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You’re probably wondering – why would Huawei launch the nova9 SE if there’s still a Nova9 in the market. You can probably look at this in this perspective: the nova9 SE is targeted towards those who’re after content creation but less on gaming. While I’m not dismissing its 6nm chipset, you’ll later discover – based on specs – that this phone is really after those who’re into taking photos and videos, and post these contents on social media.

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Huawei nova 9SE vs Huawei nova 9



Huawei nova9 takes a lot of its design inspiration from the Huawei P50 series and the nova 9. It looks premium wherever you look at it, which is something that’s very seldom to see on a device that costs less than PhP15K. It looks delicate and frail despite having a seemingly solid design. It does not have that smudge-magnet coating that the nova 9 has so be sure to either use its available case or just bear with it.

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All physical switches are found on the right side. It uses Type-C USB for data transfer and charging. It has two microphones, which are located at the top and bottom. It has a downward firing mono speaker at the bottom.

Hardware and Performance

If you’re after chipset and everything that tickles your tech-fancy, you need to know that this is powered by a 6nm-Snapdragon 680 4G. Based on configuration, the device will appear to have similar clock speed compared to the nova9. However, the Kryo SoC architecture installed on both devices are different, which impacts overall performance. The nova9 SE is packed with Kryo 265 Gold and Silver chipsets, while the nova 9 has near-flagship Kryo 670 chipsets.

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I ran a few benchmarks on the nova9 SE with performance mode disabled, and my expectations were met. It isn’t exactly the device you’d use to play triple A mobile games, but it’s more than enough to help you become productive.


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Now, let’s talk about display. Nova 9 SE’s display is bigger in terms of screen real estate. It sports a 6.78-inch IPS LCD display with up to 90Hz refresh rate. Yup, there’s no OLED screen here so expect its display performance a little lower than the one on the Nova9. Honestly, I don’t mind the 90Hz refresh rate either as 120Hz refresh rate only comes handy on supported games and applications, which isn’t that much as of the moment.


Let’s now talk about cameras. The rear camera of the nova9 SE is probably its best feature. It features a 108 megapixel AI quad camera system, which dwarfs the camera setup of last year’s nov8 SE. This allows you to capture high quality images with crystal clear detail. To understand how this new camera setup works, 108MP helps retain details and produce higher definition photos. The main camera itself features a large 1/1.52-inch sensor which is made to produce photos at excellent resolution and light sensitivity. Huawei also has this camera technology called 9-in-1 pixel technology that combines data from blocks of pixels into an ultra-large pixel equivalent to 2.1um in order to increase image brightness. I feel like this is something similar to nonabinning technology, which almost employs the same photography process that involves large lenses and smart AI.

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Part from its main 108MP lens, the nova9 SE is also packed with the usual 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro and another 2MP for depth-sensing, making this a creative powerhouse for mobile creators. I managed to take some portrait photos, and they seem to be ready for posting or printing with zero to minimal post processing. You can take videos up to 4K. There is no 60fps mode on other video resolutions. Nevertheless, the shortage of FPS option is replaced by your capability to shoot up to 4K30fps, which is a good factor.

The Huawei nova9 SE has a 16MP front facing camera, which is half the size of the nova9. Despite this megapixel cut, it still manages to take decent photo and video selfies. If taking 4K selfies interests you, it’s also important to note that the nova9 SE lacks this capability on its front facing camera.

Here are some of the sample photos and videos I took using the Huawei nova9 SE

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Now, let’s talk about Software. Nova9 SE runs on EMUI 12.0.1 on top of Android 12. You get the usual features found on Huawei smartphones, including its device collaboration features. I like the fact that I can easily access its control panel with a single swipe and easily connect to my Huawei accessories on the fly. If you have a Freebuds 4 or a Huawei Watch 3 like I do, you can just simply connect to it and enjoy its additional features conveniently.

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As usual, you get access to AppGallery, which allows you to download some of the top applications found on Google PlayStore. This does not have native GMS support, but I managed to install a version of Google PlayStore via GSpace that can be downloaded via AppGallery.

Battery Performance

In terms of battery life, my battery benchmark (12 hours and 23 minutes with 20% battery juice remaining) was topped off its actual real world setup. At moderate usage, it managed to stay up for 12 hours and 49 minutes with 20% juice remaining.

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Connectivity Options

Now, in terms of connectivity, the Huawei nova9 SE is dual SIM capable and up to 4G data connection. No 5G here. In terms of other connection options, the Wifi is compatible up to WiFiAC; the Bluetooth is up to 5.0 and has the necessary GPS modules like A-GPS, GLONASS and BDS.

Final Verdict

Priced at PhP13,999, the Huawei nova9 SE is a productivity powerhouse. This is the type of device that you’ll consider buying if you’re after good camera specs at the expense of chipset configuration. If there’s one device that can rival this device, it would be the Redmi Note 10 Pro, which is now selling for PhP13,590.

However, you do not want to buy this device if you’re after playing games even if it has 90Hz refresh rate. Yes, you can play games, but its specs may not be enough to let you enjoy consistently high frame rates versus other devices of the same price point.

As an added bonus, Huawei is throwing extra freebies when you pre-order a Huawei nova 9SE worth PhP4,745 – Huawei FreeBuds 4i + Huawei Cloud Benefits.

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of gadgetpilipinas.net, 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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