I’ve reviewed several Nova smartphones in my tech blogging career including the Nova 2i and Nova 3. But this year’s Huawei Nova 5T impressed me the most because it comes very, very close to the features offered by Huawei’s flagship smartphones at almost half the price.

It’s not perfect since it lacks some features and has some unusual design choices. However, it provides an insanely good value for money. Here’s my full review of the Huawei Nova 5T!

 

Design

Huawei Nova 5T

The back of the Huawei Nova 5T.

The Huawei Nova 5T comes in three color choices – black, midsummer purple, and crush blue. My review unit is crush blue and it’s a good-looking glossy color scheme.

It uses glass for both the front and back with metal on the sides. The back panel produces sheens that seem to highlight the rear cameras. The effect is more noticeable in the blue and purple colors. Black is the best choice if you prefer being subtle.

It follows the same design language as the Huawei P30 Pro with its four rear cameras arranged vertically on the top left corner. The camera bump is a bit substantial though.

What’s unusual with this phone is the position of its fingerprint scanner. It’s embedded in the power button on the right side. It’s actually a natural placement for the fingerprint scanner and works faster than the new under-display fingerprint scanners of other smartphones.

 

Display

Huawei Nova 5T

The display of the Huawei Nova 5T.

The Huawei Nova 5T has a 6.26-inch full HD+ display with a punch-hole for the selfie camera.

I’ve already mentioned this in the gaming tests for this phone. The position of the selfie camera covers UI elements in some games. The button still works but it can be avoided by disabling the punch-hole in the settings.

Other than that, the display itself looks sharp and bright with decent outdoor legibility. There’s also a pre-installed screen protector on the device. Be careful when buying a tempered glass for this phone because there’s a small cutout at the top which, I assume, is for the sensors.

 

Performance

SmartphoneAntutu Benchmark Score
Samsung Galaxy S10
311,267
Huawei P30 Pro
298,570
Huawei Nova 5T
265,951
OPPO F11 Pro
147,324
Samsung Galaxy A50
141,865
Antutu Benchmark score of the Huawei Nova 5T compared with flagship and midrange smartphones.

 

The Huawei Nova 5T is powered by a Kirin 980 chipset. This is the same chip that powers the flagship Huawei P30 and P30 Pro smartphones.

Hence, it also performs like a flagship smartphone. Apps launch instantly, scrolling is buttery smooth, and lags are virtually absent.

Perhaps what’s even more impressive is the phone’s gaming performance. It scored a perfect 60 fps in all three games I’ve tested including Mobile Legends, NBA2K19, and Rules of Survival at the highest graphics settings. However, it felt a bit warm while playing that last game.

Related: Huawei Nova 5T Gaming Review

 

Camera

Huawei Nova 5T Camera App

The camera user interface of the Huawei Nova 5T.

Another impressive aspect of the Huawei Nova 5T is its cameras – there are a total of five cameras on this smartphone. There’s a quad-camera system at the back and a single selfie camera on the front.

The main rear camera is 48 Megapixels and outputs optimized 12 Megapixel pictures by default. There’s an option to shoot at 48MP and AI-assisted 48MP but I wouldn’t really do that since this camera is designed to combine 4 pixels into 1 to create higher quality pictures.

Speaking of picture quality, here are some sample pictures shot with the Huawei Nova 5T. These are great looking pictures especially when the AI feature is turned on.

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture (normal mode with AI).

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture (normal mode with AI).

 

The secondary rear camera is 16 Megapixels and has an ultra-wide field of view. It can fit more of the scene in a single image without needing to move backward or find another angle. I’m also happy that it has a similar quality to the 48MP main camera.

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture (ultra-wide with AI).

 

However, the third camera is only a 2 Megapixel macro camera. It can be accessed by choosing the Super Macro shooting mode and allows you to take pictures as close as 4 cm from the subject. The 48MP main camera can’t do that but the macro camera has a disappointing picture quality.

The last rear camera is also 2 Megapixels but serves as a depth sensor for creating a bokeh effect or blurred background. It’s used in Portrait Mode and the resulting pictures have a decent subject and background separation even with challenging objects like hair.

