Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G Unboxing and Initial Hands-on Review

huawei nova 7 se 5g hands on review

The new "Super Nova" is here

On June 8, Huawei Philippines officially launched the brand new installment under its super popular Nova series of midrange smartphones called the Nova 7 SE 5G. Official pricing has been revealed to be Php19,990 with pre-order process to begin on June 12 until June 21, 2020. To learn more about the pre-order process and what free bundle it comes with, check out the link below.

This new release is aimed towards younger generation who are digitally active. Whether they are into mobile gaming, content creation or simply digital consumption, this latest Nova offering from Huawei hopes to get their attention through its powerful camera setup, specs, and of course beautiful design inside and out. Not only that, this device is also about future proofing as it is equipped with 5G connectivity support. In fact, the Huawei Nova 7 SE is the first ever midrange smartphone to hit the Philippine market sporting 5G connectivity feature. That also makes it the most affordable 5G-ready smartphone in the local market. 

I know that 5G network is still not available in the Philippines, at least for the most part of the country, but Smart and Globe have been working really hard to bring this next-gen connectivity to life and to more locations here in the Philippines and we are getting closer and closer to finally experiencing it. So if you are excited for this technological development and would like to be one of the first users to experience it when it becomes more accessible, you should consider the Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G big time. I mean, apart from that capability, this device is a powerful midrange phone both in terms of camera and performance, and most of all it is a stunner of a phone, especially that Space Silver color variant. 

What's in the box

huawei nova 7 se 5g hands on review

The packaging, apart from the Nova 7 SE unit itself, comes with the usual stuff like the USB Type-C charging cable, the charging brick which is now equipped with 40W SuperCharge that promises 70% of battery life in just 30 minutes, a pair of standard earphones, the SIM ejecting tool, and a clear jelly case. Thankfully though, the TPU protective case is clear or done in transparent finish, which is a good thing as it still allows users to enjoy the Nova 7 SE's back design most especially the Space Silver model, the one I got here, which is just gorgeous. 

Believe me, if you think the phone looks stunning in the photos in this post, you will appreciate it even more when you see it in person. 

As you may have noticed, my box does not come with User Guide and Warranty Card, that's because this is not the retail version that was sent to me for review. But the official retail packaging will definitely include those paperwork. 

Here's the Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G

Okay let's go to the main star of the show, the Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G itself. This smartphone will be released in two color variants, one in Crush Green and the other in Space Silver. And as you can already see, I have the latter. I know I have said it already but I will say it again, this particular paintjob and build is just so nice to look at and to feel in the hand. To be honest, I expected the phone to look good in person, but I was even more surprised when I finally saw it after taking it out of the box for the very first time. The back panel? I am just not sure if this is made of glass material, but it feels it is. 

huawei nova 7 se 5g hands on review

Now since the back panel has glossy finish, it easily attracts fingerprints and smudges. That's always the case anyway for all glossy surfaces. But when it is clean and shiny, it does really shine both literally and figuratively. 

A quick tour around the phone will let us know that everything is still present here, and yes that includes the 3.5mm audiojack port at the bottom. There is also now a USB Type-C port, one of the most requested features in midrange smartphones of last year's. Thankfully this USB Type-C is now becoming a standard in non-flagship devices like this Nova 7 SE 5G. Together with those two, we can still see the primary microphone in this part of the device alongside the speaker. 

On the left is nothing but the dual SIM holder. Only two slots are available. So that's going to be either two SIM cards or one SIM and an NMcard in the other slot for additional storage needs. NMcard is Huawei's proprietary memory card, this means, we can't use a microSD card on this one. But 128GB is still huge even in today's smartphone standards. I have never been able to fully consume this huge of a storage on a smartphone, even with the ones I officially use for taking photos and videos for blogging. 

huawei nova 7 se 5g hands on review

Now on the right side, here we can find the volume rocker and the power key in which the fingerprint reader is integrated. The print reader works really fast and its placement is just at the right location, at least for my hand size, as my thumb or my index finger can easily reach it to lock and unlock the phone. At the top portion is just the secondary noise cancelling mic. 

huawei nova 7 se 5g hands on review

On the front is a 6.5-inch LTPS LCD screen with full HD+ or 1080p resolution and a punch-hole cutout on the upper left of the screen housing the 16MP selfie camera. Huawei did not mention any type of glass protection on the display such as Gorilla Glass but it does come with a pre-installed screen protector film and the display supports HDR10 which is nice. Also, no 90Hz refresh rate yet available on this device. 

