When talking about mid-range smartphones under Php 15,000, Huawei remains to be one of the brands considered despite limitations brought by the trade ban. While this is a deal breaker for some, we can’t deny that Huawei continues to go above and beyond to innovate their smartphones, especially in terms of camera features. Their recent nova smartphone alone, the Huawei nova 9 SE, takes pride in its 108MP AI quad camera, 66W SuperCharge, 6.78-inch FullView display, ultra-narrow bezels, 90Hz refresh rate, and Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SOC, to name a few. New app downloaders have also been introduced to help users access everything they need.
For the price of only Php 13,999, here’s a look at what to expect so you can check if it fits your lifestyle:
DESIGN AND DISPLAY
The Huawei nova 9 SE has an eye-catching 3D Glass rear panel which slightly shifts its color whenever light touches it. The Crystal Blue Color (in photos) can even be used as a mirror! Moving the phone creates trails that point towards the camera module, which makes it look more dazzling as well. There’s a small Huawei nova logo at the bottom center portion of the smartphone, but it’s not really visible at some angles. Other colors available are Pearl White and Midnight Black. I’d suggest that you get the latter if you want a less flashy smartphone. All the smartphones come with a protruding camera at the back with two huge shooters, two smaller and almost unnoticeable cameras, and an LED flash.
While the back part looks very pretty, it’s a fingerprint magnet so I would suggest that you use the jelly case that come with it right away. It’s also lightweight at only 191 grams but the grip can be a bit challenging when used for a long time as it tends to slip from my hands due its smooth texture and size. Given its dimensions (164.64mm x 75.55mm x 7.94mm), my thumb still can’t stretch enough to reach the left end of the keypad (I’m right-handed).
Power/lock button with fingerprint sensor and the volume rocker can be found on the right side of the device, while there’s nothing on the left side. The secondary microphone, earpiece, and the dual SIM card slot can be found on top, while the microphone, USB Type-C port, and speaker grille can be found at the bottom. Note that the SIM tray can house two nano-SIM cards, but there’s no slot for a microSD as Huawei supports storage expansion via a Huawei nano memory card.
Upfront is a 6.78-inch Huawei FullView Display — IPS LCD with a 2380 x 1080 resolution, 1.05mm ultra-narrow bezels (the one at the bottom is slightly wider), and a punch hole camera at the top center area of the screen. The display has a 90Hz refresh rate, which enables a smooth experience when using the smartphone, and it’s also bright enough to produce true-to-life colors despite being an LCD panel.
One of the best features of this smartphone is its Quad Cameras that enable high-res photography. It packs a 108MP wide, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro, and 2MP depth lens which you can tinker with under its different modes – Aperture, Night, Portrait, Photo, Panorama, Super Macro, High-Res, and Pro. AI Camera can be enabled if you need instant help in making your photos pop, too! If you’re feeling artsy, there are eight filters to choose from under Photo and Bokeh effects to play with under Portrait mode.
Portrait Selfie with Bokeh
It’s also capable of up to 10x zoom but the photo will already start getting pixelated at around 5x.
x10 Zoom x2 Zoom Normal Wide
For videos, it offers a Dual-View mode which uses both the front and rear cameras, and Time-Lapse which can be taken using the front or rear camera. The only downside for me is that videos are only limited up to 1080p, which is decent enough for social media uploads, but I would prefer a higher resolution for long-form videos.
In front, you’ll get a 16MP lens that is also capable of taking wide shots even while on Night Mode! The downside, however, is that the elements near the edge of the frame tend to get stretched a bit especially if you’re taking a “wefie” (a.k.a. group selfie). It takes decent selfies even when you’re indoors under bright lighting or even when against the light, but it tends to look grainy even with Beauty mode off if the light source is dimmer than usual.
The Huawei nova 9 SE also takes really bright Night shots, too! Although it blurs moving elements like cars, it gives a lively glow to the photo subject/s.
STORAGE AND PERFORMANCE
The Huawei nova 9 SE is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SOC and Adreno 610 GPU with 8GB + 128GB of storage and runs on Android 11 with EMUI 12. The OS is responsive and I have no complaints about lags as of the moment. This combination is good enough for multitasking and playing typical games like Livly Island, Fate/Grand Order, Pokemon Unite and Mobile Legends. You’ll have to search for these games via Petal Search/APK in order to download them as only Mobile Legends: Bang Bang is available via The Huawei AppGallery. Although it gets a bit warm after long use, the device has Graphene cooling to ensure that your smartphone won’t overheat even as you continuously play games or watch videos.
Speaking of apps, Huawei nova 9 SE doesn’t have Google services just like the previous releases but Huawei encourages everyone to use their AppGallery for top apps, Petal Search for apps that are not yet part of the AppGallery, and GSpace to access Google apps. For me, I create website shortcuts so I can directly access my Gmail via browser.
When it comes to connectivity, the Huawei nova 9 SE doesn’t have 5G capabilities but this shouldn’t be an issue especially if your area doesn’t have an accessible 5G tower anyway. Even though it’s 4G, bandwidth remains reliable for now.
Audio comes from its bottom-firing speaker only, but it’s loud enough to be heard clearly in a small room. There seems to be a slight distortion when it’s in max volume but you’ll still hear the sounds clearly.
This device is equipped with the usual features like Find Device, Emergency SOS, Password Vault, App Lock, and Safe mode which encrypts your data. In terms of locking your phone, you can also choose to activate biometrics – Fingerprint ID and Face Recognition, pin code, or Smart Unlock.
I must commend their side-mounted fingerprint scanner as it’s quick to detect my fingerprint whenever I try to unlock my device. Face Unlock via front camera also recognizes my face almost instantaneously. However, due to our continuous use of face masks, I still prefer using fingerprint unlock.
This smartphone packs a 4000mAh battery with 66W SuperCharge that is capable of charging up to 75% in just 20 minutes as per Huawei’s advertisements, which has been accurate throughout the first two weeks of use. It takes around 45 minutes for the smartphone to reach full charge.
Using it mainly for social media, gaming, watching videos, online meetings, and photography, the Huawei nova 9 SE continuously keeps up with my 8-hour work schedule without me worrying about the battery going less than 20%.
What Huawei lacks in terms of Google services and 5G capability, it makes up for its other features. Overall, for the price of Php 13,999, it’s a decent smartphone to consider especially if you’re not Google-dependent and if you’re very particular when it comes to camera specs. Pre-orders for the unit will be open until March 24, 2022, inclusive of freebies such as a Huawei FreeBuds 4i (Php 3,599) and Huawei Cloud benefits (Php 1,146). You can find this via the Huawei online store and their flagship stores via Lazada and Shopee.
For the full specs, you can visit: https://manilamillennial.com/2022/03/16/huawei-nova-9-se-specs/