Huawei unveiled the Huawei Nova 9 on October 21, 2021, from this day the phone was sent for review to Tekdigitel, unfortunately we couldn’t test the phone in a more useful time, given that the terminal reached us on October 25, today however we manage to publish a “blood” review for Huawei whose Nova 9 phone has its pluses and minuses.
I haven’t tested a product in a while, being very busy with launch events and other campaigns but even with Black Friday coming up, given the popularity of this phone that it will surely have at least among Huawei fans, I thought it was worth posting an opinion on it, so we’ll take the following review criteria in turn: Design, Screen, Software, Hardware, Photo Sector, Battery Life and Performance, etc, at the end you’ll also have the scores for these, alongside the pluses and minuses of the phone, having all of these I hope this review will give you as clear an opinion as possible on what you can buy if you decide to do so.
Huawei Nova 9 key specifications
In order to know what phone we’re talking about, and to start from the beginning with some clear information about this smartphone, below I’ll provide you with a list of the general key specifications of this smartphone.
Nova 9 comes to the global market in several variants, in the European market, we will find the following configuration:
- Display: 120 Hz, 6.57-inch OLED at FHD+ resolution
- Processor: Snapdragon 778G 4G
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 128 GB
- Battery: 4,300 mAh, 66 W fast charge
- Camera: 50 Megapixel f/1.9 main camera, 8 Megapixel f/2.2 ultra wide, 2 Megapixel f/2.4 depth sensor, 2 Megapixel f/2.4 macro / Front camera: 32 Megapixel f/2.0.
- Connectivity: 4G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, USB-C
- Operating system: EMUI 12
In the box you’ll find a 66W charger, a USB-C cable, a SIM key + a device booklet that no one reads, also the screen is protected by a plastic wrap that comes with the phone. I also received a cover, but reading other posts in the Europe press, this cover will not be in the final user package. And if you’re asking why we have a charger that doesn’t fit a Europe outlet (pictured below), well, this was the charger we received for testing, but the end user, likewise, will have a different content in the package.
Given the above, there’s no point in further detailing what we got in the Huawei Nova 9’s box, let’s get straight to the design.
The phone can be purchased in two color variants, Starry Blue and Black (black), I received the Starry Blue variant for testing, which is really meant to be more feminine, however, if you asked me to choose between the two variants, certainly, I would still go for this variant because it really looks in a more different and pleasant way.
The Huawei Nova 9 comes with a design that is not unique, unfortunately it’s all too obvious the uncanny resemblance to the Honor 50. And I’m not necessarily saying that this is a highlight, but by the mere fact that Honor was launched before Huawei (in June) with this design and Huawei copied the camera module from a former sub-brand, makes me think that Huawei’s situation on the mobile phone sector is not only no longer “rosy”, but we’re talking about a strong crisis.
Given the fact however that the Huawei P50 came first (of the two brands) with a double circular design of the main cameras on the back of the phone, I’ll avoid another discussion about other design similarities, and talk exactly about my experience.
On the back of the device on the left side we have reserved the place of the photo sensor package, the total module is an oval one that includes the sensors placed in two circles, it’s a nice design, I like it, besides this camera module on the back we also have the inscription “NOVA Huawei”, very nice, on the version I received in Starry Blue color, the whole back of the device looks premium. The back of the Huawei Nova 9 appears to be a plastic, very well finished to the touch it is nice and leaves no fingerprint marks.
On the sides we have on the right side the classic volume and power buttons that are present on all Huawei phones, on the bottom we have a speaker, USB-C connector, a microphone and the micro sim camera that can be opened with the key from the package, on the left side we have nothing and on the top side we can talk about another microphone. The sides are made of a metal alloy, nice to the touch that is also present on other Huawei smartphones, such as the Huawei P40 Pro we tested last year.
On the front of the phone we have a curved Display with a size of 6.57 inches and a screen to body ratio (in front) of 89.9%, according to gsmarena.com, also my experience with this screen is a pleasant one, it has a wide viewing angle. The main camera is at the top of the screen in a centered “dot”.
The size of the phone is 160 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm and weighs 175 g, this makes the Nova 9 a big, beautiful and lightweight phone.
Talking further about the Screen, we know that it is curved, has a size of 6.57 inches which gives a pretty high screen to body ratio of around 90%.
The display is an AMOLED, which allows the reproduction of a billion colors, comes with HDR10 and 120 HZ, unfortunately we didn’t find any details about the phone’s resistance to water and dust, so we have to be very careful when buying it, also this detail is quite strange, considering that phones in the same price segment, or even lower, comes with a certification attesting to dust and water drop resistance, another detail that reinforces the fact that the phone comes with plastic on the back.
On the software side we find on the Huawei Nova 9 Review an EMUI 12 without Google services, as expected officially we can’t install Google services on a Huawei phone even in 2021, but since this topic is already stale, let’s go over my experience with this OS which is actually a custom version of Android, variant? Well, we think 10.
