Huawei nova 3e is the P20 for the budget-conscious

The P20 for the rest of us
Huawei nova 3e
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Huawei’s mid-range nova series is somewhat of a double-edged sword. At one end, it’s a massively successful premium-built mid-range smartphone for the masses. On the other, it goes head on with its own sub-brand honor in both hardware specs and price points. The latest nova 3e is the first update to the series in 2018 after last year’s highly popular nova 2i, nova 2 plus and nova 2 lite.

As you know, the nova 2i was a runaway hit – an irresistible package with top notch build quality, hardware specs and a killer price tag.

The nova 3e tows a similar line and is offered at a similarly attractive price point: MYR1,399.

You can think of the nova 3e as a “P20 Lite,” and at a quick glance you could easily mistake it for its flagship sibling. The resemblance is uncanny, especially round the back where there’s a familiar dual-camera setup arranged in a vertical array.

It’s well-built as a whole, sporting a glass and metal build although admittedly, it’s a notch or two lower in terms of premium-ness. The nova 3e is offered in two colour options – a new “fashion forward” Klein Blue (with glitter film) and a more understated Midnight Black.

Speaking of notch, you’ll notice there is one at the front. Love it or hate it, the notch places itself at the top, centerised and accommodating the selfie camera, speaker and ambient sensor.

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You may recognise the 5.84-inch 19:9 ratio display, adopted from the honor 10 – a FHD+ (1080×2280) unit that’s not only bright, but also delivers good contrast (1500:1 ratio) and viewing angles.

Under the hood, the device rocks the venerable octa-core Kirin 659 chip, an almost standard issue with Huawei’s and honor’s mid-range offerings. The power-efficient SoC is mated to 4GB of RAM and 128GB of inbuilt storage.

Storage should be ample but just in case you’re running shot, simply slot in a microSD card in the device’s hybrid tray.

Battery-wise, the nova 3e houses a decent 3,000mAh cell that charges up via USB Type-C. Huawei includes a 9V/2A power brick in the box.

The new Selfie Superstar

The nova 3e continues where last year’s nova series left off, which is to give the likes of self-declared selfie experts like OPPO and vivo a run for their money.

At the front, you’ll get a massive 24MP selfie shooter, that’s just 1MP shy of the OPPO F7’s (not that it matters, ultimately). Megapixels aside, what’s important is the beautification software and depth-of-field capabilities. The camera maps 96 recognition points on the subject’s face, cleverly enhancing selfies and ensuring every selfie is perfect.

What’s strangely missing is the P20 and P20 Pro’s impressive 3D Lighting effects. Perhaps that will be made available later via a software update.

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Round the back, the nova 3e rocks a 16MP (RGB) + 2MP (depth) f/2.2 dual-lens camera setup.

The device runs EMUI 8.0 based on Android Oreo.

Pricing and availability

The Huawei nova 3e will hit Malaysia starting 25 May 2018. It retails for MYR1,399 (inclusive of GST) and it will be available at all Huawei Experience Stores and selected authorised dealers.

As you may know, Huawei is giving six percent cash back on selected devices, from 18 till 31 May 2018. After the MYR79 cash back, the nova 3e will be priced at MYR1,320.

Customers will also receive a free Huawei Tripod Selfie Stick worth MYR68 for every purchase of the nova 3e, whilst stocks last.

Initial thoughts

Want a P20 on a budget? The nova 3e satisfies that. Granted, it’s really an improved nova 2i underneath – with a better display and generous 128GB of internal storage. The nova 2i, by the way, is sitting nicely as an alternative, currently priced at MYR999.

Photos: Hanif Azrai | SoyaCincau – BM

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