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Huawei Nova 3i vs OPPO F9 Mid-range Comparison - Will the former retain its title as "King"?

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Huawei Nova 3i and OPPO F9 are two mid-range smartphones that have been making noises lately.
Huawei Nova 3i vs. OPPO F9 Mid-range Comparison - Will the former retain its title as '"King"?
Huawei Nova 3i vs. OPPO F9

OPPO F9 vs Huawei Nova 3i Specs Comparison

DeviceOPPO F9Huawei Nova 3i
Display6.3-inch 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass protected LTPS TFT screen w/ 2340 x  1080 resolution at 409 ppi6.3-inch 2.5D curved IPS screen w/ FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi
CPU
2.0GHz 64-bit Helio P60 octa-core processor with dual-core AI
2.2GHz 64-bit Kirin 710 octa-core processor
GPUMali-G72 MP3Mali-G51 MP4 w/ GPU Turbo
RAM6GB4GB
ROM64GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB (dedicated)128GB expandable via microSD card slot
Back Camera16MP f/1.8 + 2MP f/2.4 w/ PDAF and LED flash16MP f/2.2 + 2MP w/ PDAF, contrast focus, Master AI, and LED flash
Selfie Camera25MP f/2.0 w/ AI Beauty Recognition and screen flash24MP f/2.0+ 2MP w/ AF, Master AI, HDR Pro, and screen flash
Battery
3,500mAh w/ VOOC flash charge
3,340mAh
OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo w/ ColorsOS 5.2
Android 8.1 Oreo w/ EMUI 8.2
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 700MHz 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, dual SIMWiFi 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz), dual 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, HWA, aptX, and aptX HD, FM Radio, OTG, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, dual SIM (hybrid)
SensorsAccelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others
Fingerprint sensor, face unlock, Dirac HD audio, dual mic, Colors: sunrise red, twilight blue, starry purple
Fingerprint sensor, 3D face unlock, Colors: classic black, white, iris purple gradient
Dimensions156.7 x 74.0 x 7.99 mm157.6 x 75.2 x 7.6 mm
Weight
169 g
168 g
PricePHP 17,990
PHP 15,990

Build Quality/Design

Back design
Back design

We wrote a separate article regarding the gradient and build comparison of these two smartphones. In our comparison article, Huawei Nova 3i appeared to win because of it's world-first and simple gradient design. 

Read: Huawei Nova 3i vs OPPO F9 Build/Design Comparison - The better looking device is?

However, OPPO F9's petal-shaped gradient design did not slouch because it looks so stunning as well. 

Build/Design - Huawei Nova 3i

But how about on the different aspects of these smartphones? Who do you think performs better? Let's find out in this full comparison!

Display Quality

Good FHD+ screens
Good FHD+ screens

Both smartphones sport a notched 6.3-inch 2.5D curved glass display with 2340 x 1080 resolution at 409 ppi. These two almost have the same body measurement just like some of the smartphones we have in the market. But it's nice to note that Huawei Nova 3i and OPPO F9 managed to house much more immersive screen displays apart from others.

The Huawei Nova 3i has a feature to turn off the notch. On the other hand, OPPO F9 has this so called Notch Area Display Control that you can manually turn off for each of your app depending on your preference. The F9 has a much smaller droplet notch over the Nova 3i since it houses a single selfie camera only. The Nova 3i has two cameras in front. It even has a 3D sensor.

These two smartphones have dynamic and vivid colors, sharp display, and very good sun legibility. For the display quality, there's no one's better over the other. 

As expected, both smartphone have 10 points of multitouch.

Display - OPPO F9

Audio Quality

Huawei Nova 3i and OPPO F9 have single loudspeakers located on the bottom. 

The sound quality of both smartphones are nice and decent. But the OPPO F9's "Real Original Sound Technology" that expands the soundstage artificially was evident in the comparison.

But the Nova 3i has a Party Play mode feature that makes a wider soundstage and louder sound if you connect it to several other Huawei smartphones.

OPPO F9 produces a bit sharper and nicer sounds over the Huawei Nova 3i. It's also a bit louder than the Nova 3i without the Party Play mode. 

Both smartphones are also equipped with dual microphones. Hence, the recording quality of Nova 3i and F9 are above average. Calls are crisp most of the time too.

It is a tie for us!

Audio Quality - Huawei Nova 3i = OPPO F9

Battery Life

Huawei Nova 3i battery test score
Huawei Nova 3i battery test score

Huawei Nova 3i is equipped with 3,340mAh of battery. But because of its more power efficient Kirin 710 SoC, the battery is being optimized despite its huge screen resolution. 

