Huawei just like Samsung continues to expand its mid-range series with the launch of the Huawei Nova 9. The phone despite lacking an Android OS has a noticeable oval-shaped quad-camera array that’s similar to last year’s Nova 8.
However, the biggest upgrade here is the inclusion of a 50MP high-resolution camera that’s followed by an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, 2MP depth sensor, and another 2MP macro lens. Flipping over to the front is a 32MP highly rated selfie camera. Also, there are numerous smart video features specifically designed to help content creators put clips together quickly.
The Huawei Nova 9 has a 6.57-inch OLED display that is refreshed at 120Hz. It’s powered by a high-end Snapdragon 778G 4G chip alongside an 8GB of RAM with a modest 128GB /256GB storage variants. There’s a 66W fast charger that manages the 4300mAh battery capacity of the phone.
There’s no doubt the Nova 9 has the makings of a flagship device without a flagship price. However, with the lack of some basic Google apps, let’s see how the Huawei Nova 9 levels against other mid-range phones in the market.
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Table of Contents
Huawei Nova 9 Key Specifications
- Display: 6.57-inch OLED
- Resolution: 2340 x 1080 pixels
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 4G
- RAM: 8GB
- Storage: 128GB /256GB
- Front Camera: 32-megapixel
- Rear Camera: 50-megapixel + 8-megapixel + 2-megapixel + 2-megapixel
- Battery Capacity: 4300mAh
- OS: Android, EMUI 12
One thing you can’t fault about the Nova 9 is how it looks as the handset is among the prettiest phones we’ve ever seen. Also, the phone has a textured rear panel that’s subtly grippy, thanks to a thin 160 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm dimensions with a 175g net weight. All of these makes the Nova 9 to be portable and compact despite having one of the biggest smartphone screens.
The Huawei Nova 9 comes in triple colour shades of Starry Blue, Crush Green and Black which reflects a glittering array of colours when hit by the sun especially the Starry Blue model. The design is broken up by a noticeable oval-shaped rear camera module with four shooters – and you certainly couldn’t call it boring.
Thankfully, the Huawei Nova 9 doesn’t pick up smudges or fingerprints easily which is a bonus to careless users. However, the phone lacks official water or dust-resistant rating, unlike most Huawei devices.
When it comes to ports, there’s a USB-C on the bottom alongside a stereo speaker, but with the absence of a 3.5mm headphone jack just like most recent smartphones. However, you can easily buy a pair of wireless headphone or an adapter if you want to listen to music privately.
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The 120Hz refresh rate with OLED panel on the Nova 9 is another beauty to behold, covering over a billion colours and handling HDR perfectly.
The 6.57-inch screen is curved at the edges with a 2340 x 1080 resolution and a punch-hole camera. Although it’s quite average for recent Android devices, but it’s essentially enough to make the display look attractive and well detailed for streaming HD videos on the phone.
The Huawei Nova 9 display colours are vibrant with deep blacks, thanks to the OLED panel. Another standout feature of the phone’s display is the 120Hz refresh rate which is among the highest on Android phones making the device noticeably smoother. The Nova 9’s refresh rate can be manually switched to 60Hz to save battery when it’s not needed or automatically if you’ve got the display set to the ‘Dynamic’ setting.
There’s an in-display fingerprint reader that we found to be fast and reliable. Meanwhile, you’re getting a Face to unlock feature as an alternative security option, although it’s not as secure as Apple’s implementation.
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If there’s anything Huawei excels at, that’s definitely the camera department. This is one of the reasons the company’s flagship P50 phones still sell in the market despite the lack of Google or 5G.
Although the Huawei Nova 9 won’t make it to the best camera phone around, but it does have a capable camera with good diminishing returns. The Nova 9 features four cameras including a 50MP “Ultra Vision” primary shooter, alongside an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, 2MP depth sensor, and another 2MP macro sensor with a 4cm shooting distance.
However, the Nova 9 lacks a telephoto lens for optical zoom, but the camera manages to offer digital zoom up to 10x. The 50MP sensor enclosed in a cylinder-like housing uses Huawei’s RYYB pixel arrangement for lowlight performance.
As expected, photos taken broadly impress especially in daylight settings with rich colours and a good amount of details. However, darker lighting results are good too but the lack of optical image stabilization was noticed. The ultra-wide sensor does a good job in decent lighting environment, but colours tend to be washed out in lowlight.
