Huawei launched Nova 3i and Nova 3 in India, so after it was introduced in China. The Nova 3i doesn’t pose top-end features like Nova 3 but has a similar design, alike 24-megapixel front camera and is the first smartphone to be powered by Huawei’s latest Kirin 710 Octa-Core 12nm SoC with support for GPU Turbo feature and AI features. But that said, is it worth at the price of Rs 20,999? let find out.

Huawei Nova 3i: Unboxing

The unboxing experience was quite pleasant, though not that interesting. You will find the phone at the top and other accessories down below. The best part about the unboxing is that the company has added a silicon case on the box, which is a nice gesture to kick the Huawei Nova 3i experience. Well, here are the box contents;

  • Huawei Nova 3i smartphone in black colour (would have prefered Iris colour though).
  • 2-pin charger (5V-2A)
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Headset
  • SIM Ejector Tool
  • Clear protective case
  • User manual and warranty information

Huawei Nova 3i: Design

On the top inside the notch, there is an earpiece with a tiny multi-colour notification LED embedded into it, 24-megapixel camera along with a secondary 2-megapixel camera, and the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors. It has a gyroscope and a magnetometer for VR headsets.

Huawei Nova 3i

Down below the screen, there’s a small bezel below the screen, but it doesn’t have any branding like the P20 Lite. Coming to the ports, the phone has a volume rocker and the power button on the right side, hybrid dual SIM slot on the left, secondary microphone on the top, and the 3.5mm audio jack, Micro USB port, primary microphone and the loudspeaker grill on the bottom.

The build quality is good, but the back prone to smudges easily. The phone has a metal frame, measures 157.6×75.2×7.6mm and weighs 169 grams. Even though the phone looks and feels huge, but it is easy for single-handed usage. It is recommended to use the bundled clear cover to protect the back. Overall the build quality of the phone is good, and the phone has a premium design.

Huawei Nova 3i: Display

The Nova 3i comes with a 6.3-inch Full HD+ LCD 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, a pixel density of 409 PPI, 19:5:9 aspect ratio with a notch, apparently giving out a screen-to-body ratio of about 82%. The display is bright, vibrant, and offers a good colour reproduction, thanks to 85% NTSC colour gamut. It also has good viewing angles and legibility in sunlight is good as well.

Huawei Nova 3i

Not just that, if you’re on the “I Hate Notch” team, the company also gives an option to hide the notch by darkening the surrounding areas. Just in case you want to use the full-screen real estate (19:9 aspect ratio), you can pinch and zoom or enable full-screen display, but the content gets cropped.

Huawei Nova 3i

Features don’t stop here, you can select the screen resolution to HD+ or select the smart resolution that automatically lowers the screen resolution to help save power. There is also an inclusion of Eye comfort mode which filters the blue light, which is quite useful for reading at night as it avoids eye strain.

Huawei Nova 3i: Camera

Coming to the camera, the phone has a 16-megapixel rear camera with 5P lens and f/2.2, PDAF along with a 2-megapixel secondary camera with f/2.2 for portrait shots, identical to the Huawei P20 Lite. At the front, there’s a 24-megapixel camera with 1.0 μm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture and a 78° wide-angle lens along with a 2-megapixel secondary camera with f/2.0 aperture for portrait selfies.

Huawei Nova 3i

The Camera UI is pretty similar with a smart shipping feature that lets you just scan the object and identify the item on Amazon, a toggle for flash, AI, moving picture mode on the top, while the bottom bar houses mini-gallery, shutter button, and video mode. It has Aperture, Portrait, AR lens lets you animate your facial expressions, movements and voice to generate personalized Qmoji GIFs or videos as well as AR effects using 3D objects.

Other options include Pro photo, Pro Video, Slow-mo, Night, Panorama, Light painting, HDR, Time-lapse, Filter, 3D panorama, Watermark, Document scan and Artist mode. Well, when AI mode is enabled, the phone can recognize 22 categories of 500+ scenes and provides optimized shooting result. Some of them include Flower, Group Photo, Food, Beach, Waterfall, Text, Night, Sunrise/ Sunset.

Now, coming to the image quality, the daylight images are good, macro shots are fine, but hard to focus. Portrait shots are good with a good amount of blur, but sometimes it’s overdone. The Low-light shots have noise, but the night shot mode is better in capturing a perfect image even in poor lighting since the phone has adjustable exposure of up to 32 seconds in the mode.

