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Huawei nova 8 Unboxing, Quick Review Philippines: New Mid-range Challenger

by John Nieves  August 12, 2021

Initial impressions: The Huawei nova 8 has plenty of great things going for it, but is it enough to challenge other premium mid-range contenders in the Philippines?

Pros

  • Large sensor size on the main camera
  • Excellent design
  • Great-looking display
  • 66W SuperCharge tech

Cons

  • Price is at the mid-range threshold
  • Sourcing apps might be a problem
  • Small-ish battery

Huawei Nova 8 Philippines Specs:

  • Kirin 820E processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • 6.57-inch Full HD+ curved OLED display, 10-bit color, 90hz refresh rate
  • 64-megapixel f/1.9 main camera with PDAF, 8-megapixel f/2.4 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2-megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor, 2-megapixel f/2.4 macro camera
  • 32-megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera
  • 4G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
  • In-display fingerprint scanner
  • 3800mAh battery
  • 66w charging
  • HarmonyOS

Huawei is officially releasing two new members of its nova family today. We’ve managed to snag a review unit of the nova 8 before it hits Lazada, Shopee, and Huawei’s own virtual store, so let’s take a look at what you can expect from the new phone and all the goodies that come in the box:

Packaging and contents:

Huawei’s been real consistent about their packaging for their mid-range devices, and the nova 8 is no exception to that. The phone comes in a mostly plain white box with the phone’s name printed right in front.

Opening the box you’ll see the phone, silicone case, as well as a USB Type-C cable, and the fast charger. It’s standard fare as far as smartphone freebies go, so no surprise there.

Design

We really don’t see as many phones from Huawei compared to a few years ago which is a shame, considering how nice their phones look in person. The nova 8 is no exception – the phone looks and feels more like a flagship phone than a mid-range one.

One thing that’ll strike you immediately is how skinny this phone is. At just 7.64mm with the curved panel, it’s one of the skinniest phones we’ve tested recently, making it incredibly easy to hold and grip one-handed.

Our review unit came in the brand’s new Blush Gold colorway, which has a dual-film, dual-plating process that’s also been treated with an anti-glare coating. The color makes the phone look incredibly pretty, with the device reflecting different shades of colors depending on how the light hits it.

Eagle-eyed readers may also notice the fact that Huawei added a bit of their P-series design to the nova 8’s camera module. The prominent, oval-shaped module contains the 64-megapixel main camera as well as three other snappers and the phone’s LED flash.

Because of the phone’s slender dimensions, you don’t get a 3.5mm jack here, and there’s no option for expandability via microSD. A single speaker grille flanks the USB Type-C port on the bottom of the device.

Display

The Huawei nova 8 gets a 6.57-inch full HD+ OLED display that has a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s a curved display, with the panel running all the way to the side of the phone, merging neatly with the aluminum frame at the side.

Huawei’s particularly proud of the display on the nova 8, as they should be: aside from that buttery-smooth frame rate, the phone also sports has a Delta E value of less than 1, HDR capabilities, 240Hz touch-sampling rate, and a 10-bit color depth.

The display looks great and produces nice, vibrant colors and deep blacks. A 32-megapixel camera for selfies is placed on a circular cutout near the top of the display.

Camera

The nova 8 has 4 cameras on the rear along with a camera on the front. The main camera is a 64-megapixel deal that has a larger than average 1/1.56-inch sensor, paired with an f/1.9 aperture lens and PDAF. There’s also an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera here that has an f/2.4 aperture lens and a 120-degree FOV, along with a 2-megapixel depth camera and 2-megapixel macro camera.

Huawei’s snappers have always been able to deliver excellent photos no matter the lighting condition, and we expect the same with the nova 8. Sadly we weren’t able to take a lot of shots outdoors because of the restrictions put in place because of the plague as of press time, but we’ll try to find a way to put the phone’s cameras through its paces somehow.

Performance and battery

Moving onto the internals, the nova 8 uses the Kirin 820E processor, which is composed of a 3x Cortex-A76 at 2.22 GHz and 3x Cortex-A55 at 1.84 GHz. The GPU is Mali-G57 chipset. That’s paired with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of non-expandable storage. Interestingly, the Philippine variant doesn’t get the same 5G-capable, Kirin 985 chipset that showed up in the Chinese variant.

Despite that, the phone felt fast and zippy, though we’ll have to put the phone through its paces in our review process to see how it performs in real-world tests.

The nova 8 is the first phone we’ve encountered that uses Huawei’s new OS, HarmonyOS. Huawei contends it’s a brand new operating system that’s not based on Android, but it’s been made in a way that it can use Android apps, and leans on Huawei’s existing AppGallery app store (as well as Petal Search) to use Android-based apps.

In any case, the phone feels a lot like the brand’s EMUI overlay on previous phones, so there’s almost 0 learning curve involved in using the phone. The upside is that if you buy the nova 8 and are already invested in Huawei’s ecosystem, it works seamlessly with their tablets, monitors, TVs, and wearables and requires very little work to pair.

Probably the biggest weakness of the nova 8 is its battery. The slim frame only allows for a 3,800mAh battery inside of it, which is a little below the industry standard of 5000mAh that we see nowadays for other devices. That’s mitigated somewhat by the phone’s 66W SuperCharge capabilities.

Wrap-up and early verdict:

The Huawei nova 8 5G looks to be a solid mid-range offering for the Philippines from the company, though we’ll have to see if the phone’s small-ish battery, cameras, and OS deliver.

Huawei nova 8 Price Philippines

The Huawei nova 8 is priced at Php 19,999. It’s available for pre-order now and will come with a free HUAWEI 12000 40W SuperCharge Power Bank, as well as a Huawei Member Center benefit worth Php 2,038 when it goes on sale. It will be available on Shopee, Lazada, and Huawei’s own site.

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    Harmony OS is jus ta fork of android, no matter what they say. As there are only two mobile operating systems right now, iOS and Android. Also, this looks like a downgrade over the Nova 7, even the Nova 8i is a downgrade over the 7i.

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