Huawei nova 5T first impressions


The Huawei nova 5T isn’t brand new, the phone first hit the market back in October, but given the state of Huawei in the U.S. this was our first opportunity to get our hands on the device at CES. Notably, the nova 5T is grandfathered in thanks to its launch date in China so its users still get to enjoy Google services.

The nova 5T is positioned as a mid-tier device, the price point is right around $500, but you won’t find it at any of the usual suspects like Amazon, which is too bad because this thing packs quite a bit in for the money.

The processor is a Kirin 980 paired with 6GB of RAM, not a world-beater, but plenty of power for most users as it is roughly on par with the popular Snapdragon 855. Internal storage comes in at the 128GB mark that I consider to be the sweet spot at the moment.

The nova features 3 cameras on the back of the device with a flash in the standard Huawei vertical alignment at the top left. The primary rear camera is the familiar 48MP Sony at f/1.8, which is joined by a 16MP f/2.2 2x telephoto and finally a 2MP f/2.4 macro lens. There is a fourth sensor as well which is a 2MP depth sensor f/2.4 which is just there to get you that creamy bokeh for portraits and the like.

Around the front, the nova 5T has an enormous 32MP lens at f/2.0, which should be enough to satisfy even the most finicky of selfie-takers. The selfie-camera is the hole punch style located in the upper-left corner, a somewhat unusual choice as it necessarily shifts your notifications over, but I’m not particularly fond of any of the hole punch solutions so I can’t say this a considerably worse choice than the other options.

The camera app offers the normal extensive array of options that will be familiar to Huawei fans, if you want to just grab a snapshot Huawei does fine, but they continue to shine for those that want to dig into the settings and hone in on the right mode for every shot.

The hardware feels great, I actually prefer the flat screen to the waterfall curved display of its higher-end options. I saw two of the color variants, Crush Blue and Midsummer Purple, both of which were gorgeous even under the fairly bizarre lighting in the convention center. I would definitely try to go caseless or clear case with this device.

Obviously I couldn’t get a feel for battery life in my limited time with the device, but the 3750 mAh battery paired with the Kirin 980 should be good for a full day.

Navigating the EMUI 9.1 (based on Android 9) operating system everything was fluid and apps opened quickly. Again this is one of the last Huawei devices to enjoy Google services for the time being, so if that’s important to you this is a fantastic mid-range option if you can find it available in your area.


Sean Riley
Sean has been covering mobile tech professionally for almost a decade with a focus on app reviews, wearables and mobile photography. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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