Based on my initial use, the screen is bright and the display quality is really good. Images and texts are sharp and clear, thanks again to the 1080p display, HDR10, and the 96% NTSC color gamut that it sports. 

64MP quad rear cameras with AI tech and more

huawei nova 7 se 5g hands on review

 Like many mid-range smartphones around, even from other brands, the Huawei Nova 7 SE also sports quad-camera set-up on the back. All cameras are stacked vertically or on top of each other creating a protruding tall rectangle camera module labelled with "64MP AI QUAD-CAMERA". Right beside it is the Huawei branding and the LED Flash. The main 64MP sensor has f/1.8 aperture and 4-in-1 pixel-binning technology, secondary 8MP sports f/2.4 and ultra-wide angle lens. The third and fourth cameras have 2MP and f/2.4 each for bokeh and macro photography. The setup is equipped with autofocus and HUAWEI AI Image Stabilization (AIS). 

Camera modes include AR Lens, Night, Portrait, Auto, Aperture, Panorama, 960 fps Slo-Mo and many more. As for its video capabilities, it can record up to 4K in 30fps. See some sample photos below which were captured in Auto mode. 

huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos
huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos
huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos
huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos
huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos
huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos
huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos
huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos

In the video mode, there is a unique feature called Dual-View Video. I am not sure if other Huawei-made devices have this but this is the first time I saw this on a Huawei smartphone. It basically allows users to use both the front and the rear cameras at the same time to record videos or use cameras on the back to have a split screen view where first one captures regular video clip while the other is zoomed in on a subject. Unfortunately, this is not available for taking pictures. But you can always screencapture a video anytime, you know, if you really need to. 

huawei nova 7 se 5g sample photos

Mobile OS and the AppGallery

The Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G runs on the latest EMUI 10.1 based on the current Android 10 mobile OS. While just like many other brand new Huawei smartphones where Google Play is not available, users can still download their favorite apps from Huawei's very own mobile app store called the AppGallery. There are now more apps in the AppGallery than ever before and Huawei has been continuously working with local and international app developers to continue grow its marketplace.  Additionally, if users prefer sideloading mobile applications from third party sources such as APK Pure, they can still do so. 

huawei nova 7 se hands on review

huawei nova 7 se hands on review

There is also this App Go that Huawei is introducing where users can download it from the AppGallery itself. The App Go will help users find the best place to download their favorite apps from whether its on the AppGallery, the official website of the app, or via third party app stores like again the APK Pure site. 

There is only one catch though, I am unable to locate this App Go in the AppGallery, for some reason.  Will figure it out why and will include it in my full review which I plan to publish sometime next week. 

huawei nova 7 se hands on review

Initial Impressions

The Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G is definitely one of the best smartphones in the local market in the sub-Php20K price segment, thanks to its stunning design, powerful specs such as the HiSilicon Kirin 820 processor, impressive cameras, and of course the 5G support. With those key technical specifications, the Nova 7 SE will absolutely deliver its promised performance. 

In my short time with the device so far, I can say that I am pretty impressed with the overall experience it has already provided me. Definitely one of the fastest smartphones I have ever tried and reviewed on this blog. The camera performance is superb, the autofocus is noticeably fast and the photos and video look great too. 

And while 5G network is currently not available in my location, using a 5G Smart SIM on this smartphone is getting me 4G+ (yes with the plus) signal almost all the time. That's way faster than regular 4G (see photo below) that I would normally get on other phone. I can't wait to experience 5G speed on this device when it becomes available. 

huawei nova 7 se hands on review

Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G specs:

  • 6.5-inch Full HD+ LTPS LCD display
  • 2400 x 1080 resolution
  • Kirin 820 5G octa-core procesor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB internals torage
  • Supports NMCard up to 256GB
  • 64MP + 8MP + 2MP + 2MP quad rear cameras with ultrawide, bokeh, and macro sensors
  • 16MP front camera with Super Night Selfie 2.0
  • EMUI 10.1 based on Android 10
  • Huawei AppGallery
  • No Google Play support
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • Dual SIM
  • 3.5mm Audiojack
  • USB Type-C
  • Supports up to 5G connectivity
  • Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Space Silver, Crush Green
  • 40W SuperCharge
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Php19,990
huawei nova 7 se hands on review

Pricing and availability

As mentioned, the new Huawei Nova 7 SE 5G is officially priced at Php19,990. Pre-order will begin on June 12 and will last until June 21, 2020. If you are interested to buy one, you can pre-order from Huawei's Lazada online store or through select Huawei stores nationwide. Pre-ordering the device will get you the following freebies.

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