Huawei nova 9 review

GSMArena Team, 6 November 2021.


The Huawei nova series is intended for the younger generation with flashy looks and relatively low prices. The nova 9 family isn't far from the original formula. We got the vanilla nova 9 for this review, but the Pro model seems to be only slightly different - it has a bigger display, a smaller battery with faster charging and a secondary selfie camera. Sadly, only the standard nova 9 is making its way to the international market leaving the Pro to be a China-exclusive.

However, one would argue that the proper nova 9 might be the more sensible option of the two due to its lower price and relatively the same set of features. In fact, the bigger battery is usually preferred over the faster charging as per our Sunday debate poll from back in the day. Either way, you can use this review as a reference for the Pro model, as most of the hardware is matched.

Huawei nova 9 specs at a glance:

  • Body: 160.0x73.7x7.8mm, 175g; Glass front and back, plastic frame.
  • Display: 6.57" OLED, 1B colors, 120Hz, HDR10, 1080x2340px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 392ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM7325 Snapdragon 778G 4G (6 nm): Octa-core (4x2.4 GHz Kryo 670 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 670); Adreno 642L.
  • Memory: 128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM; UFS.
  • OS/Software: HarmonyOS 2.0 (China), EMUI 12 (Europe), no Google Play Services.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.9, 23mm, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 8 MP, f/2.2; Macro: 2 MP, f/2.4; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.
  • Front camera: 32 MP, f/2.0, (wide).
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K, 1080p, 720p@960fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, 720p@240fps, gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 4300mAh; Fast charging 66W, 60% in 18 min, 100% in 38 min (advertised), Reverse charging.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC.

For €499, the nova 9 offers a flagship-grade 6.57-inch, 120Hz OLED panel and 10-bit color depth, potent Snapdragon 778G and a capable 50MP main camera. The 4,300 mAh battery charges over a speedy 66W brick too. A well-rounded midranger that would surely meet plenty of resistance outside of China.

After all, the whole Huawei-US drama isn't over, so Huawei's phones ship without Google Mobile Services, which is less than ideal outside of China. That's a big hurdle to overcome. To be honest, Huawei's HarmonyOS has come a long way with version 2.0. There are plenty of native apps already, and the so-called Petal search provides a fast and easy way to sideload apps through third-party stores.

Huawei nova 9 review

The nova 9, though, runs on EMUI 12 based on Android 11, which is pretty close to the China-exclusive HarmonyOS. In any case, we will check if the HMS-powered EMUI 12 will make us forget about GMS and see how the device stacks against the competition in terms of raw power, endurance, display quality, etc. You might be in for a surprise.

Unboxing the Huawei nova 9

The Huawei nova 9's retail box isn't anything out of the ordinary as it holds the corresponding 66W charging brick, USB-C to USB-A cable and the accompanying user manuals.

Huawei nova 9 review

We also received a transparent silicone case, but we were told that it won't be part of the bundle for all markets.

Reader comments

  • Maris
  • 17 Sep 2023
  • PGn

I have nova 9 and I really like curve screen is nice feel like premium phone and night photo is good but not too good quality image, battery is small but watching YouTube and daily app is can use with single fully charge, audio is loud but not good ...

  • Immi
  • 22 May 2023
  • 6PR

Been using this phone for about an year. The was quite a good in the start its batter performance and everything was upto mark but after 6 to 7 months the batter got a heck of downgrade. Performance still quite same.Main camera is good but others are...

  • Sief AlRahman
  • 27 Apr 2023
  • rkM

Excellent phone regarding performance.. Screen and cameras.. Fast charge also.. No cons except you find it tricky to handle google supported apps.. I recommend it ,, but if you have a google app you cant live without,, then samsung and oppo will b...