It was just a few days ago that Huawei announced the official launch of two new handsets in India. The new phones were the Nova 3 and the Nova 3i. The launch of these devices also marked the official debut of the Nova series in the country. In case you are unaware, the Nova series is positioned below the more expensive Mate and P-Series devices. I was invited for the launch event of the Nova 3 and the Nova 3i where I managed to do a quick hands-on of both the new phones. Both these devices are slated to go on sale in August – with the affordable Nova 3i going on sale first, followed by the Nova 3 by August end. While we wait for the review unit of the Nova 3i, we do have with us the more interesting Nova 3 already. In fact, I have been using it as my primary handset for a little over four days now. While I am still using the handset to complete my review, I thought four days is long enough to talk about the design aspects of the phone.

Note that this is the first chapter in a series of articles on the Nova 3. If you wish to get a hang of this format, take a look at our Zenfone 5Z review which was our first review in this style.

Let’s get down to business now.

Huawei Nova 3 Review: Design and Build

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The Nova 3 unit that we received for review was the much talked about ‘Iris Purple’ version that is frankly stunning to look at. Some people might, however, find the bright colours a bit too much. There is no denying, however, that this phone will command a second look wherever you go. The striking thing about the handset is the gradient colour effect on the rear panel that shows the panel elegantly shift colours from purple to blue. In case you find the Iris Purple colour a bit too flashy, you can also get the phone in Airy Blue, Red, Black and Primrose Gold options that retain the premium feel – minus the flashiness. The all-glass construction of the handset also ensures that the Nova 3 is as slippery as all other handsets that it competes against. Thankfully, Huawei was considerate enough to ship a rubber case with the phone to protect it from the occasional drop.

The front fascia of the Nova 3 is almost entirely covered by the large 6.3-inch IPS LCD display. As you might have guessed, the panel gets a notch at the top. The notch area is where the earpiece, the proximity sensor and the twin cameras are located. There is also a notification LED beneath the earpiece. The left side of the Nova 3 is devoid of buttons. On the right side, you get the volume rocker and the power buttons. At the bottom, the phone gets a 3.5mm jack, a USB Type C port, and a bottom firing mono speaker. The glossy rear panel houses the twin camera modules, an LED flash and the fingerprint scanner. The offset Huawei branding at the left bottom corner was a nice touch in my opinion. Others may, however, differ.

As mentioned earlier, while the handset does seem to have sturdy build quality, the all-glass nature of the phone and its overall slippery-ness does not instil confidence during daily usage. In fact, I had to be extra careful with the device during my first few days using it because I forgot the case at the office over the weekend. Things do get a lot better once the case is on.

This was the first part of our review series on the Huawei Nova 3. In our second article, I will talk about the display of the device.