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Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G - The more future-proof offering is?

OPPO
Armed with a big display, capable specs, and high-resolution cameras the PHP 22,990 Galaxy A71 is one of the most attractive offerings found in its class today. Huawei's answer to this device is the nova 7 SE 5G.
Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G - The more future-proof offering is?
5G vs 4G

As its name suggests, the Huawei nova 7 SE 5G is a 5G-ready smartphone with a new-generation 5G-capable mid-range chip.

In addition, it also comes with super-fast charging speeds, high-resolution cameras, and a more affordable PHP 19,990 price tag.

Will that be enough to best the Galaxy A71? Let's find out.

Build Quality/Design

Glossy back designs
Glossy back designs

The two are nicely built phones as expected at this price point.


A71 is similar to most Samsung mid-rangers with glasstic back panels, plastic frames, and real glass screens. Meanwhile, the nova 7 SE uses a curved glass back, metallic-like plastic frame with chamfered edges, and a glass screen.


Corning's website mentions that the A71 is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 in the front. It also has a pre-installed screen protector. On the other hand, there's no mention of glass protection on the nova 7 SE 5G. But, it has a pre-installed screen protector as well.

Triple-slot tray vs dual-slot tray with red rubber ring
Triple-slot tray vs dual-slot tray with red rubber ring

On the SIM tray part, nova 7 SE 5G has a red rubber ring to provide some sort of water resistance, unlike the A71. There is no mention of water protection for the A71. So, be careful with it.


Looking at their designs, it's up to the preference of the user. The two are stunning-looking in my opinion.


A71 goes with the slightly curved 3D back and the new "Prism Design with lines and gradient giving the device a premium look. It also uses the rectangular camera hump at the back with slightly sharp aluminum edges. This design reminds us of the P40 series and the Galaxy S20 series.

Big displays
Big displays

In the front, it features a larger 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a center-aligned cutout for the selfie camera. It resulted in a phone with one of the slimmest looking bezels. It's a near all-screen experience.

On the other hand, the nova 7 SE 5G features a curvier back panel with a totally different look. It uses a high-gloss CMF 9-layer nano-coat finish with gradient colors in Space Silver, Crush Green, and Midsummer Purple.


My unit is the Space Silver variant which uses a special silver tone to create a low saturated gradient color of light blue-silver-pink.


The newly-launched Midsummer Purple has the same nano-coat finish, but a 3D holographic light reflection and nova branding in gradient patterns under the glass. 

For the camera hump, it is using a vertically-aligned module. The camera hump of this handset doesn't feel as sharp as the one found on the A71.


In the front, the nova 7SE 5G has a slightly smaller 6.5-inch LCD (LTPS) screen. 6.5-inch is still considered as large though. It also has a punch-hole, but it is left-aligned and not in the center.


Personally, I find the center-aligned punch-holes more symmetrical than left-aligned punch-holes. But, that is a minor thing.


The clear advantage of Samsung in the design department is its smaller chin bezel. The bezels of A71 is smaller overall than the nova 7 SE 5G. That's understandable as the latter is more affordable.


The Samsung mid-ranger is the slightly larger phone at 163.6 x 76.0 mm versus the 162.31 x 75.0 of Huawei. Despite having the larger 4,500mAh battery, the A71 is the slimmer phone at 7.7 mm versus 8.58 mm.

Top
Top

On the top, A71 and nova 7 SE comes with a microphone. At the bottom, the two have a single speaker grille, USB-C reversible port, another microphone, and the 3.5mm headphone slot.
Bottom
Bottom

At left, the A71 has a pinhole for the triple slot tray (dual nano-SIM + microSD). On the other hand, nova 7 SE comes with a hybrid dual SIM slot. The second SIM slot also acts as the Huawei NM card slot.
Left
Left

On the right side, the two phones go with the power key and the volume rocker. The power key of the nova 7 SE doubles as a fingerprint reader.
Right
Right

A71's fingerprint scanner is found on the lower portion of its screen. It uses an In-Display fingerprint reader.

