I just can’t with these notches anymore. They seem like a completely pointless (and counterintuitive) design decision by Apple that everyone else seems to be jumping on for seemingly no reason other than because Apple did it. With that rant out of the way, it’s clear that notches aren’t going anywhere any time soon, and the most recent victim to this design faux pas happens to be the otherwise pretty good Nova 3e from HUAWEI.

Design
The Nova 3e is 7.4mm thick and weighs about 145 grams, making it an ultraslim smartphone that feels really good to hold in your hand. The back includes a fingerprint scanner that, once you get over the learning curve of constantly having to grope around for it, becomes second nature. Much to my delight, the one feature Huawei didn’t emulate from modern smartphone trends is the lack of a headphone port.

The bottom of the device features a glorious – and now increasinly rare – 3.5mm jack next to a USB-C port for charging. Thas a glass finish back with a metal frame that that comes in two colours: the pretty classy Midnight Black and the absolutely hideous Klein Blue. It also comes in Gold and Sakura Pink shades but those aren’t available in UAE at the moment. All of the shiny glass surfaces make the Nova 3e an unfortunate fingerprint magnet.

Screen
As you might have gathered from the opening paragraph, I’m not a huge fan of the notch. The only purpose it serves is to reduce the bezel on the rest of the screen, but seeing as how it comes at the cost of actually obscuring part of the screen, it’s a bit unfortunate. If you’re someone who regularly plays games on your phone, be prepared to not be able to see the top of the screen.

The Nova 3e has a 5.84 inch display with a 1080 x 2280 resolution. The display is sharp and perfect for watching videos or reading comics and ebooks (something I do quite a bit on my phone). Huawei made an interesting choice to go with an IPS display rather than the incresingly popular OLED, so the colour range isn’t anywhere near, say, the Moto Z2, but it’s bright enough to be visible against direct sunlight.

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Camera
THe Nova 3e has a vertical dual-lens camera on the back with a 16 megapixel sensor and an f/2.0 aperture as well as a secondary 2 megapixel f/2.2 sensor that does an admirable job with depth-sensing to take good portraits. While the camera performs well enough in most lighting conditions, it starts falling apart in low-light, despite the high aperture.

The front camera, on the other hand, is a whole other beast. IT has a 16 megapixel f/2.0 sensor and a 78 degree wide angle lens that makes it perfect for those group selfies we all love to take. But the problem with the front camera is the lack of manual settings which makes it constantly overexpose brighter backgrounds, making it particularly painful take good looking selfies – especially with skin as pale as mine.

The front camera, on the other hand, is a whole other beast. IT has a 16 megapixel f/2.0 sensor and a 78 degree wide angle lens that makes it perfect for those group selfies we all love to take. But the problem with the front camera is the lack of manual settings which makes it constantly overexpose brighter backgrounds, making it particularly painful take good looking selfies – especially with skin as pale as mine.

Battery
The Nova 3e has a 3000mAh battery that lasts about a day of regular usage which involved making calls, using WiFi constantly, and watching an offline video or two here and there. The battery life is lessened significantly when you factor in 4G data usage, but your mileage will vary based on how much you use it. Thankfully, the device supports fast charging so you’ll be able to top it up fairly quickly should the need arise.
The Nova 3e has a 3000mAh battery that lasts about a day of regular usage which involved making calls, using WiFi constantly, and watching an offline video or two here and there. The battery life is lessened significantly when you factor in 4G data usage, but your mileage will vary based on how much you use it. Thankfully, the device supports fast charging so you’ll be able to top it up fairly quickly should the need arise.

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Verdict
The HUAWEI Nova 3e is, at the end of the day, a budget smartphone that’s pretty much genetically designed to look and feel a lot fancier than it actually is. While HUAWEI is also known for selling some premium devices, the final verdict on the Nova 3e is that it’s… fine. It’s fine. It feels good to hold, the camera is fine, the screen is fine, and maybe if you use it for long enough, you’ll learn to love the notch. You won’t easily find a phone this good for its price.

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