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Huawei Nova 3i smartphone review – top-shelf features without the flagship price

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  • VERDICT

The Huawei Nova 3i has a slick design, a great feel and is packed with top shelf features but without the flagship price. And the onboard camera will deliver excellent results as well.

Huawei has become a major player in the smartphone market and it is devices like the Nova 3i that has helped the company become the number two brand in the world.

The device has a sleek, thin design with a bright 6.3-inch high resolution (2340 x 1080) display.

At the top of the screen is an Apple-like notch which makes room for the two front facing cameras, the proximity sensor and a speaker.

Users do have the option of squaring off the top of the screen if they don’t like the notch.

We didn’t mind it, it gave us more of that great screen to look at.

The Nova 3i has nice rounded edges so it feels good in your hand while the rear panel reveals a mesmerising hue of colours.

For our review, we used the Iris Purple version which looked like a flagship device.

It is also available in black.

In actual fact, the Huawei Nova 3i is a mid-tier product priced at $599 and is available now from JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, Mobileciti and Bing Lee.

Customers who pre-ordered the device would have also received the excellent Huawei Freebuds (valued at $199), the company’s version of Apple’s AirPods, absolutely free.

But back to the phone.

The Huawei Nova 3i has four cameras in total – two on the front and two on the back – which are all backed by AI to ensure you get the best results.

The strongest camera is actually on the front – a 24-megapixel lens paired with a two megapixel camera.

One of the best camera features, HDR (high dynamic range) Pro which provides real precision for photos and videos, only works through the front cameras.

We would have loved to have seen the results if that feature could be included on the rear 16-megapixel and 2-megapixel cameras.

So if you love your selfies and capturing group shots through the front camera, the Huawei Nova 3i will fit you like a glove.

But even the rear cameras produce some stunning images.

Huawei has proved its credentials in this department with the P20 Pro earlier this year and has harnessed that technology for this more affordable device.

Users will be extremely impressed with the results.

On the AI side, the camera will know what it’s looking at whether it’s a dog, a beach, a waterfall, an ancient building, a car, a sunrise, sunset, fireworks, a plant, blue sky or night time.

All up the device can recognise 22 categories of more than 500 scenes and give you the optimised result.

With the f2.2 aperture you can also create professional-looking bokeh effect shots as well.

The camera is one of the most popular features we use on a phone and it usually influences customer’s decision to buy that particular product.

The Huawei Nova 3i won’t let you down here.

Under the hood, the Huawei Nova 3i is powered by its own silicon – the Kirin 710 chipset with an integrated AI processor so you’re getting impressive performance and imaging signal processing so you’re looking at impressive images on the screen every time.

If you love playing games on the move, the Nova 3i also has your back thanks to its GPU Turbo technology to provide the grunt to play some of the best mobile games.

And users can even hide all the non-essential notifications while they’re playing for an uninterrupted experience.

The AI goes even further than that and is used to provide ambient noise cancellation depending on your surroundings, adjust to the environment for the clearest 4G signal and provide even more accurate positioning even in tunnels.

There is 4GB RAM and 128GB of on-board storage but you can expand that even further with a microSD card.

The SIM-card tray can support two 4G cards or a single SIM and a microSD card so you can choose how they want to use the device.

On the security side, there is Face Unlock and a fingerprint scanner – and both worked almost instantly whenever we needed to unlock the phone.

The 3,340mAh battery provides all-day performance.

For our review, Huawei Nova 3i easily handled the demands we put on the device is still had plenty of juice left for the evening.

And you can thank the on-board AI for that because the device is efficiently managed.

But there are a few things missing.

For one, the device is not water resistant so be careful you don’t spill a drink on it.

Picture taken with the Huawei Nova 3i

The other thing missing here is NFC (near field communication) so you won’t be only use this for tap and go payments or faster pairing of Bluetooth devices.

You also don’t have fast charging, but we found the device charged fast enough anyway.

And there is no USB-C port – a connection most of the latest phones are including. Instead there is the trusty old microUSB.

Picture taken with the Huawei Nova 3i

But the Huawei Nova 3i still offers a lot of value for the price. Yes, it does look a lot like the iPhone X.

Even the user interface looks very iOS-like but there is no denying the fact it has a strong Android flavour.

The Huawei Nova 3i is priced at $599 and available now.

VERDICT

The Huawei Nova 3i has a slick design, a great feel and is packed with top shelf features but without the flagship price. And the onboard camera will deliver excellent results as well.