Huawei Nova 3i review: A Head turning Midranger

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If you go looking for phones in the mid-range segment, you will have a hard time selecting one because there are just too many choices. Amid all this, Huawei has added another one to the competition, the Huawei Nova 3i. With this device, you get a very impressive spec sheet but does the device follow similar performance? Let’s find out in our Huawei Nova 3i review.

  • 6.3-inch (2340 x 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 19:5:9 2.5D curved glass display
  • Octa-Core Kirin 710 (4×2.2GHz Cortex-A73 + 4×1.7GHz Cortex-A53) CPU
  • Mali-G51 MP4 GPU
  • 4GB RAM with 128GB storage, expandable memory up to 256GB with microSD
  • Android 8.1 (Oreo) with EMUI 8.2
  • Hybrid Dual SIM (nano + nano / microSD)
  • 16MP rear camera with LED flash, secondary 2MP rear camera
  • 24MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, secondary 2MP camera
  • Dimensions: 157.6×75.2×7.6mm; Weight: 169g
  • Fingerprint sensor, Face unlock
  • Dual 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS + GLONASS
  • 3340mAh battery
  • Price: Rs. 38990 (in Nepal)


At sight, you get a premium look all over. If you look at it, there’s the shiny glass back, the rounded edges all of which look stunning. Adding to the pros is that the phone is quite slim and lightweight. Not only that, the metal frame around the edges help you have a good grip on the device. You get the vertical camera placement like the P20 pro and the fingerprint sensor at the back which is easy to reach and indeed is very swift. There is also Facial Unlock that uses the front camera and does a good job.

Huawei Nova 3i design review

Downwards, you get a single speaker and micro USB ports and yes, the headphone jack. Well, high-end phones have started removing the headphone jack and it’s a relief to see that midranges are not following the trend.

Huawei Nova 3i bottom view

On hands, the phone is a bit slippery but not to the point of frustration, so no issues. Meanwhile, you’ve got to do something about the smudges. Likewise, I already have a few scratches on the edges at the back so, you will definitely want to case it up.

Huawei Nova 3i bottom view side view


Talking about the disply, you get a 6.3-inch FHD+ screen with even taller 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The IPS display is sharp and the colors are vibrant. The sunlight visibility is average though. It’s a big screen and for those multimedia-hungry users, you have your device here.

Huawei Nova 3i display

But, as there is no display protection available on the phone, for careless people like me, we need to borrow some help from tempered glasses.


Now moving on to the cameras! Like most of the Huawei devices, this too has a quad camera setup, two at the front and two at the back. The back houses dual 16+2 MP cameras and the notch in front carries 24+2 MP sensors.

Huawei Nova 3i back camera review

Pictures from the rear camera are vibrant in terms of colors and they pack in good details. However, the edge detection in the portrait mode needs improvement.

What’s nice to see is, AI does well-recognizing sky and enhancing it. The AI seems to have improved because other than greenery, other things seem to have been enhanced quite properly. Similarly, buildings seem nicer with AI on. But even without AI, the Colors are punchy and vibrant. However, I cannot quite say good things about the night time shots as they were grainy and disappointing. There is 3D Qmoji feature which is entertaining, but it needs a little reworking.

Sadly, the videos lack any kind of stabilization, so you will experience native shakiness in videos. Likewise, there is no option for 4K video recording. So, if you are into mobile vlogging, with this device, you will certainly need steady hands. However, you can shoot 1080p videos at 60 fps which is good news.

Talking about the quality of selfies, you get quite nice ones. Detail- wise, color-wise, the pictures seem quite good. There is an HDR Pro mode that enhances colors. We also have the AI that helps enhance the pictures alongside the beauty mode that smoothens your skin and makes you look fairer.

Just a small note, please avoid using the level 10 beauty option, it makes you look like some supernatural being. Well, that’s again your choice. Like the rear camera, the dual cameras at the front do not detect edges properly. All in all, these samples are proof that the selfie cameras function very well. But all in all, I have liked the cameras in this device.

Check out all the high-resolution camera samples here


Now let’s get going with the performance side of things. This device is the first to feature the Kirin 710 processor which in real life is comparable with the SD 660. We have witnessed how good the SD 66O performs in the Mi A2, and now we have a similar hero with the 710 in the Nova 3i.

On use, I got lag-free performance every time, whether it be for multitasking or app opening; everything ran smoothly as expected. Memory wise, you get the usual 4 GB RAM but with a very impressive 128 GB onboard storage which can further be expanded through the hybrid SIM slot. With the hybrid SIM slot, you can expand your phone’s memory up to 256 GB but I guess 128 GB will be enough for most.

Now, let’s hear about gaming. Well, with the Nova 2i, we had an average performance in the gaming department. Now, with its successor, I have no room for complaints in this regard. I have played plenty of games in the process of testing this device, namely the Modern Combat 5, my current favorite Asphalt Legends and everybody’s favorite, PUBG along with some others. PUBG ran with slight lags in medium settings while Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt Legends ran smoothly. So, on a whole, I have had a very interesting and impressive gaming experience on this phone.

Software and UI

Software-wise, we get the Android Oreo 8.1 and EMUI 8.2 on top of it. For me, EMUI works just fine except for the onboard bloatware. As I said in the hands-on video, the unnecessary apps and games can be deleted, well most of them can be deleted. Apart from that Huawei gives a lot of customization options in the UI, like changing notch preferences, having an app drawer if you want, changing where the battery percentage shows, power saving options, well there are tons of it. The fact that all these features don’t make the phone slow is a really good thing.


The 3,340 mAh battery capacity on this device is the same as the Nova 2i but this one has a longer lasting battery. This somewhat is also a result of the energy efficient Kirin 710 processor.

Huawei Nova 3i battery

Despite not have fast charging, the phone surprised me by getting charged in 2 hours and some time. Likewise, talking about backup, the 3i lasted more than one day on my use. On a regular basis, my activities include, a bit of gaming, a lot of social media and work stuff and the Nova 3i has helped me get through all that without having to worry. Only, I felt a little disappointed on the device not having USB type C, I mean, it’s become sort of 2018ish having Type C on your phones.


I used this device as a daily driver and call quality on NTC and Ncell both is good. However, it lacks WiFi a/c so connecting to a 5GHz WiFi connection will not be possible. Also, there is a single speaker and the output from it is just average.


So, does the Nova 3i fare for the price being asked? I would say yes!  I mean there are little aspects that may not look good but overall the phone does well. It’s got this really nice design and a good display, good set of cameras, a very good battery backup and excellent performance with the new Kirin 710. The Nova 2i and 3e were considered weak in the performance front but the 3i seems to have got it covered. The Nova 3i, in my opinion, is a worthy purchase.



Attractive Design No Fast Charging
Good Cameras No WiFi a/c
Superb Performance Poor Low light camera performance
All day Battery No display protection
Design and Build
Software and UI
Back Camera
Front Camera
huawei-nova-3i-reviewDoes the Nova 3i fare for the price being asked? Yes. There are little aspects that may not look good but overall the phone does well. It’s got a premium design and a good display, good set of cameras, a very good battery backup and excellent performance with the new Kirin 710. The Nova 2i and 3e were considered weak in the performance front but the 3i seems to have got it covered. The Nova 3i, in my opinion, is a worthy purchase.