In our battery test, Huawei Nova 3i recorded a total of 10 hours and 58 minutes. While in real life, it manages to last up to two days while using it as our secondary phone. But when we used it as our primary smartphone under heavy usage, it lasted up to 10 hours straight. This is a pretty nice battery performance for its battery capacity.

Charging time lasts for 2 hours and 15 minutes using its stock 2A charger.
OPPO F9 battery test score
OPPO F9 battery test score

The OPPO F9 is packed with 3,500mAh of battery. This is big enough for its huge 6.3-inch screen display. It's just odd that in our battery test, the OPPO F9 lasted for 10 hours and 10 minutes only.

But we used it as our secondary phone and managed to stay up for two days. We also used it under heavy usage and it lasted a full whole day.

Charging time is blazing 1 hour fast using its VOOC fast charger.

The 5-minute charge, 2 hours of talk was too impossible to think of but we tried to use it for a Facebook messenger call and it lasted for almost an hour which is not so bad!

BUT, the crazy 5-minute charge, 2 hours talk the OPPO F9 boasts is real. If you're going to make the talk using your SIM number calling another mobile number.

Battery Life - Huawei Nova 3i
Charging time - OPPO F9

Cameras

Dual cameras
Dual cameras

One of the key highlight of the Nova 3i is its quad-camera setup. It is equipped with 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP dual rear cameras at the back with PDAF and LED flash. While on the front, it has 24MP f/2.2 + 2MP cameras with screen flash.

Meanwhile, the OPPO F9 sports a dual rear camera setup. It include a 16MP f/1.8 + 2MP f/2.4 sensors with PDAF and LED flash. For its selfie camera, it boasts of a 25MP f/2.0 camera with screen flash.

Both phones are assisted with AI for scene detection and loaded with modes to bring out your creativity in mobile photography.

Rear Camera Samples

Scene 1 - Daylight
Daylight Nova 3i
Daylight Nova 3i 

Nova 3i captured a nice photo but lacks on exposure and dynamic range.
Daylight F9
Daylight F9

The OPPO F9 captured this scene beautifully with better color accuracy and sharper details. Dynamic range is wider here as well.

Scene 2 - Indoor
Indoor Nova 3i
Indoor Nova 3i

Huawei Nova 3i captured din this very well. It has nice colors, sharp details, and good exposure.
Indoor F9
Indoor F9

OPPO F9 was able to capture this scene with sharp details and truer colors. Nova 3i may have a better exposure, but the OPPO F9 captured the closest to real look of this scene.

Scene 3 - Close-up
Close-up Nova 3i
Close-up Nova 3i

We're focusing on the Disney "A" keychain placed on a standee here. Huawei Nova 3i evidently blurred the distracting products behind the standee on this scene. It also captured the truer color of the subject with sharp details.
Close-up F9
Close-up F9

OPPO F9 was able to blur the objects behind with nice exposure but it made the colors look pale and soft.

Scene 4 - Lowlight
Lowlight Nova 3i
Lowlight Nova 3i

Huawei Nova 3i was able to take a nice and decent shot on this scene. It has sharp details and decent colors. 
Lowlight F9
Lowlight F9

OPPO F9 definitely nailed this scene! I love how the colors look so accurate and nice without compromising the sharp details.
Selfie cams
Selfie cams

In case you skipped on it, Huawei Nova 3i has dual selfie cameras of 24MP f/2.2 + 2MP with screen flash. Meanwhile, the OPPO F9 has a single 25MP f/2.0 selfie camera with screen flash.

But who's better and who's not? Let's find out!

Selfie Camera Samples

Scene 1 - Well-lighted Bokeh Selfie
Well-lighted Bokeh selfie Nova 3i
Well-lighted Bokeh selfie Nova 3i

Although we got a pretty well-lighted area here, the blurring of the area behind me is completely evident. Huawei Nova 3i captured a nice portrait selfie with sharp details and good colors.
Well-lighted Bokeh selfie F9
Well-lighted Bokeh selfie F9

OPPO F9 was able to get a well blurring effect of the background. The shot has sharp details with a soft take and truer colors.

Scene 2 - Outdoor selfie
Outdoor selfie Nova 3i
Outdoor selfie Nova 3i

Huawei Nova 3i captured a nice outdoor selfie. I look a bit pinkish though but the shot has nice details and colors.
Outdoor selfie F9
Outdoor selfie F9

OPPO F9 captured the selfie on this scene with very nice exposure, truer colors, and sharp details!

