Huawei with Google services – this is not currently the norm, as the top model Mate 30 Pro shows. But they are part of the Nova 5T. And what else can the device do?
US companies can now apply for special permits to work with Chinese companies again. Google apparently still hasn't gotten this permission regarding Huawei. This further prevents the Chinese smartphone manufacturer from using the Google services, which the majority of all Android smartphones access, for its models. The latest example is the top model Huawei Mate 30 Pro, which not only came onto the market in this country without US hardware, but also without Google software such as Play Store or Gmail. Instead, Huawei relies on Android, but on the open source variant. And that comes without Google services.
Now Huawei is taking a path with the new Nova 5T, which daughter Honor previously went with the Honor 9X (test report). The Nova 5T is actually not that new anymore, it has long been available internationally. Since such “older” smartphones have a kind of inventory protection that still allows the supply of updates for the installed Google services, Huawei is simply relaunching an existing smartphone with the European version of the Nova 5T. Result: "New" smartphone with Google services despite US sanctions. But does this concept work?
It is chic, the Huawei 5T for Europe. But nothing special. You can't even blame the mid-range model because it doesn't go wrong. After the extravagant folding display smartphone Samsung Galaxy Fold (test report), everything else seems somehow ordinary. Apart from that, the Nova 5T scores with its punchhole notch, which enables narrow edges around the screen. The edge is only slightly wider below the display, but this is not annoying. The smartphone collects further plus points with the rounded metal frame, anodized in the color of the housing, which flows smoothly into the back of the glass. Both glass surfaces support the rounding of the frame with 2.5D glass, which looks chic and feels good. Only the protective film applied at the factory feels a bit sharp when operated with your finger, but it can be removed easily.
The back of the Huawei Nova 5T is largely unexcited. The black color of our test model shows a certain depth, which confirms the valuable impression of the smartphone. Unfortunately, the impression of depth fades away quickly because it is covered by fingerprints. Alternatively, users can also access the enclosed protective cover. As so often, the manufacturer places three of the four camera lenses in a slightly raised module. LG shows here with the G8X ThinQ (test report) that cameras do not have to protrude from the housing. Otherwise, the processing is exemplary. The fingerprint sensor in the power button on the side of the frame is a bit too sharp, but otherwise works perfectly. The same applies to the volume rocker, which however is easy to play. Overall, however, this is criticism at a high level.
2340 × 1080 pixels frolic on a 6.3-inch IPS-LCD, which means a pixel density of 412 pixels per inch (PPI) and is perfectly fine. Colors are displayed sufficiently intensely, contrasts could be a bit higher, but are still okay in everyday life. We liked the viewing angle stability very well, except for slight shading, there was no change in the display quality at flat viewing angles. The maximum manual brightness of up to almost 450 cd / m² is at a good level, so there should be no problems with readability even in bright surroundings. The Nova 5T does not have an always-on display.
The manufacturer advertises four cameras next to the main camera on the back, this is the main lens with 48 megapixels (f / 1.8), an ultra wide angle with 16 megapixels (f / 2.2) and a macro camera with 2 megapixels (f / 2.2) , The fourth lens, which also has 2 megapixels, is only responsible for depth detection and cannot be used directly – so we consider it to be a full-fledged camera part to be exaggerated and the use of a macro lens with such a low resolution is also questionable.
This was confirmed in the test. Images with the main camera can be pre-set to 12 megapixels using pixel binning, but also 48 megapixels if required, and additionally in Clarity mode with 48 megapixels. In daylight, they are sufficiently sharp and the image dynamics give little reason for criticism, there is image noise, but it is weak and colors are recorded without too much saturation. The full resolution brings a bit more image clarity, but the difference is not serious. If the light is weaker, the other cameras away from the main unit should be avoided, otherwise they will produce decent results with sufficient light.
The wide-angle shots of the Nova 5T do not come close to the main lens in terms of image sharpness and noise, as feared, the macro lens does not bring any real advantage. Corresponding shots naturally require an extremely close proximity to the subject, which makes shots without unwanted shadows difficult. In addition, due to the low resolution of the macro camera, the image sharpness is lower than for images of the same subject enlarged on the PC with the main camera.
The Nova 5T allows videos with 4K and a maximum of 30 frames per second, there is no optical image stabilizer and electronic image stabilization also shows the typical deficits of cheaper smartphone cameras. On the one hand, the selfies of the 32-megapixel front camera and the night shots, which are decent for the price, are positive. The AI used shows its advantages here.
The Huawei Nova 5T is powered by a Kirin 980 with eight cores, which are clocked at up to 2.6 GHz and are accompanied by up to 8 GB of RAM. The same combination is also used by the top model Huawei P30 Pro (test report), the highlight, apart from the tight performance, is the dual NPU for tasks of artificial intelligence. Because of the use of a high-end chipset, it is not surprising that the cheap smartphone in the Antutu benchmark achieved a proud 363,000 points. This not only makes all everyday tasks from checking emails to surfing the Internet problem-free and smooth, but also makes gaming really fun.
There are hardly any gaps in the rest of the equipment either. The device offers WLAN ac, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type C (2.0), GPS with support for Glonass, Beidou, Galileo and the Japanese QZSS and of course NFC. There is no 3.5 millimeter connection for conventional headphones. This also applies to 5G, but LTE can handle the smartphone with all the relevant bands. Apps and other data can be found in the large internal memory with 128 GB, unfortunately there is no expansion option. The device scores with recordings for two SIM cards. The side-mounted fingerprint sensor worked quickly and reliably in the test – better than any inprint fingerprint sensor in the display. Android 9 is installed as the operating system, the manufacturer has not yet commented on Android 10. The Huawei user interface EMUI 9.1 is above Android. The old age of the security patch is striking, in our test device it was from September 2019.
3750 mAh doesn't sound like an excessive amount for a smartphone as powerful as the Huawei Nova 5T with a large display, but the power dispenser does really well. in the Battery test from PCmark, the device runs for almost 10 hours, a full charge takes about 2 hours. Despite the top chipset and the extensive equipment, the device does not master wireless charging.
The Huawei Nova 5T is available in three colors: black, blue and purple. There are no different equipment variants. The price for the smartphone of the upper middle class started at around 378 euros at the time of the test.
Nova 5T black
Nova 5T blue
Nova 5T purple
The fact that the Huawei Nova 5T in its shape for Europe was probably born out of necessity, like the Honor 9X (test report), is impressive. And that's not just because of the chic exterior with a modern punchhole notch. The highlights are the tight performance thanks to Kirin 980, a very decent overall configuration and the good battery. The camera is not bad either, Huawei actually does not need to sell cheat sheets like a macro and depth camera together with the two real lenses as a quad cam. We didn't like the old security patch and the lack of expandability of the memory. Water resistance would also have been nice.
As so often, the problem is not the smartphone itself, but its price. Because models like the Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro (test report) with a pop-up front cam do not cost more with similar performance data and a better camera, with a little less memory they even cost significantly less. We have summarized which Mi9 model is best for every user in our comparison of the different Mi9 models. Not so badly equipped are also significantly cheaper models like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 8T (test report) or the Honor 9X (test report).