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Huawei Nova 3i Review : Heavily Priced, Great Mid-Range Smartphone

GadgetFrame 30 Sep, 2018

Smartphones today are the part of everyone’s life. And when it comes to midrange smartphones, we usually get into the confusion, which brand offers the best, which model to choose, and which one to trust. As there are many midrange devices offering best of best. And in this competition, Huawei added “Huawei Nova 3i” to its Nova series as the best midrange smartphone, which acts as a flagship and looks very similar to the Huawei P20 Lite. Is it the best midrange phone and is it comparable to flagship devices?? Let's find out in this review.

Design and display:

When it comes to the design, the phone looks excellent. The first glance made me love with it. The minimal bezels, notch at the top with two cameras aside in the 6.3 inch IPS LCD display has made the phone look extraordinary. At the right, there is volume rocker and power button below it. While moving to the left, there is a SIM card slot. To the down, there is earphone slot, USB type 2.0, microphone and a speaker. The glass panel with glossy metallic back is really awesome. It used to be in flagship devices but Huawei is offering it in this budget model. Though there are color variants like black, pearl white, I am in love with this Iris Purple one. It really looks classy and premium. The dual camera set up at the back is kept vertical same as Huawei P20 lite and the branding of Huawei with fingerprint sensor above it.

Huawei Nova 3i

For security, there is both a fingerprint sensor and face recognition with general measures provided by Android OS itself. The fingerprint sensor is easy to set up and works pretty well, it can be further used as the capacitive button for taking pictures, scrolling pictures in the gallery, picking the call and even turning off alarms. Face unlocking works well even in dim light. I am disappointed by one thing, this phone is the fingerprint magnet and highly vulnerable to scratches. I need to clean it up frequently or a solution might be I have to case it up. But it still looks hot, and easy to hold for long sessions.


Performance wise, the phone is powered by new Kirin 710 chipset which is really performing one. The Nova 3i’s chipset is certainly a huge step from Kirin 659 which was used in P20 lite. Kirin 659 easily handled daily tasks but struggled on heavy gaming and multitasking loads. But in Nova 3i, handling multitasking, continuous Social Media usage has no big deal for a chipset, Heavy games were too playable. We tried our hands on PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends and Nova 3I managed to give satisfying experience keeping graphics to medium which seems Kirin 710 is not a chipset for gaming and is comfortable for daily smartphone tasks. The phone has 128 GB internal storage to store all your images and videos which is an added bonus. Usually, 128 GB is available in flagship devices but you can have it on this midrange device. The phone scored this on Antutu benchmark test and so the ranking.

Benchmark score
Antutu Benchmark Score     Ranking



Moving towards the camera which is the main highlight of this phone, this phone offers a dual quad camera setup on each side of 16MP and 2MP at the rear while 24 MP and 2MP on the front for selfies.

Also, the Kirin 710 chipset provides AI capabilities to the camera which gives the best photography experience. The camera offers portrait mode, HDR and 3D Emoji's to animate our facial expressions, movements, and voice to make GIFs and videos. The photos are rich in colors and even the edge detection in bokeh mode looks great.

But the phone can only shoot full HD videos at 30 frames per second which is depressing. Though I feel the camera is worthy of its value. 


While talking about the battery, it packs up 3340 mah which can easily manage your day. When it comes to frequent texting, video streaming, photo sessions, and gaming, it will end up around 30% at the end. The charging speed is little disappointing, it takes more than 2 hours to get fully charged. Also, USB type-C is missing on this phone at this price segment.


For budget buyers, this phone seems to make sense. It offers good value for money, covers most basics and looks premium. Huawei Nova 3i has good quality IPS LCD panel, the camera is decent if not the best, and Kirin 710 is an improvement over Kirin 659 but still not the best chip you can get on this budget. 
In comparison to same range devices, the recently launched Xiaomi MI A2 has a very solid chipset Snapdragon 660 than Huawei Nova 3i. When it comes to speed and multitasking, it is definitely fast than Kirin 710 of Nova 3i. In terms of camera, MI A2 has dual shooter 24 MP and 12 MP at the rear which is definitely a powerful shooter while Nova 3i has 16 MP and 2 MP at the rear. But the front camera of Nova 3i is better than that of MI A2. The design of Nova 3i is really exclusive than any other midrange devices. The images are rich in colors even while zooming at high levels quite better than its competitors, especially at its price point.
Overall, I feel this phone is best for those who prefer style more than the performance.


OS: Android 8.1 (Oreo)
Chipset: Hisilicon Kirin 710
CPU: Octa-core (4x2.2 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x1.7 GHz Cortex-A53)
GPU: Mali-G72 MP12
Storage: 128 GB
Battery: 3340 mAh
Display: 6.3 inches, 97.4 cm2
WIFI: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
Bluetooth: 4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR, aptX HD
Ports: micro USB 2.0
Rear Camera: Dual: 16 MP (f/2.2, PDAF) + 2 MP (depth sensor), LED flash
Front-facing Camera: Dual: 24 MP + 2 MP (depth sensor)
Sensors: Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Colors: Black, Pearl White, Iris Purple
Huawei Nova 3i Price in Nepal: Rs. 38,900


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