Huawei Nova 3i quick review: Its P20-like design is a winner

The quad-camera-sporting Huawei Nova 3i launches on July 28 at the starting price of P15,990

Kyle Chua

12:29:58pm July 18, 2018

12:30:34pm July 18, 2018

CURVATURE. The design language of the premium P20 phones trickle to Huawei's new midrange offering, the Nova 3i. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

CURVATURE. The design language of the premium P20 phones trickle to Huawei's new midrange offering, the Nova 3i. Photo by Kyle Chua/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines - Huawei has recently been knocking it out of the park with the phones they have recently been releasing – great design and solid overall packages that allow them to remain competitive even with the influx of more budget models from other Chinese brands. This remains true with the Nova 3i which combines stylish design with some commendable specs.

The Nova 3i has a premium-looking glass back that is both elegant and sleek. The back seems to mimic a bit of the P20’s design by positioning the dual rear cameras in the upper left-hand corner of the phone. Meanwhile, it keeps the fingerprint sensor in the same place as its predecessor, the Nova 2i.

Moving to the front, the Nova 3i flaunts a 6.3-inch 18:9 ratio display which has some solid viewing angles. It has a notch cutout that, similar to the P20, can be toggled off. It's got a great screen: a full HD-plus display (2,340 X 1,080), carrying 409 pixels per inch.

The phone houses a dual-camera system both for its rear and front-facing shooters. For the back, it has a 16-megapixel (MP) and 2MP lenses. And for the front, it has a 24MP shooter paired with another 2-megapixel lens. On paper, the cameras are clearly far from what the P20 or the P20 Pro are offering – and they lack the Leica pedigree – but, they're serviceable for its price.

I also tried the new Qmoji feature which is essentially Huawei’s answer to Apple’s Animoji. The feature allows users to record 10-second videos with animated characters mirroring their expressions with the help of the camera’s facial recognition system.  While facial detection is not as responsive as the iPhone X’s, it manages to capture a number of facial expressions quite well. It's great to have this feature in a relatively inexpensive phone.

Here it is in action:

The phone is powered by the newly-introduced Kirin 710 with options for 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of internal storage. It comes packed with a 3,650mAh battery that lasted me a day and half under heavy use. When factoring the specs and the flagship look and feel of the phone, it’s easy to recommend the Nova 3i for anyone looking for a new midrange smartphone.

It's a very crowded market but the Nova 3i's P20-like looks, the cute Qmoji feature, quad cameras, and that it carries one of Huawei's newest processor, give it some fighting chance. 

Huawei Nova 3i launches on July 28 for the starting price of P15,990. Pre-orders are from July 19 to 27, which will come with a free Bluetooth speaker. – Rappler.com

(Disclosure: Huawei lent a unit for the purposes of this article.)