Huawei nova 4: High-end on a budget?

Supernova?

We have covered Huawei’s nova series since it was very first introduced. And over the years, the evolution is visibly there. With the nova 4, Huawei is pushing boundaries further. Rocking a fairly high-end processor, a modern design and a triple camera suite, where does it stand?

Design and display

Like many phones these days, the finish of the nova 4 is a gradient type. The blue and purple combination screams eye-candy and combined with the metal and glass build, the phone is premium in the hand. Aside from the robust volume and power button, you find a 3.5mm headphone jack as well as an IR blaster on the phone.

Figure 1: The blue and purple color scheme on glass looks stunning

A single speaker and the USB-C take up the bottom of the phone whereas the left side houses the dual-SIM slot. The back is where the triple camera resides alongside the comfortably placed fingerprint scanner.

Figure 2: Huawei’s solution to the notch is a punch hole type display

For a phone at this price, the most striking feature is its display. Its a 6.4-inch Full HD+ panel but is of a punch hole design. This means that the phone is bezel-free apart from the 25MP front camera found on the top right. With a design like this, it is impressive that Huawei has managed to fit in the speaker grill as well as a notification LED on the phone.

Performance

The nova 4 makes very little sacrifice in terms of performance. A HiSilicon Kirin 970 octa-core processor clocked at 2.4GHz runs the show alongside 8GB RAM. This is a chipset that was flagship level just last year and to see it on a phone of this stature is impressive.

Figure 3: EMUI 9.0 is snappy all across the board

Furthermore, you will find EMUI 9.0 in terms of software running atop Android 9.0 Pie. This experience is the same as on the flagship Huawei Mate 20 Pro complete with GPU Turbo support from the Mali-G72 MP12.

Figure 4: With GPU Turbo, gaming performance should stay smooth

But while most of the phone is kitted out, a notable omission is NFC. This has been a recurring trend on mid-range Huawei smartphones and it is disappointing to see it continue.

Camera

Following from the Huawei P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro, the nova 4 is only Huawei’s third triple-camera smartphone. On it, you find a 20MP sensor, a 16MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP depth sensor. Using the NPU of the Kirin 970 processor, the phone also supports AI photography.

Figure 5: This is only Huawei’s third smartphone with a triple AI enabled camera setup

To add, there is support for 4K video recording and a dedicated night mode too. The combination of the wide-angle lens and Huawei’s software suite is a promising one on paper. But we will have to see how it holds up with use. Be sure to check out some of the photo samples from the phone here.

Conclusion

There is still a lot to explore on the nova 4. The 3,750mAh battery and EMUI 9.0’s optimization will be key. This is especially because of how the nova 4’s punch hole style design. But so far, the phone seems to have great promise.