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Huawei Nova 3 & 3i; One of the Best Camera Smartphones for the Price?

Cameras, Cameras have always been an important feature of a smartphone. And, cameras have been getting better every year. Also, we’ve been getting more cameras in a smartphone. Huawei was the first with a triple camera set up on the rear. And, they provide good camera smartphones consistently.

One of those is the Huawei Nova 3. Huawei Nova 3 was released a couple of months ago for Rs. 59,900 and it’s a premium mid-range device with flagship specifications and a surprisingly good pair of the camera. I used this device for more than a month and I was more than happy with its camera performance. Also, we did a camera comparison of 4 mid-range smartphones and the Nova 3 came out on top. On the other hand, Nova 3i, the lite version of the Nova 3 is also a good camera smartphone for a more affordable price.

Huawei has been offering the dual-lens camera in the Nova lineup, so it’s no surprise to see two sensors on its latest offering. The Nova 3 and 3i both sports a primary 24MP f/2.0 lens and a 2MP lens on the front.

The front cameras look great here, great in details and it comes with HDR Pro mode for a better dynamic range. Basically, the HDR Pro mode helps with bright backgrounds. I would love to see this feature in every smartphone because most of the smartphone simply fail to deal with bright backgrounds while taking selfies. They come out washed out and the background is blown out. So, I was quite impressed by this feature on the Nova 3 and Nova 3i. Though both of these phones have the same camera specification on the front, the Nova 3 obviously performs better than the 3i.

The front camera also comes with portrait mode and lighting options, the edge detection and blur amount is quite decent. It does a great job in differentiating the background and the foreground. Furthermore, the front camera supports AI to enhance the camera experience.

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Huawei Nova 3i Camera Samples

Now, the front camera on the Nova 3 is good but its rear camera is better. The rear dual camera setup rocks a 16MP f/1.8 primary sensor and a 24MP monochrome sensor. So, we find a normal secondary depth sensor in most of the smartphones but the Huawei has gone for a monochrome sensor. Meanwhile, Nova 3i has a 16 MP f2.2 primary rear sensor and a 2MP depth sensor.

Talking about Nova 3’s real-life performance, photos captured from the rear camera in a favorable lighting condition are quite impressive, level of detail and colors are good and I was impressed with the dynamic range. Unlike previous phones from Nova series, the images are not aggressively saturated but still, there is a hint of sharpness and oversaturation, especially with the AI turned on. We have a similar story with the Nova 3i but the pictures from Nova 3i come out a bit more saturated.

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Huawei Nova 3 Camera Samples

The AI support tries to tweak images according to the situation. The good thing is you can cancel out the AI tweaks even after capturing the picture. So always click pictures in AI mode and turn it off you don’t like the tweaked effects. But I did notice some weird artifacts with the AI turned on. You can check it out in the pictures below.

The other feature that’s really useful is the wide aperture mode that allows you to take pictures with a depth of field effect. There’s also a portrait mode and it does a very good job. Edge detection is quite good and you can adjust the blur amount which is a very nice feature to have.

I was not expecting the Nova 3 to perform under low light and night settings but it did quite well. Its f/1.8 sensor tries to keep the noise under control and pictures turn out quite good. However, the pictures with AI turned on are overexposed and oversaturated, hence there is more noise. But it’s a matter of preference and you might like those oversaturated images. However, Nova 3i is decent at best under the low-light situation. Also, we do not expect the phones at this price range to perform exceptionally under low-lights.

Moving on to the videos, it can capture up to 4k 30 fps. The videos have a good amount of details and colors in 4k but the lack of stabilization is its downside. Things get much smoother in lower settings like 1080p 60fps and 1080p 30fps but it could have been much better with OIS. Similarly, Nova 3i can capture up to 1080p 60fps and you can only find software enabled stabilization on both Nova 3 and Nova 3i.

So, Huawei Nova 3 is a really good camera smartphone. It is especially great in daylight situation because it has a balanced dynamic range and I was surprised to see how well it can handle those harsh highlights under sunlight. The portrait photos are also good and I was equally happy with low-light photos.

But, there is no perfect smartphone and as much I love the photos from the Huawei Nova 3, I cannot say the same for the videos. However, it is still one of the best camera smartphones that you can get under Rs. 60,000. Nova 3i also has a good camera, it performs admirably under good lighting conditions. And, for the price tag of Rs. 38,900, Nova 3i definitely has one of the better cameras if not the best.


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