The Huawei Nova 3 is no doubt an alternative premium option to flagship smartphones in 2018. By the premium looks, the performance, and the camera of the Huawei Nova 3, it can compete with mid-range and flagship smartphones.


After three years of using my LG G4, I decided to change my phone into an updated one. But the problem is that I don’t want to spend a lot on a smartphone. I need to have a phone that works for social media, playing games, has a bigger screen, has better performance, a battery that can last a whole day, and (hopefully) future proof that can last at least three years.

Huawei Nova 3 Specifications

  • Processor: Kirin 970 – Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)
  • GPU: Mali-G72
  • OS: Android Oreo 8.1 with EMUI 8.1 Rom
  • Storage: 128gb expandable up to 256gb via microSD card
  • RAM: 4gb
  • Display: IPS LCD 6.3-inch, 1080x2340px screen size (83% screen to body ratio) 409 ppi
  • Rear Camera: 24mp f/1.8 + 16 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor
  • Front Camera: 24 MP, f/2.0, 2.0µm
  • Battery: 3,750 mAh Li-Po Battery

Before I bought the Huawei Nova 3, There are other counter-part options I am also looking at which are the Nokia 7 Plus, Samsung s8+, Samsung a8+, Samsung a6+, Honor Play, and Huawei Nova 3i as it is all on the same price range as the Huawei Nova 3. But the Huawei Nova 3 wins (for me) from the rest especially on performance, camera, aesthetics, and its value for its price.

What’s inside the box?

  • Huawei Nova 3 Unit
  • USB Type-C wire
  • Fast charging adapter
  • Earphones
  • Silicon Case
  • Screen Protector
  • Sim ejector tool
  • Some paperwork

Huawei Nova 3 First Impressions

The Huawei Nova 3 is a mid-range smartphone that equipped with Kirin 970 which can also be found on Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, the P20 Pro. The processor is powerful enough to run all the tasks I need. From web browsing to social media, and high-end games. It gets the job pretty well done.


The Design

Huawei Nova 3’s design feels very premium when in hands because of its glass and aluminum body. Unlike the Honor Play which has an aluminum body. No questions, the glass design is a fingerprint magnet. Thankfully they include a TP case out of the box. The glass design can be found on its bigger brother, the Huawei P20 pro.

The Camera

The camera of Huawei Nova 3 is pretty impressive. Because of its dual camera with 24mp f/1.8 main sensor, the dynamic range is better than most mid-range phones as of now. Since both rear and front camera shares the same sensor, it will produce the same image quality. The video could be better if there is image stabilization. Yes, there is a 4k 30fps option, but I hope that they will include image stabilization on their next update. I honestly enjoyed using the Nova 3 camera; it produces sharp and detailed photos.

Huawei Nova 3’s camera Ai feature is usable in some situations, but I opted to disable it most of the time. But what’s right about Huawei’s AI feature is that you can disable it after you took a photo. In my opinion, the Ai feature makes the images more saturated and increases the shadows that result in an oversaturated and beautiful images.

Night mode on this device takes your photos to the next level. I am surprised when I took a picture using night mode. It produces sharp and detailed images during low light situations. During night mode, it will do a long exposure shot, so a tripod is recommended.

Sample shots from Huawei Nova 3 Camera:

The Performance

Performance wise, it is fast. The Huawei Nova 3 scores 200k+ during the Antutu Benchmark test which this score can be found on the same range of 2017 to 2018 flagship smartphones. Scrolling through pages, home screen, watching videos will have a smooth experience. The EMUI has evolved from a crapload of bloatware to an elegant looking UI with more useful pre-installed applications from Huawei. BUT I opted to use the Nova launcher for more control over my UI.


Huawei Nova 3 vs Honor Play

At this price range of 1,799 aed or $450, it is on the higher price side of the mid-range smartphone but we have the option to buy the Honor Play for a much cheaper price and it is equipped with the same battery, CPU, GPU, and RAM. But there is some significant difference between the two.



  1. Camera – The Nova 3 has 24mp front and back camera while the Honor play has only 12mp rear and 16mp front. The Huawei Nova 3 will take better photos.
  2. Display – While they have the same IPS LCD HD+ The Nova 3 has a larger screen to body ratio, it means that the Nova 3 has less bezel. But the colors and brightness are the same.
  3. Design – The premium looking device will go to the Nova 3 for its aluminum and glass finish body while the honor play only has the aluminum body which is not that bad.
  4. Performance – Both devices are equipped with Kirin 970 CPU, Mali-G72 GPU, 4gb RAM, and EMUI so it will probably perform pretty much the same. It will run your favorite apps and games without any issues.



The Verdict:  Huawei Nova 3 vs. Honor Play

In my opinion, if you don’t need a better smartphone camera or a sleek and premium looking device, get the Honor Play because it will do the same tasks and perform the same thing for a much lower price.





Pros and Cons of Huawei Nova 3


  • The design looks premium and elegant
  • Overall performance is great. No lags so far.
  • Outputs quality and sharp photos from the front or rear camera
  • Screen resolution is good
  • Battery life can last up to 1 day or more
  • USB-C and Fast charging support
  • Option to disable the notch
  • Fingerprint and face unlock feature
  • Private space feature


  • The speaker is not that loud
  • No stabilization in video mode
  • NFC has not supported means we cannot use Google Pay
  • No IR blaster means it cannot be used as a remote to your camera or T.V.
  • Not waterproof/water resistant



Who might want to buy this phone?


The Huawei Nova 3 is for people who want to use a premium built phone, better camera, a flagship performance, but don’t want to spend a lot on a flagship smartphone. For the people who want to get high-quality selfies and snapshots. This is also for the people who need a smartphone that has longer battery life.