Huawei Nova 3i review: Pricing | Features | Specs

Huawei Nova 3i
Huawei Nova 3i Find out more Buy now

Quick Verdict

The Huawei Nova 3i fulfils the mission of a mid-range smartphone all but perfectly. Its application performance is solid, its camera is good for its price range, and while Huawei's EMUI user interface won't be to everybody's tastes, it's well worth considering if you're shopping for smartphone power on a budget.

The good

  • The Kirin 710 processor performs well
  • 4 AI-assisted cameras
  • 128GB of onboard storage
  • Eye-catching design

The bad

  • Lacks Near-field communication (NFC)
  • No water resistance
  • microUSB charging
  • Twitchy Wi-Fi performance

Huawei's Nova 3i, also known as the Huawei P Smart in some markets, is the first phone to use Huawei's new Kirin 710 system-on-a-chip (SoC). It's a processor built for the mid-range market and is designed to replace the older Kirin 659 series as well as continue Huawei's stated mission of moving well away from existing Qualcomm or MediaTek processors.

Huawei's hype around the Nova 3i is that it delivers a premium experience at a mid-range price point. Given how aggressively Huawei typically prices its high-end handsets like the Huawei P20 Pro and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro, the Nova 3i has its work cut out for it to simply stand out.

Huawei Nova 3i: Design

  • Large notched display screen
  • Eye-catching design
  • Somewhat slippery in the hand

If you weren't paying much attention, it's entirely feasible that somebody could swap out your brand new Huawei P20 Pro for a Nova 3i because they share the same design. With the Nova 3i, you're looking at a 6.3-inch 1080 x 2340 pixel LCD display in 18:9 ratio, with the typical "notch" at the top that most Android makers are opting for in 2018.

Huawei Nova 3i: Camera

  • Four cameras gives you a lot of scope
  • AI leads to punchy, often oversaturated shots
  • The Qmoji animations are jittery and dumb

Huawei's Nova phones have stood out for offering more lens and camera options than many competing mid-range and budget handsets, and the Huawei Nova 3i is no exception to that rule.

Huawei Nova 3i: Performance

  • Kirin 710 compares well to other mid-range processors
  • Impressive 128GB of onboard storage
  • Huawei's EMUI interface is still an acquired taste
  • Lack of near-field communication (NFC) is a pain point
  • Patchy Wi-Fi support

The Huawei Nova 3i sees the debut of Huawei's new Kirin 710 processor, pitching it directly against a range of phones typically using Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660 SoC.

Huawei Nova 3i: Battery life

  • Big battery capacity, but...
  • Poor overall battery life.
  • MicroUSB charging feels very old school.

At a specification level, the Huawei Nova 3i should have the goods to impress when it comes to power. That larger display screen is always going to suck up more juice than a smaller display, but Huawei appeared to have thought of that, with an impressive 3340mAh sealed battery on board.

Huawei Nova 3i: Should you buy it?

  • Good value overall
  • Make sure you're happy with the style if you opt for purple

The Huawei Nova 3i is an interesting handset. It's not quite perfect, but nobody should expect that of a mid-range phone anyway. However, it does represent the kinds of value we're seeing in mid-range phones because the combination of its style, the power of the Kirin 710 processor and its generally impressive camera array gives it a lot of potential value. If you're looking for a mid-range handset to buy in 2018, it should definitely go on your comparison list.

OS Android 8
Display size (inches) 6.3
Display resolution (pixels) 2340 x 1080
Pixels per inch (PPI) 409
Processor Kirin 710
Height (mm) 157.6
Width (mm) 75.2
Depth (mm) 7.6
Weight (g) 169
Battery size (mAh) 3,340
Wireless charging No
Internal storage 128GB
MicroSD expansion 256GB
Fingerprint scanner Yes
RAM 4GB
Water resistance N/A
Rear camera (1) resolution 16
Rear camera (1) aperture f/2.2
Rear camera (2) resolution 2
Rear camera (2) aperture f/2.2
Rear camera (3) resolution
Rear camera (3) aperture
Front camera (1) resolution 24
Front camera (1) aperture f/2.0
Front camera (2) resolution 2
Front camera (2) aperture f/2.0
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Network category speed Category 12
NFC support No
Updated December 14th, 2018
Name Product Processor type Display size Display resolution Internal storage Provider in CTA
Kirin 980
6.53
2244 x 1080
128GB
Kirin 980
6.39
3120 x 1440
128GB
Huawei Mate 20 X
Huawei Mate 20 X
Kirin 980
7.2
2244 x 1080
128GB
Huawei Mate 20 Lite
Huawei Mate 20 Lite
Kirin 710
6.3
2340 x 1080
64GB
Kirin 710
6.3
2340 x 1080
128GB
Kirin 659
5.8
2280 x 1080
64GB
Kirin 970
6.1
2240 x 1080
128GB
Kirin 970
6
2160 x 1080
128GB
Kirin 970
5.9
2560 x 1440
64GB
Kirin 659
5.9
2160 x 1080
64GB
Kirin 960
5.1
1920 x 1080
64GB
Kirin 960
5.9
1920 x 1080
64GB

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