After a very rocky past few months for the chinese tech brand, Huawei came in swinging with it’s mid-ranged offering and latest addition to it’s Nova series line-up, the Nova 5T. The latest Nova series phone is geared towards the youth with it’s slicker and more fashion friendly design. I’ve given the phone a run-through for a few weeks and here are some of the things I’ve noticed during the experience.

Design

True to it’s goal, the Nova 5T‘s design makes it feel like you are holding a flagship phone instead of a mid-range unit. The Nova 5T sports a 6.26-inch Huawei Punch FullView Display where the proprietary design has the phone’s front cam as a cutout towards the top left of the screen.  The phone comes with three colors which are namely, Crush Blue, Midsummer Purple, and Dark Black, which as you can see is the color of the unit we have.

Right side of the phone power button and fingerprint sensor

The Phone’s width is at 73.97mm and it’s depth at around 7.87mm, and it’s height at 154. 25mm.  It’s pretty lightweight with it’s overall weight at around174 grams and is around 7.87mm thick. You can easily slide the phone into your pockets without issue, but of course with it’s slick design an unprotected Nova 5T phone can easily slip out of your pocket and can fall off if you’re wearing slacks.

Top view

On the right hand side of the Nova 5T, you have the usual volume control features and the power button. However, unique to the Nova 5T, the power button also doubles as it’s finger print sensor. The power button is also recessed unlike other phone designs and works well as the grip for the phone.

The phone’s bottom side has the bottom facing speaker, and a USB Type-C port.

Bottom side of the smartphone

Meanwhile, on the left hand side of the phone, you have the standard slot for the duo-nano Sim.

If you’d notice the pictures of the Nova 5T, there seems to be something absent to the whole design. And there is, the Nova 5T does not have a 3.5mm audio jack. The Nova 5T follows the current industry standard of not having the jack which I personally think as ludicrous. If you’re like me, who’s reliant on wired headphones/earphones to listen to music of videos on the go, the Nova 5T forces me to get my own Bluetooth listening device. Thankfully, Huawei has not completely forgotten wired users since the phone also comes with a Type-C to 3.5mm jack adapter.

Type-C to 3.5mm Adapter

Display

The Nova 5T is outfitted with a 6.26 inch screen and comes with 16.7 million colors at a 96% color saturation (NTSC). The Nova 5T‘s display also has smart resolution that allows smart switching between HD+ and FHD+ resolutions to save battery life. The HD+ resolution comes at 1560 x 720p, and and the FHD+ is at 230 x 1080p. I still had to get used to the LCD screen since I’ve been using either AMOLED screen phones or IPS paneled ones. But the colors really pop out with the Nova 5T and even when it transitions from HD+ to FHD+ it doesn’t really visually register on casual viewings of Netflix and other ebooks on the phone.

Battery

Back view

The Nova 5T carries a 3750mAh and comes with a 22.5W SuperCharge system. Huawei claims that you can charge 50% of the battery life in just 30 minutes. I put this on the test, and while the numbers aren’t exact, in fact, during my charge test, I was able to get to 20% at around 14 minutes and 31 seconds, while I was able to get to 50% at around 23 minutes and to 100% charge at around 54 minutes.

Performance

With the phone using the Kirin 980 processor that’s also present in Huawei‘s P30 line, one would expect that the Nova 5T will also have flagship level of performance which the phone does provide. The Kirin 980 is also partnered with 8GB of RAM and Huawei‘s GPU Turbo 3.0. Mainstream mobile titles such as Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, PUBG Mobile, and the recently released, Call of Duty Mobile are running moderately high to their highest settings without any problem.

However, with the phone’s robust hardware, the Nova 5T‘s performance comes with a caveat. The phone tends to warm up a bit during prolonged use and it’s not just on games, but even on normal texting/browsing if you simultaneously open multiple apps at the same time.

Security

For phone security, the Nova 5T has the power button double as the phone’s fingerprint scanner device which can be located on the select recessed side of the phone. I actually like this specific design because I don’t have to paw either at the screen or at the back of the phone. Using the fingerprint scanner is more natural with the Nova 5T because you don’t have to adjust your grip anymore, well unless you grip phones in a weird way.

Also the Nova 5T comes with face recognition, which to my delight makes locking and unlocking the phone very convenient. The facial recognition software is great too since it works even on certain low light situations as well.

Camera

The Nova 5T’s pièce de résistance is the 5 AI cameras. Four of the five cameras are located at the rear with the main rear camera having 48MP and has an aperture of 1.8 which is decent in low-light situations. Meanwhile, the res of the rear cameras have 16M with (f 2.2 aperture fixed focus) for super wide angles, 2M (f 2.4 aperture fixed focus) for depth assist and 2M (f 2.4 aperture focus) for macro.

Rear cameras

The front 32MP camera is the Nova 5T‘s fifth AI supported camera and is able to take in great shots even in low-light situations.

Front camera

The shots taken from the Nova 5T are great and even in low-light situations. What stands out with the Nova 5T‘s camera system is the AI support that tries to compensate and determine what kind of shots you are taking with it. The Nova 5T‘s AI is a bit aggressive in terms of the shot’s brightness and saturation levels, so if you’d want your shots to have a more pro or natural feel you can just easily turn off the phone’s AI support with just a tap on the screen.

The Nova 5T‘s selfie camera has AR Effect cameras and features that is clearly made for those who are creating videos for their chosen social media platform (like TikTok).

Camera Samples

Tech Specs

Finish/Color Crush Blue, Dark Black, Midsummer Purple
Capacity 128GB
Dimensions 154.25mm x 73.97mm x 7.87mm
Weight 174g
Display 6.26-inch 19.5:9 2340×1080 Huawei Punch FullView Display
Processor Kirin 980 2.6GHz Octa-core 2 x Cortex-A76 Based 2.6 GHz + 2 x Cortex-A76 Based 1.92 GHz + 4 x Cortex-A55 1.8 GHz
Memory 8GB
Main Rear Camera 48MP F1.8
Secondary Rear Camera 16MP F2.2 Ultra-wide angle, 2M F2.4, 2M F2.4
Front Camera 32MP F2.0
Video Recording 16:9 4K @ 30 FPS, 1080p @ 30 FPS, 16:9 1080p/720p at 30 FPS,
Wireless Connectivity WLAN 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz, Bluetooth v5.0
Navigation GPS, AGPS, Glonass ,Beidou, Galileo, QZSS
SIM Cards Dual SIM, Dual standby
Water-resistance No
Sensors Ambient Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Compass, Proximity Sensor, Gravity Sensor, Hall Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor
Battery 3,750mAh
Price 18,990 php

Verdict

If you’re looking to get a good mix of a solid build, at a flagship level phone without the flagship price, the Huawei Nova 5T is a good choice.

Huawei Nova 5T
Design100%
Build Quality80%
Performance100%
Battery95%
Price100%
Promise Delivered100%
The Good
  • 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM
  • AI Camera makes taking pics easy
  • Side fingerprint sensor
The Bad
  • No 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Phone warms up in prolonged use
96%Overall Score
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