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Huawei launches Nova 3i smartphone, a S$398 mid-range beast

By Zachary Chan - on 28 Jul 2018, 12:43pm

Huawei launches Nova 3i smartphone, a S$398 mid-range beast

Note: This article was first published on 18th July 2018.

A striking color for an affordable beast.

Following the hype generated from their flagship P20 and P20 Pro, Huawei has possibly just set a new bar for mid-range devices with the new Nova 3i.

The Nova 3i is the direct successor to last year’s Nova 2i, but it boasts so many improvements that it’s hard to imagine that it’s from the same series.

Design and Display

The Nova 3i boasts a large 6.3-inch FullView 2.0 LCD display with a FHD+ resolution (2,340 x 1,080 pixels) at a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and covers 85% NTSC color gamut. It has an impressive 81% screen-to-body ratio, with a top bezel that measures just 2.4mm thin—discounting the notch of course—and a 5.65mm bottom bezel. Comparatively, the Nova 2i was a 5.9-inch device with relatively huge bezels (8.68mm top, 9.68mm bottom).

The Nova 3i features a full glass design in a premium build with a similar gradient color option as the flagship P20 series. If you weren’t told, you’d be hard-pressed to tell that this is a sub-S$400 phone.

Photography and processing capabilities

Huawei boasts the Nova 3i as the world’s first 24MP quad camera phone with AI photography. While this is partially true, only one of the four cameras on the device is 24MP. The actual configuration is 16MP + 2MP dual rear and 24MP (Sony MX576) + 2MP dual front.

Under the hood, the Nova 3i will be the first phone to feature the new Kirin 710 octa-core processor, a 12nm part comprising 4x Cortex A73 at 2.2GHz and 4x Cortex A53 at 1.7GHz. Huawei claims up to 2x single-core CPU performance and up to 2.26x GPU performance as compared to the Nova 2i. General performance should put it in the range of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660. To round out the specs, the Nova 3i will come with 4GB of RAM, an incredibly generous 128GB storage, and a 3,340mAh battery with Huawei SuperCharge technology support for fast charging.

The Kirin 710 will be responsible for all the AI Selfie and Master AI Photography features that the Nova 3i introduces. It features a dedicated ISP for image processing, however it does not have a dedicated NPU like the Kirin 970.

Notable camera functions include AI selfie scene selection, AI selfie beauty mode, AI portrait lighting, hardware HDR, 480fps super slow-mo and 3D face unlock. The Nova 3i will also introduce Qmoji, Huawei’s first foray into animated emojis. Check out our unboxing video where we explore some of these features and more:-

The Nova 3i will also receive the GPU Turbo update when it is made available in August/September, which Huawei claims will deliver up to 60% improved GPU performance while reducing battery consumption by up to 30%. We've got more details of GPU Boost in this article.

Price and Availability

The Huawei Nova 3i will be available from 28 July 2018 from all Huawei Concept Stores, local telcos and authorized retailers with an SRP of just $398.

Launch Special!

As part of its launch promotion, customers purchasing the Nova 3i at Waterway Point Shopping Mall, East Wing Atrium, Basement 2 on 28th July, 11am to 9pm, will also receive a Casio G-Shock watch (worth S$199) as a free gift (while stocks last of course).