Jun 04, 2020 Reviews
Huawei has been lurking around the top spot for quite some time now, with the company having the second largest market share for smartphones in the world for an ample time. The only manufacturer that was ahead of Huawei was Samsung, a smartphone behemoth itself. The Chinese company has been trading blows with Apple for the second spot, and was overtaken by them as well; however, as of now, they are back on the second spot. This is mainly due to Huawei releasing top notch flagships year by year that could easily be termed better than all of their competition at that time. Take the P30 Pro for example - it had insane performance, an amazing display provided by Samsung, and cameras that many considered to be the best out of any phone that year. Such excellent smartphones has put Huawei on top of its competition, but it seems like Huawei kind of forgot what it had started upon. Huawei, much like any other Chinese phone manufacturer nowadays, looked to get its reputation and respect based on how much value it provided in the mid-range spot. Now, yes you still have great Huawei mid-range phones in the market as of now, but the company's main focus seemed to shift on the flagship side of things - but with the new Nova 7i coming out, it seems as though they've had a realization for their roots.
The 7i is an all-around excellent device, with impressive hardware for the price. However, one thing that will trouble all the new and upcoming Huawei phones for at least a year or so, including the 7i, will be the exclusion of Google services from the devices. This may be solved by Huawei updating its app gallery to match the likes of Google Play Store and Apple's App store, but it will take some time to get the vast library that the other two stores have. Not to mention, Google's own apps will no longer be usable on Huawei, including any apk solution as well. So if you love to watch Youtube on a daily basis, you'll have to settle for alternatives or the website version of the media website. However, the phone does have great internals, and let's get on with the review to see what those are and if they are attractive enough for you to ignore the software chaos on the phone.
Well, we all know Huawei's capabilities when it comes to the design side of things, and it's no different with the 7i. You get a nice looking phone, with a plastic back and frame, which don't look or feel cheap at all; instead, they actually help prevent the phone from being a fingerprint magnet. You get a punch-hole screen on the front, with minimal bezels, helping the phone to look like it belongs in 2020. You get a type-C charging port below the phone, alongside a headphone jack, which we're grateful for. You also get decent face-unlock speeds (though not as safe as a fingerprint scanner) and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that we found to be accurate and fast.
Now this is where the Nova 7i outshines its competitors. The phone comes with Huawei's Kirin 810 chip, which is a huge upgrade from its 700 series that we used to see in previous budget and mid-range models. The antutu scores on the 7i are well above 300,000, something that we haven't seen other phones do at this price point. Moreover, you also get 8GB of RAM, and Android 10 out of the box for this killer of a smartphone. Performance shouldn't be an issue at all, as you'll be able to play all games at high graphics without any lag or stutter. Browsing through the UI will be smooth as well.
The display on the Nova 7i is just decent at best, with a 6.4" IPS LCD panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2310 pixels. Now this isn't a bad screen, but we've seen better for the price. You won't get as punchy colors as you'd expect from an OLED panel, or the brightness of it too. You do get an average ppi of about 400 though, which is understandable for the price. All in all, you won't really be buying this phone for its screen.
Another impressive aspect of the 7i is the quad camera setup on the back. You get a 48MP main shooter, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP macro lens and another 2MP depth sensor. The end results from this camera turned out great, with decent detailing, good contrast and overall aesthetic photos. Wide-angle photos won't be as detailed as the main shooter, but they still turn out decent and you can definitely make it work with good angles and ample lighting. Night mode shots came out surprisingly good as well, with the camera taking a 5-6 second time period to capture the shot. The mode helps your photos get more lighting, detail and less noise than you would otherwise get from the main camera. If you love taking photos, then this one is for you!
Battery performance on the 7i is excellent, mostly thanks to its absurd fast charging capabilities. You get a 4200 mAh battery cell inside the phone, which will last you a day easily even with heavy use, mostly due to the phone sporting an LCD panel. However, whenever you do manage to run out of juice, the Nova 7i supports upto 40W of fast charging, which will charge your phone to 70% in just 30 minutes. This is insane from Huawei, and we haven't seen such charging speeds on most flagships, let alone lower mid-range devices. This is easily the best battery experience on any phone at this price point.
Well, it's a shame that such a well-rounded phone at this price has no Google Play services at all. Whereas you may be able to download most of your favourite apps through APKs and some through Huawei's own app gallery - you will have to go through a lot of hassle to make the phone comfortable for daily usage. If you can manage to go through all that, and live without Gmail and Youtube apps, then this is a fantastic phone for the price it comes at.