Huawei Nova 3i proves that it’s worth every penny vs OPPO F9!


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As we’re researching for the hottest midrange smartphones in the market in the Philippines, we found out that 2 products are getting a significant number of search blips via Google search – Huawei Nova 3i and OPPO F9.

nova 3i vs f9In fact, a lot of our readers have been messaging us about what to buy between the two. They received answers and a few explanations. However, we thought of coming up with articles that will further explain the reasons for our answers.


Hands-down, Nova 3i is one of the beautiful smartphones we’ve seen this year. Its one-of-a-kind and sophisticated gradient look is a story worth telling, but the sense of wonder it evokes has details that are more than what we can see.

OPPO F9’s plastic back panel with flower petal design is also noteworthy. While they are late in the game, OPPO’s desire to upgrade the aesthetics of their smartphones is becoming a trend.

OPPO F9 vs Huawei Nova 3i 11Being the pioneer of immersive design, Huawei believes that innovation does not just end on the latest technology in camera and software. Design and color technology make the full core of their innovation strategy in the industry.

Remember the Iris Purple Huawei P20 Pro? Apart from having triple rear camera, one of most celebrated features is the available colorways for consumers. Yes, the smartphone can take impressive photos even at twilight, but the Twilight Version Huawei P20 Pro has been receiving rave reviews from consumers around the world. Pun intended, of course.

The debut of the new Nova series this year also marked a new color gradient that is getting a lot of buzz from consumers. Iris Purple versions of Nova 3i was instantly sold out on first day, and the demand for such still grow every day.

OPPO F9 vs Huawei Nova 3i 10While we all appreciate the color every time light shines on the surface of our Iris Purple Huawei Nova 3i, I realized that there’s a lot of things going on under the microscope. We seek the help of Huawei to help us understand how things work, and they answered us with a bit of explanation about “Structural Coloration”.

Here’s how everything goes. With structural coloration, special pigments were used to produce brilliant and rich structural colors that we can easily observe. Under the microscope, the pigments cause irregularities that bend visible light in a way that the means of light are refracted, reflected and interfere with each other. The pigments on the surface reflect a gradient look that somehow changes depending on the lighting situation.

And speaking of light: as light hits the glass back of the Nova 3i, it goes through five layers of nano coating, which eventually morphs the color wavelengths. In the end, what we see is a rich and illusionary blue-purple gradient color.

OPPO F9 vs Huawei Nova 3i 15Huawei Nova 3i, obviously, takes the win in terms of design. OPPO F9’s flower petal design is pretty, but it isn’t as awesome as Nova 3i’s Iris Purple.


Both devices are equipped with dual rear cameras – a AI 16MP primary, and another AI 2MP secondary, the latter used for adding the depth of field effect to your photos. Both are also fitted with AI Scene Detection that enables the camera to optimize itself depending on your subject. Up front, OPPO uses a single 25MP sensor on the F9, while the Nova 3i utilizes an AI 24MP + AI 2MP combination.

OPPO F9 vs Huawei Nova 3i 57While having AI enabled is fine for most scenarios, there are times when you’ll just want to have it off. Sadly, the F9 doesn’t have an option for you to disable its AI, while the Nova 3i does.

We will have an exclusive comparison of the photos we took using both phones.  Apart from comparing photos side by side, we’ll also take a look at both device’s camera interface, and see which one is better in terms of features, and ease of use. All shots were done in Auto Mode and to be in equal grounds, with AI-enabled.

In terms of AI Photography, Huawei Nova 3i sweeps the OPPO F9. It isn’t too late for OPPO F9 though as this may still be updated via the software patch. Provided that they’ve got the time and technology to enhance everything the core AI camera functions of F9, they might have the chance to improve it from the ground up.

Based on our tests, the Nova 3i surpasses the F9 by a couple of points. The good thing though is that you really can’t go wrong with either of these phones. It all boils down to what you prefer. If the camera is your highest priority in buying a smartphone, then go with the Huawei Nova 3i. But if you want something that’s more of an all-rounder, go for the OPPO F9.


With great storage comes better mileage for consumers! I believe that this is one of the advantages of Huawei Nova 3i over the OPPO F9! For a price that’s way more affordable than OPPO F9 with 64gb, Nova 3i with 128gb offers the best storage feature in the competition.

OPPO F9 vs Huawei Nova 3i 50Just how much data can you put in a 64GB OPPO F9 and 128GB Huawei Nova 3i? Here’s a table below for your reference:

 Average Size (MB)64GB OPPO F9128GB Nova 3i
SD Video70091183
HD Video128050100


If we take out system files in the equation, we should only count the available internal storage on each device. Having this considered, here’s how much data you can put on an OPPO F9 with 49.9GB and a Huawei Nova 3i with 116GB available storages.

 Average Size (MB)64GB OPPO F9128GB Nova 3i
SD Video70071166
HD Video12803991


Yup! You can store as much as 91 HD movies in a Nova 3i. Or, you can even choose to just simply put almost 49,000 standard definition music in it.

Performance and battery consumption

OPPO F9 trumps over Huawei Nova 3i when it comes to gaming performance. OPPO’s midrange flagship presents a plethora of convincing case of having a more optimized software and hardware that are built for gaming. However, OPPO cannot just simply rest on its laurels as this is just a facet of its features.

OPPO F9 vs Huawei Nova 3i 41Gaming performance is just a pinch among the many reasons why Filipino consumers buy smartphones. In fact, at the time of this posting, Nova 3i’s GPU Turbo update is not yet available. Therefore, at this time, if you’re after other features than gaming – like photography and design – then you’ll save up PhP2,000 by getting a Nova 3i instead.

You can check our full gaming performance comparison between the two devices on this link.


And yes, another defining factor for consumers is the price! It is, most of the time, the main consideration when buying a new smartphone.

Obviously, for a device that is way more affordable by PhP2,000, Huawei Nova 3i’s victory over OPPO F9 is clear as day in terms of price.


Straight up answers, guys!

  • Design: Huawei Nova 3i
  • Camera: Huawei Nova 3i
  • Gaming Performance: OPPO F9
  • Battery: OPPO F9
  • Storage: Huawei Nova 3i
  • Price: Huawei Nova 3i

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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