First Impressions | Huawei Nova 5T smartphone

The Nova product line has recently been redefined by Huawei with the release of the Huawei Nova 5T that introduces a refreshed aesthetic identity, setting itself apart from its predecessors.

From pronounced eye-catching visuals that appeal to more younger audiences, to bringing in a capable set of cameras, the 5T aims to offer an experience that blurs the line between its segment and Huawei’s flagship devices.

The Huawei Nova 5T has a glass back housed in an aluminium frame. The body creates a multi-layered 3D effect comparable to recent releases from the Realme and Vivo smartphone brands. It has roughly an 84.2% screen-to-body ratio with the forehead thinner than its pronounced chin.

The side bezels are almost unnoticeable while the notch is gone and replaced by a punch-hole selfie camera. The presence of the front camera setup can easily be masked by specially designed wallpapers with darker portions on the upper left side.

The device is lightweight at 174 grams and can accommodate two SIM cards, although the option for expandable storage has been omitted.

Music enthusiasts will also miss the 3.5mm headphone jack which is absent in the device. The fingerprint sensor is located at the side and below is a Type-C port which is a no-brainer at this price point. The placement of the fingerprint sensor is a little bit unusual but is a better location than the front or back anyway. Huawei is also enforcing the absence of the headphone jack in midrange devices now — or so it seems.

The device is powered by a 3750mAh battery which can last at least a day of moderate-to-heavy usage. Although a 4000mAh battery would have been better especially with its display, which we’ll get to later, its non-removable Li-Po battery is capable of 22.5W fast battery charging that can charge up to 50% in a little over 24 minutes.

The Nova 5T’s display is a 6.26″ IPS LCD panel with 412 pixels-per-inch (ppi) and a resolution of 1080×2340 bringing it to an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 while the system runs EMUI 9.1 on top of Android 9 (Pie) backed by a 7nm HiSilicon Kirin 980 and Mali-G76 MP10 GPU. The device also comes with NFC functionality, but sadly, no radio.

Now to the 5T’s quad-camera shooters composed of a 48MP HD lens, 16MP wide-angle lens, 2MP macro lens and a 2MP bokeh lens, all four join forces in producing well-lit high definition photos especially in landscape scenarios or close-up photography.

Although at this point, it would have been nicer to ditch the 2MP bokeh lens that can easily be compensated with software-based depth-of-field, and rather place a telephoto shooter since a good balanced set of shooters must always have a main sensor accompanied by a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens.

The macro lens is a good call though, as it can take photos even when the camera is four centimeters away from the subject while still maintaining a healthy amount of sharpness and good color reproduction.

The 48MP Sony sensor, meanwhile, boasts a feature called Handheld Super Night Mode that uses light sensing, image denoising, enhancement technologies partnered with long exposure and multi-frame stabilization and calibration to take clear photos in extreme lowlight with low blur or noise. Video shooting is also assisted by gyro-EIS and can take 4K quality videos at 30fps.

Aside from its design, the hardware of the 5T doesn’t ring much of elevation or improvement, since its being monotonous for the midrange segment to have 48MP main sensors, punch-hole or motorized selfie modules, and 6″ and above IPS panels.

The new placement of the fingerprint sensor may be refreshing to some, although it has already been done by many phone brands before like HTC and Nubia, but it might just set a new tone among its competitor.

The 3D effect of its color is just another antic to produce a premium feel to cheap plastic, whereas metal phones still rule in projecting a more elegant finish. Users can also live without the bokeh lens and they should be aware that more lenses doesn’t equate to better-looking photos, since most of it relies on software-backed photo processing.

On this note, however, the device does not disappoint when displaying the finished product. A telephoto lens would have been better, but it seems like it’s still reserved for the P and Mate series. The 8GB RAM can also run great titles with ease and the 128GB ROM would suffice for most users, although the lack of memory expansion option is still a bummer.

When considering its price, there are only a few that can match the 5T’s bang-per-buck ratio. One of which is the Mi 9T Pro. But for Huawei fans who enjoy the UI and camera capabilities of the brand’s products, the 5T is definitely a sensible choice for the midrange segment.

The device will be available in three color options: Crush Blue, Dark Black, and Midsummer Purple. Until September 13, customers can avail of pre-order for the Huawei Nova 5T for P18,990 which includes free Huawei surround speakers worth P1,990 and an iFlix membership for an entire year. The device will also come in Home Credit payment plans with 0% interest.

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