Huawei nova 9 hands-on review

GSMArena Team, 21 October 2021.

Introduction

The Huawei nova 9 is coming to Europe, just like the rumors said it would. The nova 9 Pro won't be joining it at this point in time.

Pricing is set at EUR 499 for an 8GB, plus 128GB model, with preorders starting today (October 21) and official sales later this month.

We just attended the announcement event for ourselves and got to spend some hands-on time with the phone. First up, though, a general overview is in order.

We are already familiar with the Huawei nova 9 and nova 9 Pro on paper since they did debut in China back in September. This is our first in-person encounter with one of them, however.

While slightly different, the two phones are definitely cut from the same cloth, as the saying goes and actually quite similar. You can see the comparison for yourself, but it's quite refreshing to see such a well-segmented lineup.

Huawei nova 9 specs at a glance:

  • Body: 160.0x73.7x7.8mm, 175g; plastic frame, glass back and front.
  • Display: 6.57" OLED, 1B colors, HDR10, 120Hz, 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: EMUI 12.
  • 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, gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 4300mAh; Fast charging 66W, 100% in 38 min (advertised), Reverse charging.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (under display, optical); NFC.

The nova 9 Pro gets faster 100W charging and a slightly smaller 4,000 mAh battery than the nova 9. The main difference, however is the display and, naturally, device size. The nova 9 has 6.57-inch, 1080 x 2340-pixel display inside a 160 x 73.7 x 7.8 mm, 175-gram body. The nova 9 Pro has a slightly bigger 6.72-inch, 1236 x 2676-pixel panel and a 163.4 x 74.4 x 8 mm, 186-gram body.

The bigger Pro model does also have a beefier cooling system, with a vapor chamber and graphene cooling on the inside. We can't really say how much of actual performance or in-hand comfort difference that makes on the Snapdragon 778 4G chipset, shared between the pair prior to a full review, though.

Huawei nova 9 hands-on review

Regardless, the nova 9 Pro won't be offered in Europe for the moment, and users don't get to choose. Since the nova 9 and nova 9 Pro are so similar, though we will be referencing the Pro in this hands-on review as well. Before we dive in, though, a couple of quick clarifications, since these questions are likely to come up - yes, the nova 9 uses a 4G-only variant of the Snapdragon 778G, and no, it doesn't have Google Play Services, despite coming to Europe. Both points kind of related to the still unfortunate geopolitical climate and the Huawei-US relations.

Reader comments

  • Kirsten

Huawei Nova 9 is good but for me, it is still not viable due to the limited applications installed for the device usually for playing online casino like in casinodays.com

  • Khan

Gogel service not available that's not good

*Second of all no screen protection in 2021?* Screen protection doesn't garantue ur phone isn't getting damaged. *Let alone unsupported OS,headphones jack and other essential stuff phone lacks* The OS isnt unsopported, hp j...