Huawei Nova 3 First Impressions | Flagship Cameras on a Midrange Phone

Always taking photos? You'll love this phone!

MSI Laptop 20th Anniversary Promotion

Last August, Huawei launched their latest midrange offerings — the Nova 3i and the Nova 3. I was actually able to review the Nova 3i prior to its release, and I’m definitely a big fan of the phone.

So when I was handed a Huawei Nova 3 for our Tokyo Game Show 2018 coverage, I was quite excited! The Nova 3 may look just like the 3i, but it has a more powerful processor and a better dual rear camera setup. On paper, it looks like Huawei has another winner on their hands, but does it hold up in actual use? Here’s my first impressions of the Nova 3:


As you can see, I first got to try out the Nova 3 at Tokyo’s oldest and most famous temple, Senso-Ji. The temple complex is beautiful, and the Nova 3 is just as pretty in the Iris Purple Color. At first glance, it may seem like a carbon copy of the Nova 3i, but it does have a slight difference in that its back has a gentle curve. It also has a USB Type-C port instead of a microUSB port (a welcome feature in my opinion).


From the front, the Nova 3 features a Full HD+ 6.3-inch display, complete with a display notch (as with most smartphones of 2018). The display may seem a bit dim in the image above, but it was still visible in actual use even if it was a very sunny during my time at Senso-ji.


Also at the front is the Nova 3’s dual selfie cameras. On paper, the Nova 3 has the same setup as the Nova 3i, which should mean that both phones should have similar selfie capabilities.


While I wasn’t able to test out the phone for selfies, I did get to try out shooting with the main dual cameras. Unlike the Nova 3i’s 16 MP + 2 MP setup, the Nova 3 has a 16 MP + 24 MP monochrome setup, meaning the 3’s camera performance should be a step up from its sister phone.

AI on

In bright and sunny outdoor conditions, the Nova 3 produces beautiful near-flagship level photos. Take the image of Senso-Ji above for example; the photo is filled with detail, and the colors are vibrant thanks to the AI capabilities of the Nova 3’s shooters. 


While the AI makes photos pop out even more colors-wise, it might be a bit unnatural for some (much like the Nova 3i’s AI photos). Check out the images of Senso-ji’s Five Story Pagoda above, one has the AI on while the other has the AI off.

While I generally prefer shots with the AI off, the AI camera feature does highlight the beautiful colors of the Pagoda.


Above are more shots of Senso-ji from the Nova 3. As with the images of the Pagoda, the AI off photos were more natural, but shots with the AI on tend to be more eye-catching. Shooting with the AI on or off then should be up to preference; though I recommend keeping the AI on as you can revert to the original image in the gallery app anyway. 


So far, I’m impressed with the Nova 3’s rear shooter performance. The photos I took with it so far can trade punches with photos taken with more expensive flagship phones. I also experience no slowdowns during my quick time with the phone, this bodes well for its day-to-day performance.

As I had a good time with the phone so far, I can’t wait to try out the phone some more for photo-taking and gaming during Tokyo Game Show 2018.

Watch out for the full Nova 3 review soon here on UnGeek!

Huawei Nova 3 Specs:

  • Hisilicon Kirin 970 processor
  • Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage, expandable w/ microSD card
  • 6.3-inch Full HD+ IPS display; 1080 x 2340 resolution, 19.5:9 ratio
  • Dual Rear Cameras: 16 MP 27mm, f/1.8+ 24 MP B/W f/1.8
  • Dual Front Cameras: 24 MP f/2.0 + 2 MP depth sensor
  • 4G, LTE
  • Hybrid Dual SIM
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 3750mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2
  • Price: PHP 25,990