In terms of build, the slight edge goes to nova 7 SE. Design-wise, the A71 looks a little better to my eyes.


Both are quite prone to fingerprint smudges and are a bit slippery due to their high-glossy finish.


A71 is the lighter device at 179 grams while the nova 7 SE 5G is 10 grams heavier at 189 grams.


Due to their big displays, the two aren't easy to hold with one hand. 


Multimedia Experience

AMOLED vs LCD
AMOLED vs LCD

On the display part, the A71 is ahead in my opinion. First, it uses a larger 6.7-inch screen versus 6.5-inch. Second, the panel used is higher-end. A71 uses an AMOLED panel which has deeper blacks, nicer contrasts, and stronger brightness level than the screen of nova 7 SE 5G. Third, as mentioned above, the bezels are slimmer on the A71.


IPS vs AMOLED

But, it is not an overwhelming win for Samsung. In the color accuracy department, I'll give it to the nova 7 SE 5G. Huawei's color-tuning is a bit cooler, but it is truer versus the warm and a bit yellowish tone of the Samsung screen.

Even if I used the "Natural" Screen mode on the A71, colors are really warmer.
Good for your Netflix and chill moments on-the-go
Good for your Netflix and chill moments on-the-go

For viewing a lot of things, both did great. You won't have a problem with them unless you are used to the highest-end available screens from the super-expensive top-of-the-line devices.

Personally, I find them great for watching a lot of YouTube chips and Netflix drams on-the-go.


Like most phones, the two have adjustable colors in the display settings, auto screen brightness, and eye comfort mode. Huawei has an extra mode called eBook mode that converts the screen to black and white which is ideal for reading.


The two screens have 10 points of touch for easy typing and swiping.


For audio, the pair have single speakers at the bottom. The two are near equal in terms of loudness. The signature on the A71 is warmer with a bit more bass while the nova 7 SE 5G's speaker focuses on the voices and clarity a little bit more.


Both are quite full sounding for the price. My only concern is they are not in stereo yet.


The two also have traditional headphone slots. At 70 percent loudness, the A71 output is louder and it has a wider soundstage and 3D effect. Signature is also warmer yet it has clear highs
. The advantage here is on the A71, the tone on the nova 7 SE 5G is just a bit more natural.


For calls, the earspeaker of the two are similar in performance. For capturing voice, both are clear. The output from the Huawei mid-ranger just has slightly had lesser noise for clearer recordings.

Cameras

64MP quad-cam fight
64MP quad-cam fight


At the back, the two uses a quad-camera setup. Both also have 64MP f/1.8 main cameras with PDAF focus. But, only the nova 7 SE 5G comes with Contrast focus. It's a basic and slower type of focusing system, but at least it is there to assist the main PDAF focus system.
Cam interface of the two phones
Cam interface of the two phones


The A71 is paired with a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, 5MP f/2.4 macro camera, and a 5MP f/2.2 depth sensor. Meanwhile, nova 7 SE 5G uses an 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide-angle camera, 2MP f/2.4 w/ 4cm macro camera, and a 2MP f/2.4 depth camera.

For modes, the A71 comes with the usual Scene optimizer, auto HDR, Live Focus, Filters, Beauty, Night, Panorama, Macro, Pro, AR emojis/Stickers, and Food modes. The Pro mode is very limited for a phone priced this high. It only has up to ISO 800, WB, and EV (+-2).

The Night mode of this handset works for both the main cam and ultra-wide cam.

The nova 7 SE 5G's camera UI is more robust. It has Master AI, Filters, Portrait with Beauty (10-level) and Effects (Circles, Hearts, Swirl, Discs, and more), Night (ISO 100 to 1600 and 1/4 to 32s), Pro (ISO 50 to 51200, 1/4 to 30s, EV (+-4), AF, and WB), Panorama, Aperture (f/0.95 to f/16), Light Painting (Traffic Trails, Light Graffiti, Silky Water, Star Trails), HDR, Super Macro, and Hi-Res (64MP) modes.

