I gotta say, Huawei’s P40 series left me spoiled with great cameras, aesthetics and battery life. To move to this competitive mid-ranger kind of took me awhile to get used to, with the first thing being the weight. Being absolutely thin and about 180 grams light, the Nova 7 felt great to hold and actually use, and with my prior experience with HMS and Petal Search, it didn’t take long to get my setup done and before you know it I was already ready to review (which is now).
The Charm in the looks
In my first impressions video, I mentioned that my Midsummer Purple Nova 7 looked like an Al-fresco restaurant that I’ve been to before. Let me explain. I loved eating at that restaurant because the food was pretty good and the interior design was charming. The Nova 7 is immediately fashionable, chic and modern. I loved the subtle Nova wordings imprinted on the housing, and when daylight shines on the device the dark purple sheen shines out and the wordings become more noticeable, while disappearing in dim places. It’s like having two designs on one phone. It fits great on my hands and would definitely appeal to users looking for a stylish device.
In front is a solid 3D curved glass OLED screen that sports a FHD+ resolution that did a decent job producing punchy colors on the home screen and viewing images, but falls just a little short when it came to watching video. Colors looked a little duller but not deal-breaking. The fingerprint scanner is on-display, and it was accurate with lightning speed.
On the daily
The Kirin 985 5G AI SoC is a custom octa-core CPU and GPU. It works with 8GB of RAM and a hearty 256GB of internal storage. It’s a good start, but the experience lies in the software. You’ll get EMUI based on Android 10 out of the box, and it just works like every other Huawei device. As someone who doesn’t like pages filled with my apps, I immediately selected the app drawer and kept my homescreen clean of icons, leaving just my email widgets and to-do lists for me to glance and dread about deadlines from time to time. Navigation was smooth but nothing to shout about.
Battery life however, was pretty good. On my usual heavy use, I managed to squeeze a solid 45 hours use on a single charge, and that’s pretty good considering you’re getting a 4000mAh battery pack to keep things running. To keep the deal sweet, there’s a 40W Super Charge in the box that refuels your dead phone to 100% in just under an hour. Please do keep note that Super Charge speeds can only be attained by Huawei USB-C Cables, so don’t go and be smart to assume you’re going to get even faster charging by putting in your 65W power brick that connects type-c to type-c.
The quad camera system on the Nova 7 is ambitious, comprising of a 64MP main sensor, 8MP ultra wide lens, 2MP macro lens and 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. And out of the 4, they were all impressive, except for the 2MP macro. It simply took too long to get the stationary shots I wanted, and even when I did, there simply wasn’t a great amount of detail to appreciate. My workaround was simply using the main sensor to take a 64MP image and crop in. That worked for me, especially in broad daylight.
The camera app was fast and easy to use, with the same intuitive experience I had on my P40 Pro Plus. 64MP images were good and clean, with great detail retention at crop and vivid tone colors. Ultra Wide Angle shots are clean, but definitely needs good lighting in order to grab details, especially on the edges. In low-light condition, noise is apparent but that’s what Night Mode is for, and toggling that managed to save some situations during night shots. Night photography is dicey, even for the most expensive flagships that emphasize on camera, but the Nova 7 managed to hold its own here, so don’t worry about your group shots, especially when your environment’s dim.
Selfies were a whole different ball-game. Shots were consistent and clean, with great colors. I tried group shots with indoor lighting and constant movement and the shutter managed to catch a good shot rather quickly with no ghosting. Day light shots are fantastic as well, with clarity that rivals some flagships of today.
Would I recommend this?
Honestly, the Huawei Nova 7 is a good RM2000 and under mid-ranger. It fulfills the promise of great aesthetics, followed by a very usable camera for social media and long-lasting battery life. Every day use was easy for me, and the only major thing you have to consider is switching your app-install habits to get used to Huawei’s AppGallery and Petal Search for all your needs. It’s honestly not as daunting as we’d come to expect, but its undeniably a few extra steps over the conventional way of getting your apps on Android. If you can overcome that, then the Nova 7 is a good choice.
I can’t stop praising how nice it looks and feels, and I definitely can see people who are creative, young and chic to adopt this phone into their life.