First look at Huawei nova 9

Table of Contents


A mid-range smartphone from Huawei. The slogan is “Be inspired. Be nova. ” What this means, I did not understand, but everyone around was sitting with smart, understanding faces, and Ilya Shatilin also named all Huawei models from memory, so I somehow hesitated to interfere.

According to the slide, a smartphone has 3 key selling advantages that should motivate people to buy:

  • Unusual design and slim body of 7.77 mm
  • 50 MP ultra camera
  • Fast charging 66W
  • And on my own I will add about a gorgeous OLED screen.


  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 4G (6 nm), Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Kryo 670 & 4×1.8 GHz Kryo 670), графика Adreno 642L
  • Operating system: HarmonyOS 2.0
  • Memory: 8 GB / 128-256 GB, no memory card slot
  • Screen: 6.57 inches, OLED, resolution 1080 x 2340 dots, aspect ratio 19.5: 9, dot density 392 ppi, 1 billion colors, 120 Hz
  • Battery: Li-Po 4300mAh, 66W Fast Charge, Reverse Charge
  • Main camera:
    • 50 MP, f / 1.9, 23mm (wide), PDAF
    • 8 MP, f / 2.2, (ultra wide angle)
    • 2 MP, f / 2.4, (depth)
    • 2 MP, f / 2.4, (macro)
    • Video recording 4K, 1080p, 720p @ 960fps, gyro-EIS
  • Front camera: 32 MP, f / 2.0, (wide)
  • SIM card: 2 Nano-SIM
  • Network and data transmission: GSM 900/1800/1900, 3G, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE, трехдиапазонный A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS, NavIC, NFC, USB Type-C 2.0
  • Sensors: fingerprint scanner (under the screen), accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, lighting
  • Other: no water resistant, no 3.5mm jack, no radio, no Google services, no Widewine DRM L3
  • Materials (edit): glass and aluminum frame
  • Dimensions (edit): 160 x 73.7 x 7.77 mm, weight 175 g
  • Price: approximate – 35,990 rubles (the exact price will be known a little later)


Huawei can be robbed of Google services, but not a sense of taste. The company has long since learned to make truly beautiful and stylish devices. A smartphone from Huawei can always be recognized by picking it up. These are always well-balanced (in terms of weight distribution) smartphones with smooth lines. Huawei Nova 9 is no exception. You take your smartphone in hand, and you immediately feel that this is a premium product. It’s hard to explain, but for smartphone manufacturers, it comes with experience. For example, the same Xiaomi only in the last year began to make devices that consistently cause a similar feeling. But metaphysics aside, let’s get down to business.

The device is made of glass and aluminum. Front and back glass held by a shiny aluminum frame. The quality of the glass is good, but its manufacturer is unknown to us. The company cannot cooperate with Gorilla Glass.

The back of the smartphone is made of silver matte glass. The main advantage is the complete absence of fingerprints.
The grainy coating is highly resistant to fingerprints.
The smartphone has a rounded screen. A good oleophobic coating can be noted right away, since the smartphone confidently resists fingerprints. I wonder how long the coating will last and how it will behave in three months.
Rounded screen.
At the bottom there is a slot for 2 Nano-SIM cards, Type-C, a microphone and a speaker.
At the top there is only a microphone.
There is nothing on the left side, while on the right side there is a power button and a paired volume button.
The front camera is embedded in the screen. The size is standard. As I understand it, Xiaomi has the smallest front cameras. The manufacturer is proud of this and constantly emphasizes it. Speaker in Huawei nova 9 under the screen. Only a narrow slit at the end. Great job. It is audible wonderful. I checked the diagnostics using the MyHuawei application. The sound is loud and spacious.
The device is comfortable in the hand. It should be noted here that the smartphone weighs only 175 grams (modern devices mainly occupied the 200 grams and higher mark). The dimensions, despite the 6.5-inch screen, are also compact – 160 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm. The 4,300 mAh battery is responsible for the minimum thickness.

There are no questions about design and tactile sensations when working with a smartphone. The device is pleasant and comfortable.


The smartphone has a 6.57-inch screen. It is an OLED panel with a wide color gamut, displaying over 1 billion colors, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The screen has a standard resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels for such a diagonal. There was no color meter with me, but there is clearly DCI-P3 coverage, and the brightness is not less than 700 nits in automatic mode.

The screen supports a touch processing rate of 300 Hz, and also has additional technologies that make it possible to better play first-person shooters. Here you need to test to understand what is at stake. I was especially interested in the Ultra High Resolution Touch option. I listened to the explanation of the company representative, watched the video of the work, but did not understand exactly. Like, when switching to shooting mode, the smartphone understands this and makes the touch zone under the finger seem to be very large, respectively, the sight turns out to be smoother, since the movements of the finger become not so sharp. It should be interesting. Huawei noted in passing that it is not considered cheating (although it looks like that).

By good tradition, Huawei has the most interesting screen settings. There are options such as “Smart Resolution”, when the smartphone, depending on the content, changes the screen resolution, thereby saving the battery. The refresh rate is also dynamic. There is an e-book mode when the screen goes to grayscale. And of course there is a dark theme, which, like any OLED screen, looks gorgeous.