Rear Camera Samples

A71 daylight
A71 daylight
nova 7 SE 5G daylight
nova 7 SE 5G daylight

In daylight, you won't have a problem with focus and photo saving speed. Right off the bat, you'll see that A71's colors are punchier and more vibrant. It also has a brighter exposure and wider range.

100 percent crop
100 percent crop

But upon closer inspection, the nova 7 SE 5G shot is more natural-looking. At 100 percent crop, it is sharper as well.
A71 daylight ultra-wide
A71 daylight ultra-wide
nova 7 SE 5G ultra-wide
nova 7 SE 5G ultra-wide

The color signature remained the same for both camera phones even after I switch to their ultra-wide lenses. The field of view on the A71 wide shot is just way wider. It has some barrel distortion that some may like or dislike. A71 also exposed the skies a bit better here.


While it is narrower, the wide shot on the Huawei mid-ranger doesn't look that distorted in comparison.

A71 vs nova 7 SE 5G close-up
A71 vs nova 7 SE 5G close-up

On close-up using the main cams of both phones, the advantage goes to the A71 for me. It controlled the exposure and shadows better. It is also crispier this time. The nova 7 SE 5G shot is a bit overexposed.

A71 before the macro shot
A71 before the macro shot
A71 macro
A71 macro
nova 7 SE 5G before the macro shot
nova 7 SE 5G before the macro shot
nova 7 SE 5G macro

A71 has up to 3cm macro mode. On the other hand, nova 7 SE 5G comes with up to 4cm macro. But on what we tested, the Huawei mid-range smartphone handled macro shots better. It focuses closer than the Samsung on the subject with less noise and clearer details.

Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G bokeh

For bokeh, the two are similar in edge detection with a good background to subject separation. For Samsung, the background Blur on the Live Focus mode can be adjusted up to level 7. For Huawei, it is from f/0.95 to f/16.

A71 indoor
A71 indoor
A71 indoor wide
A71 indoor wide
nova 7 SE 5G indoor
nova 7 SE 5G indoor
nova 7 SE 5G indoor wide
nova 7 SE 5G indoor wide

The A71 and nova 7 SE 5G are similar in detail, but they differ in white balance and overall color reproduction. The main cam of the A71 rendered the colors better than the warmer and saturated tones of the nova 7 SE. Meanwhile, the wide cam of Huawei got more accurate colors compared to the saturated wide shot from the Samsung mid-ranger.

A71 low light
A71 low light
A71 low light
nova 7 SE 5G low light

Since the two have modern 64MP snappers with 4-in-1 pixel binning technology, the two can take decent images with less noise in the dark.


They just differ in execution. Samsung pushed the brightness further and made the colors pop more. Huawei did it better in my opinion as to its point and shoot low light shots are more detailed and properly exposed.

A71 low light wide
A71 low light wide
nova 7 SE 5G low light wide
nova 7 SE 5G low light wide

The color profile of the wide low light shots from the two phones is similar to their main cameras. The Samsung mid-ranger just has a wider field of view with brighter exposure with a better dynamic range. The Huawei wide shot is ahead in terms of color accuracy, but it has more visible noise.
A71 Night mode 1
A71 Night mode 1
nova 7 SE 5G Night mode 1
nova 7 SE 5G Night mode 1


The two have their own handheld Night modes. This is the mode to use to enhance your night shots even further. Both improved their exposure as well as details, highlights, and overall picture quality. The shots didn't look cartoonish unlike olden-gen Night modes as well.
A71 Night mode 2
A71 Night mode 2
nova 7 SE 5G Night mode 2
nova 7 SE 5G Night mode 2

The difference is in exposure and color rendering. The A71 is a bit violetish at times while the nova 7 SE could give you a warmer tone. The dynamic range is wider on the Samsung mid-range, but details are a bit sharper on the Huawei device. It could go either way.

