. The Wide Angle Lens is awesome and at the price point, you won’t get any phone with such a high-quality lens. In term of sound quality, the in-ear voice call speaker is loud and clear.
Normal operations such as scrolling through social media are smooth. Thanks to the 8GB of RAM, the phone does not kill apps in the background saving some reload times and making it easier to multitask. We played Asphalt 8, Asphalt 9: Legends, Tekken, PUBG, and Fortnite as well which fine without issues at their default settings. The Nova 4 can run PUBG on the highest settings with no sweat and also has GPU Turbo to further boost performance. Asphalt 9 had good graphics at the default setting and didn’t stutter. We observed that the phone tended to get a bit warm when we started gaming on it.
Verdict: Huawei Nova 4 Review
Huawei, with the Nova 4, is taking on the current trend of providing a phone with a punch-hole cutout. The Pinhole implementation is undoubtedly the best that I’ve ever seen. Personally, I loved the hole on Nova 4’s huge display more than on Samsung’s flagships.
The phone looks gorgeous and I can’t stop gushing about its in-hand feeling. The UI, however, needs a bit of optimization as Kirin 970 is capable of even more. Overall, Nova 4 is a great option for users who want a premium looking device with great cameras. For a price of Rs. 64,900 the Nova 4 is a good, if not the best, flagship alternative in the market right now.
“The Huawei Nova 4 is a flagship without the flagship price.”
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