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Huawei’s nova 5T is a midrange smartphone that looks as well as feels much like a flagship device, while nearly performing like one too. The stylish design will mean that this smartphone will appeal to younger customers, discerning millennials, and the fashion-savvy crowd who won’t be shy, when it comes to attracting glances. This is especially true with our review model as it came in the flashy Midsummer Purple colour.

Moreover, it size and weight (approx 174 g) makes it perfectly suited for one-handed use at 154.25 mm x 7.87 mm x 73.97 mm, which is not something you can say about today’s big boy phablets dominating the smartphone landscape.

On the front of the nova 5T, you will find a 6.26″ FHD+ (2340 x 1080) display that takes up almost the entire front of the smartphone, with a punch-hole camera in the top left corner. This screen boasts great detail as well as some really nice colors, contrast and brightness, as long as you aren’t expecting those super deep blacks found on AMOLEDs as opposed to LCDs like this one. In addition, there’s a small earpiece grill at the top, along with a handy LED notification light that is something you won’t see on many smartphones these days (and is reminiscent of the days when BlackBerry was in vogue).

On the side of the device, you will find a useful fingerprint sensor that does the job really well, particularly since it is slightly snappier to employ than the face unlock option that is also available.

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Powering the nova 5T is Huawei’s own Kirin 980 Octa-core processor that sports two Cortex-A76 core running at 2.6 GHz, two Cortex-A76 cores at 1.92 GHz, and four Cortex-A55 clocked at 1.8 GHz, along with a Mali-G76 GPU clocked at 720 MHz, and dual NPUs (Neural-network Processing Units). This chipset is partnered with 8 GB of RAM to keep things snappy, initially within EMUI 9.1 that is based upon Android 9, but remained so after we received an update to Android 10 and EMUI 10.0.0. And just a note, Google Services including the Google Play Store worked fine on this device.

Also performing well is the camera setup. On the front is a very capable 32 MP f/2.0 aperture snapper that is almost overkill for capturing good-looking selfies or Zoom/Microsoft Teams calls on the go. At the rear is a 48 MP (f/1.8 aperture AF) main shooter that is supported by a 16 M (f/2.2 aperture FF) ultra-wide camera, as well as not one but two 2 M snappers, with a f/2.4 aperture FF macro shooter and f/2.4 aperture FF depth sensor. The camera array is arranged vertically at the back of the smartphone, similar to how it looked on the Huawei P30 Pro. Just a note the camera array does slightly protrude at the back so the phone won’t sit flush on a surface you rest it on, and it is a slippery device so beware of accidental drops. Photo quality is superb for a midrange device, and since this was the first time we tested a smartphone snapper that incorporates a macro lens, that was also a fun and novel experience.

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In terms of battery life, the nova 5T boasts a 3750 mAh that will get you through a working day but not really much longer, but the nova 5T does support Huawei’s SuperCharge standard for fast charging. A missing feature here is wireless charging.

Also onboard is a nice 128 GB (around 117 GB actually available) worth of internal storage, which is non-expandable. For those globetrotters who like to buy and use a local prepaid SIM in the countries that they visit or people who use two different numbers for business and personal use, the phone is dual-SIM capable.

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Final word

Ultimately, the Huawei nova 5T is a supremely stylish and capable smartphone that stands out from the midrange crop for its good looks, really good camera performance, and dual-SIM capability. It currently retails for R7899.00 at some local retailers.