Phone or photography powerhouse?

lifestyle September 15, 2018 01:00

By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation Weekend

4,590 Viewed

When you’re not busy taking selfies or listening to music, the Nova 3 from Huawei will also let you take some calls

LIKE MOST of today’s smartphones, the new Huawei Nova 3 is more about taking photos than making calls and does this in style with four AI camera systems just made for beautiful portraits.

The Nova 3 is the top of the Nova line, the brand’s series priced lower than the P and Mate flagship phones but not in the least cheap in terms of components and performance.

Powered by Huawei’s flagship Kirin 970 octa-core processor with four cores running at 2.36 GHz and the four other at 1.8GHz, it comes with a generous 6 gigabytes of working memory or RAM and 128 GB of internal storage.

Graphics horsepower comes from a turbo Mali G72 CPU for a fast and smooth gaming experience. Moreover, the smartphone is equipped with Huawei’s Neural Network Procession Unit (NPU) for handling AI (artificial intelligence) functions of the camera without overloading the CPU.

Boasting a sleek metal body a mere 7.37 thick, the back is protected by glass, adding elegance to the overall look while the 6.3-inch FullView display is a good-looking too with 19.5:9 ratio and 2,340 x 1080-pixel resolution. The size and resolution make it perfect for viewing high-res photos and HD video clips. During the test, I had fun watching Full HD movies via the TrueID TV app of TrueVisions.

The Nova 3 runs on Android 8.1 with Huawei's EMUI 8.2 on top of it for extra performance.

During the test, the apps and touchscreen were very responsive. Games and HD video clips ran fast and smoothly.

I used AnTuTu v7.1.0 to measure its performance and it got an impressive score of 207170 points.

The Nova 3 is also capable of playing High-Resolution Audio of FLAC 24bit/192kHz format. I tested it with Sony’s MDR-1ABT Hi-Res Audio headphones and enjoyed both the good details and powerful bass. Moreover, the nova 3 supports aptX HD Bluetooth audio format so if you buy Bluetooth headphones with aptX HD, you can enjoy Hi-Res Audio songs wirelessly.

The phone also has fast Internet connection. I tested it on TrueMove H’s LTE 4G network and was able to download apps fast and back up snapshots to my Google Photos cloud storage in no time.

I used the Ookla Speedtest app to measure the connection speed and it achieved a download speed of 90.0 Mbps and upload speed of 42.1 Mbps.

But it’s with the portrait shots that the Nova 3 really comes into its own. The background is professionally blurred thanks to the dual camera system using the bokeh effect for both front and rear cameras.

The main front camera has a 24-megapixel image sensor with a bright f/2.0 aperture lens. The secondary camera, which is used for collecting data for the bokeh effect, has 2MP resolution and uses f/2.4 lens.

An AI algorithm recognises 8 scenes and optimising parameters in real time to deliver beautiful and professional looking shots. The eight scenes are Blue sky, Plant, Flower, Beach, Snow, Night, Room and Stage performance.

The front camera’s system also comes with advanced beauty algorithm that enhances and refines your face, making you look young with smooth and fair skin.

An HDR Pro option controls exposure at the hardware level to ensure precision-balanced photographs even in direct sunlight. With the HDR Pro option turned on, you can rest assured that your selfies will look beautiful even in complicated light environments. 

The Nova 3’s rear camera uses an 16MP RGB sensor for the main camera and a 24MP monochrome sensor for shooting in native monochrome output. The resolution captured from the monochrome sensor is also used for achieving the bokeh effect for the main RGB sensor. Both sensors use very bright f/1.8 aperture lens so they can capture good quality shots even in low-light environments.

Here again, the main camera’s AI Master algorithm can recognise up to 22 different scenes and objects to enhance and deliver impressive shots. The recognised scenes include Group photo, Waterfall, Flower, Portrait, Food, Sunrise/Sunset, Fireworks, Autumn leaves, Panda, Ancient Building, Dog, Cat, and Bike.

The AI Master works in the auto exposure shooting mode, which is called “Photo”.

To capture outstanding subjects with blurred background, you can use the Portrait or Aperture modes. 

The Portrait mode allows you to use beautification levels to enhance the look of your subject. You can also select such effects as no lighting, butterfly lighting, soft lighting, split lighting, stage lighting and classic lighting.

In the Aperture mode, you can bring up the aperture value bar and slide it to the desired value. The less value, the more blurred the background will be.

During the test, I captured some beautiful shots in the Photo mode. Using the Aperture mode, I could easily take outstanding subjects with a blurred background.

The Nova 3 comes with good security too, allowing you to unlock the phone with Face ID technology as well as with a finger printer reader at the back.

The phone will guide you to set up your Face ID by turning your face around for the camera to scan. 

Battery life is more than adequate too, with the 3,750 mAh capacity allowing me to comfortably survive a day on one charge.

Huawei Nova 3 is available in Black, Red and Iris Purple at the suggested retail price of Bt16,990.

Key Specs


OS: Android 8.1.0 with EMUI 8.2 user-interface

CPU: HUAWEI Kirin 970 Octa-Core CPU (4 x Cortex A73 2.36GHz + 4 x Cortex A53 1.8GHz) with Mali G72 GPU

Memory: 6GB

Storage: 128GB, expandable with microSD by up to 256GB

Display: 6.3-inch Full View 19.5:9 LTPS display with 2340x1080 pixels

Cameras: Front: 24MP+2MP, f/2.0+f/2.4 lens; Rear: 16MP RGB with f/1.8 lens + 24MP Monochrome with f/1.8 lens

SIM: Dual nano SIM slots

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 ac, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 2.0

Battery: 3,750 mAh

Dimensions: 156.92 mm x 73.66 mm x 7.37 mm |(H x W x D)

Weight: 165g