HUAWEI nova 7 SE Review — Affordable 5G Smartphone Anyone?
Improves on the already-decent device of its predecessor while being the most affordable 5G smartphone at the moment.
+ Definitely a looker!
+ Snappy user experience
+ Kirin 820 is an upgrade
+ Most affordable 5G smartphone that you can get currently
+ Battery efficiency is rather good
- Low-light photography could be improved
- The back is a fingerprint-magnet
- Lacks auto-focus on the macro mode
In this HUAWEI nova 7 SE review, we take a look at the latest mid-range offering from HUAWEI. Coming in with the newer Kirin 820 chipset, is it an improvement over the already impressive HUAWEI nova 7i? Let’s find out.
HUAWEI nova 7 SE Unboxing
The unit that we received is close to the full retail set, where it was missing the documentation. Aside from that, you’d get:
- HUAWEI nova 7 SE smartphone
- USB Type-C
- Charging brick
- SIM ejector
- 3.5mm earphones
- TPU case
When it comes to the design of the device, the Nova 7 SE shares several similarities with the Nova 7i as you’d get the same punch-hole camera on the front.
The side is also similar, where you can find a fingerprint scanner on the right along with the phone’s volume rocker. On the opposite side, the SIM tray rests in solitude.
Moving to the bottom, you’ll find a 3.5mm audio jack, microphone, a USB Type-C port and the phone’s speaker.
On the back is where you’ll see a visible difference between the two smartphones, with the most obvious one being the camera placement. While I love the look of the nova 7i, I can’t deny that the nova 7 SE caught my eyes with the reflective silver design. Of course, you got the nova logo embedded down there.
|CPU||Kirin 820 5G Octa-core (1 x 2.36 GHz Cortex-A76 & 3 x 2.22 GHz Cortex-A76 & 4 x 1.84 GHz Cortex-A55) 7nm|
|Display||6.5″ IPS (2400 x 1080), Punch FullView Display, HDR10|
64MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.4 ultra-wide camera, 2MP f/2.4 macro camera, 2MP f/2.4 depth camera
PDAF, HDR, Panorama, Super Night Mode
16MP f/2.0 wide
|OS||EMUI 10 based on Android 10|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)|
|SIM||Dual SIM (slot for NM card up to 256GB)|
|Battery||Non-removable Li-Po 4000mAh |
40W fast charger
5W reverse charging
|Dimensions||162.3 x 75 x 8.6 mm|
We see an improvement on the performance of the Kirin 820 5G chipset compared to Kirin 810. It falls a bit short to the infamous POCOPHONE F1, which says a lot.
Similar in Geekbench, it performs better in both single and multi core tests.
The Kirin 820 5G seems to be on a roll here, getting impressive scores in 3DMark’s tests as well.
In PCMark’s Work 2.0 benchmark, the HUAWEI nova 7 SE may not be at the top but it still has a notable improvement over its predecessor.
This is only the benchmark where the phone falls short of the HUAWEI nova 7i. Despite that, the difference is only by 10 minutes and considering that the nova 7 SE comes with a smaller battery capacity, we can say that the efficiency is rather similar.
In terms of real-life usage, the battery life is decent. I decided to spend my Sunday to relax, with 3 hours on Spotify, played an hour of Asphalt 9, as well as your usual Facebook and Messenger usage. At the end of the day, I ended up with 67% battery and I’m quite happy with that. For the device’s 40W fast charger, I managed to gain 56% battery in a 30-minute charge, which is pretty good.
Although the device looks a bit bulky, it does offer a solid grip for my hands. The back of the phone is definitely a looker but it’s a fingerprint magnet. You’d definitely want to wear a case to keep it preserved in its best condition.
Similar to the original, the nova 7 SE’s side fingerprint scanner doesn’t come with sharp edges, which is something that I like. The punch-hole camera doesn’t feel disturbing for my experience in watching videos on the device, which is very important.
The camera setup on the back differs a bit in terms of the placement and resolution of its main camera, with the primary 64MP camera. Some people prefer the arrangement like this, but I took a liking to the one on the nova 7i.
As is the case with most smartphones, the HUAWEI nova 7 SE doesn’t do too well in low light conditions, especially on its ultra-wide mode. However, the Super Night feature does help a bit in making images clearer. Auto focus is still lacking here for the macro mode, as it was on the nova 7i. HUAWEI has introduced the Dual-View mode, which captures from both front and back cameras. Unfortunately this mode only captures videos and not photos.
You can check out the full-sized photo samples here.
HUAWEI nova 7 SE Verdict
Apart from the overall camera performance, it does its job rather well. It’s also pleasing on the eyes with its silver design. Overall the HUAWEI nova 7 SE is a solid mid-ranger.
Considering that it’s also the cheapest 5G smartphone in the market at the moment, priced at RM1,499, it’s definitely a worthy contender. Adding the fact that HUAWEI is throwing in a couple of freebies worth RM1,256 with purchase of the device, it’s pretty good value for your money. For that, I award the HUAWEI nova 7 SE with our Silver Pokdeward.
A big thanks to HUAWEI Malaysia for providing the HUAWEI nova 7 SE used in this review!