Huawei Nova 4e Hands-On: Sleek, Selfie-Focused Mid-Ranger
March 14, 2019 Andrew Cheng

Huawei just announced a brand new device under the Nova series, the Huawei Nova 4e. Marketed as the Huawei P30 Lite in certain markets, it’s quite an interesting mid-range device with a sleek design and a 32MP selfie camera – a first for a Huawei phone.

Surprisingly enough, even though it’s just been announced in China, the Nova 4e will be landing in Malaysia as early as this Saturday on 16 March. It’s a reasonably good mid-ranger, and if you love taking selfies, this may be the phone for you.

Needless to say, the major selling point of the Nova 4e is its 32MP f/2.0 selfie camera. In my brief time with the phone, it does seem capable of taking good-looking selfie images. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs in more challenging lighting situations.

On the back, the Nova 4e has a triple camera system, which consists of a primary 24MP f/1.8 sensor, an 8MP f/2.2 wide-angle shooter, and a 2MP f/2.4 camera for capturing depth information. Thanks to the combination of a standard camera sensor with a wide-angle camera, the Nova 4e is quite a versatile shooter; much like the higher-end Huawei Nova 4.

But how about the camera performance? Well, it’s decent. Based on a few indoor shots I managed to capture, it’s an “okay” camera system. The camera interface is quite responsive, switching between the primary and wide-angle cameras didn’t take too long, and the image output is adequate.

That being said, the 8MP wide-angle camera’s image quality isn’t quite as good as the 24MP shooter (obviously), and the former has noticeable distortion too, resulting in a fisheye-like effect. It’s not pleasant to look at, but hey, this is a mid-range smartphone.

Besides its camera performance, the Nova 4e is quite a looker. My personal favourite colourway is the Peacock Blue model, which has a gradient-like finish on the glass back. The Pearl White colour looks pretty sleek too, and if you want something a little more…discreet, there’s the Midnight Black option.

It doesn’t just look good, of course. Sporting a glass back and a metal frame, the Nova 4e feels solid and premium. I also love the fact that it has a USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microSD card slot – very practical features.

Powering the Nova 4e is Huawei’s very own Kirin 710 chipset, which is said to be equivalent to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 SoC. For the most part, the phone feels fast and speedy, but switching from one app to another does take some time. Again, this is a mid-range phone – this level of performance isn’t exactly unexpected.

Unfortunately, the Nova 4e has one design element that feels old in 2019: a notched display. It’s not quite as wide as the Nova 4’s notch, but it’s still a noticeable cutout. Thankfully, the bottom bezel is quite minimal, giving this phone a more modern-looking aesthetic.

Beyond the notch and bezel size, the 6.15-inch 2312 x 1080 LTPS display looks reasonably good. It can get pretty darn bright, viewing angles are great, colours look punchy, and the white balance is well-calibrated. Basically, this display won’t disappoint you.

Featuring a 3,340mAh battery, the Nova 4e should be able to deliver relatively good battery life too. It doesn’t have a particularly large battery capacity, but the Kirin 710 processor is quite power-efficient, thanks in part to its 12nm size.

Retailing at RM1,199 in Malaysia, the Huawei Nova 4e is priced relatively well. Of course, it’s not the most affordable mid-ranger, but it comes with 128GB of internal storage and 6GB of RAM; pretty generous capacities. On top of that, you’re also getting a sleek-looking smartphone with a 32MP selfie camera.

But if you want absolute value for money, the Nova 4e is not the best option. In this price range, there are a lot of other alternatives to consider, including the upcoming Redmi Note 7, Samsung Galaxy A50, and even the Pocophone F1.

So why would you get the Nova 4e over these alternatives? Well, if you want a device that looks and feels great with a generous amount of RAM and storage – and you love taking selfies – the Nova 4e will serve you well. Otherwise, there are better options out there, especially if you want more bang for your buck.