It is logical that an OLED smartphone also has an Always-On mode. There is a constant display, there is an image by tap, you can also set the working interval.

This does not apply to the screen, but it is important to note that the smartphone does not have Widewine DRM L3, that is, certain restrictions on the quality of streaming content on Netflix and similar applications. On hand was an engineering sample with Chinese firmware (in China, the Widewine DRM L1 certificate is unnecessary). By the time of the start of sales in Russia, a localized firmware should be submitted.

Battery life

I managed to take my smartphone with me to my room and ran the PC Mark test at night. Well, since we were already leaving in the morning, I did not have time to do more tests. However, PCMark provides an excellent insight as it is a test that simulates everyday tasks. To be honest, the working time pleased me – 6.5 hours. And that’s for the 4300mAh battery. In comparison, the Mi 11 Lite 5G, which has a 4200mAh battery, only lasted 5.5 hours in a similar test. I guess the extra hour came from dynamic resolution and screen refresh.


Good news for Huawei and Huawei fans: the company may partner with Qualcomm. The latter was given a license to cooperate. So if we are not talking about 5G, then Qualcomm can sell its chipsets to Huawei.

The Snapdragon 778G with Adreno 642L graphics is a great mid-range chipset that delivers decent performance. In the AnTuTu test, the device knocked out 458 thousand points in normal mode and 508 thousand points in productive mode. 508K points is a typical value for this chipset. By the way, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G has a Snapdragon 780 chipset, and the device knocks out 531 thousand points.

The smartphone has 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB drive (a 256 GB version is available). The operating speeds of both memory and storage are good.

In standard performance mode, the smartphone has no throttling, and in high performance mode, throttling is only 5%. This is an excellent indicator. Even under maximum load, the performance of the smartphone does not decrease. At the presentation, Huawei noted that the smartphone uses graphene and liquid cooling, which allow intense heat removal.

Huawei nova 9 has a performance standard for its price segment. You can play any games on it at high settings. The same Genshin Impact can be run at a maximum of 60 fps.

Perhaps, for a better understanding, it is worth saying that the performance of this smartphone is almost like that of the top flagships of the year before last. The productivity reserve will be enough for another 2-3 years, so as not to deny yourself anything.


The smartphone has a curious set of cameras:

  • 50 MP, f / 1.9, 23mm (wide), PDAF
  • 8 MP, f / 2.2, (ultra wide angle)
  • 2 MP, f / 2.4, (depth)
  • 2 MP, f / 2.4, (macro)

The Camera application is simple and straightforward.

I took some pictures, but it is obvious that the smartphone can take better pictures. Huawei has always been very strong in photography and has been the almost permanent leader in the DXOMARK rankings for several years. So you need to wait for the final firmware.

Below are some pictures. But it is clear that the section on photography will need to be redone after the release of the final firmware.

Communication capabilities and shell

It’s nice to note that the smartphone can call and send SMS. However, given that in 2021 only scammers make calls, and only spam arrives via SMS, these functions are unlikely to be useful to you. By the way, there is no call recording in the proprietary dialer, but there is MeeTime. It’s like FaceTime on iPhone, but MeeTime on Huawei, that is, a proprietary video dialer.

There’s NFC (and Huawei Pay) and a whole tri-band GPS. In theory, the accuracy should be phenomenal. In practice, I have not noticed any difference with conventional GPS. But tri-band GPS should probably perform better in difficult conditions. The smartphone supports Wi-Fi 6. And also works as an access point at 2.4 and 5.0 GHz frequencies. Unlike Xiaomi smartphones, you cannot select Wi-Fi 6 distribution here. But there is an excellent Wi-Fi + option – this is a network status monitoring that allows a smartphone to switch between Wi-Fi and a mobile network in order to provide the user with the best reception level.

The smartphone does not have Google services, and the device runs on HarmonyOS. On the one hand, there are all the applications here. For example, for testing, I easily downloaded all the benchmarks, including even such a specific one as checking the Widewine DRM certificate. On the other hand, it lacks elegance. Pental Search, like App Galery, looks like trash heaps. You open it, and you want to close it quickly. A similar feeling arises when you open the Xiaomi branded app store. There are some stylish details in EMUI though. For example, see how the icon gradually appears as the application loads.

In Petal Search, you write a request, and the smartphone is highly likely to find any application.

There is also an application for buying books. I didn’t have time to grasp the essence, but, apparently, the price is for some points.

And finally, I would like to emphasize once again that a smartphone is an engineering sample on which the Chinese version of the firmware was installed. As the representatives of the company said, they themselves had just received it before the presentation. So we are waiting for the final version of the software to draw conclusions.

Conclusion and competitors

Nice device with a good OLED screen and an interesting camera. It seems to me that the main competitor here is the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite 5G. Both devices can be called compact and stylish.

I think Roma Belykh will take the device with the final domestic firmware in the near future and will dot all questions about Widewine and the quality of the camera.

Finally, it is important to note that Huawei nova 9 is almost 100% clone of the Honor 50 smartphone, which, by the way, runs on Android. So, in theory, nova 9 can be upgraded to Android.

Source: — Все о мобильной технике и технологиях by

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