Huawei Nova 9 In The Test: A Beautiful Design
Huawei continues to struggle with the US ban and can therefore neither use the entire Android operating system nor the 5G module of the mobile CPUs. This also affects the new mid-range model Huawei Nova 9 (for price comparison). Interestingly, the subsidiary brand Honor was spun off and sold to a Chinese consortium to no longer affect the restrictions. Nevertheless, the smartphone models Huawei Nova 9 and Honor 50 (for the test) are almost identical on the outside.
On the back, Huawei has an eye-catching double-ring camera module. The housing is made of plastic but still looks high-quality. The display is strongly curved towards the aluminum edges and is therefore frameless. The artistry is excellent overall. There is a choice of shimmering blue (Starry Blue) and black designs. With its dimensions of 16 by 7.4 centimeters, the mobile phone is medium-sized, thin, and weighs 175 grams.
Smooth Scrolling Thanks To The 120 Hertz Display
The 6.6-inch OLED display of the Huawei Nova 9 offers a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hertz. This allows you to scroll smoothly. The display area is 2,340 by 1,080 pixels, which results in a good pixel density of 391 PPI for a sharp picture. However, compared to the Honor 50, Huawei sometimes has worse test values. The maximum display brightness is 656 candelas per square meter. That is still good and allows use in the sun, but other mid-range models now offer 700-800 cd / m². The measured checkerboard contrast is also rather mediocre and is 139 to 1. The extended DCI-P3 color space is displayed at 93 per cent.
Mid-Range CPU For Quick App Usage
As a mobile processor, the Huawei Nova 9 (like the Honor 50) uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G with eight cores and a maximum clock frequency of 2,400 MHz. The Adreno 642L provides graphics performance, and the RAM is 8 GB. This ensures that the app can be used quickly and smoothly – apart from the restrictions in the selection of the app itself. Huawei scores a good 11,520 points in the PCMark benchmark. In the graphics benchmark, 33 images per second are achieved. That’s okay, but not enough for high-speed high-end gaming.
Equipment Without Google Services And 5G
The major weakness of the current Huawei phones remains the difficulties caused by US sanctions. The Huawei Nova 9 does not come with a complete Android operating system, but neither does Huawei’s own Harmony OS operating system. Instead, the restricted open-source version of Android is installed, which does not offer access to the Google Play Store. You have to download apps with the Huawei AppGallery. Since essential security certificates are missing, you cannot use banking apps, for example. You can read more in our info article.
Another consequence of the trade dispute is that Huawei phones are currently not allowed to use 5G in Europe, so you are limited to 4G / LTE. Otherwise, the equipment is solid:
- The WiFi 6 standard is available (IEEE 802.11ax).
- Wireless accessories can be connected via Bluetooth 5.2.
- You can use NFC functions.
In both slots of the dual SIM function, you can use LTE with a maximum download speed of 1,200 Mbit / s. The USB-C interface only corresponds to the older USB 2.0 standard with lower data transfer.
The internal memory is 128 GB, which is usually sufficient. The memory cannot be expanded; there is no slot for memory cards. The Huawei smartphone does not have official dust and water protection either. The fingerprint scanner for biometric unlocking is integrated into the display; face recognition is also possible. The loudspeakers deliver a decent sound but do not offer an authentic stereo experience.
Good Cameras With 4K Video Recording
In the double ring camera module on the phone’s back, there is a quad-camera with a 50-megapixel sensor, supported by wide-angle, macro and bokeh lenses. The preset pixel binning merges several pixels to get an optimized 12.6-megapixel photo. The image details are exquisite in good lighting conditions but noticeably sharpened. Even in low light, there are still good results.
An optical image stabilizer to improve the image quality is not built-in. Video recordings are possible in 4K resolution (3,840 by 2,160 pixels) with 30 frames per second. Slow-motion recordings can be made in full HD resolution at 120 frames per second. A front camera with a 32-megapixel sensor is available for selfies. You can film in 4K resolution.
You Could Get More Out Of The Battery
The battery of the Huawei Nova 9 has a capacity of 4,300 mAh, but the smartphone does not get a little bit of power here. We measured battery life of around 9 hours with simulated internet usage. That is okay, but other mid-range devices show better endurance, including the Honor 50. The “relative” achieves almost 13 hours with the same battery capacity. After all, Huawei’s battery can be recharged extremely quickly with the 66-watt fast-charging power supply unit and is back to 100 percent in 40 minutes. Inductive charging is not possible.
A Fair Price For The Middle Class – But Not For The Restrictions
You can get the Huawei Nova 9 (for price comparison) for around 450 euros. This is reasonable for a mid-range smartphone, but we still rate the price-performance ratio as expensive in terms of the gaps in the equipment. A cell phone with comparable advantages, but a complete Android operating system and 5G cellular network, can be found cheaper.
The Huawei Nova 9 proves to be a good mid-range smartphone with impeccable performance, a smooth 120 Hertz display and a camera with convincing image quality. Unfortunately, the Chinese manufacturer struggles with the restrictions from the US trade dispute: A complete Android operating system and all Google services are missing. The 5G cellular network is also not available. If you can cope with these restrictions with the Huawei Nova 9, you will get a high-quality device with convincing properties.
- Good mid-range performance
- Nice 120 hertz display
- Fast battery charging time
- No Google services and no Play Store
- No 5G cellular
- Somewhat weak battery life