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Huawei nova 8 Unboxing, First Impressions, Camera Samples

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Huawei
After being quiet for the first half of 2021 in the local smartphone, tech giant Huawei is back with two interesting mid-rangers in the Philippines—the nova 8 and nova 8i.
Huawei nova 8 Unboxing, First Impressions, Camera Samples
This is the nova 8

In this feature, we will be taking a look at the nova 8, the higher-end model between the two.

Huawei highlights that nova 8 is a "light flagship" handset boasting a 90Hz Curved OLED Display, 66W Huawei SuperCharge, 64MP AI Quad Camera, 7.64mm Ultra-slim Body, and HarmonyOS 2.0 with EMUI 12.

Not to be confused, nova 8 in PH is different from the nova 8 in China. They may look similar, but what's inside is different. This one is packed with the 4G version of the 7nm Kirin 820E hexa-core processor instead of the Kirin 985 5G SoC.

As of writing, Huawei has yet to reveal its SRP as well.

Anyway, let's have a look!

Unboxing/Accessories

What's inside the box
What's inside the box

The handset arrived in the usual Huawei white box with the print of its nova branding, model name, and app gallery in gradient-like gold color.

Inside, you will be greeted by the first box which contains a FREE TPU clear case that provides protection against accidental drops along with the SIM ejector tool that you can use to access its SIM tray.

Next is the handset itself. Upon closer inspection, you will see that it has a pre-installed plastic film for extra protection on the display.

Underneath, you will see the 66W power brick and the USB-A to USB-C data/charging cable.

It is worth noting that the 66W charger that Huawei included here is even smaller than the 65W power brick they are using on their MateBook laptops. Also, it is included in the package, unlike others.

What's missing inside is the earphones with a mic. It is a minor thing, but that freebie is present on the nova 7 last year.

Build Quality/Design

Back design
Back design

The nova 8 boasts a glass-like curved design, glass camera hump, polycarbonate frame, and a 3D curved glass front. There is no mention of glass protection.

Huawei also didn't specify if it has water resistance, but it has a red rubber gasket in the SIM card tray slot. This means that it is somehow protected against water splashes. But, note that it isn't waterproof.

In general, it isn't structurally amazing in build, but it is still considered solid similar to most mid-rangers today. But to be sure and if you are a clumsy individual, put a case.

Design-wise, this is easily one of the most stylish-looking around. It is also quite unique.
Camera design
Camera design

The back uses a 3D curved glass-like panel in the Blush Gold colorway. Huawei said that it comes with dual-film and dual-plating process works with the advanced anti-glare coating to add a matte finish to its glass back.

Shiny back, unique camera design

It is beautiful-looking with a "dreamy-like" shine effect depending on where it hits the light.

It also has the "Nebular Camera System Design" hump containing the 64MP AI Quad Camera. The hump is a little big and it will be a bit wobbly when tapped on a flat surface.

On the middle portion of the back, it has a beautifully embossed nova branding as well.

It can get fingerprint smudges, but it is a bit prone to those smudges. The device is not slippery in the hand. But when you put it on angled smooth surfaces, it may slip.
The beautiful and smooth display
The beautiful and smooth display

In front, it has a large 6.57-inch 3D curved OLED screen with a smoother 90Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, and FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 392 ppi. This is an upgrade coming from the 60Hz OLED screen of the nova 7. It also has a top-center punch-hole housing a large 32MP f/2.0 selfie camera.

Big and premium-looking display!

The device has the P30 Pro-like bezels. It is slim on top, side, and bottom. The bottom bezel is a bit thicker, but it isn't that noticeable.

The In-Display fingerprint scanner is found in the lower middle portion of the panel.
Top, bottom
Top, bottom

On top, you will see the dual SIM tray slot, microphone, and earpiece. Below, it has the second microphone, USB-C reversible charging/data port, and stereo speakers.
Left, right
Left, right

There's nothing on the left and the power key + volume rocker is at right.

The handset measures 160.12 x 74.1 x 7.64 mm making it one of the smaller and slimmer mid-range phones with a large display. It is just as big as most phones with 6.4-inch AMOLED screens.

