Huawei recently revealed its aggressive sales target for 2018 – 200 million smartphones. That’s one device every 6 seconds. The Nova 3 will be a key ingredient in this mix. There’s a marked shift towards the flagship killer, that’s almost kitted with all the bells and whistles of a pricey flagship at a price that’s less than Rs 40,000. It’s a crowded space now, with the likes of the OnePlus 6 calling the shots. The Nova 3 brings its own panache but is it enough to shake this ultra-competitive segment?

Design certainly lends the Huawei Nova 3 a distinct edge. All glass, and a groovy Iris purple shade that is part purple with a splash of blue. It feels slightly lighter in the hand than Huawei’s P20 Pro and the Samsung S9+ despite the large 6.3-inch FHD+ screen (1080 x 2340 pixels). An 83% screen: body ratio. That’s almost a given for premium smartphones now. The rear cam set up looks similar to the P20 Pro, except the P20 Pro features 3 Leica lenses. The fingerprint sensor sits at the back of the device. It doesn't look quite as pretty as the sensor that seamlessly sits under the screen on the P20 Pro, but it’s extremely responsive.

The face unlock feature isn’t as lightning quick, though. If the P Series is Huawei’s premier line where the camera is the star, the Nova is the brand’s stylish line that’s crafted for the millennial consumer. But that consumer needs a stellar camera too. It’s why the first Nova series device to debut in India is also riding on its AI-enabled Quad camera. The rear camera set up follows Huawei’s tried and tested strategy of blending an RGB (16MP) lens with a Monochrome (24MP) lens.

It’s something we first tried and loved with the Huawei P9 back in 2016 that featured a Leica engineered camera. You have the option of shooting images in Black and White but the monochrome sensor serves a greater purpose – image quality. The dual selfie cam (24MP + 2MP) shoots sharp selfies and will please most selfie fiends.

Both the rear and front cams get a boost from Huawei’s AI engine with multiple pre-set modes for each shooting scenario. You might not like the fact that this AI engine ‘over fixes’ things but it might well boil down to personal preferences. You can turn it off and take control if you’d like. AI is a quintessential 2018 buzzword and the Nova 3 isn’t shy to capitalise on it. It isn’t just the cameras that flog AI, there are a couple of cool AI
enhancements. There’s AI search that allows you to quickly scan your image gallery with search terms. The device has tied up with Amazon for a smart AI shopping mode that allows you to point at any object you fancy and figure if it’s available on Amazon.

Huawei has also unleased Qmoji, it takes on Apple’s Animoji and it’s actually fun to use. If there’s one reason OnePlus has succeeded, it’s the brand’s solid spec sheet that ensures the devices are insanely fast. It’s why Huawei has chosen the same top-of-the-line Kirin 970 octa-core processor that propels the P20 Pro for this device. It’s augmented by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of Internal memory, in addition, to support for Micro SD cards.

Gamers can take comfort from Huawei’s GPU Turbo mode that optimises battery usage by 30%. The 3750 mAh battery won’t let the average user down, the fast charging sweetens the deal. It’s one of the many boxes this device ticks. The Nova 3 certainly has the ammo it needs to make a splash in the flagship killer segment and that Iris purple certainly is difficult to ignore.

The Huawei Nova 3 is priced at Rs 34,999/ and comes in midnight black and Iris purple.

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