A71 ultra-wide Night mode
A71 ultra-wide Night mode
nova 7 SE 5G ultra-wide point and shoot low light
nova 7 SE 5G ultra-wide point and shoot low light

Unfortunately, only the A71 can shoot an ultra-wide Night mode shot between the two. Even if it has unnatural and saturated colors, it has crispier details, wider range, and brighter exposure than the nova 7 SE 5G ultra-wide low light shot.


Hopefully, Huawei can seed an update to this device to enable the Night mode on its ultra-wide camera.

Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G super low-light
Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G super low-light

On the first look, the A71 with the brighter output has the advantage in this super low light shot.

Huawei nova 7 SE 5G super low-light shot with enhanced brightness
Huawei nova 7 SE 5G super low-light shot with enhanced brightness


But if you increase the brightness level of the nova 7 SE 5G shot, you'll see that it has the slightly sharper and clearer black text on the subject.
32MP vs 16MP
32MP vs 16MP

In the front, the A71 uses a bigger 32MP f/2.2 snapper. Huawei nova 7 SE has a smaller 16MP f/2.0 selfie camera.


A71 goes with the usual Filters, Beauty (up to level 3), Live Focus (up to blur level 7), Night modes, AR effects, and screen flash.


The Huawei mid-ranger also has different Filters, AR Lens, Night with Beauty, Portrait with Beauty and Effect, and screen flash. The Beauty (up to level 10) and Effect (background blur effects) of its selfie cam are similar to its main cam.


Selfie Camera Samples

A71 selfie daylight
A71 selfie daylight
nova 7 SE 5G selfie daylight
nova 7 SE 5G selfie daylight

In this daylight shot, it is noticeable that the A71 has a wider field of view. It made my skin look a bit whiter and a little bit more pinkish. It has good details as expected. nova 7 SE's selfie is narrower. It has warmer tones as well. I slightly prefer its colors and details over the A71.
Huawei nova 7 SE 5G indoor selfie bokeh 1
Huawei nova 7 SE 5G indoor selfie bokeh 1

In this indoor selfie, we tried the Portrait mode (Live Focus) with Beauty effect on both devices. Both are decent, but not so good because they only have single cameras in front.


But, here it is evident that the nova 7 SE 5G selfie has better edge detection. Arguably, Huawei also produced a better overall looking selfie.

Huawei nova 7 SE 5G indoor selfie bokeh 2
Huawei nova 7 SE 5G indoor selfie bokeh 2

In this slightly dimmer scenario, I like the colors more on the A71. Details on my face especially on my eye is crisper as well. The dynamic range is wider on the Huawei selfie. Some may even choose this as it provided more details the shirt and hair area

Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G low light selfie
Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G low light selfie

In the dark, can perform decently. In this Night shot, I like the colors on the Huawei device, but details are better on the Samsung photo. It has lesser noise as well.


In dimmer lighting conditions, you can use the screen flash. Both have that feature.


For videos, A71 can shoot up to 4K UHD quality at 30fps using the main and wide cams. It also shoots 1080p 30fps with Video stabilization for both the main and wide cams. If you want an even more steady shot, you can activate the Super steady mode using the main cam.


The handset also has the Super Slow-Mo 960fps, Slow Motion, and Hyperlapse. For selfies, it takes up to 1080p 30fps videos with Video stabilization.


Like the A71, the nova 7 SE 5G can also take up to 4K 30fps videos using the main cam. The wide-cam can't take 4K videos though. At 1080p 30fps, you can use both the main and wide-cam. It also has up to 720p 960fps Slow-mo video and Time-lapse.

What I like here is it has AI Colour that desaturates the background and Blackground blur option. It also has the Dual-View mode that shoots back and front videos at the same time.


Performance

AnTuTu scores of A71 and nova 7 SE 5G
AnTuTu scores of A71 and nova 7 SE 5G

In terms of speed, the advantage on paper and in actual performance goes to the nova 7 SE 5G. I'm not saying that the Galaxy A71 is not fast, the Huawei offering is simply WAY faster.

