Huawei Nova 7i Review: A Supercharged Midranger
Launched in other regions as the P40 Lite, the Huawei Nova 7i aims to build on the foundations of its predecessors: offer better overall performance without breaking the bank. Positioned below the PhP 15,000 mark, will it achieve what its forerunners accomplished?
Huawei Nova 7i
|Screen||6.4-inch LTPS IPS, 2310 x 1080|
|OS||Android 10 with EMUI 10|
|Rear Camera||48MP f/1.8 Main, 8MP f/2.4 Ultrawide, 2MP f/2.4 Macro, 2MP f/2.4 Portrait|
|Front Camera||16MP f/2.0|
|Storage||128GB expandable up to 256GB via NM card slot|
|Network||Dual-SIM, 4G LTE|
|Connectivity||WiFi 802.11ac, Blueooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 3.5mm audio jack|
|Battery||4,200mAh battery, 40W Huawei SuperCharge|
|Others||Side-mounted Fingerprint Scanner|
|Colors||Sakura Pink, Crush Green, Midnight Black|
Design and Features
In terms of design, the Huawei Nova 7i is strangely reminiscent of last year’s Nova 5T albeit with some minor improvements. The display is now a bit larger with a 6.4-inch LTPS IPS screen at the front with a resolution of 2310 x 1080.
The IPS display of the smartphone is able to deliver a decent experience allowing for a wide range of viewing angles. Colors are able to be reproduced with a bit good contrast and accuracy although blacks are not as deep as expected from an IPS panel. On the other hand, brightness produced by the display is strong enough for outdoor use.
The punch-hole first introduced from the Nova 5T makes a comeback on the Huawei Nova 7i. The pixel count, however, has been lowered from 32MP f/2.0 to 16MP f/2.0 although the introductory price is significantly lower for the latter.
Huawei has dialed back the ostentatious design previously found on the Nova 7i’s predecessor. Instead, the Huawei Nova 7i now comes with a two-tone design with a glossy finish. Our review unit came is the Sakura Pink variant where the top light pink portion slowly cascades into a baby blue bottom segment.
The camera arrangement also receives a redesign. Instead of the cameras being stacked in a vertical alignment, the Nova 7i compresses its four cameras in a square arrangement with the LED flash just at the bottom. Populating the camera bump is a 4MP f/1.8 main, an 8MP f/2.4 ultrawide, a 2MP f/2.4 macro, and a 2MP f/2.4 portrait.
As you might have noticed, there is no fingerprint scanner at the back that’s because it has been integrated to the power button at the right-hand side much like the Huawei Y9s. Just above the power button is the smartphone’s volume rocker.
The left-hand side houses the device’s Dual-SIM tray, which is strange given that most smartphones at this price range come with a triple-cut SIM tray. Even more odd is that instead of a hybrid slot that takes MicroSD cards, the hybrid slot only takes Huawei’s Nano Memory SD cards which can be quite expensive.
Though not actually as premium as it may look, the Huawei Nova 7i has a solid design that will attract most smartphone users. The chassis itself is made of plastic but it doesn’t have any kind of flex to speak of while the two-tone colorway is an appealing design to all.
The Huawei Nova 7i runs on Android 10 with EMUI 10. Most of the features that we’ve come to expect from a Huawei smartphone is present such as multi-window mode. You can also choose from several layout presets and change the navigation from buttons to gestures.
Like some of their recent releases, the Nova 7i doesn’t come with Google Services despite running on a Google operating system. In lieu of Google Play, Huawei is offering their own mobile services as well as the App Gallery.
The Huawei App Gallery pretty much works like the Google Play Store. Just search the app you want to download to install it. Searching, however, can be a bit finicky as the search engine isn’t as optimized as you expect.
The Huawei Nova 7i’s camera app delivers everything you need to fully utilize its quad cameras. Opening the app is easy and offers you a multitude of modes such as Photo, Video, Pro, Night, Portrait, Panorama, Stickers, HDR, Slow Motion, Light Painting, Moving Picture, Super Macro, Aperture, Time Lapse, and Document.
Leading the quad camera department of the Huawei Nova 7i is a 48MP f/1.8 main camera. Photos taken by the primary shooter comes out detailed and well-saturated even in low-light conditions. There is a bit of noise in dark areas but those aren’t enough to completely spoil the picture.
Backing the main shooter of the smartphone is an 8MP f/2.4 ultrawide camera. Although it doesn’t have the same pixel count of the primary camera, it still takes detailed photos. Colors are a bit washed out but a few tweaks can bring them up to a nicer standard. The fisheye effect isn’t as apparent as most ultrawide cameras in the market but the edges are somewhat soft to our eyes.
Performance and Benchmarks
The Huawei Nova 7i gets its processing power from a Kirin 810 chip with 8GB of RAM backed by 128GB of expandable internal storage. Based on TSMC’s 7nm process, the Kirin 810 features two Cortex-A76 big cores that can reach up to 2.27GHz and six Cortex-A55 little cores of up to 1.88GHz while its GPU is a Mali-G52 MP6.
While not as powerful as flagship-class chipsets, the Kirin 810 still delivers a competent experience without any significant slowdowns or hitches while using the smartphone. In terms of benchmarks, the chip is one of the more powerful mid-range chipsets in the market reaching a score of 305,280 in AnTuTu and 7692 in PCMark Work 2.0.
Powering the Huawei Nova 7i is a 4,200mAh battery reserve charged via a USB Type-C port at the bottom. A full charge is enough to last us through the day with enough charge to carry us through the next morning with medium use. In PCMark Work 2.0 battery life test, the device is able to last 13 hours and 36 minutes with medium brightness and volume.
Fortunately enough, the Nova 7i supports the 40W Huawei Super Charge only usually found in their flagship smartphones. Due to the massive charging capabilities of the smartphone, it only takes around an hour to fully charge its 4,200mAh battery.
Priced at PhP 13,990, the Huawei Nova 7i is smartly positioned in the market to offer a superb smartphone experience without breaking the bank. There are, however, a few downsides with this otherwise powerful smartphone.
The lack of any official Google services support can be a turn off to some given that some apps are not available in Huawei’s AppGallery. Expanding the storage can also be a bit expensive since the Huawei Nova 7i only supports Nano Memory Cards, which can be expensive compared to MicroSD cards that have similar capacities.
Though it may have its downsides, the smartphone still delivers powerful performance thanks to its Kirin 810, good quad camera performance, and a rather large screen. In our opinion, all the strengths that the Huawei Nova 7i offers far outweigh the sum of its weaknesses. This is why we’re giving the device our seal of approval as it attains everything the previous Nova smartphones have achieved: top performance without the ridiculous price.