Huawei Nova 3i Unboxing, Review: An Heir to the Mid-Range Throne?

Huawei Nova 3i Unboxing, Review: An Heir to the Mid-Range Throne?

Say Hello to Huawei’s New Mid-range Contender

The hype for Huawei’s newest mid-range device has definitely been on en fuego and it’s pretty hard not jump on the bandwagon. You’ve no doubt seen the huge adverts for the Huawei Nova 3i (or at least photos of it) in malls and maybe even caught wind of the massive leak of its key specs as well.

Lucky for you guys, we’ve actually had the unit with us for quite a bit and we’re ready to share our thoughts on the phone that happens to be the talk of the town.

What’s in the Box?

Huawei has always been a little minimalistic in terms of the design of their packaging. It isn’t any different with the Huawei Nova 3i. It’s a simple and clean white box with the product name written on its front and sides. Of course, the first thing you’ll see is the phone itself. Our review unit came in black but we do have the Iris Purple color variant on hand to show you guys as well.

Aside from that, you have the usual suspects in terms of accessories, which include a SIM ejector tool, a pair of headphones, a micro USB cable, and the wall charge. The folks over at Huawei says that final retail box will also contain a case for the device and we’re guessing a bit of documentation as well.

The Huawei Nova 3i in Black and Iris Purple

What is the Huawei Nova 3i?

The Nova 3i is the company’s follow up to their highly successful mid-range offering from last year — the Nova 2i; a smartphone that received a lot of attention for its quad camera setup at a time where having just three cameras on a smartphone was the norm. The Nova 3i retains that key feature with updated internals and a new look to fit in with the company’s current design language.

How Does It Feel?

In terms of look and feel, it’s identical to the Huawei P20 Lite but its dimensions are slightly larger. The phone is sandwiched by glass panels with a metal frame that, again, ties nicely within Huawei’s aesthetic for the more current smartphones. It feels nice and the hand with enough curves on its side to make it comfortable to hold and it looks absolutely gorgeous; especially in Iris Purple with a bit of that gradient. It’s not quite the same as the one of the P20 Pro but it’s just as dazzling to look at.

The camera module on the back is oriented vertically with a bit of its information underneath it. You also have the fingerprint scanner on the back of the device, which is easy to get to and unlocks the phone pretty quickly. You even have the option to use gestures so that you can view the notification shade by simply swiping on it.

All of the buttons of the Nova 3i are on the right side, while all of the device’s ports are on the bottom. It’s a little sad to see that it didn’t get a USB-C port but, then again, micro USB still is the standard for devices in this price point.

What’s the Display Like?

You have a 6.3-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display on the Nova 3i and, yes, there is a notch. Don’t worry. You can disguise it with black bars if you have an aversion to it. Huawei has managed to eliminate a few issues we’ve been seeing with content bring blocked with the cut out with their UI overlay too. Display quality is pretty good too an on par from what we’ve already seen on the P20.

There are several tweaks in the display settings to make colors a little more vibrant and control the overall color temperature on the device to your liking as well. It also has fantastic viewing angles and gets bright enough to be used outdoors when the sun is actually out. You’re also getting a little bit more screen real estate with its 19.5:9 aspect ratio and a decent amount of pixel density as well.

How Fast Is It?

One of the things we were excited to try on the Nova 3i is Huawei’s newest mid-range processor — the Kirin 710. It’s a welcome upgrade from the Kirin 659 that they used on the Nova 2i and more recently on the P20 Lite. It’s definitely a huge boon to the new mid-range device that’s paired with an ample 4GB of RAM and a generous amount of onboard storage at 128GB. It’s got more than enough oomph for day-to-day use and can handle multitasking with very little issues.

The biggest news about Huawei’s new SoC is that its part of the devices that are getting a GPU Boost that should give you a better gaming experience on certain titles and one of them was PUBG Mobile. Sadly, we’re going to have to wait a bit more until we see how it handles that added optimization but, as of now, you will be able to game on the Nova 3i. You’ll just have to dial settings down a bit to make sure everything runs smoothly and you will notice that it gets a tad warm. Nothing alarming just something you should take note of.

We’ll do a separate update on the Nova 3i’s gaming performance once it’s rolled out in August.

How are the Photos from the Huawei Nova 3i?

As mentioned earlier, one thing that was celebrated on the Huawei Nova 2i was its quad camera setup, which was retained by the Nova 3i. You have a 16-megapixel + 2-megapixel camera on the back of the phone and a 24-megapixel front camera that’s paired with a 2-megapixel camera as well. The secondary camera is a depth sensor that helps with software-assisted bokeh. Since it is 2018 and it is a phone from Huawei, you’re getting an AI assist to help bring out punchier colors and generally brighten photos as well.

Colors from the rear camera can be a bit too vivid with AI on so we advise you to use your own discretion on the matter. Thankfully, you can toggle it on and off even after you’ve snapped the photo to get more of an accurate representation of what you’re shooting. Of course, it all boils down to preference.

The front camera, on the other hand, has the same pitfalls that we’ve seen on the P20 series. Highlights tend to get blown out and you lose a fair amount of the background so make sure that you have the exposure down before taking snaps.

A fun addition to the Nova 3i is the QMojis, which is similar to Apple’s Animojis. You can only record 10-second clips at a time, which should be enough for a bit of fun when sending messages to friends or that special someone.

How Long Does It Last on a Single Charge?

The Huawei Nova 3i is juiced up by a 3340mAh battery and it can actually last for quite a bit. We’ve managed to get about a day and a half’s worth of battery life with the device with mobile data running for the greater part of the day. Sadly, we’ve encountered a couple of difficulties with the battery benchmarks on this device to give you an actual number but we will update this review once the results are in.

Should You Get It?

The Huawei Nova 3i is a huge upgrade from its predecessor that was once hailed one of the best mid-range phones last year. Is it an heir to the treasured mid-ranged throne? Well, it certainly has a strong, legitimate claim to it.

If you’re on the hunt for a smartphone that’s gorgeous, takes nice photos with vivid colors, and can handle quite the computing load then you should definitely consider the Huawei Nova 3i. Especially, if you don’t want to spend more than Php 16,000 on your new smartphone. There are definitely a lot of options in the market right now but it does deserve a spot on your shortlist.

The Huawei Nova 3i is priced at Php 15,990 and pre-orders for the device start tomorrow, July 19, until July 27. If you missed the pre-order period, the phones become available on July 28.

Huawei Nova 3i Specifications

  • 2.2GHz HiSilicon Kirin 710 octa-core processor
  • Mali-G51 GPU
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 6.3-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD Display; 1080×2340 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
  • 128GB of expandable storage
  • 16MP + 2MP rear camera, aperture f/2.2, PDAF, Contrast Focus, LED Flash
  • 24MP + 2MP front camera, aperture f/2.0
  • 4G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth v4.2
  • Fingerprint Scanner
  • Face Unlock
  • Android Oreo 8.1 with EMUI 8.2
  • 3340mAh Battery



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