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Huawei Nova 3i

  • Supports Indian bands
  • VoLTE
  • 128 GB + 256 GB Expandable
  • Dual SIM: Nano + Nano (Hybr...
  • Fingerprint sensor

Highlights from Expert Review

  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 16MP+2MP rear camera
  • 24MP+2MP front camera
  • Android Oreo with Huawei EMUI skin
  • USB OTG support
  • Metal and glass body
  • Premium design
  • No dedicated microSD card slot
  • Oleophobic body
  • Low-light shots are muddy


Launch DateAugust 7, 2018 (Official)
ModelNova 3i
Operating SystemAndroid v8.1 (Oreo)
SIM Slot(s)Dual SIM, GSM+GSM, Dual VoLTE
SIM SizeSIM1: Nano
Network4G: Available (supports Indian bands)
Fingerprint Sensoryes
Height157.6 mm
Width75.2 mm
Thickness7.6 mm
Weight169 grams
ColoursBlack, Iris Purple
Screen Size6.3 inches (16 cm)
Screen Resolution1080 x 2340 pixels
Aspect Ratio19.5:9
Bezel-less displayyes
Pixel Density409 ppi
Display TypeIPS LCD
Touch Screenyes
Screen to Body Ratio (calculated)82.03 %
ChipsetHiSilicon Kirin 710
ProcessorOcta core (2.2 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A73 + 1.7 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A53)
Architecture64 bit
GraphicsMali-G51 MP4
Internal Memory128 GB
Expandable Memoryyes
User Available StorageUp to 113 GB
Resolution24 MP + 2 MP Dual Front Cameras
Physical ApertureF2.0
Image Resolution4616 x 3464 Pixels
Shooting ModesContinuos Shooting, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)
Camera FeaturesDigital Zoom, Auto Flash, Face detection, Smile detection, Touch to focus
Video Recording1920x1080 @ 30 fps
Capacity3340 mAh
User Replaceable
Network & Connectivity
SIM SizeSIM1: Nano, SIM2: Nano (Hybrid)
Network Support4G (supports Indian bands), 3G, 2G
Wi-Fi FeaturesMobile Hotspot
USB ConnectivityUSB 2.0, Mass storage device, USB charging, microUSB 2.0
Audio Jack3.5 mm
Special Features
Fingerprint Sensoryes
Fingerprint Sensor PositionRear
Other SensorsLight sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope
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Expert Review


The Huawei Nova 3i does few things extremely well. It has a new Kirin 710 processor, with a classy and modern design. The AI camera takes great shots most of the time and the phone is good to watch videos and perform basic tasks as well as handle multi-tasking with good battery life. It is lightweight and easy to use with no heating issues. The mid-range phone as quite a lot going on its favor and if you want an upgrade from a budget phone this could be well your choice. If you are looking for options other than Samsung or Xiaomi and looks is what you are after, then Huawei Nova 3i is worth going for.


Huawei made little noise in India’s smartphone market in 2017 only to re-engage our attention in 2018 with some very promising models. The P20 Pro and its sister P20 Lite are innovative flagship phones from Huawei in India. Then came the Nova 3 and finally Nova 3i. The P20 Lite was the cheapest in the lot and was priced at INR 19,999 but the phones had issues with their dated processors, the Kirin 659. Huawei has fixed that with its new Nova 3i.

The top-notch version of the P20 series, which created a lot of buzz for its almost iPhone like top notch in the front face, continues in Nova 3i. Priced at Rs 20,990 and available only on Amazon, the Huawei Nova 3i is a mid-range smartphone that stands out for its design appeal and sleekness with an impressive screen to body ratio of 80 percent. It has a facial recognition feature too though we still have to determine how effective and secure it is like iPhone’s. The price of Nova 3i makes it a competitive choice along with Xiaomi Mi A2 and its own Honor Play. The buzzword is the performance benchmark of Nova 3i equals that of much cheaper phones. It is still early to say how Nova 3i is going to fair in India but let’s dig into what this phone vouches to offer.

Design & Display:

The Huawei Nova 3i is a handsome looking phone. Running the phone is Huawei’s own Kirin 710 octa-core processor. The Kirin 710 is known to be slightly inferior to Snapdragon 636. But in reality the difference hardly bothers you when it comes to performance.

The glass design on back and near to edge screen will turn heads. The iPhone like top notch could be attractive to many. The compact design measures 75.2 x 7.6 x 157.6 mm and weighs just 169 grams. It is a lightweight beautifully designed sleek phone and is easily operable with one hand. The back of the phone is glass and sadly oleophobic. It will leave traces of fingerprints in no time and Huawei is generous to provide with a TPU protective case in the phone package. Put the phone into the case sooner you get your hands on this phone.

The back houses the usual protruding dual camera lenses and LED flash on the top left with the fingerprint scanner in the middle. In the front, the top notch has the 24MP + 2MP front camera along with light and proximity sensors and the LED notifications light. The Nova 3i does not have any microSD card slot and it is a downside considering its mid-range price. On the right edge are located the volume rocker lock button which even though are made of plastic but feels every bit solid. On the top edge one can find the secondary microphone and, on the bottom, the primary microphone, 3.5mm audio jack, microUSB port and the loudspeaker. Huawei has kept alive the tradition of audio jack unlike iPhone.

