Huawei Nova 5T review: The affordable 5T has arrived, but its future is uncertain
This will come as a shock to absolutely no one, but Huawei and the US government haven’t exactly being seeing eye-to-eye the past year.
Yes, the intricacies of the trade war between the US and China is complex – and certainly not for me to wade in to – however the results are easy to describe: as per next year Huawei devices might lack any and all Google services.
So the future of Huawei is a tad uncertain, but that hasn’t stopped the smartphone maker from bringing new devices to the market. And this – the Nova 5T – has just landed. You get some interesting camera features, a cracking processor and great display – but given its uncertain future, is it worth the gamble?
Huawei Nova 5T: Design and Screen
The 5T features a refreshed design, and we’re really in to it. There are different colour variants, all shiny and bright, and all of which shine through the device’s glass back. Catch the light in just the right way, and the 5T is a particularly good-looking smartphone, especially if you like that sort of thing.
At the back you get a four-camera setup, with a reduced camera pump. The setup is very similar to the class-leading P30 Pro, with all sensors and flash lined up to the left of the device. You also get a front-facing snapper, positioned in hole-punch style at the top right of the device.
It leaves the front with a very clean look, that doesn’t take much away from the screen. And what a screen that is. Yes, it’s just an IPS LCD screen – which goes a long way to keeping the price down – however it’s still punchy and vibrant. Its still better-than-HD, and is plenty bright enough to use in sunlight.
But at 6.26-inches there’s more than enough screen estate to really enjoy games and videos. The 5T could do with an upgrade in the speaker department, however. Serious music-lovers really should think about investing in a decent pair of cans.
Huawei Nova 5T: Performance and Battery
Huawei makes use of its Kirin 980 chip that also powers its flagship Mate 20 and P30 series of phones. It makes playing games and swiping through apps a bit of a doddle, and when combined with 8-gigabytes of online storage makes multitasking a breeze.
Tucked away in the settings is Performance Mode, which lets you give the phone a marginal boost in performance. That’s said, it also drains the battery much quicker – so be warned when using it.
Huawei has learned its lesson in recent years, and has significantly reduced the amount of bloatware pre-installed on the smartphone. The new looks and feels good, and there’s lots of capability to customize it.
Battery is good on the Nova 5T – 3,750mAh – which really goes a long way when used with Huawei’s battery-saving technology and that LCD panel.
Huawei Nova 5T: Camera and shooting modes
As you’d expect from such an intimidating camera module, the Nova 5T has an impressive camera. When set to auto Huawei activates its clever airtificial intelligence system, which will use its trickery to activate all camera sensors at the same time, that pick and choose what it thinks your subject will be to really get the most out of that camera.
They’re not quite as finely-tuned as the P30’s Leica cameras, but they are certainly up there with some of the best.
The 32-megapixel selfie snapper is also capable of visual mastery, but can be a tad over processed because of it. That said, provided you take shots in enough light there is more than enough depth and good colour reproduction.
Shooting video is smooth ad stable, but not as much as its P30 cousin – that’s down to a lack of optical image stabilization.
Huawei Nova 5T: The Verdict:
The Nova 5T is a good follow-up to the previous Nova 4. It is a great phone that provides fantastic value, and comes with more than enough under the hood to impress even those with the skimpiest of budgets. We also dig the new paintjob, and the fact that Huawei didn’t skimp on the basics when it was making this excellent smartphone.
What is worth reminding yourself, if you are thinking of picking this guy up, is that while it will continue to receive Google updates, future Huawei devices probably won’t. Which is probably worth thinking about before you put one in your pocket.