Header Ads

Huawei nova 9 Unboxing, First Impressions, Camera Samples

A few days back, tech giant Huawei formally introduced its newest premium mid-ranger in the Philippines—the nova 9.
Meet Huawei nova 9!

Huawei nova 9 is the higher-end version of the PHP 19,999 nova 8 that the company first made available in the country in August.

Coming from the nova 8, nova 9 brings an upgraded display, a more powerful chipset, bigger internal storage, and a flagship-grade primary camera, among others at a slightly more expensive price tag of PHP 23,999.

Is it worth it? Could Huawei still compete with the top dogs in this division? Here's part 1 of our review, unboxing, and first impressions.


The box

As usual, the device arrived in a white box with nova branding and AppGallery logo.
Everything inside (FreeBuds 4 not included)
Everything inside (FreeBuds 4 not included)

Inside, you will be greeted by a second box with a SIM ejector tool and a FREE case.

Underneath, you will find the phone itself with a pre-installed plastic screen protector. Under that, you will see the 66W SuperCharge power brick and a USB-A to USB-C data/charging cable.

It is a near-complete package. What's missing is the earphones with a microphone. There is no USB-C dongle as well.

Just note that what we have is not the official retail package. Likely, the actual retail package of this device will also include paper documents.

Build Quality/Design

The glass back, premium build
The glass back, near-premium build

The build is similar to the nova 8, but with a slightly different design. It is boasting a glass back design, a polycarbonate camera island with a glass-like cover, a polycarbonate frame and buttons, and a glass display.

Near premium build!

On the SIM card tray, it has a greyish rubber gasket that should prevent water splashes from entering that part. But, not that there is no water-resistant rating and this is not a waterproof phone. It would have been better if it has an IP rating.

For the display, Huawei failed to mention if it has an extra layer of glass protection like Gorilla Glass. Thankfully, they are generous enough to include a plastic screen protector to prevent the display from getting unwanted hairline scratches.

I accidentally dropped by unit face down from the arm of my chair once. Thankfully, it didn't break. In general, this has a near-premium build.
The camera design

In terms of design, the device uses a 3D curved glass back with a double-coated finish in Starry Blue and Black colorways. There is also a Crush Green variant, but it is not available for the Philippine market.

The unit that we have is the Starry Blue version with the glittery pearl-like look and it is very easy on the eyes. It has a matte-like finish that helps in avoiding fingerprint smudges and makes it less slippy.

For the camera island, it is similar to the nova 8. But, it now has a larger circular bezel on the main camera part. The other cameras below with the LED flash are arranged in a diamond-like pattern instead of square.

The camera bump is still a bit big though. Without the case, it will wobble when tapped on a flat surface.
Neat and big display

In front, it is super similar to the nova 8. You will find a 6.57-inch OLED display with a top-center punch-hole punch-hole. The bezels are slim on top, side, and bottom. The chin bezel is a bit thicker, but this is still considered slim.

The upgrade in the display is in the specs. This one is now using the smoother 120Hz refresh rate and higher 300Hz touch sampling instead of 90Hz and 240Hz.

If you are wondering, the fingerprint reader is still found on the bottom portion of the display underneath.

Arguably the best display for the price!

For us, this is one of the best displays in terms of colors and smoothness at this price point with ΔE < 1 color accuracy and P3 color gamut.

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 bottom speaker. It doesn't have a secondary speaker for a stereo sound effect though.

Again, the left part is clear. On the right side, it has the power key and volume rocker.

nova 9 is considered not that big despite its large display size. It measures just 160 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm and weighs 175 grams.

It is generally comfortable to hold with two hands. The one-handed operation will be a bit tough unless you are as big as Shaq.
Ultra Vision camera for less

For cameras, the primary shooter of the nova 9 is special. It is a 50MP f/1.9 RYYB shooter with a 1/1.56-inch size + PDAF, CAF, AIS.

In comparison, this is larger than the 1/1.76-inch of the vanilla S21 and even the 1/1.65-inch of the iPhone 13 Pro/Max. That's a HUGE deal as this is just a PHP 23,999 smartphone. This suggests that its primary cameras could compete with some of the big boys.

