The nova 4 looks great, performs brilliantly and doesn’t empty your bank account
A NEW smartphone with a hole in the front, the Huawei nova 4 offers a larger viewing ratio and comes with a high-resolution selfie camera and a top-quality three-camera system for the rear cameras.
The nova 4 is the latest smartphone in the nova series, a cheaper, midrange series that’s an alternative to high-end P and Mate series from the Chinese manufacturer.
As part of the design, Huawei uses the smallest front-facing camera in the industry. The lens diameter is only 3.05mm, which is 20 per cent less than the industry standard.
But what makes the nova 4 outstanding is its Punch Display – a small punch hole on the top left that contains the selfie camera.
With this design, you get a 6.4-inch display in a small body and a high ratio of 86.3 per cent to body frame. The display has 2310x1080-pixel resolution.
All this makes the nova 4 good for viewing photos and watching movies. During the test, I enjoyed watching HD movies streamed from the iflix and TrueID TV apps. The nova 4 comes in a sleek body available in Crush Blue or Black. The back is protected with 3D glass, making it look shiny. The Crush Blue one I tried featured a beautiful gradient blue.
To keep the price lower, Huawei uses a Kirin 970 octa-core processor slightly older than the 980 used in the Mate 20 but still fast and with a generous 8GB of working memory and 128GB of internal storage.
The touch display and menus were very responsive and applications ran fast and smoothly.
The nova 4 can also play High-Resolution Audio songs smoothly. I tested it with Sony’s MDR-1ABT High-Res Audio headphones and the music quality was good with great details and powerful bass.
The nova 4 also supports wireless high-resolution audio format of AptX HD, so if you have Bluetooth headphones that can handle this, you can enjoy high-quality songs wirelessly.
The Internet connection is fast. I used the Ookla Speedtest app to measure the connection speed and it achieved a download speed of 58.1Mbps and an upload speed of 41.2.
For the triple camera system for the rear camera, Huawei has added an ultra wide-angle lens camera and moved the depth camera from the front for a truly “notch-less” design. The nova 3 has 24MP+2MP cameras to offer more depth, but since it uses the punch-display design, the second camera had to be removed.
Huawei compensates with its triple camera for the rear. The system entails a 20MP sensor with an f/1.8-aperture lens, a 16MP sensor with a f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle lens and a 2MP sensor depth camera with a f/2.4 lens.
The ultra-wide-angle lets you capture a broader view of scenery without jogging backwards. For pictures of a large group, you don’t even have to ask everyone to squeeze together because you’ve got 117 degrees to play with.
The lens also allows the magnified photo to be stretched out aesthetically, the added distorting ensuring a unique look. It’s great for photos in the forest or across open grassland too.
The main 20MP camera has high resolution and enhanced low-light performance and provides sharp details. Use the 2MP camera to get that blurred-background Bokeh in large-aperture shots.
The Portrait and Aperture modes capture terrific images with blurred backgrounds. In Aperture mode, you use the aperture bar to adjust its size, the lower figures for greater blur.
In Auto-exposure mode, which Huawei calls “Photo”, AI is used to recognise scenes and adjust shooting parameters accordingly.
The 25MP front camera also has AI technology to recognise eight types of scenes – sky, plant, flowers, beach, snow at night, indoors and stage performance – so you’ll never again take a bad selfie.
I found the rear cameras captured beautiful shots with ease. The AI was correct in recognising scenes and making adjustments.
The nova 4 has a fingerprint reader and face-recognition technology so you can unlock the phone fast and securely.
The 3,750mah battery should comfortably last a full day.
Huawei’s nova 4 has a suggested retail price of Bt16,990.
Network: LTE, HSPA, GSM
OS: Android 9.0 with EMUI 9.0 user-interface
CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 970 Octa-Core CPU (four Cortex-A73 2.36GHz + four Cortex-A53 1.8GHz)
GPU: GPU Turbo 2.0
Display: 6.4-inch Huawei Punch Display in 19.25:9 ratio with 2310 x 1080 pixels
Front camera: 25MP f/2.0
Rear camera: 20MP f/1.8 + 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 2.0
Sensors: Digital compass, Proximity, Accelerometer, Ambient light, Gyroscope
Weight: 172 grams