The Nova 3i is the latest in Huawei’s quest for world smartphone dominance. It seems to have a smartphone in every niche from value to flagship.
The Nova 3i could easily pass for a much more expensive phone. A huge 6.3” screen with a notch, a luscious Iris Purple iridescent finish, 4/128GB RAM/storage, dual rear/dual front cameras and a 3,340mAh battery are things you pay close to a grand for.
But this costs just $599, and Huawei is throwing in a pair of “FreeBuds” that looks suspiciously like Apple’s AirPods!
OK, the purpose of a review is to find out where the compromises are and if they are deal breakers. Spoiler alert – this phone should be selling for a few hundred dollars more!
In the box – Huawei Nova 3i
- Charger 5V/2A (not quick charge)
- Micro-USB to USB-A cable
- 5 mm earbuds and mic
- Clear plastic bumper case
The first impression
I am a bloke. I buy black phones. This iridescent Iris Purple thing is stunning. Oh, and there is boring black as well.
OK, there is the Notch too – Huawei cleverly offers to turn that into a top bar. And a dual camera on the front- interesting. But it is that gorgeous 82.2% screen-to-body-ratio that makes it look more impressive than the price dictates.
On the rear are a fingerprint reader and a dual-lens camera bump. Modern and classy if not glassy. On that point, it is an aluminium frame and acrylic polycarbonate ‘glass’ back.
Buy in Australia – or you will regret it
The Model number is INE-LX2. From what we can find there are about a dozen variants for different countries and carriers.
We issue the standard warning that you must buy the genuine Model INE-LX2 (Optus single sim) and INX-LX2 dual sim with Australian firmware. It works on all Australian Carrier LTE bands. Watch out if it is called P Smart+
|Screen||6.3-inch, 2340 x 1080, 19.5:9, 409ppi, IPS
82.2% S-T-B-R with Notch
Screen protection not mentioned
There are very few 6.3″ phones in the price bracket. The front is almost all screen except for the ‘notch’ and a small bottom bezel.
The screen reaches 85% NTSC colour saturation. More importantly, it has settings for normal, vivid and three colour temperatures, so there is something for everyone. The auto brightness setting is set way too aggressively to save battery. I turned it off and set the brightness at 75%.
The screen also defaults to ‘smart resolution’ mode that is 1560 x 720 to save battery. While there is quite a visual difference to its 2350 x 1080 mode, most will select battery saving mode. All battery tests were in smart resolution mode.