Huawei Nova 3 First Impressions: New Value Flagship in town to fight OnePlus 6 & Asus ZenFone 5Z

Huawei Nova 3 is priced at Rs. 34,999 in the Indian market.

    Huawei is flooding the Indian market with smartphones in every price-segment. After the flagship Huawei P20 Pro, the mid-range P20 Lite and the recently launched budget handset- Honor 9N, the company has today unveiled two new smartphones for masses. The company has introduced Nova 3 and Nova 3i camera-centered smartphones at Rs. 34,999 and Rs. 20,990 respectively. The new Huawei handsets feature double dual-lens camera setups, taller edge-to-edge notch displays and run Huawei's EMUI 8.2 (Android 8.1) out-of-the-box.

    Huawei Nova 3 First Impressions


    Huawei Nova 3 and Nova 3i are now available for pre-booking on Amazon India with a cashback of Rs.1,000. The company is offering an additional exchange discount of Rs. 2,000, no-cost EMIs, and Rs. 1,200 cashback for Jio users. Huawei Nova 3 will go on sale on August 23, whereas the Nova 3i will go on sale on August 7.

    We tested the camera abilities and overall performance of Nova 3, which at its 35k price-point takes a direct fight with OnePlus 6. Here's what we have to say about the new smartphone in our first impressions.

    Four AI enabled Cameras

    Huawei Nova 3 is the company's latest attempt to please shutterbugs. The smartphone features four cameras, two at the front and two at the rear that heavily utilizes machine learning algorithms to enhance the photography experience. Nova 3 sports a 24 MP+16MP dual rear camera setup that supports PDAF, can record 4K videos, supports Beauty mode both in video and photos, feature iPhone X like studio lighting and 3D Qmojis, and can do a lot more. Both the sensors work on F/1.8 aperture and can recognize up to 22 different scenes and objects to help you make the most out of AI camera tools. The camera can also capture bokeh shots, time-lapse videos, slow-motion videos and also features a manual mode.

    The front-facing dual-lens camera setup comprises of 24MP+2MP sensors and also comes with a list of interesting features. It also captures bokeh shots, uses AI to recognize up to 8 scenes and come with an intensive beautify mode that even works while shooting a video. The company has also added a new feature- HDR Pro that controls exposure at the hardware level. 

    Huawei’s AI Master Mode needs to settle down

    Huawei is betting big on AI enabled cameras and to an extent, they are good. The machine learning algorithms are intelligent enough to recognize scenes and quickly modify the camera's basic settings for the best possible output. However, the AI software is super intensive and the algorithms exaggerate colors to extreme levels. 

    What I liked about the Huawei's AI mode is the fact that it can automatically switch to the appropriate mode while clicking pictures. For instance, the camera can automatically switch to Portrait mode if I am taking a close up shot or can switch to Night mode based on the scene and the available lighting. I want Huawei to fine tune the AI mode's color settings as the feature is quite useful and can come handy while clicking pictures in different scenarios.

    Overall, Nova 3 is a capable camera smartphone and is actually better than OnePlus 6 in the photography department in some places. We are yet to pit it against Asus ZenFone 5Z for camera overview.

    Nova 3 has an impressive selfie camera. The level of detail is quite good and the colors look really punchy. The bokeh mode is a bit rough around the edges but you will praise the overall output.

    Sleek Glass body and a crisp Full HD+ Display

    Huawei Nova 3 is a good looking smartphone but it brings nothing new to the table. It has the same glass-metal finish which we have seen in the company's previous handsets. Nova 3 comes in polished glass body and features a vertically stacked dual-lens camera at the rear panel. The fingerprint sensor is also placed at the rear panel; however, its placement is slightly off and you would need to stretch your finger by a cm to find the spot. The smartphone is very light and has gentle curves along the edges that make it sit comfortably in your palm. Despite the glass-finish, Nova 3 is not very slippery.

    Nova 3 sports a crisp and large 6.3-inch Full HD+ display. The screen has a notch at the top and comes with 19.5:9 aspect ratio that makes for a good 84.2% screen-to-body ratio. The IPS LCD screen is bright, colorful and offers immersive video playback and gameplay experience. The content looks sharp as the screen offers a pixel density of 409 PPI.

    Snappy lag-free performance

    Huawei Nova 3 is a powerful handset. It is backed by the same Kirin 970 chipset that powered the flagship P20 Pro. The octa-core CPU is paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB internal memory that makes the overall performance smooth and lag free. The internal memory can be expanded by up to 256 GB via hybrid SIM card slot. The EMUI 8.2 feels snappy and I did not come across any software glitches or performance slowdowns on this handset during my usage. Moreover, the Nova 3 also comes with GPU Turbo technology that promises to enhance CPUs capability by 60 percent for better gaming performance. We are yet to fully evaluate the handset's performance during strenuous tasks and GPU turbo tech is in our top priority, so stay tuned on

    Battery, Connectivity and Audio

    Huawei Nova 3 is backed by a 3,750 mAh battery unit that can last a day on light-to-moderate usage. The battery supports fast-charging and takes use of AI for better performance. The smartphone has a single bottom firing speaker that throws pretty average sound. You cannot watch a movie or listen to your favorite tracks without a pair of earphones on Nova 3. As far as connectivity is concerned, Nova 3 comes with hybrid SIM card tray, Type-C USB port, Wifi, dated Bluetooth 4.2 and FM radio.


    Huawei Nova 3 is a feature-packed mid-range smartphone with flagship specs. The handset is loaded with camera features to please photography enthusiasts. The cameras are capable but the Huawei's AI mode is bit harsh and needs some fine tuning. The handset excels in everyday performance and also offers a crisp and large Full HD+ display. It is priced at Rs. 34,999 and will compete head on with OnePlus 6 and Asus ZenFone 5Z. We will soon test the handset for its gaming and comprehensive camera review. Stay tuned.

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