Note that we haven't factored in the computational photography and image signal processor of the iPhone 13 Pro, we just compared the camera hardware. We know that optimization is important as well, but you get the point. The nova 9 has a promising primary camera.

The other cameras of the nova 9 as common on mid-range smartphones. It includes 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth + LED flash.

First Camera Samples

Daylight 1x
Daylight 1x
Daylight ultra-wide
Daylight ultra-wide
Daylight 10x
Daylight 10x
Daylight close-up
Daylight close-up
Well-lit macro
Well-lit macro
Indoor Portrait mode
Indoor Portrait mode
Indoor close-up
Indoor close-up
Indoor studio lighting
Indoor studio lighting
Low light Portrait mode
Low light Portrait mode
Low light point and shoot
Low light point and shoot
Low light Night mode
Low light Night mode
Indoor selfie, indoor selfie with Beauty mode
Indoor selfie, indoor selfie with Beauty mode
Low light selfie with Night mode
Low light selfie with Night mode

Our first observations? The nova 9 takes really good images using its primary camera. This is really flagship-grade. Autofocus is fast, shooting speed is snappy. It also works quite well in nearly all lighting conditions.

Flagship-grade main camera!

We are happy with its dynamic range as well. It won't take shots that are overexposed. The zoom seems lossless up to 3x as well even if it doesn't have a telephoto sensor. At 10x, the grain will be visible as expected.

Generally, it'll shine the most in well-lit conditions, but it won't fall short in low light. Huawei also clearly improved its Night mode. It won't require users around 4 seconds per Night mode shot all the time anymore. It'll adjust depending on the scenario on how much time it'll need to take a proper non-moving low light shot.

The rest of the cameras are just fine.

The ultra-wide cam works well in daylight or indoor scenes with decent lighting. Distortion is minimal as well. It'll fall short in low light even if its AI will try to make the shot brighter though. Huawei should have added the Night mode for the ultra-wide cam here. They made it possible with the nova 5T a few years back and I don't see any reason not to add that with a more expensive 2021 smartphone.

The macro cam is decent in daylight. But, it won't perform well indoors or in low light. It is not perfect, but the depth camera really helps in Portrait shots.

For selfies, it is quite good as well. Most of the daylight shots are detailed. The default beauty mode won't erase the features of your face too. It will struggle a little in low light, but that's understandable. It has a Night mode to compensate for that.

We tried it against the Galaxy S21 in a few low-light shots. As you can see, we will be lying if we say that Samsung is better in this Portrait low light shot.

We are excited to try what it can do for shooting videos as Huawei is highlighting that this has 4K for both the back and selfie cameras.

Huawei nova 9 Specs

Display: 6.57-inch 3D curved OLED screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, 300Hz touch sampling rate, FHD+ 2340 x 1080 resolution at 392 ppi
CPU: 2.4GHz 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 4G octa-core processor
GPU: Adreno 642L
ROM: 256GB
Back Camera: 50MP f/1.9 RYYB w/ PDAF, CAF, AIS, + 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle + 2MP f/2.4 macro + 2MP f/2.4 depth + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 32MP f/2.0
Battery: 4,300mAh w/ 66W SuperCharge
Connectivity: WiFi 6, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS, NavIC, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic, pressure
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, USB-C, Colors: Starry Blue, Crush Green, Black
Dimensions: 160 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 175 g
Price: PHP 23,999

As of the moment

AnTuTu score of Huawei nova 9
AnTuTu score of Huawei nova 9

The Huawei nova 9 is an aesthetically attractive-looking premium mid-range smartphone with a pretty fast 
2.4GHz 6nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chipset and other flagship worthy features 66W SuperCharge tech (can charge the device from 0 to 100 percent under 40 mins) and the legit flagship-like 50MP primary camera.

Despite the lack of Google Mobile Services, EMUI 12 is showing a lot of promise. It is a neat-looking UI that is very fast and feature-rich.

My primary concern about the phone is its lack of 5G connectivity. At this price point, only the PHP 23,990 Galaxy A72 and the nova 9 are the phones without the said next-gen connectivity.

We are sure that Huawei doesn't want this, but they are currently being restricted by the US government from having access to 5G chips.

This is a good phone in general so far, but it is a bit lacking. We have yet to try the device for heavy gaming and more.

See you guys in our full review.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.