Huawei nova 7i Review: Good Performance + Capable Cameras!
The Huawei nova 7i smartphone boasts a modern punch-hole display, 48MP quad-cameras, and a powerful combination of Kirin 810 chipset plus 8GB of RAM.
I’ve been using it for a month and here is my full review. It includes a look at the design, gaming tests, sample pictures, battery life test, and my recommendation.
Design and Display
The Huawei nova 7i has a square camera bump at the back that houses four individual cameras. Yes, it looks like the iPhone 11’s cameras but the Sakura Pink color scheme gives it an unmistakable identity.
Its back cover is made out of glass and feels quite premium in the hands. It has subtle curves in all edges making it handy and ergonomic. However, it’s a smudge and fingerprint magnet so a phone case is a neccessity. Thankfully, a clear jelly case is included in the package for free.
The volume buttons and power button are located in the phone’s right side. The power button also doubles as a fingerprint scanner and is slightly recessed. Meanwhile, a 3.5mm audio jack, USB Type-C port, and loudspeaker are located at the bottom.
On the front is a 6.4-inch FHD+ display with a punch-hole selfie camera on its upper left corner. It’s small and hardly affects apps and other UI elements.
The screen itself has decent colors and touch response but can be a little dim when used outdoors under the noon-time sun. Otherwise, it serves its purpose well and leaves narrow bezels around the device.
Overall, the Huawei nova 7i has a trendy design but I recommend the Sakura Pink color variant instead of Crush Green for a more chic appearance.
Camera Quality with Sample Pictures
The Huawei nova 7i has a quad-rear camera setup composed of a 48 Megapixel main camera, 8 Megapixel ultra-wide camera, 2 Megapixel macro camera, and 2 Megapixel depth sensor.
It takes 12 Megapixel pictures by default but there’s a shooting mode called HI-RES that uses the full 48 Megapixel resolution. Other shooting modes include PORTRAIT, AR LENS, NIGHT, SUPER MACRO, TIME-LAPSE, and LIGHT PAINTING among others.
Here are several sample pictures from the phone’s rear cameras:
The Huawei nova 7i takes good-looking pictures during the daytime. The sharpness is on point, dynamic range is automatically enhanced, and colors look natural albeit slightly washed out.
Nighttime shots require NIGHT mode to be turned on so that pictures look bright and colorful. Otherwise, low light pictures would be grainy and dull.
On the other hand, the Huawei nova 7i has a single 16 Megapixel punch-hole selfie camera. It automatically shoots in PORTRAIT mode but there’s also a regular PHOTO mode, fun AR LENS mode, and a dedicated NIGHT selfie mode.
Selfies look good with plenty of details and a balanced skin tone. Even low light selfies are Instagram worthy!
However, the device can only shoot videos up to 1080p resolution with 30 fps frame rate. That’s quite low considering that other smartphones in its price range already offer 60 fps or even 4K video recording.
Performance (Gaming, Browsing & Software)
The Huawei nova 7i is powered by a Kirin 810 chipset with a 2.27GHz octa-core CPU, Mali-G52 GPUS, and 8GB of RAM.
This hardware combination is enough to run games like Mobile Legends, Asphalt 9 Legends, and Call of Duty Mobile smoothly. More resource-intensive games like PUBG Mobile needs to be in medium or low graphics quality to achieve the same smoothness.
I’ve tested the phone’s gaming performance by measuring the average frame rate of popular mobile games using GameBench Pro. Here’s my separate Huawei nova 7i Gaming Review.
|Smartphone||Average Frame Rate in PUBG|
|Huawei nova 7i||40 fps|
|realme 6 Pro||40 fps|
|Samsung Galaxy A20||24 fps|
|OPPO A9 2020||39 fps|
While its gaming performance is impressive for its price, there are games that are incompatible with the Huawei nova 7i. This includes NBA 2K20 which requires Google Play to be installed.
The Huawei nova 7i uses Huawei Mobile Services and the Huawei AppGallery instead of Google’s software and Playstore. It requires some work from app developers to make apps run flawlessly but some apps haven’t made the transition yet.
Thankfully, apps that I usually install like Facebook, Spotify, Messenger, Instagram, Lazada, Zoom, BDO Personal Banking, and Mobile Legends all work well on the Huawei nova 7i.
Some of these are already available on the Huawei AppGallery while others can be downloaded using APKPure or the Amazon AppStore. For Google apps like GMail and YouTube, is used the pre-installed email client on the device and the mobile web version of YouTube which is still accessible using the browser.
It seems like the lack of Google Mobile Services actually helps the device run smoother since there are less apps running on the background. Browsing through Facebook is smooth and scrolling down mobile websites feels fluid.
Using a smartphone with no Google Play Services isn’t for everyone. However, it’s not a big problem once the phone has been properly set-up with alternatives for the neccessary Google apps.
Connectivity and Audio Quality
The Huawei nova 7i is a dual-SIM smartphone with 4G LTE connectivity. It can provide fast mobile internet speeds as long as 4G signals are strong in the area.
It also supports dual-band Wi-Fi networks while both Bluetooth and GPS radios work well.
When it comes to voice calls, the Huawei nova 7i’s earpiece sound decent. Its loudspeaker is also fairly loud when sharing a call with another person. However, you’ll need earphones for a good music listening experience.
Security and Sensors
There are two biometric unlocking methods on the Huawei nova 7i – a fingerprint scanner and face recognition.
Both are fast and accurate but the latter only uses the front camera and is inherently less secure. It does have low light compensation for night-time use as well as a raise to wake option.
The device also has almost all sensors in modern smartphones including a gyroscope for AR applications.
Battery Life and Charging Time
The Huawei nova 7i has a 4,200mAh battery and it lasts almost two days on a single charge with my normal usage!
In the PCMark Battery Life Test 2.0, the device achieved an impressive battery life score of 15 hours and 19 minutes. This is one of the highest scores among the smartphones that I have reviewed.
Meanwhile, re-charging the device from 0% to 100% battery capacity takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes only. This is using the bundled 40W Huawei SuperCharge charger.
It only takes about 30 minutes to reach 70% battery capacity but the charging speed slows down after that for safety reasons. That still makes it one of the fastest charging smartphones in its price category!
Conclusion and Recommendation
The Huawei nova 7i is a great smartphone in terms of gaming performance, camera quality, battery life, and connectivity. It also has a good design with the Sakura Pink color variant looking better than Crush Green.
However, the lack of Google Mobile Services is a turn off for many prospective buyers especially if they can’t live without Google Play Games or Google Meet.
On the other hand, Huawei’s HMS and alternative app sources offer several solutions to this issue. Just make sure that you are aware of the phone’s software situation before buying.
- 6.4-inch FHD+ IPS LCD Display (1080 x 2316 Pixels), 398 ppi
- Android 10 Operating System
- Huawei Kirin 810 Chipset
- 8GB of RAM
- 48 Megapixel Rear Camera with LED Flash
- 16 Megapixel Front Camera
- Dual SIM
- 128GB UFS Internal Storage
- Expandable Up to 256 via microSD
- 4G LTE, 3G HSPA+, 2G EDGE & GPRS Networks
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (Dual Band)
- Bluetooth 5.0
- USB Type-C
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Fingerprint Sensor
- 4200mAh Battery
- 40W Fast Charging (Huawei SuperCharge, 70% in 30 minutes)
- ₱13,990.00 Official Price in the Philippines
Huawei nova 7i Review Summary
The Huawei nova 7i offers surprisingly good performance in gaming, capable cameras, and lean software experience.