HUAWEI nova 7i Review — A Step In The Right Direction
The HUAWEI nova 7i is the first smartphone to come equipped with their mid-tier SoC, the Kirin 810. Sporting a quad 48MP camera setup, the phone also comes with a 4,200mAh battery that you can quickly charge with its 40W SuperCharge power brick. Impressive enough on paper, but will it impress us in use as well?
+ 40W fast charger is very welcome
+ Headphone jack is (still) available
+ Offers a huge upgrade from the Kirin 710
+ Battery life is quite good
+ Decent camera performance in most situations
+ Fair price tag
- Glossy plastic at the back doesn't feel nice
- Ultra-wide camera performs poorly in low-light
- No auto-focus for the macro
The HUAWEI nova 7i is HUAWEI’s latest mid-range smartphone, coming in with their Kirin 810 chipset, their latest mid-range chipset, succeeding the rapidly ageing Kirin 710. Aside from the fancy new chipset, it serves up a triple camera setup with a 48MP main camera. That’s probably enough talk, so let’s put the HUAWEI nova 7i through its paces.
HUAWEI nova 7i Unboxing
It’s worth mentioning that our review unit is a China set, so you can expect the local Malaysian set to come with a standard UK plug. Aside from that, the contents will be similar. Here’s what’s inside:
- TPU case
- HUAWEI nova 7i
- SIM tray ejector
- USB Type-C cable
- 40W HUAWEI SuperCharge power adapter
- 3.5mm earphones
HUAWEI nova 7i Appearance
As you can see, the HUAWEI nova 7i comes with a punch-hole camera in the upper left corner. There’s a little bit of bezel going on the top and a pinch more at the bottom, but nothing too alarming.
On the right hand side, you’ll find the device’s fingerprint scanner as well as the volume rockers.
Switching to the left, there’s only the SIM tray available.
Down below is where you’ll find the 3.5mm port, USB Type-C port, microphone, and finally the speakers at the far right. At the top of the nova 7i, there’s only its secondary microphone to be found.
The nova 7i that’s used in this review is the Crush Green variant. You can see that the quad camera setup at the back is located at the top left corner, just above its LED flash. The build is entirely plastic with the exception of the glass panel over the display.
HUAWEI nova 7i Specifications
|CPU||Kirin 810 Octa-core (2 x 2.27 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6 x 1.88 GHz Cortex-A55)|
|Display||6.4″ IPS (2310 x 1080) LCD, Punch FullView Display|
|Storage||128GB UFS 2.1 (expandable via NM card up to 256GB)|
48MP f/1.8 main camera, 8MP f/2.4 ultrawide camera, 2MP f/2.4 macro camera, 2MP f/2.4 depth camera
PDAF, HDR, Panorama, Super Night Mode
16MP f/2.0 wide camera
|OS||EMUI 10 based on Android 10|
|Connectivity||LTE Band 1/2/3/4/5/6/7/18/19/28/34/38/39/40|
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
|Battery||4200mAh battery |
HUAWEI SuperCharge 40W
|Dimensions||159.2 x 76.3 x 8.7 mm|
HUAWEI nova 7i Performance
Ever since last year, we were waiting for the Kirin 810-powered smartphones to arrive in Malaysia. And it’s nice to finally get to see it in the HUAWEI nova 7i. Its score in Antutu didn’t fail to impress. It’s one of the highest scoring mid-range chipsets that we’ve tested so far. It’s still no flagship killer though.
The CPU scores in Geekbench is also not bad, showcasing a huge leap forward in terms of performance that the upgrade that the Kirin 810 brings to the table as compared to the outdated Kirin 710 in the HUAWEI Y9s.
Similarly, we find the scores in 3DMark to offer a pretty impressive upgrade over its predecessors while putting up a strong fight against other mid-range models like the Redmi Note 8 Pro.
The HUAWEI nova 7i also did a respectable job when it comes to PCMark’s Work 2.0 Performance test.
However in the battery test, it falls surprisingly short of our expectations despite its battery being bigger than some of the devices in the list.
When it comes to real-life usage, the battery life was great though. After a day of intense social media usage (I literally mean it), I was still left with 68% at night.
On the other hand, there’s the 40W fast charger. As usual in our reviews, we set the phone down to charge for a 30-minute period and found that we managed to get 55% of juice in that period of time. Mighty fast I’d say, and especially so when you consider that the nova 7i packs a 4200 mAh battery.
HUAWEI nova 7i User Experience
When it comes to the ‘feel’ of the device itself, well the phone feels grippy and just nice on my hands. I however didn’t like the back of the phone. It’s plastic.. and it comes with a glossy finish. I just feel the back gets ‘sticky’. You can however cope with that by putting a case on.
I also think they did a good job with the side fingerprint scanner compared to their previous models. The one here doesn’t come with sharp edges like the HUAWEI Y9s that I’ve previously reviewed. It’s quick enough and you can set it to only unlock when you press the button, instead of it reading your fingerprint as soon as you rest your thumb on it.
Moving on, this might be subjective but I personally like the quad camera placement on the back of the phone and how it looks. The hardware here is pretty standard in the mid-range nowadays, with a 48MP main-camera, 8MP ultra-wide camera, a 2MP macro shooter and a 2MP depth sensor.
I’d say the camera performance of the HUAWEI nova 7i is quite decent. Overall it does a pretty good job, although the ultra-wide camera struggles in dark environments. Nevertheless, the phone’s main camera delivers excellent results at night with the Super Night Mode really helping things along. I wished that they offered autofocus for the macro mode to make it easier to snag that close up, but this is pretty run-of-the-mill when it comes to mid-range offerings. I also felt that the selfie camera’s shots look too ‘artificial’, but that’s probably great news for those who prefer not showcasing their flaws.
Other than that, the phone offers a pretty decent all-rounder performance for your social media upload needs. Check out the full-sized photo samples here.
HUAWEI nova 7i Verdict
Overall, HUAWEI has upped their game in the mid-range segment with the nova 7i as you can see from the benchmark scores and also the camera results. For the price of RM1,099, I’d say that it’s actually a pretty good deal.
With the HUAWEI nova 7i bringing decent cameras, great battery life, and let’s not to forget the 40W SuperCharge adapter that comes in the box, it can definitely be one of your options if you are looking for a device within this price range.
For that, I award the HUAWEI nova 7i our very own Silver Pokdeward!
We’d like to thank the folks at HUAWEI Malaysia for providing the HUAWEI nova 7i that was used in this review.