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Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: The G8’s spiritual successor?

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: Huawei unveiled two new mid-range smartphones at IFA 2016 and we went hands on with the larger of the two, the Nova Plus.

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: Design

Whilst Huawei may not admit it, it is pretty clear the Nova Plus is the 2016 successor to last year’s Huawei G8, which launched at IFA 2015 alongside the Mate S.

The Nova Plus leverages Huawei’s newly defined ‘dynamic minimalism,’ design language, which encompasses all of the tried and tested Huawei aesthetic elements that we’ve come to recognise, such as a sandblasted metal unibody, diamond chamfered edges and textured metal hardware controls.

The back, which most readily resembles the G8 features a centrally positioned camera and the company’s latest fingerprint sensor, boasts a response time of 0.3 seconds, depth-sensing technology as part of the fingerprint verification process and gesture support just like the Huawei P9.

There’s also a reversible Type-C USB connection on the base, making it (along with its smaller sibling, the Nova) one of the first mid-range smartphones to feature the connection type. The Huawei Nova Plus will come in three colours at launch: gold, silver and grey (pictured).

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: Screen

Design is a big part of the Nova brand and the attention to detail continues on the front, where the Plus sports 2.5D pillowed glass that is a pleasure to swipe across. Underneath sits a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD, which Huawei says uses a new process so that it is thinner than previous iterations of the same panel used by the company.

Huaweo Nova Plus hands-on review: Screen

Colours appear accurate and overall brightness looks like a notable improvement on older Huawei phones, which sometimes under-delivered in bright environments. Plus the company has included its knuckle mode, a one-handed mode, and a blue light filter that increases colour temperature in poorly lit environments to reduce eye strain.

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: OS

The Nova Plus launches running the latest build of the company’s Emotion UI (version 4.1) running atop Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

As a result, there is no apps drawer but you do get a dynamic lock screen with wallpapers that change each time you wake the phone, a number of proprietary Huawei apps and gesture support from the fingerprint sensor for things like accessing the two-pane notifications drawer, answering calls and swiping through photos. We are hoping that, as it’s a new device, the Nova Plus will receive the upgrade to Android 7.0 Nougat once Huawei makes it available.

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: Performance

Unlike other recent Huawei handsets, the company chose to give the Nova Plus Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 625 SoC, backed up by 3GB of RAM, in place of one of its own Kirin processors. Initial impressions suggest that it is more than capable at offering up reliable performance from the Nova Plus and the phone gets fast charging and NFC as a result, too.

Like many other Huawei phones, the Nova Plus also boasts a hybrid SIM tray for dual-SIM functionality or single SIM use with a microSD card (up to 128GB) to bolster the phone’s 32GB of internal space. The capacious 3340mAh battery is quoted at offering up to 2.2 days of use on a charge, which is a bold claim indeed and one we will be investigating further come full review time.

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: Cameras

Whilst there’s a lot of hardware shared between the Nova and Nova Plus, the camera is different. The Plus’ primary snapper is a 16-megapixel sensor backed up by a dual-tone LED flash and optical image stabilisation (OIS), making it somewhat of a rarity in the mid-range market. The primary camera is also capable of shooting in manual and supports video up to 4K resolution, placing it out in front of the likes of the company’s flagship P9 and P9 Plus, which top out at Full HD resolution recording.

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: Camera

It also gets a respectable 8-megapixel front-facing sensor, which benefits from Huawei’s gamut of beauty tools as well as Full HD video recording.

Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review: Price & availability

We are still waiting on the price and availability information for Huawei’s new mid-rangers and will update the article accordingly as soon as we know more.

Watch the full Huawei Nova Plus hands-on review here:

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