It’s been two weeks since I posted my first impressions of the Huawei nova 8. There are a lot of things to like about the phone, as well as other concerns that may hinder it to be officially called the Mid-Range King of Smartphones. Anyway, without further ado, here is my Huawei nova 8 review. Unboxing and first impressions of the nova 8 can be found HERE.
HUAWEI NOVA 8 REVIEW SPECS:
|OS:||Android 11 with EMUI 12|
|Processor:||Huawei Kirin 820E 2.2 GHz Hexa-Core processor | MALI-G57|
|Display:||1080 x 2340 6.57" Full HD+ 19.5:9 OLED Display with 90Hz refresh rate|
|Wireless Connections:||LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, NFC, A-GPS, GLONASS|
|Memory:||128GB Internal Storage, 8GB RAM|
|Cameras:||64 Megapixels f/1.9 + 8 Megapixels ultra-wide angle f/2.4 + 2 Megapixels depth f/2.4 + 2 Megaixels macro f/2,4 (Main) 32 Megapixels f/2.0 (Front)|
|SIM Card Slots:||2x Nano SIM Card|
THE LOOKS AND FEEL
With a thickness of 7.6mm, the Huawei nova 8 is the slimmest, sexiest nova my hands have ever held on. Its curves are almost reminiscent of the Huawei P40 Pro but with a thinner frame. The curved edges of the display are noticeable and it occupies almost half of the phone’s side-bezels. Despite its thin frame, Huawei managed to place the volume rocker and power button on the right side of the nova 8.
At the bottom of the phone are the microphone, Type-C USB port and speaker grille. On top are the earpiece and the SIM Card tray slots which can accommodate two Nano SIM cards.
The back panel is made of glass, which adds to the premium look of the nova 8. I like our review unit’s color – Blush Gold. Its color can be mistaken for white or silver, depending on its reflection. The camera module has a new oval look based on the Huawei P50 series.
Like the P40 Pro and Mate40 Pro, I can’t help but hold the nova 8 with gusto! At 169 grams, it is so light to hold and doesn’t cause a bulge on my pants pocket. However, because it has a glass back panel, I would rather use it with the silicon case that came with the packaging. As much as I would like to use the nova 8 naked, I’m afraid I might break its glass back panel if I accidentally drop it on the ground.
THE SOUND AND DISPLAY
The display of the Huawei nova 8 is a 6.57″ OLED display with Full HD+ resolution (2340 x 1080). On top of its display is a punch-hole where a 32 Megapixel selfie camera is housed. The nova 8’s curved edge display makes it almost bezel-less making it more enjoyable for watching videos or playing mobile games. It also has a 90Hz refresh rate making scrolling smoother than your usual smartphone.
The speaker grille at the bottom are loud enough for me to listen to. Listening to different music tracks seem to be alright with it. If you intend to use a wired headset, unfortunately, the nova 8 doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. You will need to use a bluetooth wireless earphone instead.
Under the hood of the nova 8 is a Kirin 820E Hexa-Core processor paired with a MALI-G57 GPU. This processor is said to be marketed for mid-range phones but its performance can be considered high-end. Let’s check these benchmark scores if this statement is true:
Benchmark results convinced me that the Kirin 820E processor is no push over as it beats other phones mostly in Antutu. Compared to its 4G smartphone counterparts, the nova 8 is the leader in Antutu at 397,022 while the realme 8 Pro got 347,970, Samsung Galaxy A52 285,000, and OPPO Reno5 4G at 226,000. The phone works really well for my everyday usage, whether for work or leisure. The nova 8 comes with 128GB of internal storage and 8GB of memory. Like its predecessors, the nova 8 doesn’t have expandable storage.
I enjoyed playing mobile games on the nova 8. We maxed out all the graphics as well as selected Ultra framerate on Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and the game played smoothly for hours. On Call of Duty Mobile, available graphic quality is up to Medium but frame rates can be set to Max! This is the first time I’ve seen Max in this game. We also maxed out the graphics in Genshin Impact and my niece, a Nova 3 user, was very impressed how the game works with the nova 8. My other niece claims that the nova 8 is her second favorite phone for playing Genshin Impact, next to the ROG Phone 5! I also have to mention that I barely feel the heat whenever I play mobile games for more than an hour. This is probably means the 3D graphene heat dissipation technology inside the nova 8 works! I don’t have to worry about burning my hands after playing long hours.
On to the software side of the phone, the nova 8 has EMUI 12 installed based on Android 11 OS. Actually, Huawei says that the nova 8 already has HarmonyOS. It feels more like EMUI with new features similar to Apple’s iOS. Apps can still be downloaded from the Huawei AppGallery and other third party APK sources to pimp your nova 8.
While the nova series are not in the same league as the P and Mate series, the Huawei nova 8’s cameras can match what these two flagship series are offering in terms of photography. Its cameras are composed of a 64 Megapixel lens with f/1.9, 8 Megapixels ultra-wide angle, 2 Megapixels depth and 2 Megapixels macro. Unlike its flagship counterparts, the nova 8’s cameras are not tuned by Leica, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot produce flagship camera photos. In fact, I was very pleased with the images I took outdoors and indoors with sufficient lighting. Color reproduction on most photos were excellent! Night photos seem to be alright. Selfie photos were also great, and the beauty mode made my face fresh.
Here are some sample photos taken by my Huawei nova 8 review unit:
THE BATTERY LIFE
Most of the features of the Huawei nova 8 are flagship-worthy. Unfortunately, its battery capacity isn’t flagship material. It only has a battery capacity of 3,800 mAh, which is way lower than the usual 5,000 mAh batteries of other entry-level and mid-range phones. It can somehow last on a full day, but it really depends on your usage. My usage average around 12-13 hours a day consisting of music, video streaming, almost an hour of mobile games and the rest for productivity. I know the battery is quite a let down, but at least Huawei included a 66W Huawei SuperCharge that can quickly juice up the nova 8 in less than 40 minutes.
The Huawei nova 8 definitely has the qualities of a mid-range smartphone king. I am aware there are other smartphones under P20,000 with 5G connectivity, but we have to admit that 5G is not widely available. Also, most of those 5G phones don’t possess the flagship qualities of the nova 8.
So if you want the best flagship quality smartphone for under 20 grand, go for the Huawei nova 8!
- Slim profile with Premium design
- Curved display with 90Hz refresh rate
- Excellent cameras
- 66W Fast Charger
- No 5G
- Some apps are not available on the AppGallery
- Battery capacity is less than 4,000mAh