Huawei's Kirin 820 is clearly superior versus SD730G

In terms of raw power, nova 7 SE 5G's 2.22GHz 7nm Kirin 820 octa-core processor with DaVinci NPU and Mali-G57 MP6 with GPU Turbo is almost as fast as the previous-gen flagship SoC Kirin 980.
Geekbench score comparison
Geekbench score comparison

It is clearly superior against the Qualcomm-made 8nm Snapdragon 730G octa-core chip with Adreno 618 GPU found inside the A71.

At AnTuTu benchmark, A71 scored 273,611 which is decent for a mid-range smartphone. However, it pales in comparison to nova 7 SE 5G's 381,401.


The difference in smoothness, app opening speed, switching from an app to another, and while playing games are noticeable when you side by side the two devices.
AndroBench comparison
AndroBench comparison

Even for transferring files within the device or via cable to a PC, the Huawei mid-ranger is faster.



After playing games for 10 minutes with 4G LTE on. The A71 is also 2 to 4 degrees Celcius hotter than the nova 7 SE 5G. This means that the 7nm chip of the handset also handles thermals better.
4G-ready vs 5G-ready
4G-ready vs 5G-ready

In terms of connectivity, the two are equipped with dual-band WiFi and GPS with GLONASS. A71 also has NFC. For Bluetooth, A71 comes with Bluetooth 5.0 while the nova 7 SE 5G has the newer and more stable Bluetooth 5.1 connection.

nova 7 SE 5G is the most affordable with 5G-connectivity in PH yet

The two also loads with 4G LTE connectivity and they are pretty stable in that regard. But, the advantage in connectivity here clearly goes to the nova 7 SE 5G as its chip is equipped with a built-in Balong 5000 multi-mode modem that supports 2G/3G/4G/5G.
5G speed test!
5G speed test!

While 5G is clearly not yet widely available in the country, this makes the nova 7 SE 5G the more future-proof choice. Why? Its 7nm 5G-ready chip is simply faster even if the A71 is more expensive. Also, once 5G is widely available in around 2 years time, your phone can enjoy its benefits in speed, unlike the A71.


For unlocking, A71 comes with the In-Display fingerprint reader. It is the type of In-Display fingerprint scanner that is almost as fast as traditional fingerprint readers. Personally, I find it more convenient than the side-mounted fingerprint scanner of the nova 7 SE 5G even if it is faster. It is easier and more comfortable to reach for both hands.

The two also have a similarly fast face unlock. Both works even in low light.

4,500 vs 4,000mAh
4,500 vs 4,000mAh

For battery, A71 uses a 4,500mAh big battery while the nova 7 SE 5G comes with a smaller 4,000mAh battery.

The phone with a bigger battery capacity is not always better!

But in our tests, we find it interesting that the nova 7 SE 5G comes with longer battery life in benchmarks and real-life usage. At the PCMark Work 2.0 battery life test, it clocked 19 hours and 3 minutes versus the 12 hours and 28 minutes of Samsung.


The nova 7 SE 5G also lasted for 1 and 1/2 days on a single charge compared to a little over 1 day of the A71. Under heavy usage with WiFi and data on always, A71 drains faster. Even if you turn on the power-hungry 5G mode of the nova 7 SE 5G, it still lasts longer.

Charging is also faster on the Huawei-mid-ranger as it uses the 40W SuperCharge charger. It can charge the phone from 0 to 100 percent in 1 hour and 5 minutes.

The A71 only has a 25W fast charger with 75 minutes charging rating.
OneUI vs EMUI
OneUI vs EMUI

On the software part, A71 loads with OneUI 2.0 based on Android 10 with Google Mobile Services and Play Store. On the other hand, nova 7 SE 5G also equipped with Android 10 OS, but with EMUI 10.1 skin. It also loads with Huawei Mobile Services with AppGallery for downloading apps instead of Google.

The two UIs are very clean with updated visuals, more functional layout design, and very few bloats. Both are really good and responsive to me. I also like that the two have their own software optimizations to keep the performance consistent.

The two also have easy to access features when you swipe down. The two have screen recorders, Dark mode, and easy to use drawers.


