Huawei Nova 3 vs OnePlus 6 vs ZenFone 5Z:Do four cameras on a smartphone matter?

The Huawei Nova 3 is not just a looker but also packs in quite the punch in terms of hardware.

With the launch of Huawei’s first low cost flagship the Nova 3 at an attractive price tag of Rs 34,999, Huawei now has its own offering in the segment once dominated by OnePlus.

The Huawei Nova 3 was launched alongside the watered down Nova 3i that packs in a brand-new Kirin 710 SoC, which is something new from Huawei after Honor overused the Kirin 659 in a number of budget to mid-range devices.

As for the Huawei Nova 3 it features a large 6.3-inch FHD+ LCD display with a 19:9 aspect ratio, which also includes that massive display notch. The design is also more in line with the P20 series than any of Honor’s offerings so it is a bit more polished than Honor 10 and looks good in the new Iris Purple finish.

Huawei Nova 3. Image: Huawei Global

Huawei Nova 3. Image: Huawei Global

Inside, there’s a Kirin 970 SoC (also available in the Honor 10 and the Huawei P20 Pro) that’s paired with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage that is expandable up to 256 GB using a microSD card (OnePlus loses out once again).

Then there’s the cameras and Huawei like the Honor 9i, has four of them.

There’s a 16 MP (f/1.8) RGB primary sensor + 24 MP monochrome sensor at the back while the front cameras get a 24 MP (f/2.0) primary sensor + 2 MP monochrome sensor. Both secondary sensors are present solely for the depth effect that produces photographs with a bokeh effect.

Apart from this the Nova 3 also packs in face unlock system using the front cameras and a fingerprint reader at the back. There’s Qmoji’s as well, which is basically Huawei’s take on Apple’s Animoji.

The smartphones also offer 480 fps Super Slow Motion video recording, a feature that is also available on the ZenFone 5Z and the OnePlus 6.

Indeed, the Huawei Nova 3 has got our attention when it comes to pricing, cameras and that flashy new design as well.

With such competitive specifications on offer, it makes plenty of sense to find out which smartphone brand offers better value for their respective price tags. Especially with Asus’s Zenfone 5Z recently dethroning the OnePlus 6 overall (even though the OnePlus 6 has the better camera of the two).

Let’s take a look at the table below that gives us a better idea of what each smartphone has to offer.

Smartphone Huawei Nova 3 Asus ZenFone 5Z OnePlus 6
Display Size (inch) 6.3 6.2 6.28
Resolution (pixels) 1080 x 2340 1080 x 2246 1080 x 2280
Pixel Density (PPI) 409 402 402
Dimensions(mm) 157 x 73.7 x 7.3 153 x 75.7 x 7.9 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8
Weight (gm) 166 155 177
Dual SIM Yes Yes Yes
SIM Type Nano-SIM Nano-SIM Nano-SIM
Connectivity Types GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE
Processor HiSilicon Kirin 970 + i7 microprocessor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
CPU Cores Octa-core Octa-core Octa-core
CPU Clock Speed (GHz) 4 x 2.36 GHz Cortex A73 + 4 x 1,8 GHz Cortex A53 4 x 2.7 GHz Kryo 385 & 4 x 1.8 GHz Kryo 385 4x2.8 GHz Kryo 385 & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 385
GPU Mali-G72 MP12 Adreno 630 Adreno 630
RAM 6 GB 6, 8 GB 6, 8 GB
On-Board Memory 128 GB 64, 128, 256 GB 64, 128, 256 GB (Avengers)
Expandable Memory Yes (256 GB) Yes (256 GB) No
Sensors Proximity, gyroscope, accelerometer, fingerprint (rear-mounted), compass Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Primary Camera 16 MP, f1.8 + 24 MP 12 MP, f/1.8 + 8 MP f/2.0 16 MP, f/1.7 and 20 MP, f/1.7
Optical Image Stabilization Yes Yes Yes
Camera Array Dual Camera Dual Camera Dual Camera
Autofocus System Phase detection autofocus Phase detection autofocus Phase detection autofocus
Secondary Camera 24 MP, f/2.0 + 2 MP 8 MP, f/2.0 16 MP, f/2.0
Video Capture 1080p @ 30/60fps, 2160p @ 30fps 720p @480 fps, 1080p @ 60 fps, 2160p @ 60 fps 720p @480 fps, 1080p @ 60 fps, 2160p @ 60 fps
Flash LED Dual-LED Dual-LED
OS Version Android 8.1 Oreo Android 8.0 Android 8.1 Oreo
AI (Smart Assistant) Google Assistant Google Assistant Google Assistant
GPS Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, hotspot Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD 5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD 5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
NFC No Yes Yes
Infrared No No No
Fingerprint Scanner Yes, Rear button Yes, Rear button Yes, Rear button
3.5mm jack Yes Yes Yes
Radio Yes No No
USB Type Type-C 1.0 reversible connector Type-C 1.0 reversible connector Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
USB Standard USB v2.0 USB v2.0 USB v2.0
Battery (mAh) 3,750 3,300 3,300
Fast charging Yes Yes Yes
Colors Airy Blue, Primrose Gold, Iris Purple, black, red Meteor Silver, Midnight Blue Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White
Prices in India Starting at Rs 34,999 Starting at Rs 29,999 Starting at Rs 34,999

Since this is a comparison of the smartphones based on their specifications on paper, it’s easy to conclude that Huawei’s Nova 3 is the most feature-packed offering in the lot.

The Nova 3 offers a slightly bigger display than the OnePlus 6 and the ZenFone 5Z.

Then there is that quad-camera setup that boasts of the 24 MP sensors not just at the back, but on the front as well. This allows the Nova 3 to click depth effect photos using both front and the rear cameras unlike the software-based portrait modes on the 5Z and the OnePlus 6.

Huawei Nova 3i . Image: Huawei

Huawei Nova 3i . Image: Huawei

Talking about cameras, the Nova 3 does come short with the lack of a 4K 60 fps video recording mode.

Last but definitely not the least is that massive 3,750 mAh battery that offers the highest capacity in the range. Let’s just hope that it keeps up with the Asus ZenFone 5Z during our testing as well.

Indeed, Huawei has done its homework. It brings something different to the segment with a dual front-camera setup and also offers the biggest battery, but Huawei’s HiSilicon SoC are not exactly known to perform as well as Qualcomm’s finest. But we delve into the performance bits in our full review.

For now, that striking design, the quad-camera setup and the large battery should be enough reason for choosing the Nova over the rest. But if you are looking for better value, then the ZenFone 5Z is still the ideal choice and you get Snapdragon 845 inside as well. Don’t like EMUI or ZenUI software? Well, the OnePlus 6 should appeal to purists with an almost stock Android software experience.

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