Huawei Nova and Nova Plus Review
Neither Nova disappoints with this most basic phone requirement
Probably the most overlooked category when it comes to how many smartphone shoppers are making their purchasing decisions, the Nova and Nova Plus both manage to sound – well, fine. The smaller Nova gets points for being a bit more comfortable to use as a voice handset, just by nature of its size, but neither phone is a big let-down here.
Mid-range hardware shines when paired with the good-sized batteries we find here
The Nova and Nova Plus are quite slim phones, measuring in at 7.1 and 7.3mm, respectively. Despite this, they both find room for some good-sized batteries, with the Nova ending up with a 3,020mAh power plant, and the the Nova Plus with a 3,340mAh component.
Combine that with processors that barely sip from the well of available power, and screens that don't push resolution limits, and you've got the formula for some smartphones with all-day battery life.
Indeed, our custom tests supported just that finding, as the Nova clocked over 10 hours of screen-on time, and the Nova Plus came in north of 12. Depending on just how hard you push your phone, it's not crazy to expect that you might need to charge it just every other day.
Even without quick-chargers in the boxes, the two Nova phones both recharged in a reasonable amount of time, each taking around two hours.
Huawei put together two very solid phones with the Nova and Nova Plus. They don't do any one thing really well, but instead combine respectable performance (so long as you aren't too into gaming), alright camera quality, and decent design into two relatively affordable packages. And that they do all that while also offering some day-long battery life is just the icing on the cake.
But while they're largely well-done phones, it takes more than just doing alright to succeed in this crowded smartphone market, and here the Nova and Nova Plus start running into a little trouble. Take that design: decent, sure, but on both phones it ends up falling somewhat short of the extra-premium metal look Huawei seems to have been going for. Or the cameras: they get the job done, and even include a few extras, but neither is quite a best-in-class component.
That puts a lot of pressure on pricing to make the Novas into attractive handsets, and once again, the figures just aren't quite where they need to be. International pricing comes in at just under 400 EUR for the Nova, and 420 EUR for the Nova Plus.
We're happy to see how close those two are, and with the Nova Plus going for barely any premium over the smaller Nova, it makes it easy to pick the phone the looks and feels best to you – with price being just a minor consideration.
Well, that's comparing the two against each other, at least, because things are a lot more complicated when we look at the larger market, with better-equipped competition available for about the same price – or just slightly more. None of this is to say that Huawei's hardware isn't worth the asking price, but the question would be a lot easier to answer if we were looking at figures some 50 to 100 EUR less.
In the end, neither of these phones is likely to steer you wrong, especially if you're not demanding a ton from your smartphone – and if you want a handset that feels great to hold, and has a battery that won't leave you hanging, either makes a really nice choice. But there's also not a lot here that screams THIS is the mid-priced phone to get. As a result, we'd definitely recommend considering these two Novas – but maybe check out some phones from the competition, as well.
Software version of the review unit: Android 6.0.; Build Number: MLA-L11C432B130 (Plus) CAN-L11C432B100 (Nova)