REVIEW | Huawei Nova 10 new premium smartphone

Back in September, Huawei Consumer Business Group (BG) formally announced the arrival of its third Nova series for the high-end midrange and mid-premium market – the Huawei Nova 10 series. The roster included the flagship Huawei Nova 10 Pro, the standard Huawei Nova 10, and the cheaper Huawei Nova 10 SE variant. 

At the IFA 2022 stage, Huawei Consumer BG president for the West European region William Tan said that the new series follows a design language consistent with the Huawei Nova family of smartphones, but with the addition of what the company hopes to be an iconic camera ring design down the road.  

While there are only a handful of differences between the standard and Pro variant, Tan says that the most visible distinction is that the Pro version is bulkier, thicker, and heavier. This is why the value proposition for the vanilla Huawei Nova 10 is that it comes with the same performance seen on the Pro, but on a smaller and slimmer profile.  

Unlike the majority of lifestyle smartphone models, the Huawei Nova 10 comes with shiny exterior element that does not look like a cheap gimmick. The “Star Orbit Ring” adds a luxury feel to the otherwise uneventful overall and slightly outdated look of the Nova 10. 

The slim form factor of the Huawei Nova 10, coupled with a narrow spread, delivers a comfortable one-handed mode experience with ample grip. The model may seem rather tall for users who are accustomed to more compact devices, but the 6.67-inch display pays off in a major way.  

It is also convenient that all of the physical buttons are situated on the right side of the device, easily accessible by the user’s thumb. The antenna lines wrapped around the Huawei Nova 10 are blended finely within the metallic accents of the chassis, and the considerable camera bump naturally means that users will need to slap on a thick plastic casing so the device can lie perfectly flat on a table.  

Aligned with the minimalistic approach of the Huawei Nova 10 when it comes to design, the EMUI 12 is also straightforward and realistic when it comes the digital experience it provides to its users.

The tri-colour format is a classic and clean choice that doesn’t demand variation, and the animations highlight the fluidity of the Full HD+ OLED display and its smooth 120Hz refresh rate and 300Hz touch sampling rate.  

In this scenario, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 4G processor plays a major role in ensuring that the gravity and magnet motion design is kept realistic.

This midrange system-on-chip (SoC) that paired with the Qualcomm Adreno 642L GPU, does not just boost the fluidity of interaction animations, but the overall performance of the Huawei Nova 10 as well.  

When subjected to average day-to-day usage, the Huawei Nova 10 handles itself with aplomb. Multi-tasking between online applications is accomplished without encountering hiccups, but streaming can be held back by the lack of 5G.

Demanding platforms like games and video-editing software can test the capabilities of this model up to an extent, with the most noticeable consequence is a sliver of heating near the rear cameras.   

When it comes to front-facing images, there isn’t much to rave about with the Huawei Nova 10 since the Pro edition takes the cake in terms of sheer image quality, portrait shot execution, and field-of-view (FOV).

Nevertheless, it can still capture 4K quality videos which is a welcome addition to any content creator or avid user of platforms like YouTube Reels and TikTok.  

With the Follow Focus feature, users can finally record a moving subject without having to manually tap the screen so the camera focuses on the subject.

Another area where the 50MP triple rear camera setup performs well is portrait video shooting even though this is primarily dependent on advanced facial recognition and background blurring algorithms instead of hardware.  

Here are the sample shots we took using the rear cameras of the Huawei Nova 10.  

Although we would have preferred to see the 100W charging rate of the Huawei Nova 10 Pro, 66W is fast enough for the standard variant’s smaller 4000mAh battery. For the average user, the Huawei Nova 10 can last more than a day’s worth of battery life and charges from 0-100% in less than an hour.  

Verdict 

In 2022, it is difficult to recommend a premium smartphone that does not have 5G connectivity, and the continued absence of Google Mobile Services may seem restrictive and inconvenient for the average user. While it is marketed by Huawei as an excellent selfie shooter, the front-facing cameras are mostly feature-rich, and it’s actually the rear cameras that redeem the device.

As an all-rounder main driver, however, the Nova 10 packs a sterling combination of processing power, imaging performance, vivid display, and battery life. 

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