Review: Huawei Nova Plus

Huawei has grown more popular over the past few months with each of its devices bringing something unique to the table. At IFA 2016, the company announced its Nova series of smartphones. Having used the Huawei Nova Plus for a few weeks, we look at how it fares.

Design and build

sequence-03-00_00_15_22-still004The shortcomings are few when it comes to design and build quality. The robust unibody aluminium construction, along with the slightly chamferred edges, results in a nice feel in the hand. The subtle curves are good to maintain a compact feel. The textured home button shows how much attention to detail went into designing the smartphone. The fingerprint scanner is accurate too. On the flip side, the slightly larger camera hump results in the rocking motion of the device when placed flat on a surface and the back is prone to catching a few smudges here and there.

Software and user experience

sequence-03-00_01_59_09-still007The above-par 5.5-inch 1080p display has a pixel density of 401 ppi and is driven by mid-range specifications. A Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 chipset is found alongside 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 506 GPU. Comparing the device with flagship smartphones may show some hiccups but in day-to-day usage, the chipset held up very well. Even better was the GPU, that managed to run high-graphic titles with ease. The software user experience was also not bad. EMUI 4.1 doesn’t resemble the stock Android UI and the noticeable absence of an app drawer will be disappointing. However, its integration into the Nova Plus’ hardware is great and the included Themes application allows users to fine-tune the look of their devices.

Camera

sequence-03-00_05_13_14-still009When it comes to camera, the 16MP unit offers a variety of features including phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilisation. Most pictures taken in daylight are good and offer good dynamic range. However, colours sometimes tend to be washed out. In darker situations, more noise is visible but the Night Mode found on the phone combats that to a good extent. There is an All-Focus feature that allows users to change the focus of the picture once it has been taken, while the Light Painting option produces some great images by varying shutter speed. In terms of video, the Nova Plus is capable of recording 4K quality at 30fps but suffers from stability issues. The slightly lower quality 1080p videos do however support optical image stabilisation, producing much better results. For selfies, the front 8MP shooter is more than capable and wide enough to accommodate 2-3 people but its video and audio recording qualities at 1080p were disappointing. For samples, click here.

Battery and conclusion

A mammoth 3,340mAh battery is found on the Nova Plus, which is more than capable of providing a day’s use and more. On most days, the battery recorded a screen-on time of 6-7 hours, which is terrific. On more intensive days, timings dropped below the 5.5 hour mark, which is still great. Unfortunately, the metal body prevents wireless charging support but the included charging cable and brick result in fast charging times via the USB-C port.

sequence-03-00_04_11_12-still008The Huawei Nova Plus is a smartphone for people seeking a mid-range smartphone capable of holding its ground in most situations. It is commendable to see Huawei pull off a device of this nature at a price considerably less than flagship smartphones. Even so, the smartphone faces stiff competition from the OnePlus 3 or the ZTE Axon 7 at a price point of Dh1,755. Coming in prestige gold, mystic silver and titanium grey, the device is sure to match anyone’s style choice when it releases next month.