Huawei has an option to choose a Desktop with or without Drawer.
AppGallery, AppGo, Petal Search Widget
AppGallery, AppGo, Petal Search Widget

On the nova 7 SE 5G, if the apps are not yet available on the AppGallery, you can use the AppGo or Petal Search Widget to search for the apps you need.

I used AppGo or Petal Search Widget to download apps like Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Netflix to name a few. Most of the apps that we use on Google-ready smartphones can be used on the nova 7 SE 5G.

Huawei also made sure that the AppGallery is secured. It has four-layer threat detection to ensure all user data is contained within the device and every app installation is screened for threats without exemption and more.

If you need to access Google Apps, Petal Search Widget can help you create an easy to access shortcut on the Desktop of your phone.

To access Gmail, you can always use the Email app of the phone. You can log in to your Gmail account from there.

With the help of AppGo and Petal Search Widget, 90 percent of the top apps can be used on Huawei smartphones. Also, we find the Petal Search widget as proof that Huawei has convenience for customers on top of their minds.

If the customer is having problems, they may also call the 09230990468 Huawei Hotline.

Samsung Galaxy A71 advantages -  Bigger AMOLED screen, Night mode on the ultra-wide cam, more convenient In-Display fingerprint reader, NFC
Huawei nova 7 SE 5G advantages - Way faster actual performance, longer battery life, faster charging time, future-ready 5G connectivity, more affordable price tag 

Samsung Galaxy A71 vs Huawei nova 7 SE 5G Specs

DeviceSamsung Galaxy A71Huawei nova 7 SE 5G
Display6.7-inch 2.5D Super AMOLED screen w/ FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 393 ppi6.5-inch 2.5D curved LCD (LTPS) screen w/ FHD+ 2400 x 1080 resolution at 405ppi
CPU
2.2GHz 8nm Snapdragon 730G octa-core processor
2.22GHz 7nm Kirin 820 octa-core processor w/ DaVinci NPU
GPUAdreno 618Mali-G57 MP6 w/ GPU Turbo
RAM8GB LPDDR4X8GB LPDDR4X
ROM128GB UFS 2.1 expandable via microSD card slot up to 512GB (dedicated)128GB UFS 2.1 expandable via NM card slot up to 256GB
Back Camera64MP f/1.8 w/ PDAF + 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens + 5MP f/2.4 w/ 3cm macro + 5MP f/2.2 depth sensor w/ LED flash64MP f/1.8 w/ PDAF, Contrast focus + 8MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 w/ 4cm macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth + dual-tone LED flash
Selfie Camera32MP f/2.216MP f/2.0
Battery
4,500mAh w/ 25W fast charging
4,000mAh w/ 40W SuperCharge
OSAndroid 10 w/ One UI 2.0
Android 10 w/ EMUI 10.1
Connectivity
WiFi 802.11ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0, FM Radio, GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
SensorsAccelerometer, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magneticAccelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, face unlock, USB-C, Colors: Prism Crush Black, Silver, Blue
Fingerprint sensor, USB-C, dual-mic, Colors: Space Silver, Crush Green, Midsummer Purple
Dimensions163.6 x 76.0 x 7.7 mm162.31 x 75.0 x 8.58 mm
Weight
179 g
189 g
PricePHP 22,990PHP 19,990 (PHP 17,990 new SRP)

Verdict

The PHP 22,990 Samsung Galaxy A71 is the device with a larger and slightly better display and the Night mode for the ultra-wide camera, but the PHP 19,990 Huawei nova 7 SE 5G is the more attractive between the two overall.

Despite its lower price tag, the nova 7 SE 5G bested the Galaxy A71 in terms of speed, actual battery life, and connectivity features. It even matches the A71 in terms of picture quality and overall camera performance.

AND, as its name suggests, the nova 7 SE 5G is a 5G ready smartphone with a new-generation mid-range SoC solution.

Since it has faster performance and the next-generation mobile connectivity standard, the nova 7 SE 5G is the more future-proof offering for us.

What do you guys think?
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