Nova 9’s OS is a peremiere in Europe, it’s the first phone to come with EMUI 12, the lax OS without much fuss and honestly, we’re expecting HarmonyOS 2.0, or something, Harmony, but we’re getting an EMUI that seems to be the same OS as HarmonyOS but with a different name for the global market, I don’t mind the name differences as long as we have the same advantages.
EMUI has always been a very intuitive and easy to use custom interface, it’s also clean and fluid, I still use it from the P9 series which was also my first Huawei phone, I’ve always had nothing but praise and at this point I still maintain it’s one of the best custom system on phones.
I’m over the news that Huawei doesn’t have google services, well where do we get our apps from? Firstly we have AppGallery, an alternative from Huawei for the Google Store, we don’t have all the apps, nor the Google suite, but we have quite popular apps and new apps are constantly appearing in the Huawei store, on top of this news we also have Huawei’s attempt to introduce, Petal” alternative with Petal Search and Petal Maps that responds well but I think that for the experience of a user in Europe we still need to work to get at least satisfactory results, because with an experience generated by Google Service, on which we are dependent, we can not put, or at least find other alternatives as good as possible.
As I specified above, the Huawei Nova 9 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G processor, which gives us only 4G connectivity, as we know, due to US sanctions, Huawei can not sell phones with 5G connection, when it comes to GPU, mention Adreno 642L, which did well in my tests on Asphalt 9, on the RAM side, the phone I received comes with 8GB, and storage we have a UFS 2.1 memory with a capacity of 128GB.
The phone did well in our tests, in games, below I’ll also give you a short video shot in Asphalt 9, with the recorder on the phone, the game was given at maximum settings and it moved very well.
Being a Huawei phone, you certainly first think about the hardware, the cameras in particular. And yes, on the back we have a seasonr taken from the P40 Pro, but it’s not quite like that, the main 50 MP sensor that everyone is talking about comes summer OIS and having tested both phones I can say that the difference is an extremely big one, we can’t compare the two phones when it comes to cameras, well, considering the price, we don’t expect it either, but we can’t speak for the fact that the Nova 9 lives up to the quality of the pictures taken with a P40 Pro.
In addition to the “P40 Pro sensor” we also have 2 2MP sensors, one macro one zoom, the 8MP sensor also didn’t blow me away, at night and during the day their quality didn’t excel.
Speaking of price, I was honestly disappointed by the photo segment, below I will offer you some photos taken with this phone, a phone that I would definitely put below the Nord 2, which I tested a little while ago.
*Video 1080p, 30fps.
On the front camera side, I was still satisfied with the results obtained, comparable to a phone around 2000 lei, the 32 MP sensor, did its job very well, on the video side the same, but we do not have a very good stabilization, which is at least disturbing, it is a Huawei phone from which I had higher expectations.
I don’t have sound analysis tools so I’ll give a brief opinion based on what I’ve already tested in the same price segment. The Huawei Nova 9 does indeed come with a single speaker which sounds fine if you adjust the volume lower, if you want a higher volume, the sound quality drops drastically, but it is quite “loud” in the sense that the sound is loud but without a bass I would like.
On the audio connectivity side, the trend is away from jack jacks and Huawei confirmed this trend a long time ago so we have to make do with a pair of bluetooth headphones or a USB-C port adapter.
The phone does indeed come with bluetooth 5.2, so we get the latest generation of connectivity on our headphones, I got the FreeBuds 4i headphones from Huawei a little while ago for testing which I tested with this phone and it did very well, overall those headphones I still recommend.
The battery life is pretty good, on me the phone in test mode lasted me 3 days without SIM card in it, certainly in daily use the battery life will drop to two days.
The battery of the phone is a 4300 mAh battery and in the box you get a 66W charger, unfortunately for testing I got a charger that I couldn’t use, so according to other reviews, the phone would charge in about 40 minutes, the point is that I used a P40 charger, standard, and the phone was charged all in the same time.
Huawei Nova 9 Review – Performance and Connectivity
On the performance side, I’ll let the tests speak, benchmark tests, the point is that the closest variant tested by me, is the Nord 2 from OnePlus, which in my opinion is also cheaper and for the European audience is worth more money, Huawei Nova 9 is not a bad phone, but it comes with many minuses that we can not pass, the most important minus is the lack of Google services, lack of 5G connectivity, the cameras are mediocre, a point that I liked is that in games it moves well, but still, it’s useless to get a phone if you can not be productive with it.
On the connectivity side, we have many shortcomings, among the most important are listed: lack of 5G and lack of a MicroSD slot, we also have no audio jack or infrared, however the latter two, we don’t even expect to get them.
Finally we have WI-FI 6 connectivity, the latest standard in the field that offers very high speeds of around 1GBPS in WIFI when it comes to download, and amounts to 500/700 MBPS on upload, these figures will change depending on the equipment you own, but also on the provider you have your internet connection from.
We’ve got GPS, at very good quality, NFC, USB Type-C 2.0 (the outdated standard….) and Bluetooth 5.2.
So that’s pretty much our review, we’re looking forward to your comments and opinions.