Huawei has been mainly present in India through its sister brand, Honor. But 2018 has seen the Chinese manufacturer get more bullish about its own brand name in the world’s second largest smartphone market. Earlier this year, we saw the Huawei P20 Pro come to India, and now we have the Nova series making its debut in the country, with the Nova 3 and the Nova 3i. We have the Nova 3 and well, we have to confess that it strikes all the right chords visually. And does not do too badly in the spec department.
We got the Iris Purple edition of the device and well, we have had queries about it whenever we have left it back upwards on the table. Not only is that shade unique, the glass back actually seems to change color as light falls on it from different angles, morphing from blue to purple at times. This is easily the most striking device we have seen for a while, and goes right alongside the red OnePlus as a head turner, although we doubt the black edition of the phone will attract as much attention.
And it is good that the back is exceptional, because from the front, the Nova 3 sticks pretty much to the “tall” (19.5:9 aspect ratio) display with a notch and pared down bezels, although it becomes one of the first phones we have seen that squeezes two cameras as well as an infrared sensor (for Face ID) into that space. There are two cameras on the back as well, together with a fingerprint scanner. The build is glass but is impressively solid and compact. Huawei has squeezed in a 6.3-inch display into a frame that is just 157 mm tall and an impressive 7.3 mm thin and has managed to keep the weight down to 166 grams. No, we are not going to say it is ideal for one-handed use, but considering the size of the display, the Nova 3 is very compact and feels premium. There is no mention of resistance to water and dust, though.
And in that relatively compact frame is squeezed some pretty hefty hardware. It is powered by the HiSilcion Kirin 970 processor (seen in the super P20 Pro, too) and paired with a hefty 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage (expandable using one of the two SIM card slots). While on the subject of processing, the phone comes with support for Huawei’s GPU Turbo graphics processing, which is supposed to deliver even more high-quality gaming. Gaming does seem to be one of the keystones of the Nova 3 – there are even different vibrations on the phone for different game scenarios. Then there are the much-hyped four cameras – a 24 megapixel and 2-megapixel pair in front in that notch, and a 24 megapixel and 16-megapixel combo (both with f/1.8 aperture) on the back. Both are said to come with major AI smarts, such as detecting scenes and identifying objects in photographs and the like. Connectivity options include 4G, Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi. All this is powered by a 3750 mAh with support for fast charging. Running on top of all this is EMUI 8.2, with Android 8.1 at its core.
All this at Rs 34,999, which throws the Nova 3 right into the right not just with the OnePlus 6 but also with its own equally gorgeous cousin, the Honor 10. It has the looks, the specs and frankly on paper, seems a very decent proposition for that price. But just how compelling it is will be revealed in our detailed review. Stay tuned.