Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
Well featured and functional but lacks any wow factor
- Good battery life
- Jack of all trades
- Master of none
A second-tier phone in every way. There's little it can't do. But that's about the most exciting thing about it.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
Huawei has launched a new, second-tier Android phone called the Nova Plus. But while it’s some distance off the current top-tier of Android phones in terms of price, the specs are less far behind. It appears at a time where the flagship, Huawei Mate 9 has launched internationally but also while the Mate 8 and photographer’s-friend, P9 are still among the best phones on the market.
Having matured in the market, price drops have set in on both of – which are still among our current mid-range smartphone recommendations – and as such the Nova Plus finds itself in immediate competition with its siblings. So which phone should you buy?
5.5in, 1080 x 1920, 401ppi display; 32/3GB RAM; Snapdragon 625 2GHz Octa-core CPU plus Adreno 506 GPU; 16MP/8MP cameras, Fingerprint reader, 3,340mAh battery, NanoSIM, USB-C; Android 6 (Marshmallow); 152 x 76 x 7mm, 160g. Full specs here.
Handling and design
First up, this phone looks very good. It looks very similar to the recently-launched Android Flagship Google Pixel XL, thanks to its white trim and sandblasted-Aluminium chassis, but it doesn’t have the silly (and very fragile) glass back. Frankly, the Huawei looks a bit better in our opinion. Both phones have a rear-mounted fingerprint reader (our favourite position), a USB-C charging port and have power and volume switches on the right at the top. But there the similarities end.
[Related: Oppo R9s smartphone full review]
The 5.5-inch Full-HD LCD screen is sharp and bright. It’s naturally not quite as face-grabbing as AMOLED models but it’s one of the better models we've seen. The screen is generally fine for games and videos but as you move up in quality requirements – especially with VR where the screen-door effect is prominent – we started started to remember that there were better screens on the market. It’s still very useable for day-to-day applications though.
The bottom-facing speakers don’t get particularly loud or punchy but they are generally clear for all applications whether it’s bass or treble rich music or speakerphone apps.
Apps loaded quite quickly and everything was generally responsive but it’s a noticeable step down from what we’ve seen on the top-tier phones – albeit not by much. 3D games like Asphalt 8 (and Pokémon Go) were generally fine though there were a few, noticeable slowdowns.
Our one real gripe is with the default launcher software which has no way to organise your apps. While pulling the screen down and seeing your most recent four plus a search box is OK, we otherwise struggled to find the apps we wanted in our large list.
Another weird omission is the lack of 5GHz WiFi. While this isn't a deal breaker, it's unusual for any decent phone these days.
The Nova Plus comes with a 16-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front camera. They're generally impressive but not perfect.
Video goes up to 4K but Image Stabilisation only functions up to Full HD. It’s very fast and accurate for focusing and sound is captured accurately. There’s not the greatest dynamic range on offer but dark locations areas are handled very well indeed – exposure is quickly adjusted to record an impressive level of detail at the natural expense of grain. While the Image Stabilisation didn’t seem to do much we were impressed overall with the video capture on offer here – it’s well above average.
We were also generally (there’s that word again) impressed with still images. In good lighting it was sharp and accurate with colours being captured at a neutral level rather than popping out of the screen. In very low light it was actually very impressive with usable shots coming from very dark rooms. However, in modest light, grain and blur would too quickly appear for our liking – we suspect this camera hardware is better than its software allows.
The selfie camera comes with Beauty mode which can be set to 10 levels. Results are more impressive without it, but some people will like a bit of airbrushing. However, sending it up to 10 isn’t advised unless you want to scare people.
Next: Battery Life and conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Why virtualise your NAS environment?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- 2 Oppo R11s review: The iClone you know and love, but not quite the one you deserve
- 3 Blackberry KEYone Black Edition review: What the original KEYone should have been
- 4 Samsung Gear IconX 2018 review: The path of least resistance makes for an easy upgrade
- 5 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
Latest News Articles
- Huawei Unveils First Car To Be Driven By AI-Powered Smartphone
- OPPO Launches Free Screen Repairs for Latest Devices
- Netgear announces local availability for Nighthawk X4S Wi-Fi extender
- Samsung Partners With Commonwealth Bank
- Group Video Calls Just Got a Lot Easier on Facebook
PCW Evaluation Team
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
- Sony a7R Mk III review: The strongest case yet for ditching your DSLR
- Oppo A73 review: The budget smartphone that sets the bar for 2018
- Oppo R11s: Full, in-depth review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCDigital DesignerNSW
- FTHelpdesk Support OfficerOther
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperACT
- FTSenior Java DeveloperQLD
- CCNode.js DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Business Analyst - PERMANENT -Other
- TPProject ManagerACT
- CCDynamic CRM DeveloperQLD
- TPDelivery ManagerACT
- FTSAP Test AnalystsOther
- FTProject Manager - ERP implementationOther
- FTAnalyst ProgrammerOther
- FTClient Relationship Manager - HealthcareVIC
- FTProject Manager - ERP implementationOther
- FTProgram CoordinatorOther
- CCLead Developer - BrisbaneNSW
- FTL&D Developer - Trainer - eLearning SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior SQL Server DBANSW
- CCAndroid developerNSW
- FT2 X Graduate roles - Exciting opportunityQLD
- CCSalesforce DeveloperVIC
- CCSenior Systems AnalystACT
- CCPortfolio / Project Coordinator - BrisbaneVIC
- CCSoftware Engineer /.NET Developer - Role based in PerthVIC
- FTMid-Level Drupal Developer (Brisbane Location)ACT