Huawei Nova 3i comes with a huge 128GB of internal storage. The Geekbench benchmark proved that this phone is pretty similar in performance to other mid-range phones. When it comes to graphics benchmark, the Nova 3i is similar to Honor 9 Lite though at much cheaper price. Huawei does not mention nay IP rating for dust and water resistance and I think there isn’t any.

Overall, the Nova 3i has a premium touch and feel with its metal and streamlined glass body and feels sturdy and wonderful to hold. The gradient color effect in the back is innovative and something Huawei has mastered. The phone is available in two colors in India, Black, and Iris Purple.

The 6.3-inch FHD+ display has a resolution of 1080 x 2340 at 409 pixels per inch. The screen is a delight to look at with optimum color saturation. You can also customize displays as you wish and save more energy. The phone has a light sensor which automatically adjusts screen brightness according to its surrounding. So, when you are outside under the sun the screen is not reflective, or even in darkness for that matter the screen shifts color and alters brightness which is eye soothing. Again, the phone has got good viewing angles from all directions. The phone has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 unlike Huawei P20 Pro’s 18:7:9. You can switch between different color modes, like default, warm and cold and also adjust screen resolution or let just your phone do the job for you. There is also option to hide the top notch if that isn’t your thing. The screen is one of the most attractive points of Nova 3i. Its crispy and vibrant colors together with good viewing angles serves as its sweet points.


The Huawei Nova 3i is fueled by 3,340 mAh Li-ion battery. The phone has Smart Power Management and can be used for 5.5 hours of gaming, 22 hours of video playback, 160 hours of music playback, and 21 hours of 4G browsing. With an average use throughout the day the phone is left with a decent amount of charge by end of the day. It takes a little over 1 hour to charge fully up from zero and can run for more than 24 hours on average use.

Playing games with Nova 3i is fabulous. The phone has AI game suite couples with GPU turbo technology. This means the AI optimizes the chipset performance to give you great gaming output. It prevents notifications from interrupting your play except for the most important ones, which again you get to choose through the app setting. You can play all sorts of games in this phone like Asphalt 9 and PUBG and you will love every bit of it.


The rear side has dual camera lenses of 16MP and 2MP with aperture f/2.2. The 2MP is intended for bokeh effect in portrait mode which works very well. Daylight shots capture nice pictures with well exposure, and color balance though there isn’t much color saturation and depth to be noticed. As dusk approached the camera struggles to get well exposed shots and the details starts getting muddy and losing vitality.

The 16x Super slo-mo with 480 fps creates mind-blowing slow-motion videos. There are around 22 scenes to choose form and it covers every possible situation that you can think of. The AI algorithm learns from the images you capture and optimizes performance every time.

The 24MP+2MP front camera takes impressive selfies with a lot of details and color vibrancy. The front camera also serves for the face unlock feature which is good to see in a mid-range phone. The interface of face unlock is smooth and snappy. The camera app has plethora of modes and features to play with. Pro modes, AR Lens (stickers), HDR, Panorama, Light painting, Moving Picture, Time lapse, Slo-mo are some of the features you will find in this phone. The wide-aperture feature is interesting to explore.

While using the front camera one will get options of beauty mode, filter, watermark and bokeh mode though the wide-aperture is absent. The filters and effects create funny results which surprisingly are not tacky. In well-lit conditions most, shots are sharp and vibrant. Video shooting with Nova 3i is easy and fuss-free. The highest range of its videos are of resolution 1080p with 30 frames per second. The videos are of nice vibrant colors but since there is no image stabilization in this phone shots could be shaky. The video sound clarity is decent too.

Software & Ui:

Huawei Nova 3i runs on Android Oreo 8.1 with a skin of Huawei Emotion-UI 8.2 (EMUI) on top. If this is your first meet with EMUI then it could mean a new learning process of how to navigate this phone. Honor phones had to face extensive criticisms in the past for its EMUI but it is only a matter of time before you start liking the interface. EMUI is always exciting to use with its interesting features over and above stock Android. EMUI gives you loads of customizations and if you love fiddling with your phone EMUI will surprise you.

Unlike before the Face Unlock is more improved and secure than the previous version. But is it as good as Apple’s Face Unlock? Only time can tell that. PrivateSpace is another app that comes with EMUI which is fun to explore. It lets you create your private space which is accessible through a unique password and fingerprint. But keep in mind that PrivateSpace does not work with face unlock. If you are not so game for PrivateSpace then there is App Lock feature if you prefer to lock down few apps instead of using PrivateSpace. Through this feature you list the apps which only you would like to access, and here again you need a password or fingerprint to access App Lock. For avid social media users with multiple accounts App Twin is a joy to use. This lets you create social media app clones and access your accounts seamlessly. If you prefer hands-free Huawei’s EMUI offers Voice Control feature. This enables you to make a call, unlock your phone and also locate your phone. QMoji is a fun app which uses AI to imitate your facial expressions and voice to create personalized videos and GIFs that you can share over messenger with your friends.

But again, all these apps are not first of its kind and we do have UI’s in many phones doing the same job under a different app name.

EMUI gives you options to customize unlike Android. You can choose if you prefer an app drawer over traditional Android app display. Or choose which theme to go with and do note that with each theme EMUI alters every appearance of your phone. The overall experience is praiseworthy for its snappiness as you glide over in a brisk.

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