Huawei is a popular smartphone brand around the world but we haven’t seen a big presence here in India. One of the main reasons for this has been the company’s focus on promoting its sub-brand Honor in the Indian market. Now that Honor has made a mark for itself in the market, Huawei seems to have started improving its own presence.
The Chinese smartphone maker recently launched its flagship device, the Huawei P20 Pro ₹ 117,119 (Review), which managed to impress us with its camera performance. Following that it launched the Nova 3 ₹ 29,999 (Review) and the Nova 3i ₹ 16,990, bringing in its Nova series to cater to more price-conscious buyers. While the Nova 3 goes up against the likes of the OnePlus 6 (Review) and Asus Zenfone 5Z (Review), the Nova 3i is priced at Rs. 20,990 where it faces a lot more competition. Can this affordable Huawei device stand up against the competition? We put it to the test.
Huawei Nova 3i design
Smartphone manufacturers are now opting for premium materials even in the mid-range segment. While most devices in this price range sport metal unibodies, the Huawei Nova 3i is among the rare few to have a glass back. This gives it a premium look and feel, and we wouldn’t be surprised if you mistake it for one of its more expensive siblings. The frame and buttons are made of metal, adding to the overall impression of quality of this smartphone. All the buttons are on the right and offer good feedback. The power button placement is convenient, but the volume buttons need you to shuffle the phone in the hand.
The left side of the phone has the SIM tray. You can see antenna lines running along the side and the bottom, along with a Micro-USB port, a headphone jack, and a speaker grille. The top of the device only has the secondary microphone. At the front, the 6.3-inch display has a notch at the top which houses the dual-camera setup and the earpiece.
Turn the phone around and you’ll notice the rear dual camera module which protrudes a little. It isn’t as bad as the one on the Xiaomi Mi A2 ₹ 15,250 (Review), but it’s enough to make this phone rock when placed on a flat surface. The glass back picks up fingerprints easily so you can put the case supplied in the box to use. Huawei has positioned the fingerprint scanner on the back in such a way that it’s easy to reach when holding the phone.
The Nova 3i weighs 169g and comes in two colour variants, Black and Iris Purple. While the Black review unit we had looked understated, we like the Iris Purple finish since it looks unique.
Huawei Nova 3i specifications, software, and features
Like most other Huawei and Honor devices, the Nova 3i is powered by an in-house processor. The Huawei Kirin 710 SoC makes its debut with this smartphone. It is an octa-core processor with four ARM Cortex-A73 cores clocked at 2.2GHz, and four Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7GHz. There is 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, which can be expanded using a microSD card in the hybrid SIM slot. The phone has a 6.3-inch display with full-HD+ resolution. It has decent viewing angles and is legible outdoors. However, Huawei hasn’t stated whether there is any form of protection for the display.
The Nova 3i is a dual-SIM device and has support for dual 4G and VoLTE. It can also automatically forward incoming calls on the inactive SIM to the active one if you’re on a call. You get support for Bluetooth 4.2, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, a Micro-USB port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Huawei has opted for a 3340mAh non-removable battery for the Nova 3i, and ships a 10W charger in the box.