The device weighs just 169 grams. It is lightweight and comfortable to hold.

First Camera Samples

Main cam daylight
Main cam daylight
Ultra-wide cam daylight
Ultra-wide cam daylight
2x zoom daylight
2x zoom daylight
Main cam indoor well-lit
Main cam indoor well-lit
Main cam indoor dimmer lighting
Main cam indoor dimmer lighting
Main cam 100 percent crop
Main cam 100 percent crop
Main cam low light
Main cam low light
Main cam Night mode
Main cam Night mode
Ultra-wide cam low light
Ultra-wide cam low light
Selfie indoor well-lit with bokeh
Selfie indoor well-lit with bokeh
Selfie low light with screen flash
Selfie low light with screen flash

At the back, it sports a 64MP main shooter with 4-in-1 pixel binning tech, PDAF for faster focusing, and EIS for stabilization. It is paired with a 8MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth + LED flash. For selfies, it has a large 32MP f/2.0 snapper.

Similar to most 64MP camera phones, the nova 8 takes images with crisp details and good overall highlights and exposure. Even the ultra-wide shooter is respectable here. It even has AI anti-distortion technology and it works.

The 2x digital zoom is lossless. But, the white balance will suffer. The shot that we took is noticeably dimmer.

It also has a very fast shooting and saving speed in well-lit conditions.

Most of our indoor shots turned out great okay as well. The 100 percent crop shows that is decent enough to capture even some of the finer details of the subject.

In low light, it will struggle a little. Shooting and focus will be a bit slower. But, even on point and shoot mode, it takes respectable images in the dark with less noise.

With the help of the Night mode, your shot will be a little crispier with slightly better range. However, grain is a bit more noticeable.

Sadly, there's no Night mode for the ultra-wide camera so I won't recommend using it in the dark.

For selfies, it can be an all scenario shooter. The 32MP cam of this device is good for daylight shots. In low light, it even has a screen flash mode. We also noticed that the Night mode works even for selfies.

We are intrigued to see what else its cameras can do. We will be exploring the rest of its features in the next few days.

Huawei nova 8 Specs

Display: 6.57-inch 3D curved OLED screen w/ 90Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 392 ppi
CPU: 2.22GHz 7nm Kirin 820E hexa-core processor w/ DaVinci NPU
GPU: Mali-G57 MP6 w/ GPU Turbo
RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X
ROM: 128GB UFS 2.1
Back Camera: 64MP f/1.9 w/ PDAF, EIS + 8MP f/2.4 120-degree ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 32MP f/2.0
Battery: 3,800mAh w/ 66W SuperCharge
OS: HarmonyOS 2 w/ EMUI 12
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 BLE (SBC, AAC), GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, USB-C, Colors: Blush Gold
Dimensions: 160.12 x 74.1 x 7.64 mm
Weight: 169 g
Price: PHP 19,990

As of the moment

More info about the nova 8 at www.gizguide.com soon!
More info about the nova 8 at www.gizguide.com soon!

The Huawei nova 8 is clearly an upgrade in terms of design, display, and charging speed coming from the nova 7.

It is simply beautiful-looking and lightweight. The device is also reasonably fast and it has good cameras.

AND so far, HarmonyOS 2.0 with EMUI 12 is promising. It isn't acting like an unrefined OS despite the lack of Google Services. Most of the apps are accessible with their own AppGallery and Petal Search. For Google apps, there are workarounds as expected even if they are not perfect.

Pretty good initial performance, but with no 5G

It is just sad that Huawei wasn't able to put a 5G-ready chip here. The 4G Kirin 820E is speedy but is lower-end than the Kirin 985 5G found on the nova 7.

We are sure that this is not what Huawei envisioned for the global version of the nova 8. But due to the US restrictions enforced, they were forced to use older 4G chips even if they have the capability and the technology to make 5G chips.

Huawei has yet to release its official local price tag and we hope that it will be lower than the nova 7 since it has no 5G.

Note: This is not our full review yet.

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