mid-range smartphone with ambition / Special Huawei

The HUAWEI nova 9 SE is an interesting branch of the series – without a clear emphasis on individual features (usually in the case of HUAWEI we are talking about the camera), but with well-developed flexibility.

The HUAWEI nova 9, released late last year, has become a kind of model in its category for photography (and partly video capture). The latest version of the SE no longer specializes so much in one area – it is a more flexible device in its advantages, but retains a number of features of the older representative of the series.

HUAWEI nova 9 SE
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 680: Tetra Core Kryo 265 Gold @ 2.4 GHz + Quad-core Kryo 265 Silver @ 1.9 GHz
Display 6.78 “LCD (IPS)
2388 × 1080 dots, 387 ppi, capacitive multi-touch, 90 Hz
Flash memory 128 GB
rear camera Quadruple unit: 108 MP, ƒ / 1.9 + 8 MP, ƒ / 2.2 (wide) + 2 MP, ƒ / 2.4 (macro) + 2 MP, ƒ / 2.4 (depth sensor), autofocus phase detection with main camera, Flash LED
Front camera 16 MP, ƒ / 2.2, steady focus, no flash
Fingerprint scanner Yes, on the edge of the body
Connections USB Type-C
Battery 4000 mAh
Charger 66 W
Dimensions 164.6 × 75.6 × 7.9 mm
Weight 191 grams
Protection against dust and moisture Not
Operating system EMUI 12

⇡ #Design, construction and software

Speaking of the features of the nova 9, which have been saved in the SE version, we are not referring at all to the design of the smartphone. In this case, we can talk about the characteristic rear camera block, made in the form of a large oval with two exclusive lenses, the front with a front camera window hidden in the center hole, as well as its name the series – the inscription nova at the bottom of the rear panel.

The back panel itself is covered with glossy plastic, which is indistinguishable from the outside of the glass – and at least just as easily soiled and slippery. It is better to keep the smartphone in a case, which, incidentally, is included.

One of the hallmarks of the nova 9 SE – both the older model and the overall “globe” smartphone: a side-scanner fingerprint scanner and an unusually positioned headset – shifts to the top edge (at the same time, of course, it performs properly perform his duties).

Otherwise, nothing unusual: there is no mini-jack, the port for charging and connecting to a computer is USB Type-C, a standard set of hardware keys (power supply + volume control).

Dimensions HUAWEI nova 9 SE: 164.6 × 75.6 × 7.9 mm. Weight: 191 grams. It is a very thin and relatively small and light gadget, as it is equipped with a 6.78 inch screen.

The HUAWEI nova 9 SE runs on the “operating system” EMUI 12 – just like last year’s nova and P50 Pro. HarmonyOS (which is actually this shell) for some reason is only installed on the company’s tablets. Everything is as we are used to: wide ecosystem opportunities, lack of Google services, offset by the presence of a special search engine for apk Petal Search files and a proprietary application store, many pre-installed programs, quick settings and alert boards divided into two, stable and fast work.

⇡ #Screen, hardware and battery

The HUAWEI nova 9 SE is equipped with a 6.78 inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 2388 × 1080 dots. The pixel density is 387 ppi. The level is quite normal. The monitor supports an increased refresh rate of up to 90 Hz. You can either turn it on or leave the option on the smartphone itself – in “dynamic frequency” mode, it independently determines when it will increase the frequency and when it will leave it at the basic level (60 Hz).

This is not OLED – there will be no really deep black on the screen with the inevitable LCD backlight, but the matrix used is high quality: we can talk about free viewing angles and pleasant color reproduction (which, of course, is set to parameters of the screen) and is about sufficient for comfortable use of the smartphone in bright sunlight.

The hardware platform installed on the HUAWEI nova 9 SE is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680. This is a fairly recent solution that debuted last October. The platform carries four production cores Kryo 265 Gold (modified by ARM Cortex-A73) with a frequency of 2.4 GHz and four “economical” Kryo 265 Silver (modified with ARM Cortex-A53) with a frequency of 1.8 GHz in the company with Subsystem Andreno 610 graphics (with Vulkan support 1.1). The main feature of the platform is the manufacturing process, which is 6 nm. That is, the emphasis is primarily on energy efficiency.

At the same time, performance remains at acceptable levels for its class. The benchmark results are shown in the screenshots, but these are simple numbers. In fact, they mean fast work with basic applications and the ability to run more or less any game, at least in medium settings.

We also note the absence of significant problems with heat dissipation – the system remains “cold” even under heavy load, no significant reduction in frequencies was found in the resource tests from the 3DMark package, a 21% reduction was recorded in the CPU Throttling Test reference point, which allows us to recognize the platform’s sensitivity to strangulation as insignificant.

The smartphone received 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of permanent memory – without the possibility of expansion using a memory card.

The set of wireless modules is complete: Bluetooth 5.0, dual-band Wi-Fi, NFC, an extensive set of supported satellite navigation systems (GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, QZSS). There is no 5G modem, but there are no problems with LTE – and the speed is kept high and there are all the necessary zones for the modem to work properly in Russia.

The smartphone has a 15.2 Wh (4000 mAh, 3.8 V) battery – enough for the nova 9 SE to hold a steady charge throughout the day. There is a fast charging system – a full 66 W adapter charges the battery in less than an hour.

⇡ #camera

The HUAWEI nova 9 SE has a four-camera system: the main one, 108 megapixels (using a Nona-Bayer sensor with nine pixels), is responsible for the standard viewing angle – it works with ƒ / 1.9 aperture lens, phase autofocus works. The wide-angle camera received an 8-megapixel sensor and a ƒ / 2.2 aperture lens. There is also a 2 MP macro camera and a depth sensor.

The smartphone therefore offers options for two physical focal lengths – but, of course, the nova 9 SE does not stop there, also offering more software zoom options by default, 2x and 10x.

Examples of shooting with different focal lengths can be seen above. We notice a slightly cold (but not uniform for all focal lengths) color reproduction, good detail for the main camera and rather poor detail for a wide angle, the shooting level on this camera is honestly not impressive even during the day . At night, only the main camera remains really functional, but sometimes it sins with a blurry image, you have to be careful. Shooting with a 2x “hybrid” zoom (using the Nona-Bayer sensor with 108 megapixel image capture capability and then cropping using a 12 megapixel output) can be done quite calmly – yes, there is a noticeable bust with low-resolution border detail in general, but for social networks it is normal. At night, of course, the image becomes very “saponified”. Ten times the zoom is probably there for quantity – not worth talking about in image quality.

There is also a special night mode that allows you to have a brighter and clearer image in low light conditions – so you need to hold the smartphone still for about 4 seconds.

On the left there is a 108 megapixel image, on the right a 12 megapixel image.

By default, the HUAWEI nova 9 SE shoots at the main camera at 12 MP, but you can switch to 108 MP mode (Hi-Res in the list of camera modes) and get an extremely high resolution image. Note that the viewing angle will decrease slightly in this case.

The macro camera lets you shoot very close-ups with low resolution (2 megapixels) – in good light it can be very impressive.

There is also a portrait mode with background blur, an Aperture mode, in which you can blur the background when shooting any subject, the ability to take panoramic photos, simultaneous shooting in the rear and front camera. Also, the smartphone can record videos with resolutions up to Full HD up to 30 frames per second and with digital stabilization.

The selfie camera received a 16-megapixel sensor and a ƒ / 2.2 aperture lens – without autofocus and flash, but with two available focal lengths and a fairly successful background blur option.

⇡ #conclusion

The HUAWEI nova 9 SE is a good deal: big screen, acceptable performance, nice design, very fast charging and decent main camera.

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