Huawei has catapulted itself up the ranks of the smartphone race, riding on the success of its premium flagship P and Mate series in recent years. It has made huge leaps in terms of brand visibility and affinity too, thanks to its strategic partnerships with iconic brands like Leica and Pantone, just to name a few. The keenly competitive mid-range segment, however, isn’t one to be ignored. Hence, the debut of the nova series back in 2016.
If you can recall, Huawei introduced the ground-breaking quad-camera, full view nova 2i last year. Ground-breaking because it packed impressive specs for a mid-range device, yet was made available at an accessible price point. It was in fact, a segment-defining effort, one that would set the benchmark not only for the industry but also for Huawei and its sub-brand honor.
Almost a year on, the smartphone scene has changed. For the better, mostly, aside from the notch (ahem). Full view displays, dual-cameras and AI-enhanced features are now pretty much ubiquitous.
So, how do you top a product that’s already so good?
Well, you make it better of course. And you try to push the envelope ever so slightly.
And I think Huawei has done it again with the new nova 3 and nova 3i, successors to the nova 2i.
Huawei nova 3
The nova 3 is the top-of-the-line model in the nova line-up. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find the top-rung Kirin 970 chipset with NPU inside, mated to a generous 6GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage (expandable via microSD). A 3,750mAh cell supplies the necessary juice, and it charges via USB Type-C with support for 9V5A fast-charging.
In terms of optics, the nova 3 packs a 16MP (RGB) + 24MP (monochrome) f/1.8 dual-camera setup on the rear, while it gets a 24MP + 2MP (depth) selfie shooter on the front. As seen on the Huawei P20 series, the nova 3 also gets the benefits of Master AI, an AI-assisted, intelligent photography mode that optimises your images through real-time object and scene recognition, amongst other things.
Over on the front, AI plays a crucial role in beautification, working together with 3D facial recognition, scene recognition, and HDR Pro. There’s 3D Portrait Lighting, something you’ve seen on the P20 series, as well as 3D Qmoji, Huawei’s own Animoji/AR Emoji. For better selfies in low light, there is Light Fusion technology that combines four pixels into a large pixel for better brightness and less noise.
By the way the dual front cameras enables superfast 360-degree face unlock.
Moving on, the device gets a notched 6.3-inch Full HD+ display (2340×1080) with a 19.5:9 screen aspect ratio, which is 6% larger than the nova 2i. The display offers 85 percent NTSC colour gamut and 81 percent screen-to-body ratio.
In terms of design, the nova 3 features a 3D glass design that has flagship-level fit and finish. The glass body has a gradient colour back, as seen on the flagship P20 series and the honor 10.
Huawei nova 3i
The nova 3i takes things down a notch, packing the new mid-range 12nm Kirin 710 chip with AI. This new chip offers 2X CPU single-core performance as well as 2.26X GPU performance gains over the nova 2i’s Kirin 659. Huawei says this chip performs on par as the Qualcomm 660.
The device comes with 4GB of RAM and a generous 128GB of onboard storage (expandable via microSD).
It gets a slightly smaller 3,340mAh that charge up via old school micro-USB sans fast-charging.
The phone features the same 6.3-inch Full HD+ display (2340×1080) with a 19.5:9 screen aspect ratio.
In terms of shooters, the nova 3i offers a 16MP + 2MP (depth) camera combo on the rear, while the front gets a 24MP f/2.0 + 2MP (depth) setup. While the Kirin 710 doesn’t come with a dedicated NPU, the device still offers Master AI which has real-time scene detection.
The cameras are similar to the ones found on the predecessor nova 2i, however Huawei claims they’re better through an enhanced ISP and independent DSP.
Both the nova 3 and nova 3i supports GPU Turbo, a performance-enhancing, gaming-centric set of tweaks that can boost GPU performance by up to 60 percent. It also reduces SoC energy consumption by 30 percent. GPU Turbo supports PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends.
AI recognises a game screen and puts the phone into game mode, which allows for uninterrupted play and an optimised GPU.
Huawei will release GPU Turbo as a software update from 8 August 2018 onwards.
The nova 3 and 3i run Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.1 on top.
Pricing and availability
The nova 3 is priced at MYR1,899 while the nova 3i retails for MYR1,249.
The nova 3i will be made available first – starting 28 July 2018 at all Huawei Experience Stores, display zones, authorised dealers and major telcos.
On the other hand, the nova 3 will be available starting 17 August 2018.
Both the nova 3 and 3i come in a special two-tone Iris Purple colourway. The nova 3 also comes in Black and Red, while the nova 3i has White and Black options as well.
Nova 3i launch promotion
Huawei will start the sale of the nova 3i at IOI City Mall in Putrajaya on 28 July 2018. The first 1,000 customers who purchase at the Huawei Experience Store, IOI City Mall will receive a Huawei Bluetooth earpiece, Huawei A2 Band and a Nerd Unit t-shirt as well as co-branding offers worth up to MYR1,000. Whilst stocks last.
If you don’t want to fork out cash outright, you can opt for a 12-month, 0% interest easy payment plan. Payments can be in six or 12-month instalments and is available to all Citibank, HSBC Bank, Public Bank, Maybank, CIMB Bank, Am Bank and Hong Leong Bank credit card users.
Exclusive to nova users, Huawei has a user reward program that offers exclusive rewards from Sunway Lagoon, Celebrity Fitness, Grab, Nerd Unit, Starbucks, and more, worth up to MYR1,000. Promotions are valid until 31 December 2018.