Huawei has gained widespread consumer recognition in large part due to its two high-end smartphone series, Mate and P, each of which has drawn acclaim for premium photography thanks to ongoing cooperation with iconic camera lens maker Leica as well as unrelenting R&D.
The brand’s success is also credited to its highly favorable, more affordable models like the nova series. After debuting in 2016, the HUAWEI nova series has quickly won over younger users, due to a unique aesthetic identity encompassing trendy fashion and cutting-edge technology. In 2018, over 65 million nova smartphones were sold, indicating its widespread appeal to the market.
Nova: a rising star
If the HUAWEI P series (exemplified by the P30 Pro) is the yardstick against which all smartphone cameras will be measured, and the Mate series serves as the benchmark for futuristic mobile technology, the HUAWEI nova series is the standard for trendiness, a phone for millennials and fashion-conscious users.
The name epitomises this design concept: “nova” means “new star” in Latin, marking the nova series as a youthful, chic and fun product line. “Nova” is also derived from “innovation”, embodying the brand’s eternal innovative spirit.
The tens of millions of users who have opted for a nova phone strive for fashionable modern living, in which quality outweighs quantity. They hope to bring out the beauty of daily life, by depending on a phone that matches their personality.
Internal components that are fluid and flagship-worthy
Nobody likes a lagging phone, but no one hates it more than young people who enjoy living at a breakneck pace. The nova series takes this into account, deploying only the best chipsets, namely the Kirin 9X0 processors that are usually only seen on premium Mate and P series phones due to the high R&D costs associated with them.
The HUAWEI nova 2s, for instance, use the Kirin 960, while the nova 3 and nova 4 feature the Kirin 970 (also on the P20 Pro and Mate 20 series). As a result, the nova series offers a fluid user performance, with an instantly responsive touchscreen, smooth operations, and lag-free gaming and video streaming. Highly-anticipated GPU Turbo technology, which has been well received within the industry as well as by consumers, is also supported. This feature streamlines processing resources and reallocates them between the EMUI system, GPU and CPU, enabling software and hardware to work synergistically to significantly enhance overall computing efficiency. Gaming on nova phones is “fast and furious”, all the while allowing for greatly reduced SoC power consumption.
An aesthetic identity fit for modern times
Specially designed for young and trendsetting consumers, the HUAWEI nova series follows lofty visual aesthetic principles in designing each of its models. Every nova phone is intricately crafted and polished, with the optimal aspect ratio, depth and rounded edges, ensuring that the phone fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
The HUAWEI nova and nova plus, released in 2016 as the first nova devices, adopted a 5-inch display perfect for one-handed operations, and a 2.5D curved glass screen for seamless transitions around the edges and corners. The nova 3, launched in 2018, upped the ante to use 3D glass for both the front and rear covers, for heightened ergonomics.
While the smartphone industry followed the same groupthink in adorning their products with shiny gold or metallic hues, the nova series broke the mold by introducing trendy summer colours, such as the Airy Blue and Grass Green, attracting the notice of users who strived for a bolder, more distinctive design ethos.
In order to fashion ever more creative colours for their products, Huawei closely studies Pantone’s annual colour trends. Primrose Gold and the Iris Purple gradient were two prime examples of daring efforts that resulted in stylish, idiosyncratic products, which initiated the current trend toward gradient colored smartphones. The HUAWEI nova 4 followed up with two complex gradient covers, Charming Red and Pearl White, which depict the surreal and fantastical, a clash of colour, bringing out a vibrant and youthful charm.
In addition to absorbing exterior colours and patterns, nova phones also contain a perfected display design. The screen-to-body ratio has gone up for each new model — the nova 2s was the first model to explore bezel-less screen technology; the nova 3 was equipped with a notched screen, and the nova 4 incorporated an in-screen front camera to maximise usable display space.
The in-screen camera technology used on the nova 4 is unique and advanced. In contrast to the more commonly seen solution on the market, which drills all the way through the screen, the nova 4’s screen is only partially perforated. This design attribute reduces the gap between the front camera and LCD backlight layer to a mere 0.2 mm, allowing for a sleek and slender phone.
The nova 4 front camera is the smallest in the industry, with a 3.05 mm diameter, 20% smaller than that seen on other phones. The camera hole measures only 4.5 mm in diameter, ensuring that the front camera consumes as little space as possible on the bezel-less display. Despite its compact size, the camera absorbs just as much light as, if not more light, than the larger standard smartphone front camera.
Looking back at nova’s entire body of work, it’s safe to say that it has led the way in smartphone colour design, material selection, and craftsmanship, a consistent legacy that heightens anticipation for future releases.
Advanced cameras that make each image into a masterpiece
Self-expression and self-confidence are often associated with the millennials and generation Z. Captured moments of joy, exhilaration, anger, and sorrow, as well as diverse personality traits of a subject, form the visual diary of a life well lived. Powerful cameras, therefore, have become a necessity for many, rather than a luxury, especially with the rapid development of smartphone photography, which means that the benefits of advanced, palm-sized cameras are now widely accessible.
The HUAWEI nova 2s included a dual-lens front camera module with a 20MP main sensor and a 2MP depth sensor for improved background bokeh generation. The nova 3 series upgraded the main sensor to 24MP, featuring high-clarity selfie imaging capable of being printed at poster-size while still retaining optimal sharpness. The use of artificial intelligence in the camera algorithms has resulted in natural, tailored face contouring, with processed backgrounds that avoid overexposure issues typically seen in selfies.
As noted earlier, the nova 4 series deploys an in-screen front camera, which despite manufacturing challenges, captures images of sterling quality — 25 MP resolution (the nova 4e features whopping 32MP!) with enhanced AI. The camera accurately identifies common scenes, such as plants, sunrises/sunsets, and stage performances, as well as analyses the facial features, gender, and age of the subject for highly customised beautification. This means that the nova 4 camera retains individuality at a high level, bringing out the best and most natural presentation of every subject.
Just like all Huawei flagship products, the nova series has always boasted stunning camera combinations on the back. The nova 4, for example, packs a breathtaking 48MP ultra-wide-angle AI triple camera system that provides optimal imagery in practically any setting.
With its deep understanding of market dynamics, the HUAWEI nova series presents modern consumers with fun, free and individualised smartphones. The commitment to integrating a unique aesthetic identity with premium performance and uncompromising quality has won over countless users who are young or young at heart. As Huawei furthers its tireless efforts in chipset R&D, AI, aesthetics, ergonomics, and smartphone photography, the nova series will assuredly continue to make waves with the new HUAWEI nova 5T.