Huawei Nova 5T Review: Well-Thought-Out Super Mid-ranger

The Huawei Nova 5T is not really a surprise release from the company since its peers were already spawning top-specced phones in their respective mid-tier lines before it snatched the spotlight. However, what impresses me the most is how the phone took several cues from its flagship counterpart like the rear camera quality, almost bezel-less display, best-in-class chipset and decent battery life.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Well-Thought-Out Super Mid-ranger

With this, it brought lot of hype, getting Huawei fans all over the country excited for their next smartphone purchase. But is it really worth the fanfare? We'll find out in this review of the Huawei Nova 5T.

Huawei Nova 5T Review

The Huawei Nova 5T is quite a stunner when we talk about the design. On top of that, the 5T is also the posterboy of the refreshed Nova branding. In the sea of gradient phones, the Nova 5T sticks out with its unique implementation of sheen color tones. I love how subtle these branding could get due to the imposing color choices. Our review unit comes with a Crush Blue hue which could definitely capture younger audiences.

Design

The rear panel houses the triple-camera setup aligned in a vertical fashion. The module is elevated in a camera bump alongside the LED flash. Likewise, there's also another camera sensor off the bump summing up to four rear cameras.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Design

There's a side-mounted fingerprint sensor on the right side. It also doubles as a power button. Though this maybe useful most of the time, I found the unlock feature in the power button distracting especially in times that I only need to see quick notifications without the intention to unlock the phone. With this, I prefer the facial unlock. Alongside the power button is the volume rocker.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Design Review

At the bottom, you'll see the USB Type C port and the speaker grill. It's also worth-noting that there is no audio jack. Good thing Huawei included a Type C to 3.5-mm jack dongle out of the box. Lastly, the left side is a home to the SIM tray.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Display

Display

Having a 6.26-inch display makes the Huawei Nova 5T hit the sweet spot in smartphone display sizes. There's a punch hole on the upper left corner of the display for the selfie camera. Compared to notches, I prefer hole-punch display due to the obvious fact that it's less intrusive. This means that the Huawei Nova 5T is a great device for multimedia consumption and gaming. Bezels are exceptionally thin all throughout except the sizable chin.

The display is a bright IPS LCD. Color reproduction is accurate and vibrant compared to other LCD phones in its league. Of course, an OLED panel would still be significantly better compared to the Nova 5T's screen. Contrast and black tones need some improvement though.

Performance and Software

Huawei loaded the Nova 5T with a powerful HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC. Thus, it's safe to say that the handset is a force to reckon with in terms of heavy performance tasks, especially in high-graphic gaming. On top of that, its 8GB of RAM complements the high-end processor on hand.

Titles like PUBG Mobile and NBA 2K19 run smoothly with the Nova 5T. Every other tasks also runs buttery smooth in this handset. In our Antutu benchmark test, the Nova 5T tallied an impressive 366,274 score.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: AnTuTu Benchmark

Call quality is also excellent even in closed areas. Likewise, there's nothing special about the loudspeak. I find myself using an external speaker when streaming or playing back videos and music.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Software

The EMUI is a heavily customized skin for Android. Nova 5T comes with version 9.1 based on Android 9.0 Pie. Navigating the phone's interface is smooth; and there's also lot of features the skin has to offer like the one handed operation, gestures, game mode and Eye Comfort.

Camera

The Huawei Nova 5T packs a solid camera module. The primary camera is a 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor. The camera module is supported by Huawei's AI algorithm. This produces great flagship-ish shots especially in good lighting environment. The wingman is the 16MP ultra-wide sensor which captures fun wide-angle shots.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Camera

Huawei Nova 5T cameras perform best in well-lit environment. These sensors favor subjects in landscapes and scenery. Photos are crisp with great balance of details and exposure.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

It could also be a tad muddy in low-light. But if you tweak that Night settings, the magic comes out. And when I say magic, I mean long-exposure photography. In Super Night Mode, you will need to hold the camera still for about 5 seconds to achieve great results.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Sample Camera Photos

AI is also fast to recognize subjects. But depending on your taste in photos, images could be over-processed. For me, it's fine, but it could be a different story for others. The 2MP Macro lens is fine, it still uses fixed-focus sensor like what you see in Realme 5 or Vivo V17 Pro's macro camera. Selfies also come out okay using the 32MP front-facing camera.

Videos are stable. You can shoot 1080p videos with preserved details and color. There's no OIS in here though, so you need steady hands to achieve that. There's a 4K option and it came out okay.

Battery

We categorize our use of the Huawei Nova 5T as moderate. This includes basic tasks like emails, social media, web browsing, occasional streaming and light gaming. By the end of our day, there's still 19 percent of juice left. This means that the Nova 5T could last a day without exerting effort to conserve battery life.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Battery

A few software optimizations could prolong the battery life. The 3750 mAh battery also supports fast charging. In fact, it comes with a 22.5-watt USB Type-C charger out of the box.

Huawei Nova 5T Review: Battery

The Wrap

We cannot deny the fact that the Huawei Nova 5T is an excellent value-for-money smartphone. Hard-core mobile gamers will definitely love this phone. Even the photography-inclined users would also appreciate the use of its quad-camera module and selfie camera.

Huawei has been very generous with this refreshed Nova-branded smartphone. It's a well-thought-out mid-range handset that's very easy to recommend.

Pros

  1. Flagship-grade hardware
  2. Competitive price
  3. Solid Camera
  4. Punch-hole display
  5. Sleek design

Cons

  1. No 3.5-mm audio jack
  2. Slightly thicker chin

Related: Huawei P30 Lite Review

Huawei Nova 5T Specs

  • 154.25 x 73.97 x 7.87 mm @ 174 grams
  • 6.26-inch Full HD+ (2340 x 1080) 19.5:9 IPS LCD display at 412ppi (punch-hole display)
  • HiSilicon Kirin 980 SoC
  • up to 2.6GHz octa-core CPU
  • Mali-G76 MP10 GPU
  • 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM
  • Rear Cameras: 48MP Sony IMX586 (f/1.8) + 16MP ultrawide (f/2.2) + 2MP macro (f/2.4) + 2MP depth sensor (f/2.4)
  • 32MP front camera
  • Dual-SIM
  • 4G LTE
  • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Bluetooth v5.0
  • NFC
  • GPS (A-GPS), GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS
  • USB Type C 2.0
  • Fingerprint scanner (Side)
  • Face Unlock
  • EMUI 9.1 (Android 9 Pie) w/ GPU Turbo 3.0
  • 3,750mAh battery (22.5W SuperCharge)
  • Black, Crush Blue, Midsummer Purple
  • Php 18,990 Official Price
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