There is no doubt that despite the hefty price tag, the Apple iPhone X had made quite the noise in the smartphone market and is easily recognizable from afar, thanks to its bezel-less screen and the famous notch. For those who can’t afford the device, Huawei had recently unveiled a new smartphone called the nova 3e that looks almost similar to Apple’s very best and priced only at AED 1199. Can Huawei’s latest mid-range smartphone create the same amount of hype?
The Huawei nova 3e (a.k.a the P20 Lite) is clearly meant for those who would want an Android smartphone that resembles the iPhone X at very little expense. The fact is that Huawei is known for making smartphones of all categories with features that are unbelievable for the price. While both the smartphones share almost the same screen size, the Huawei nova 3e is surprisingly thinner and lighter than the iPhone X, featuring a thickness of just 7.4mm and weighing only 145g. The iPhone X in this regard is 7.7mm thick and weighs 174g. Yes, I know that I’m comparing a high-end smartphone with a mid-range device, but this is the closest device I can use for just comparison sakes. It’s just to convey that Huawei didn’t just blindly copy the design of the iPhone X without looking at these parameters. That said, the Huawei P20 Lite uses an IPS display with a resolution of 1080 x 2280 and the 432ppi brings good image sharpness. The aspect ratio over here is 18:9. Although, I could see a slight pixelation on text content while I zoomed fully inside a Google search result in Chrome. But in reality, no one is going to zoom that much for a simple text.
There is a notch on the top that houses the front camera, the headpiece, and other sensors. Honestly, when I came to know that this device had a notch at first, we weren’t really that impressed. But after using the device for a while, we could see that the small screen estate that sits on either side of the notch can actually be seen as an extra area for showing all the Android notifications. This actually saves up space for a complete row on the upper main display area. And if you’re worried about the notch while playing videos, the device blacks out that portion, so there are no cuts or gaps while you watch your favorite movie. The same applies while using the camera. It’s like a new layer of the bezel is created to even the screen estate. Guess Huawei has been listening to the issues faced by iPhone X owners.
The button and port placements are standard as other models. You will find the power button and the volume rockers on the right side and I could reach with my thumbs easily. The SIM card and MicroSD card slot is placed on the upper-left-sided frame of the device. The bottom part consists of the 3.5mm headphone jack, the USB Type-C port, and the single-speaker grill. Oh, and did you notice the Huawei logo on the front?
While the smartphone may have a similar looking camera module design on the rear side as compared to the iPhone X, there is some notable difference, starting with the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner (something that the iPhone X doesn’t have) and the glossy multi-color scheme that is easily noticeable at any time of the day. We had got the Klein Blue color model for review. However, the back panel is one hell of a fingerprint and smudge attracter. So, you will surely end up cleaning the smartphone by the end of the day. We had also tried the Face Unlock feature that Huawei had recently added and we were quite impressed. The unlock speed is very fast and unlocks within less than a second from pressing the power button on daylight conditions. There is also an option where the screen turns on by itself and scans for your face while you pick up the device from a table. However, we noticed that it takes about 2-3 seconds for the whole process to get over. Our guess is that it takes a bit of time for the movement of the device to be detected before the facial scan kicks in and hence the delay. We also noticed a delay in recognizing faces while trying to unlock in a dim room. That said, there is another great feature that will attract many buyers to consider the Huawei nova 3e as a cheaper alternative for the iPhone X.
Specifications and Performance
Huawei’s latest mid-range smartphones come chipped with the Kirin 659 CPU, their home-grown processor that consists of a total of eight CPU cores. While all the cores are based on the power-efficient Cortex A53 cores, four of these cores are designed to run at 2.3 GHz and the rest of the cores at a lower speed of 1.7 GHz. And tagging along is the Mali-T830 MP2 graphics chip. The smartphone runs on Android 8.0 Oreo but blended with EMUI 8.0 skin. While the hardware is quite powerful enough, I could clearly see stutters on the user interface while opening applications and using them. This isn’t really surprising to me since it’s a Nova series-based device. It’s a mid-range iPhone X alternative at just one-third of the price. It isn’t that bad but if you aren’t those that demand the UI to work with absolute fluidity and no lags, then the nova 3e shouldn’t get you worried much. It has 4GB RAM and that’s enough for most of your social media apps along with Chrome browsing and some gaming. Our AnTuTu test score result is 86422. We also tested the device with Geekbench 4 and got a result of 938 points for single-core and 3670 points for multicore performance.
Camera and Battery
The dual-lens camera technology is something Huawei has experience long before Apple even thought of introducing their own offerings. The dual-lens setup on the nova 3e, features 16MP sensor and a 2MP sensor with F2.2 aperture. The smartphone allows you to record videos up to a maximum of 1080p resolution at 30fps. Unfortunately, this device doesn’t have the capability of 4K video capture. The image quality is quite amazing for a mid-range device at this price. The sharpness is better than I’ve seen on any other smartphone of similar category. The front camera also does surprisingly good and features a 16MP sensor with a brighter F2.0 aperture. There are also loads of beautification tweaks to enhance your selfie images. Huawei has also implemented a large but non-removable 3000 mAh battery. The battery life is quite decent as far as I’ve used. With 4G network on, the device can easily last for a day, along with some web browsing, online video calls, and some normal calls too. Although, I did notice that the battery drained a bit faster after snapping some clicks. The device also supports fast charge. In our testing, the nova 3e's battery went from 8% to 50% in just 40 minutes of charging.
While the Apple iPhone X is a class of its own, it's sold at a price that's not everyone can afford just for the looks, the bezel-less notch display, the fancy Face Unlock feature and many other things. That's where the Huawei nova 3e comes to the picture. Don't be fooled by its affordable price tag because this Android smartphone offers some good features under its hood. The hardware is fast enough and runs Android Oreo well and the cameras on the front and rear are one of the best performing among most of the mid-range devices we have seen. The battery life is decent too and the fast charge should get you through the day if you have used the device a lot. The Huawei nova 3e is priced at AED 1199 in the UAE.