Huawei has quickly become known as the master of mid-range smartphones. In a saturated market dominated by value, the Huawei Nova series sets its sights firmly on the top. We got our hands on the Nova Plus, the Nova’s bigger sibling and I find out whether it has what it takes to turn heads and wallets.
Design Features and Display
The Huawei Nova Plus shares in the overall design scheme of its smaller counterpart, with little difference. The aluminum unibody with a smooth finish and shiny, polished edges seem unoriginal at first glance. But the phone both looks and feels like it was built with sophistication and durability in mind. On the back, we see the traditional layout of a camera panel and finger print sensor as well as a slight deviation from the Huawei Nova. The camera is centrally located as opposed to the Nova’s top-oriented camera segment. The phone does still have a 3.5mm jack on the top along with an infrared port to sate your remote-control needs. On the bottom, we have a USB Type-C connector along with two grills, one of which contains a speaker while the other houses the microphone.
Picture quality is sharp and colors seem vibrant, although not nearly as detailed as AMOLED or Quad HD displays. Viewing angles and direct sunlight don’t detract from the visual experience and, personally, I like the use of 1080p displays on mid-range phones as they are easier on the battery life.
Speaking of battery life, the Huawei Nova Plus comes with a slightly bigger battery capacity of 3340mAh when compared to the standard Nova smartphone. The EMUI software is optimized for managing your power usage and the phone easily lasts two days under standard usage conditions. Both Huawei Nova and the Nova Plus allow for expandable storage using the hybrid SIM tray, which lets you use either two SIMs or a sim and MicroSD card.
The Huawei Nova Plus comes with a 16-megapixel main camera that, for most intents and purposes, is fine for general use. It’s a decent upgrade from the 12-megapixel camera found on the standard Huawei Nova smartphone, even featuring Optical Image Stabilisation. The Huawei Nova Plus features a 5.5-inch Full HD display surrounded by minimal bezel. For a phablet, the phone doesn’t seem extraordinarily large and I was able to comfortably use it with one hand. The camera does come with the usual bevy of features we’ve come to expect from Huawei like light painting, beauty mode and time-lapse mode. There’s also a manual mode you can use to get just the right focus on your shots. The quality of photos is about as good as most decent mid-range smartphones in the market. While I did notice that the photos start losing some detail when you zoom in, macro shots are brilliantly handled by the sensor. The front facing camera is a standard 8-megapixel and doesn’t particularly standout in terms of picture quality, but it gets the job done.
Performance and Software
Moving on to what lies beneath the surface, the Huawei Nova Plus sports the Snapdragon 625 with 3GB RAM. Now, the Snapdragon 625 is about as mid-range as they get and we’ve seen smartphones aplenty with the same processor. But the Nova Plus comes with software guiding its processes and knows just how to squeeze out that last bit of performance from your device.
While it still runs EMUI 4.0 based on Android Marshmallow, we are expecting an upgrade to Android Nougat arriving in the next couple of months.
Packaging, Pricing, and Verdict
The Huawei Nova Plus comes packaged in a box similar to the Huawei Mate 9, with neat little boxes containing the various accessories for the phone. The pair of earphones, USB Type-C cable and power adapter is laid out within their own boxes along with a SIM unlock pin and a few documents to help you get started.
For AED 1,149, the Huawei Nova Plus is a decent mid-range smartphone and offers enough of a difference from the Huawei Nova to warrant a separate product listing. It seems to tick all the right boxes and, while it doesn't bring anything outwardly innovative to the market, it remains a solid choice for any Android user looking for their next mid-level device.