Upfront is a 32MP selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture which is clear and well-contrasted. The selfie camera can shoot 720p video at 240 fps while the rear can film 4k @30. Also, there’s a dedicated vlogging mode that lets you split-screen and picture-in-picture video with two lenses at once.
Performance and Software
The Nova 9 is powered by a mid-range Snapdragon 778G chip from Qualcomm and it’s paired with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of built-in storage. While it lacks 5G support that’s a necessity especially when most phones within this price range like the Samsung Galaxy F23 offer it.
Although this isn’t among the fastest performance phone on the market, it still got enough power to satisfy an average user. Apps load up quickly and we faced no issues while gaming.
The Huawei Nova 9 runs on Huawei’s EMUI 12 skin that’s based on Android. The folder’s layout and square shape of app icons are similar to those found on Apple iOS. However, the big issue of no Google apps just like in other Huawei phones means you won’t be able to install Gmail, YouTube, or Google Maps on your phone.
Nevertheless, Huawei has been trying so hard to provide a solution to this with its own Petal apps including Petal Maps and Petal Search. Also, there are other Huawei branded apps like Huawei Wallet, Huawei Docs, Huawei Health, etc.
While these apps cover most of Google apps functions, they’re still not an ideal replacement because of compatibility issues.
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life isn’t among the best features of the Nova 9, but it’s certainly not the worst either. The phone packs a 4300mAh battery that can easily last you for a day, but not enough for two days unless you’re a light user. This makes the battery life average as you can easily find cheaper phones that last longert than the Nova 9.
Charging is fairly impressive as the phone offers a full charge from empty battery in just 40 minutes. This is because of the impressive 66W wired fast charging with Huawei SuperCharge.
Huawei Nova 9: Price and Availability
The Huawei Nova 9 is available now in Nigeria where it costs ₦270,000 ($460) for the 128GB model and ₦360,000 ($615) for the 256GB variant. You can buy directly from jumia.ng, Amazon, and other retailers.
There’s no doubt Huawei has worked hard enough to combat scepticism about the phone’s inherent deficiencies which resulted to having one of the best design and better cameras at this price range.
Still, should you spend this amount for a phone that’s stuck at 4G without any Google apps? Probably not as you can get Samsung Galaxy A73 without any flaws and almost identical specs for same price segment.
Meanwhile, there are other mid-range phones to consider. The latest Xiaomi 12 Pro is another strong competitor with a decent camera performance and excellent specs, but sells far more than the Nova 9. You can decide to spend more and get the latest Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with better specs, camera performance, and of course runs on Google operating system.
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Huawei Nova 9 Full Specifications
- Brand: Huawei
- Model: Nova 9
- Release Date: September 23, 2021
- Weight: 175g
- Colours: Ocean Blue, Purple, Light Sea Green, and Polar Black.
- Touchscreen: YES
- Type: OLED
- Display Size: 6.57-inch
- Screen Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels
- Facelock Support: Yes
- In-display fingerprint scanner: Yes
- Sensors: Fingerprint (in-display)
- Dimensions: 160 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm (6.30 x 2.90 x 0.31 in)
- Operating System: Android, EMUI 12
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM7325 Snapdragon 778G 4G (6 nm)
- CPU: Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Kryo 670 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 670)
- GPU: Adreno 642L
- RAM: 8GB
- Inbuilt Storage: 128GB /256GB
- SD Card slot: No
- Rear Flash: Dual-LED Flashlight
- Rear Camera: 50-MP f/1.9 (wide), 8-MP f/2.2 (ultra-wide), 2-MP f/2.4 (depth), 2-MP f/2.4 (macro)
- Video: 4K, 1080p, 720p@960fps, gyro-EIS
- Front Camera: 32-MP f/2.0
- Front Flash: LED Flash
- Wi-Fi: YES
- Bluetooth: 5.2
- USB: MicroUSB-2.0
- GPS: YES
- WLAN: YES
- SIM: Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
- Technology: GSM /CDMA /HSPA /LTE
- 3G Support: Yes
- 4G/ LTE Support: Yes
- 5G Support: No
- Speed: HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A
- Capacity: Li-Po 4300mAh, non-removable
- Fast Charge: 66W
- Price in Nigeria: ₦240,000
- Price in the US: $1460