Dubai: The new punch-hole display is the new trend for the year and Huawei has joined the bandwagon with its mid-range device - Nova 4.
The device has an almost bezel-less screen by achieving a screen-to-body ratio of 86.3 per cent.
The screen gives more real estate and it is handy when watching movies or playing games but the disadvantage is that certain apps are not suited for the all-view display. You will get a black bar on the sides of the screen. But if you do not like it, you can turn off the feature in the settings.
However, you can stretch the videos or photos to take advantage of the full screen and it is gorgeous. Like the notch, the punch-hole display might be a distraction for some people.
Display and processor
The 6.4-inch LCD display has a resolution of 2310x1080 pixels [398 pixels per inch density] with a 19.25:9 display aspect ratio and coupled with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage capacity. It supports dual SIM cards and no microSD support.
It is powered by homegrown 2.36GHz octa-core Hisilicon Kirin 970 processor, same processor as in last year’s Nova 3. Despite Huawei having a 980 chipset, they did not use it in on Nova 4.
The device is shipped with EMUI 9.0, Huawei’s Android 9-based custom OS, allows users to access work and entertainment apps with a few simple taps or swipes.
Motion control also plays a significant role. There are flip gestures, as well as picking up, tilting and even things like knuckle detection and drawing. All of those are extensively customisable to your liking as well. It also supports voice controls and one-hand operations.
It is an all-glass design sandwiched by a metal frame and curved edges. It weighs 172 grams.
The 3D curved glass design back is comfortable to hold and use it with one hand.
The facial recognition technology on this device is super-fast, opens the device in less than one second, and even in very low-light conditions. It is faster than opening with the fingerprint.
The fingerprint sensor on the back is placed at the right spot to reach. The glossy finish glass back is prone to smudges but Huawei has included a silicone case with the box.
Despite the device having a glass back, it does not support wireless charging which is a shame.
The apps run smoothly on this device and gaming is smooth without any lag.
The chipset is enhanced with Mali G72 GPU turbo, a combination of hardware-software integration and graphics processing acceleration technology, to optimise the mobile gaming experience.
In reality, playing games such as King of Glory (Mobile Legends), Crossfire, Knives Out and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds offer smooth gaming performance and give more frame rate and lower jitter rate than the competition and it does consume less power. Noticeable warmth can be felt at the upper left part when taxing it for prolonged periods.
The call speaker grill sits at the top edge of the front screen. The device has a single speaker at the base of the device and it is loud and clear to fill a room. It also has the IR blaster to be used as a remote for your devices.
Coming to cameras, the rear houses a 20MP main sensor with f/1.8 aperture and coupled with a 16MP ultra-wide angle lens [117-degree field of view] with f/2.2 aperture and a 2MP depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture for bokeh effects, blurring the background.
Both the front and the rear cameras have artificial intelligence capabilities and the user can switch it off if he does not need it by clicking on the AI icon on the camera home screen.
The AI capabilities have been improved with every device and sometimes it can become a hit or miss.
One thing is sure, the AI can capture more light compared to the normal shot but the shots turned out oversaturated. I recommend cancelling the auto mode in a bid to get the natural colours. You can also see the non-AI version of the image by clicking the AI symbol off from the bar and see the difference before you click.
The AI scene detection automatically identifies the shooting scenarios and tweaks the settings for best results. It can identify the difference between a cat, a cupcake, trees, sunsets, mountains, food, people and text among others, and tweak the setting accordingly.
It takes beautiful snaps in good and bad-light conditions and to improve the night shots further, it has a night mode to capture more light. The camera can digitally zoom from 0.6 times and up to 10 times.
The images show accurate colours, high detail level and good dynamic range when shot in well-lit conditions.
In night mode, the photos are much better than taking in the normal mode as it opens the shutter for four seconds to capture more light with different ISO settings and doesn’t require a tripod. It uses AI to steady the shot and sometimes the shot can be very noisy.
The new beauty algorithm uses 2D facial recognition technology to enhance your natural features, from skin smoothening to eye and lip brightening but the tone of your skin changes. The beautification feature is available on both rear and front cameras.
The beautification effect will change you and make you look younger by vanishing the wrinkles; it is not my favourite as it will make you a different person.
With HiVision, a Google Lens-like feature can discover arts, landmark, goods, translation and food.
The wide-angle camera is great and you can capture more landscape in one shot.
There is also Pro mode for those who want to tweak things further. If you’re a photography fan, you’ll likely find the Pro mode useful and enjoyable. The RAW format is supported only in pro mode.
There is no option for auto HDR and you need to select it from the settings. The camera has tonnes of modes such as 3D panorama, panorama, portrait, Pro, HDR, time lapse, night shot, slow motion, light painting, document scan and stickers. There are nine different filters.
Regarding videos, it can record 4K at 30 frames per second and 1080p at 30fps, and it does not support the super slow motion at 960 frames per second but only at 120 and 240 frames per second at 720p per second. Videos offer good colours and details and its electronic image stabilisation enables the device to record videos with fewer shakes than the usual.
The front houses the 25MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture that handles well in low-light conditions. The front camera does not support 3D facial technology for unlocking the device. Selfies are good and the colours are bright and clear. When recording and taking photos with the selfie camera, you get the option to enable HDR, which is helpful when shooting against the light.
The front camera can record videos only up to Full HD at 30 frames per second.
The AI camera can recognise eight different scenes such as sky, plant, flower, beach, snow, night, room and stage performance, and optimises in real-time to enhance your images.
The AI support in the cameras is only for photos and not for videos as in 980 chipset.
Nova 4’s cameras are good but it does not come to the levels of P and Mate series.
The audio quality from the single speaker at the base of the device is good but not loud.
Regarding connectivity, it has dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth 4.2, BLE, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC and USB Type-C. It supports voice over LTE (VoLTE) for better clarity.
The 3,750mAh battery, same as in Nova 3, lasted almost 20 hours in moderate use and yielded close to 14 hours of video playback. The ultra-power saving mode can also extend battery life.
The fast-charging technology charges the battery from zero to full in one hour and 50 minutes
It comes in black and crush-blue colours and is priced at Dh1,799.
• Punch-hole display
• Excellent cameras
• Attractive design
• Value for money
• GPU turbo technology for gaming
• Decent battery life
• VoLTE support
• 3.5mm headphone jack
• Some AI camera modes are a hit-and-miss
• Slow motion is at only 120 and 240fps
• No wireless charging
• Lack of microSD card support
• Same processor as in Nova 3
• Certain apps don’t support full-view design
• Display isn’t top class
• No 3D facial unlocking