New name, new market segment: the smartphone Huawei nova has decided to attack the upper segment of the mass market. Of the strengths of the smartphone stated high efficiency, as well as the camera above the average. At the same time, a smartphone should not compromise the other Huawei model including leader company. But as our tests will show, such a balance is not easy to achieve.
Let’s start with the pleasant. For 5-inch Full-HD, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB of flash memory and a camera above the average you will have to pay 350 euros in Europe. The flagship Huawei P9 will cost from 420 euros or much more expensive. On the other hand, for the Sony Xperia Z3 + will have to pay cheaper – from 320 euros. HTC One M9 and Samsung Galaxy S6 are comparable – about 370 euros. If you are interested in a bigger display, then pay attention to nova Plus at a price of 429 euros.
If we take the recommended price, the Huawei nova is located between P9 lite (299 euros) and GX8 (399 euros).
Let’s start with the promise of high efficiency. In Huawei nova presentations during the exhibition IFA Huawei indicated good battery life, charging have to be connected only on the second day in the evening. Even under the game Pokemon Go provides excellent battery life. However, the reason lies not in the high-capacity battery or a revolutionary new SoC. Simply smart phone is based on proven technology. Battery capacity is quite typical of 3.020 mAh, SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 is relatively fresh, but does not set records.
SoC has been declared at the beginning of 2016, the chip is made on 14-nm process and contains eight cores Cortex A53 at up to 2.0 GHz, complemented by graphics Adreno 506. SoC unit came to replace the family of Snapdragon 61x. Technically, the Snapdragon 625 for a generation lags behind the Snapdragon 820. Therefore, the chip can hardly be expected to record the efficiency and performance it will be positioned slightly above average. But, at least, Huawei’s smartphone equipped 3 GB of RAM.
In 3DMark test, we got 13,800 and 460 points (Ice Storm Unlimited / Slingshot), in PCMark test – a good 5,700 points. In AnTuTu 6 performance amounted to almost 64,000 points in Geekbench 3 – nearly 940 points and 4,700 runs in single and multi. GPU does not set records: Adreno 506 refers to the current generation, but we get more features entry-level model. However, the graphics processor meets the minimum requirements for Android 7.0: supports OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan 1.0, although an update about Nougat not yet known. As for graphically demanding applications, there should not expect miracles. If you plan to use your smartphone as a mobile gaming console, the test will have to settle GFXBench 10 and 23 fps (Manhattan scenarios and T-Rex, the two offscreen).
In practice, complaints have arisen. In the test we had no problems using the Internet, working with email and documents, run the usual applications. Huawei nova is well-suited for everyday scenarios, but any particular efficiency, we have not noticed.
Effectiveness of several picture clouded, take a look at the test results of battery life. The cyclic test video playback Huawei nova did not last seven hours, in the PCMark test, the result was about six and a half hours. The usual average.
In practice, Huawei nova smartphone could last more than two days, the charge had to be connected in 55 hours. There smartphone really was one of the best in its class, it is able to compete with the best models. But, again, true to the old formula: the less power saving features Android Doze used, the shorter the battery life. No SoC, or display the wonders of energy consumption do not show.
Huawei is not pleased, and additional features. The smartphone is integrated removable battery at 3.020 mAh, charging power up to 10 watts. Smartphone does not use the technology fast charging Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0, although it is supported SoC, wireless charging is not available. At least the interface USB Type C facilitates the connection charge.
Given the price and features of other models of Huawei equipment is not surprising. The SoC is integrated LTE modem with high data rates, antenna system ensures stable data transmission and voice communications. The two speakers (one in front, second from the bottom end) well with voice communication, but for listening to music is still not enough middle and low frequencies. Background noises are filtered reliably, good microphones, the source heard our voice clearly.
Smartphone does not support the most recent WLAN 802.11n standard, which is quite strange, considering the price. There is support for Bluetooth 4.1, and have NFC. Port USB Type C, as well as the WLAN module is not running at maximum speed. As in the case of P9, we have only USB 2.0.
However, in everyday use it does not pay attention. Built-in memory capacity of 32 GB running at a fairly good speed – up to 66 MB / s write and 186 MB / s for reading. If the memory is not enough, Huawei allows it to be expanded using a microSD card. If you purchase version Huawei nova dual SIM, you will have to choose between a second SIM-card and microSD.