The rear cameras also shine in low light photography with a dedicated Night Mode. It takes 4 to 6 seconds to take a picture but you’ll be rewarded with impressive shots.

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture (NO Night Mode).

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture

Huawei Nova 5T sample picture (Night Mode).

 

Meanwhile, video recording maxes out at 4K resolution and 30 frames per second.

Now let’s talk about the selfie camera. Its 32 Megapixels and shoots good-looking selfies in day-time as well as in low light situations. There’s also a fun AR Lens mode.

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample selfie

Huawei Nova 5T sample selfie (noon).

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample selfie

Huawei Nova 5T sample selfie (around 5pm).

 

Huawei Nova 5T sample selfie

Huawei Nova 5T sample selfie (night).

 

 

Storage & Connectivity

The Huawei Nova 5T has plenty of storage – 128 gigabytes. That’s more than enough for most users. However, there’s no microSD card slot for additional storage.

In terms of connectivity, the phone supports dual SIM cards, 4G LTE networks, and dual-band Wi-Fi. It also has NFC if you’re going to use that for payment apps, Bluetooth, and GPS.

There’s another missing feature on this phone – a 3.5mm audio jack. It uses the USB Type-C port for audio output and comes with a set of USB Type-C earphones in the box.

 

Security

Huawei Nova 5T

Fingerprint scanner on the side of the Huawei Nova 5T.

As I’ve mentioned a while ago, I like the side-mounted fingerprint sensor of the Huawei Nova 5T. But there’s also another unlocking method available on the phone – face recognition.

I recommend turning on the lift to wake function and direct unlock so that the phone automatically unlocks once you lift it up.

 

Battery

Huawei Nova 5T

Battery life test of the Huawei Nova 5T.

The Huawei Nova 5T has a 3,750mAh battery. It normally lasts a whole day of normal usage on a single charge. However, you’ll have to recharge it every night for the next day.

 

SmartphonePCMark Battery Test Score
Huawei P30 Pro
14 hr & 8 min
Huawei Nova 5T
12 h & 8 min
Samsung Galaxy A30
11 h & 16 min
OPPO F11 Pro
10 h & 37 min
Samsung Galaxy S10
9 h & 1 min
PCMark Battery Life Test score of the Huawei Nova 5T versus other smartphones.

 

It scored 12 hours and 8 minutes on PCMark’s battery life test. As usual, I conducted the test with the screen’s brightness set at 50% and Airplane mode turned on.

On the other hand, re-charging the phone from 0% to 100% battery life using the bundled Huawei SuperCharge adaptor takes 1 hour and 30 minutes only.

 

Conclusion

Huawei Nova 5T

The best Nova yet!

The Huawei Nova 5T is the best Nova yet. It’s a well-rounded smartphone with a trendy design, decent display, impressive gaming performance, great cameras, and enough battery life. It’s great for gamers and aspiring photographers.

It’s now available in Huawei stores, authorized retailers, and online shops in the Philippines for an official price of Php18,990.00.

Let me know your own opinions about the Huawei Nova 5T in the comments.


Huawei Nova 5T specs:

  • 6.26-inch FHD+ IPS LCD Display (1080 x 2340 Pixels), 412 ppi
  • Android 9.0 Pie Operating System
  • HiSilicon Kirin 980 Chipset
  • 8GB of RAM
  • 48 Megapixel Rear Camera with LED Flash
  • 32 Megapixel Front Camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 128GB Internal Storage
  • 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE & GPRS Networks
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (Dual Band)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • USB Type-C
  • USB Type-C
  • Fingerprint Sensor
  • 3750mAh Battery
  • 22.5W Fast Charging (Huawei SuperCharge)
  • 18,990.00 Official Price in the Philippines


Huawei Nova 5T Review Summary

Huawei Nova 5T
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4.8 out of 5 stars

The Huawei Nova 5T is a well-rounded smartphone with a trendy design, decent display, impressive gaming performance, great cameras, and enough battery life.