The Nova 5T’s got a few doppelgangers around. It’s already made its appearance as the Honor 20 in Europe earlier this year. Not only that, but it also looks and performs very similarly to some of its flagship cousins while maintaining a mid-ranger price point. While the P30 Pro’s unique telephoto lens sets itself apart, I’ve more than once imagined that I was seeing double when both the P30 and Nova 5T were together, even though the Nova 5T is a touch larger and comes with an artificial intelligence-enhanced quad-camera set-up while the P30 only has three It’s also pretty similar specs-wise, as the two share the same processor, have the same memory, and battery life (give or take).  Let’s see if this protégé will see its name in lights.

Photogenic

One of the main differences between the Nova 5T and the P30 is in its cameras. But that doesn’t mean to say that the Nova 5T’s cameras don’t deliver. While the P30 sports Leica lens, the 5T’s 48 MP (f/1.8 aperture AF) main shooter + 16 MP (f/2.2 aperture FF) ultra-wide angle lens + 2 MP (f/2.4 aperture FF) depth-assist lens + 2 MP (f/2.4 aperture FF) macro lens. Alongside it is the 32MP punch-hole front camera optimized for low-light selfies.

For a starlet, the Nova 5T performs exceptionally with everyday shooting. It captures details and replicates color well. It comes with Huawei’s usual suite of features such as aperture (macro) mode, time-lapse, moving picture, light painting, and pro mode. Its night mode is great when there are points of brightness, such as when shooting cityscapes and fairy lights under the night sky. And it delivers well-contrasted shots with minimal noise. It’s AI assists well However, it is as blind as we are in near-darkness (with the light source away from the camera). It also struggles a bit with focusing, especially in super macro situations. Video quality is also good, but nothing worthy of an Oscar. Overall, I’d still give it a 4/5—just don’t expect to go zooming at distant objects from the 40th floor of a building or anything, and you’ll be fine.

Sample Shots:

aperture mode
night mode

Action!

The same Kirin 980 chipset that powers the P30 series (as well as the Mate 20 and 20 Pro)  also powers the Nova 5T, paired with 8GB RAM and 128GB ROM. So you’re basically guaranteed a great performance. A serious multi-tasker, it doesn’t lag or hang on me even when I’m switching between several windows simultaneously. Gaming-wise, it can run at the highest settings without any repercussions with its Mali-G76 Mp10 GPU. Its battery can keep up with you all day, 13 and 31 hours (on PC Mark)—to be exact and its 22.5W type-C fast charging can get you up to speed in no time as well.

Its 6.26” LCD screen is a good entertainment medium. When I first started out using it, I was bothered by the punch hole camera. Which although is smaller and gives you a greater screen area, it also obstructs certain details, which can sometimes get a little annoying. Of course, you can always toggle the option to darken out the camera in the settings but it won’t look its best.

Red Carpet Ready

Premium devices these days can be spotted through the lack of the rear fingerprint scanner (which usually means that it’s in-screen) and the Nova 5T cleverly hides its physical scanner with a side scanner. It does take a little bit of getting used to (and the initial scanning is also a bit unwieldly). It may be unergonomic for the primarily left-handed phone users out there but the design makes sense as it’s where the right thumb would normally rest while holding the phone. There is also no 3.55mm headphone jack here, but the issue type-c earphones deliver surprisingly good sound quality.

Aesthetically, it scores full points. The Nova 5T sleek and polished look. My Crush Blue test unit sported the now-popular aurora-inspired back, which many other phones in the market now also have. But if you really want to stand-out, Midsummer Purple is for you with its unique nova pattern print.

the Nova 5T in Midsummer Purple

Our Opinion:

The Nova 5T is truly a star, bringing in flagship-grade specs at P18,990. While it does have its limitations, it packs in all you need and more without breaking the bank.

Full Specs:

Display: 6.26” LCD, 2340×1080
SIM: Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Operating system: Android 9.0 Pie + EMUI 9.1
Processor: Kirin 980
GPU: Mali-G76 MP10
Memory: 8GB RAM 
Storage: 128GB internal  
Cameras: Rear- 48MP, f/1.8, 28mm, 1/2″, 0.8µm, PDAF + 16 MP wide f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 + 2MP f/2.4; led flash Front: 32MP
Connectivity & I/O ports: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot; Bluetooth 5.0, A2DP, aptX HD, LE; dual-band A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, QZSS; NFC; USB type-C, 2.0;
Security: Side Fingerprint Scanner, Face Unlock  
Battery: 3,750mAh  
Dimensions & weight:  154.25 x 73.97 x 7.87 mm , 174g 
Price: P18,990 

Huawei Nova 5T Full Review: A Star is Born
Build Quality 9
Form Factor 8.5
Ease of Use 9
Performance 9.5
Value for Money9.5
9.1Overall Score

About The Author

Eunice Isobel Lee
Editorial and Business Development Head

As a business major who loves to write, Eunice finds the best out of both worlds managing sales and marketing while also writing full-time. Sometimes preferring books, music, and a steaming cup of coffee over people, she will gladly move to an historic old town somewhere in Italy and make (and eat) pasta, write stories, and paint all day long.