Gadgets

Huawei nova 9 SE Hands-on Review

The Huawei nova 9 SE has a decent screen, can last a full day on battery and offers a smooth experience overall.

The recently launched Huawei nova 9 SE is an affordable variant within the nova 9 family. It packs a 6.78-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate, quad rear cameras, Snapdragon 680 and a 4000mAh battery with 66W fast charging.

Specifications

DIMENSIONS:164.64 mm x 75.55 mm x 7.94 mm
WEIGHT:Approx. 191 g
BATTERY:4,000 mAh Fast charging 66W
DISPLAY6.78 in
TFT LCD (IPS) FHD + 2388 x 1080 Pixels Up to 90 Hz frame refresh rate 270 Hz touch sampling rate
FRONT CAMERA:16 MP Front Camera (f/2.2 aperture) 1080p Video
REAR CAMERA:108 MP High-Resolution Camera (f/1.9 aperture) 8 MP Ultra-Wide Angle Camera (f/2.2 aperture) 2 MP Depth Camera (f/2.4 aperture) 2 MP Macro Camera (f/2.4 aperture)
OS:EMUI 12
INTERNAL STORAGE & RAM:8 GB RAM + 128 GB ROM
REMOVABLE STORAGE:microSDXC (shared SIM slot)
CHIPSET:Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 Octa-core, 4 x [email protected] GHz + 4 x [email protected] GHz Adreno 610
CONNECTIVITY:4G, Dual-SIM, BT 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC

Packaging

The Huawei nova 9 SE comes in a white cardboard box with the phone and accessories well protected in different compartments.

Huawei Nova 9 SE Review
Huawei nova 9 SE Hands-on Review

The box includes:

  • Phone (Built-in battery) x 1
  • Charger &USB Type-C Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Card
  • Sim Eject Tool
  • USB Type-C Headset
  • TPU Protective case

nova 9 SE Design

The Huawei nova 9 SE comes in three colors – Blue, Pearl White & Midnight Black. Our review model is the Pearl White. The phone is made of a glass front, glass back, and polycarbonate frame and looks and feels premium. The glossy back panel that shimmers depending on the lighting angle but also easily attracts fingerprint smudges.

Measuring 164.64 mm x 75.55 mm x 7.94 mm, a weight of 191g and a 6.78-inch screen, this is a large phone; but the weight is well distributed. However, if you are looking for a smartphone that is comfortable to use with one hand, this is not the device for you.

Huawei Review
Huawei nova 9 SE Hands-on Review

On the front, is the 16MP selfie camera in the center which can also capture 1080p video. On the right side of the phone are the volume up/down and power button. The fingerprint sensor is located within power button and is fast to recognize and unlock.

Huawei nova 9 SE Hands-on Review

At top is the SIM tray and can either use two SIM cards or a SIM + microSD card.

At the back, the camera bump is placed in the upper-left corner and consists of a 108 MP high-res camera, 8 MP ultra-wide-angle camera, 2 MP depth camera, 2 MP macro camera and a single LED flash.

At the bottom are the stereo speakers and the USB-C 2.0 port for charging. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack.

Display

The Huawei nova 9 SE comes with a 6.78-inch 2388 x 1080 pixels TFT LCD screen with support for upto 90Hz refresh rate which makes the overall experience smoother. The colors are vibrant with strong contrast and decent viewing angles. It has very thin bezels to give you a more immersive viewing experience and the brightness is good enough to be used outdoors.

Huawei Nova 9 SE Review
Huawei nova 9 SE Hands-on Review

Performance & Connectivity

The Huawei nova 9 SE features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 680 processor, Adreno 610 GPU, 8GB of RAM and 128GB built-in memory. The Snapdragon 680 along with the Adreno 610 is powerful enough for a budget phone, performance is great with no visible delay or lags. It has plenty of power to run most games without issues.

In terms of connectivity, the Huawei nova 9 SE supports WiFi, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and GPS.

Camera

The Huawei nova 9 SE has a triple camera setup with a 108 MP main, 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro with an LED flash.

The 108MP main camera produce photos with good colors and sharpness during the day. The second 8MP ultra-wide camera produces soft images but with good color and contrast. The third camera has a 2MP macro lens for short-distance shooting, but it captures soft images and appears pixelated.

Huawei Nova 9 SE Review
Huawei nova 9 SE Hands-on Review

In low light conditions, the 108MP main camera on the Huawei nova 9 SE produced decently sharp images with good noise control and acceptable color accuracy. There is no night mode for the ultra-wide camera and is not very usable in low light situations.

The 16MP selfie camera captures photos with acceptable contrast and good color but struggles with bright light sources.

Videos can be recorded in either 1080p or 720p at 30fps. Dual-View video lets you record through both your front and rear cameras simultaneously. The video quality is decent but does not support video stabilization.

nova 9 SE OS

Like most other recent Huawei phones, the Nova 9 SE runs on Android 11 skinned with MIUI 12.  Even though the device doesn’t support Google Play Services, you can install Android apps either via the Huawei AppGallery store or via third party app stores such as APKPure.

The Device+ tab in Control Panel enables users to easily control or set up multi-device collaboration with other devices. Thanks to One Hop Connection via NFC, the nova 9 SE can pair with other Huawei devices directly with a simple tap.

And with the Distributed File System, the nova 9 SE allows users to access files from a PC. Alternatively, users can send files between the smartphone and other Huawei devices via Huawei share, and speak with up to 11 parties simultaneously.

Battery & Audio

The phone comes with a 4000mAh battery, which can last a full day of use. As for charging, Huawei nova 9 SE comes with a 66W fast charger, which should take the phone from 0 to 75% in about 20 minutes or 40-50 minutes to fully charge it.

In terms of audio, The Huawei nova 9 SE has bottom-firing speakers. The sound is loud enough to fill a small room but there is some distortion at maximum volume. The microphones also offer very good audio quality during calls.

nova 9 SE Verdict

The Huawei nova 9 SE has a decent screen, can last a full day on battery, offers a smooth experience overall. And for the price point, the balance between hardware, software and price is great.

The deal-breaker here could be the lack of Google Play Services, but there are plenty of built-in features and applications that make up for this.

The Huawei nova 9 SE priced at 1199 AED in colours Midnight Black, Crystal Blue and Pearl White, will be available for pre-order in the UAE from 25th of March with gifts worth 295 AED, including the HUAWEI Band and more.

7.5

Huawei Nova 9 SE

The Huawei nova 9 SE has a decent screen, can last a full day on battery and offers a smooth experience overall. The deal-breaker here could be the lack of Google Play Services, but there are plenty of built-in features and applications that make up for this.

THE GOOD
  • Eye-catching design
  • Good Battery Life
  • Fast charging
  • Affordable
THE BAD
  • No Google Apps
  • Noisy low-light photos
  • Custom Nano Memory Card
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