Fingerprint sensor corresponding to the level 4 is used is the same as that of P9, the corresponding set of functions. Fingerprint recognition is fast and accurate. Unlock Huawei nova smartphone with the sensor can be switched off and the display.
With a diagonal of 5.0 inches Huawei nova smartphone refers to the comparatively compact models on the market, few modern smartphones come with a screen smaller diagonal. For comparison, the same compact P9 is equipped with 5.2-inch screen, and we get a diagonal of 5.1 in Galaxy S7 “. Resolution 1.920 x 1.080 pixels is typical for this price range. The density of the pixels is 441-ppi, it provides more than enough detail , the IPS panel provides good viewing angles and color reproduction quality. The color temperature can be adjusted. Staffing we get quite cold temperature of 9.200 K, setting “warm” and “cold” is not quite give optimum 7.800 and 10.500 K. With the help of the manual mode can be achieved by 7500 K, but this level can not be called perfect.
The best situation for brightness and contrast. At the maximum setting display gives brightness 533 cd / m², it is sufficient for bright environments, but not in direct sunlight. Contrast, we got an excellent, although the level of 1.493: 1 is still inferior to more expensive smartphones.
Even with the advent of P9, it became clear that Huawei has decided to pay particular attention to the camera. In previous smartphone camera quality it has been above average, but the spring Huawei has taken an important step forward, enlisting the support of Leica. Therefore, the new smartphone camera, we were expecting too much. However, miracles do not happen, yet we face mid-level smartphone. Huawei nova provides images with a quality above average or even good, but in a meager light quality begins to decline.
The reason lies in the hardware. In contrast, the “older” Huawei nova Plus model, there is no optical stabilizer, aperture of F2.2, which is no good for shooting at dusk. The pixel size is not so big – 1.25 microns. The camera is based on the Sony IMX286 sensor with 12 megapixel resolution, focusing is performed by determining the phase. The camera adds LED-flash.
In good light camera convincingly cope with color and brightness gradations, but objects in the distance can be seen the loss of detail. In addition, the surface is sometimes seem rather dirty. Sharpen the edges of the frame is reduced, which can be seen even at 100% magnification image. Objects in the shadows too strongly highlighted. Noise in the image is noticeable even at ISO 100, but it can not be called excessive. The situation is getting worse with the noise at ISO increase, at the same level ISO 800 noise is too much.
For the less experienced photographers Huawei offers a variety of modes to facilitate shooting. However, if desired and available professional Pro mode. It is possible to change some parameters to train if it is possible to achieve higher image quality than in automatic mode.
Interesting surprises we have for shooting video. So far, Huawei did not offer higher resolution Full-HD, distancing themselves from the Nexus 6P. mid-range smartphone breaks this tradition available to the user UHD resolution, namely, 2160p at 30 fps. The reason lies in the SoC, which provides the appropriate support. But performance is not a record. The UHD mode between the shutter release and the visible reaction takes two seconds. Another drawback concerns the length of the video. If the 720p and 1080p are no restrictions on the length, just to have enough space, Huawei nova in the high resolution lets you shoot videos no longer than 10 minutes. If required, UHD is also supported by the object tracking in focus, but the digital stabilization system is available only in lower resolutions.
Shooting video quality is slightly above average. The artifacts are noticeable only in the fast-moving objects, not so much. Color and brightness gradients, for the most part retained. But Huawei nova in UHD still there are problems on scenes with high contrast: the dark areas are too dark, and vice versa. A nice bonus was the Slow Motion mode, which supports Huawei nova resolution 720p c 120 fps; but time-lapse video is not supported.
For selfie smartphone camera offers 8 megapixels with F2.0 aperture, in terms of lighting quality lean enough for snapshots. If the lighting is better, and images rise in quality is above average.
Camera application complies Huawei traditions. The structure is clear and understandable, all the basic functions are attainable, maximum, in two stages. Available in different modes such as light painting or decoration picture, there is also support for the HDR, but without automatic activation. Again, there are nine filters, the influence of which can be immediately evaluated on the screen.