Scene 3 - Lowlight selfie with screen flash
Lowlight selfie with screen flash Nova 3i
Lowlight selfie with screen flash Nova 3i

Huawei Nova 3i's way of taking a lowlight selfie with flash is having a very much bright screen light before you take the selfie. The result? A very nice lowlight selfie with nice exposure, good colors, and sharp details. 
Lowlight selfie with screen flash F9
Lowlight selfie with screen flash F9

OPPO F9 was able to take a nice lowlight selfie with the help of screen flash. It has decent colors but it's not as good with the Nova 3i's.

Both the Huawei Nova 3i and OPPO F9 have nice cameras. The two were able to capture the scenes well with nice details and good colors. But they also have different attacks on capturing each of the scenes which are evident on the sample photos.

For videos, Huawei Nova 3i can record up to 1080p at 60 fps on the back and 1080p at 30 fps on the front. It can record nice videos with fair stabilization. 

Meanwhile, the OPPO F9 can shoot 1080p at 30 fps on both rear and front cameras. It can record nice videos as well with good if not great stabilization.

Huawei Nova 3i may record videos at 60 fps but the good stabilization of the OPPO F9 make them equal. 

Main Camera - OPPO F9
Selfie Camera - Huawei Nova 3i
Videos - Huawei Nova 3i = OPPO F9

Performance 

Huawei Nova 3i AnTuTu and Geekbench benchmark scores
Huawei Nova 3i AnTuTu and Geekbench benchmark scores
OPPO F9 AnTuTu and Geekbench benchmark scores
OPPO F9 AnTuTu and Geekbench benchmark scores

Huawei Nova 3i runs on the latest Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2. It is equipped with 2.2GHz 64-bit Kirin 710 octa-core processor, Mali-G51 MP4 with GPU Turbo plus 4GB RAM and 128GB internal memory.

Overall, it gave us a smooth performance with very rare hiccups and can switch from one app to another seamlessly. Gaming on GPU Turbo supported games is now a lot better, thanks to the update.

On the other hand, the OPPO F9 runs on the Android 8.1 Oreo as well with Colors OS 5.2. It is coupled with 2.0GHz 64-bit MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core processor and Mali-G72 MP3 GPU plus 6GB RAM and 64GB internal storage.

The benchmark score is about the same. The MediaTek Helio P60 is a really nice chipset as well. It has one of the best performance for its price

In our review, it gave us a great performance in all aspects. The gaming was very seamless because of the Mali-G72 MP3 GPU. OPPO may have retained most of the F7 internals, but that's how OPPO F7 was made great and so is the OPPO F9.

Both smartphones have speedy face unlock, fingerprint scanners, LTE, Bluetooth and WiFi connection. But the OPPO F9 has a faster face unlock over the Nova 3i.

Huawei Nova 3i is the only one here with 3D Face Unlock for better lowlight face unlock performance. The 3D face regocnition of Huawei can also be used for the 3D Qmoji feature.

We wish that these two are on USB Type-C, though.

The rest of the telephony experience of the Huawei Nova 3i and OPPO F9 are great as well.

Speed - Nova 3i = OPPO F9
Multitasking - OPPO F9
Storage - Nova 3i
Features - Nova 3i

Price

The Huawei Nova 3i is priced at PHP 15,990 with all these features. Meanwhile, the OPPO F9 retails for PHP 17,990 given all of its features. In terms of affordability, Huawei Nova 3i is the clear winner.

Price - Huawei Nova 3i

Tally

CategoryDevice
Build/DesignNova 3i
DisplayOPPO F9
Audio QualityTie
Charging timeOPPO F9
Main CameraOPPO F9
Selfie CameraNova 3i
VideosTie
SpeedTie
MultitaskingOPPO F9
StorageNova 3i
FeaturesNova 3i
PriceNova 3i
Total Score5/4

Huawei Nova 3i advantages - Solid build, sleek design, Kirin 710 processor, good cameras, larger 128GB storage, 3D face unlock, party mode, lower price tag
OPPO F9 advantages - Smaller notch, Gorilla Glass protection, 64-bit MediaTek Helio P60 processor, bigger 6GB RAM, good cameras, fast charging

Verdict

The Huawei Nova 3i and OPPO F9 are unique on their own. They both have advantages and disadvantages with one another.

Opt for the Huawei Nova 3i if the PHP 15,990 fits your budget and you're looking for a smartphone with a simple but unique design with solid build, nice cameras, large storage, and no slouch when it comes to gaming.

If you have a little higher budget, the OPPO F9 for PHP 17,990 has a flashy petal-shaped design, great overall performance, fast charging experience, and good cameras.

For our Huawei Nova 3i review: Huawei Nova 3i Review - Beast in CLASS!
For our OPPO F9 review: OPPO F9 Review - Greater F7?
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