Despite the gathering storm of US sanctions on the Shenzhen-based tech giant, Huawei is showing no signs of stopping, even announcing its own Harmony OS – which works across all smart devices – earlier in August.
And now, after launching the mid-range Nova 5 series of phones comprising the Nova 5, Nova 5 Pro, Nova 5i and Nova 5i Pro a few months ago in its home market, it has debuted the fifth member of the family, the Nova 5T.
The Nova 5T is the first from the mid-range series to be available in Singapore – or anywhere outside of China, for that matter. Priced at S$598 in Singapore, this would put the device right in line with the range-topping Nova 5 phone, the 5 Pro, which retails in China for roughly S$600.
At the Nova 5T’s unveiling CNA Lifestyle attended in Shenzhen earlier in August, Huawei executives brushed aside talk of the Nova 5T being a rebranded Honor 20, the latter being a device available in some international markets, though not in Singapore.
Both devices have strikingly similar specs, down to the quadruple rear cameras and near bezel-free, edge-to-edge 6.26-inch display with a hole-punch cutout for the front-facing camera. The main differences being how the Honor 20 uses the brand’s Magic UI versus Huawei’s EMUI, and that the Honor comes with 6GB of RAM versus the Nova 5T’s 8GB.
Similarities aside, the Nova 5T does cut quite the imposing figure, though it does eschew the Nova 5 Pro’s OLED display and under-screen fingerprint sensor. Instead, the Nova 5T gets an IPS display and side-mounted fingerprint sensor designed as a small notch in the aluminium frame.
Its four rear-facing cameras include a 48-megapixel main lens, 16-megapixel wide angle, 2-megapixel macro and 2-megapixel bokeh lens.
Perhaps the Nova 5T’s trump card is its use of Huawei’s flagship octa-core Kirin 980 chipset, the same one used in its top-shelf P30 and Mate 20 devices. The chip touts AI-enhanced capabilities, including graphics processing, image processing (improved low-light photography) and reduced device slowdown over time.
According to Huawei, its AI HDR+ algorithm allow for portrait shots even in the dark.
Based on its specifications alone, the Nova 5T looks to be a value winner in the mid-range mobile segment. It certainly is the best-looking of the bunch, with its chromatic, 3D-effect rear (available in blue, black and purple).
The Samsung Galaxy A80 does edge the Huawei out in terms of screen size and its funky rotating cameras, but it is also more expensive. The real competition for the Nova 5T could come in the form of the Xiaomi Mi 9T, which comes in slightly cheaper than our estimated price for the Huawei. It isn’t as pretty as the Nova 5T but, crucially, Xiaomi isn’t (yet) on the US sanctions list.
Pre-orders in Singapore will start on Sep 6 and run until Sep 12 at https://my-huawei.com/. CNA Lifestyle was in Shenzhen at the invitation of Huawei.