The latest versions of Android and Huawei – a topic. At least for its more expensive models of Huawei tries to regularly release updates, but still with very substantial delay. The same goes for the new models. Huawei nova smartphone was announced in early September, a week after the official presentation of Android 7.0. The smartphone has appeared in European retail a few days ago, while he was still equipped with Android 6.0. Information about the planned upgrade yet either. All this is quite sad, because the same security update, I would like to receive as quickly as possible.
The rest of the criticism a bit. Huawei has added to its corporate EMUI Android interface in version 4.1, which is significantly different from the “pure” Android. There is no separate menu with applications, as well as a number of changes known to other smartphones of the Chinese producer. However, if you are familiar with Huawei smartphone for the first time, you probably quickly get into the interface.
In EMUI are still two advantages: a relatively low consumption of resources and rich personalization features – the user can change the various elements of the interface to your taste.
There is also a convenient supplement. For example, a fingerprint sensor can be used to display notifications or close the shutter, and to navigate in the gallery. Supported Management and knuckles. Such a method is very convenient, for example, for creating screenshots.
Huawei continues to pay special attention to the body. Of course, the design – a matter of taste, but the quality raises no objections manufacturing. All components are tightly adjusted to each other, we have not noticed uneven gaps. The buttons on the right side are embedded carefully, without play, the switching point is well palpable. In the hands of the body it feels great. The metal leaves the impression of high quality, although a plastic insert in the bottom of the backdrop several disguises
Ergonomics is also on the usual high level. If you have long fingers, it is possible to work with the smartphone with one hand without any problems. If not, it will be difficult to reach some areas of the screen. Dimensions Huawei nova 141,2 x 69,1 x 7,1 mm several smaller than most competitors in the 5-inch class, but the weight is 146 grams heavier than a little. The display is a relatively small part of the front panel – about 70%, the buttons on the right side are located conveniently, the same applies to the fingerprint sensor from behind.
Visually Huawei nova is between P9 and GX8, you can easily find the similarities with the two sister models. On the front of the logo of the manufacturer only catches the eye, behind the top stands a dark paste, in which the camera is located. Backdrop slanted to the right and the left edge, which allows a smartphone to look thinner than it actually is. And in the hand of such body is better.
Also tested the gray version you can buy silver model. The back of her little lighter, and the white front panel.
I do not like to believe in it not once, but on a smartphone nova Mate S. Both models have become for the Chinese manufacturer of the experimental, as they are quite different from the usual Huawei smartphones. But if Mate S unpleasantly surprised by the high price, Huawei nova correctly positioned in the middle segment. Of course, at a price ranging from 300 to 400 euros on the market quite a lot of interesting models, but Huawei nova has prepared a number of advantages that should help smartphone to beat the competition.
However, not all of these benefits are, in practice, such as we would like Huawei. SoC really gives sufficient performance for everyday scenarios, but in severe applications, it quickly “out of steam”. Battery life in everyday use is quite good, which was the result of an optimal balance of CPU efficiency, battery capacity and operating system features.
For many users, more interesting Huawei increased attention to the camera. For its price the smartphone really does give high-quality images, there is also support 4K. But if you pay a little extra, you can get a smartphone with a better camera. For example, the same Huawei P9 will cost from 420 euros.
In favor of Huawei nova say a few advantages as well as the absence of major shortcomings. The new building, expandable memory slot and USB Type C (albeit USB 2.0 only) – all of this can be attributed to the benefits. It is a pity that Huawei again did not support the latest WLAN standards. For non-removable battery all have become accustomed, however, we face a disadvantage. About the program filling mixed impressions. On the one hand, it is a pity that the smartphone comes with an outdated version of Android 6.0. On the other hand, the operating system and EMUI go perfectly.
In the end, a general recommendation, we will not give. The positive impressions outweigh the disadvantages, but the Huawei nova should be considered only if you need just such a set of benefits. If your budget is less than € 400, you need long battery life, the display with a diagonal of 5 inches and the ability to shoot 4K video, the Huawei nova – an excellent choice among today’s smartphones. If you’re willing to put up with the older model, the options list is expanded. We have noted the Moto X 2nd Gen, Nexus 5X and Galaxy S6.
Overall, Huawei nova – a good mid-range smartphone, but it can become a victim of falling prices. Today you can buy a smartphone with a similar or even larger set of features for less.