Huawei Nova 4. A ‘Hole’ Lot Improved Smartphone

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Review of the latest Nova 4 smartphone from Huawei

Time and time again, Huawei simply can’t stop impressing us with their stellar smartphone collection packed with innovative features that give top tier brands like Apple and Samsung, a run for their money.

Currently ranked No.2 in the world in terms of smartphone market share. The OEM ensures they do their best to remain on top of the league in terms of technology and innovation.

A few months ago, we reviewed their latest flagship the Mate 20 Pro which was declared Arabian Gazette’s Phone of the Year for 2018 hence keeping our expectations high, let’s see what Huawei has in store for us this time – with the launch of nova 4.

Sequel to the highly successful mid-tier smartphone ‘Nova 3’, though not a substantial upgrade, packs in a lot of new features that definitely makes it worth checking out.

RELATED: Huawei Nova 3i Review: Stylish, Irresistable and Pocket-Friendly

Specifications

• 6.4 Inch IPS LCD (1080×2310) display with 398 ppi density
• Kirin 970 (10nm) Processor
• 8GB RAM
• 128GB Built-in-Storage
• Dual Sim Capabilities
• Android 9.0 Pie (EMUI 9) out of the box
• 20MP f/1.8 + 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP Primary f/2.4 Triple Lens Primary Camera with Gyro EIS
• 25MP f/2.0 Selfie Camera with Gyro EIS
• 3750 mAh battery with 18W Fast Charge Compatibility
• USB-C Connectivity

Pros

+ That Pinhole camera makes the phone look out of the world compared to the industry standard of using a notch based design gives the phone a colossal 86.3% screen to body ratio
+ Still packs a full 3.5mm Headphone Jack
+ Rounded corners gives the phone a very aesthetic design and also makes it comfortable to use
+ Has Artificial Intelligence written all over and really comes in handy when using the camera to select the right scene
+ Stellar build quality with eye-catching colour options
+ A bunch of features you won’t find in other smartphones which we’ll get into in detail shortly

Cons

– Doesn’t pack Wireless Charging
– No NFC for Mobile Payments
– The phone tends to get a little warm with heavy use
– No Expandable Storage
– Low light shots aren’t very impressive

Design

Since the Huawei P20 came out with its Twilight colour variant, Huawei has gone along the same lines for most of their devices post that and we aren’t complaining. It is by far one of the best looking designs out there. To come up with a design like that on a glass back is no easy feat and Huawei has nailed it yet again with Nova 4. Rounded corners and comfortable ergonomics, the Nova 4 definitely packs a design that will raise a few eyebrows from far.

The Nova 4 is available in two luscious colours. Crush blue and the elegant standard black.

But the main highlight isn’t just the physical aspects of the phone but the design of the display as that changes everything from a viewing perspective because you are no longer bombarded by a dumb notch binging on your favourite Netflix shows.

Display

With a 6.4 inch punch hole display, you finally have that feeling of a bezel free display we’ve all been waiting for. Don’t get us wrong, Samsung too launched a phone with an infinity-O display but Huawei’s punch hole is far smaller and elegantly placed than the latter.

Watching videos is a completely blissful experience because you aren’t really compromising on much screen real estate. Huawei decided to go for a blind hole approach instead of a through hole because blind hole only requires the brand to punch a hole through a single backlight layer instead of the entire display itself. This simply wasn’t something Huawei came up with overnight. It was the result of 300 Engineers working for a period of 12 months on R&D with 20,000 prototypes – achieving a 20% smaller punch hole than the industry standard.

We were very happy with the performance of the display overall as colours seem to pop out really well and don’t seem overly saturated on what you’d find on the likes of AMOLED displays. Blacks could be a little darker but that’s a sacrifice you’ll have to make given the competitive pricing.

Performance

Performance wise the device packs a flagship 10nm octa-core processor found on the P20 Pro and last year’s Nova 3 as well. Applications run snappy with virtually no lag. EMUI 9.0 is far cleaner and more intuitive. Bloatware is still a problem but should take you only a few minutes to delete the unwanted ones.

Nova 4 also packs in more RAM at 8GB offered as standard and with features like GPU Turbo boost, gaming performance becomes buttery smooth with no jitters at all. Heating is still an issue but not to an unbearable level.

Camera

Camera performance was quite impressive thanks to the AI integration which beautifies selfies and helps change the settings to match the scene you’re capturing. You could be capturing food, forests, concerts and the AI would magically recognize the scene and apply the right settings to get the perfect shot.

AI integration on the selfie might seem a little too soft for a few of you out there but Huawei has given its customers the ability to adjust the beauty meter to their liking.

The rear ultra wide lens comes in handy while taking shots of buildings or an entire group as you’d be able to capture everything in a single frame. Triple lens camera also comes in handy while capturing photos with bokeh.

Our favourite feature has got to be the night mode that manages to capture a good amount of detail without too much noise by recording a short video of a mere few seconds and then merging all the frames together to get that perfect shot.

The rear camera also packs in features AIS (Artificial Intelligence Stabilization) which is a combination of EIS and OIS powered by the built-in NPU. This helps the phone record videos with minimal shakes and buttery smooth panning.

Battery Life

One thing Huawei always seems to get right is its battery life. With its suite of power management solutions, you can rest assured you will get high performance without affecting the overall battery life. We’ve managed to get a full day without charging with about 37% battery still remaining. Mind you, this is after all the intensive testing of the phone’s features.

The phone packs a decent 3750 mAh battery that also supports quick charge at 18W (adapter sold separately) so you aren’t left hanging when you’re almost out of juice.

Watching videos doesn’t seem to take much of a toll on the device’s battery life so feel free to binge watch all your Netflix and Amazon Prime shows on a long bus journey and train rides because you’ll still be left with enough charge to get you through the day.

Overall Verdict

Though the Huawei Nova 4 might not seem like a substantial upgrade from the Nova 3, we were still very impressed with all the value additions Huawei has made to make the phone more appealing to the masses. With innovative features like the punch hole camera, you’ll still feel like you’re holding on to something from the future.

The build quality is stellar and the performance is good enough to match the standards of most flagships out there from 2018.

Taking into consideration all our usual criteria, we can confirm the Nova 4 ironically scores a solid 4.0 on our 5 point scale making it a great upgrade for anyone looking forward to changing their phone without breaking the bank.

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