Huawei Nova 3i

The front camera is pretty good at capturing details, especially in portrait mode, and the bokeh mode is good as well since it uses a separate camera instead of using software to blur the background. The HDR Pro for the front camera uses AI offering balanced photographs and videos even in direct sunlight.

Huawei Nova 3i

The phone can record 1080p videos at up to 60fps, and there is also an option to choose H.265 codec in addition to H.264. The video quality is good, and the audio is crisp since it has a secondary microphone, the company could have offered 4K recording.

Huawei Nova 3i

There is also 16x Super Slow Motion mode offering 480 frames per second video recording at 720p for 10 seconds, but the quality is not up to mark. It also has Automatic Motion Detection, which allows users to capture any fleeting moment easily. I have been posting videos and photos from Nova 3i on my Instagram handle, do check.

Huawei Nova 3i: Performance

The phone is the first to be powered by Huawei’s own Octa-Core Kirin 710 Octa-Core 12nm processor with Mali-G51 MP4 GPU and AI photo features under the hood. The 4GB RAM compliments the hardware in making multi-tasking easier than ever. Talking about the real world experience, the performance is smooth and snappy as we experienced no lag or hang.

Huawei Nova 3i

It is good even for graphic-intensive games like PUBG, but the Qualcomm counterpart, Snapdragon 660 does a better job than the Kirin 710, even though the company promises better performance with the GPU Turbo technology, it is hard to compare these. Overall a snappy performance and you won’t go wrong with this one either. We are not adding any synthetic benchmarks as there are a lot of rumours regarding Huawei cheating the benchmarks.

Huawei Nova 3i: Software, UI and Apps

The phone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Android security update for July 2018 and has Treble support. The phone runs EMUI 8.2 out of the box, which offers a ton of nifty features that usual ROMs miss, like Flip to mute, pickup to reduce ring, three-finger screenshot gestures, App Twin and so on.

Huawei Nova 3i

Out of 128GB storage, you get 112GB free storage, out of 4GB RAM, 3.65GB is usable. Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, the phone comes with Facebook, Instagram, and some games preinstalled, however, these can be uninstalled.

Fingerprint Sensor And Face Unlock

Huawei Nova 3i

The phone comes equipped with a fingerprint scanner on the back, which worked really well, although not with watery fingers. You can add up to 5 fingerprints and you can also take photos or video, answer calls, bring down the notification panel and browse photos with it. There is also has Face unlock the can unlock the phone quickly, but it requires a good amount of lighting to work and is less secure compared to fingerprint.

Miscellaneous 

The phone has a separate music player with support for Huawei Histen sound effects as well as an equalizer when you use headphones. Audio through the third-party headset is good, and the loudspeaker is good as well. It also has FM Radio support.

Huawei Nova 3i

It supports 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio and Airtel as well as support Dual 4G VoLTE that offers 4G in both the SIM cards at a time. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE and GPS. It also has USB OTG support that lets you connect USB drives. Coming to the call quality, it was good and we did not face any call drops and earpiece volume was loud as well.

Huawei Nova 3i: Battery Life

It is powered by 3340mAh battery under the hood, slightly bigger than the 3,000mAh battery on the P20 Lite. It can last for the whole day even with heavy use, thanks to the optimization, and it should last more than a day with casual use.

Huawei Nova 3i

Not just that, it also has power saving mode and ultra-power saving mode to increase the battery life. The downside is that this phone doesn’t have fast charging and uses micro USB. Well, that reflects in its charging time, it took about 2 hours and 15 minutes to charge from 0 to 100% with the bundled charger, and 0 to 50% took about 1 hour and 5 minutes.

Verdict

The Huawei Nova 3i is just another smartphone with a good display, attractive design, good performance and amazing cameras with AI, at a price tag of Rs. 20,999. It lacks fast charging and 4K video recording. Well, apart from the drawback, the competition is high, the company’s own Honor Play that is Rs. 1000 cheaper offers better value for money, other new contenders like the POCO F1 by Xiaomi offers a better package at the same price.

The Huawei Nova 3i is available exclusively from Amazon.in. If you are going to buy Nova 3i, we would recommend you to get Iris Purple version, although for review we got the black (it’s good too).

Pros

  • Good display
  • Good design
  • Brilliant set of cameras
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • No 4K video recording
  • Micro USB port and no fast charging
  • Priced slightly on the higher side

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