Huawei Nova 10 Pro Review
Design, ergonomics, and software
In their smartphones, Huawei designers continue to bend the space line. For the first time, allusions to astronomical objects appeared in Huawei Mate 40 Pro, where the camera design was compared with the first photo of a black hole in history. But Huawei Nova 10 Pro is not far behind – here, too, cameras are responsible for space, but now they symbolize not a black hole, but orbital rings. Well, there really is something to it. But more importantly, the smartphone looks elegant and even, for my taste, beautiful.
The front panel received a screen curved at the edges – it is really more difficult to hold such a slippery phone with curved edges in your hand, but the bezels around the screen are minimal. Here, in particular, the screen occupies 91.2% of the front surface – considering the interspersed front cameras.
Yes, there are two of them, they are located in the oval cutout, closer to the left edge. The back panel can please not only with the orbital rings of cameras, where the standard vertical block is finished with golden paint, but also with a nice “sparkling” coating. Huawei Nova 10 Pro is especially good in artificial light when reflections play on its surface.
There are two color variations on the USA market: “shimmering silver” (as we have on the test) and “shining black”. Usually, I sigh about what kind of black gadgets are boring, but in this case, I will refrain – the black and gold coated version looks great. Design:
- Case. The case of Huawei Nova 10 Pro is made of glass (front surface and back) and plastic (edges). Moisture protection is not provided – this is one of the inevitable compromises that separate a mid-range smartphone from a flagship. The gadget turned out to be very thin (7.9 mm), but large in general and heavy (191 grams). Everybody- nevertheless, a large display of 6.78 inches was chosen for it, and even very thin frames do not save the situation completely. However, the Huawei Nova 10 Pro does not leave a bulky impression, it is a device that is relatively convenient for its dimensions. If desired, you can put your smartphone in a complete case made of transparent silicone.
- Connectors. The functional elements are the same as on Huawei Nova 9: there is no mini-jack, two physical keys on the right side, a SIM card slot and a USB Type-C port along with a speaker – on the bottom.
- Fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner is located under the screen – the optical sensor is traditional for such solutions (but it has become more sensitive than before and recognizes touch, including a wet or greasy finger). It does not always work the first time, but in cases where you had to enter a PIN code due to for exceeding the number of attempts, I did not have. You can duplicate the scanner using a face recognition system based on the front camera, without additional sensors.
- Firmware. Interestingly, Huawei has been putting the same shell (EMUI 12) on its smartphones for more than a year, which is based on the open version of Android 10, but at the same time it gradually evolves. Its main features remain the same, but new details are constantly appearing: the capabilities of the Super Device ecosystem function are expanding, the Petal Search box (previously serving exclusively to download APK – files not presented in the AppGallery of applications) is overgrown with links, the interface is slightly modified. It is difficult for me to formulate a clear attitude towards such stability – after all, annual updates of the shell are taken for granted – but in fact it did not have time to become outdated, the possibilities are quite relevant. A fast and well-designed shell without Google services, which after three years you can already get used to.
Display and Sound
OLED 2562×1200 px display. Yes, yes, more than Full HD – this smartphone has something to surprise, apart from design. The pixel density is 429 ppi. Characteristics:
- Display refresh rate. The screen supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz. By default, the “dynamic” frequency is set – that is, the smartphone itself decides when to hold 60 Hz, and when to make the picture smoother, but you can also force 120 Hz. But flipping on a smartphone is really very nice – the main bonus from the high refresh rate is quite played out.
- Brightness. The measured maximum brightness is 578 cd/m2 – a perfect level for any display, especially for an OLED screen. In the sun, information is not just readable, but does not fade at all and retains contrast and full color.
- Additional functions. In the screen settings, you can adjust the resolution (HD, Full HD, “smart” resolution when a smartphone selects it), scale, font size, hide the hole for the front camera behind a dark curtain, set a dark or light mode. You can also change the color rendering – select between two profiles (“normal” and “bright”) and set the color temperature. I measured the color rendering in exactly two preset profiles, without individual adjustment of the color temperature.
- DCI-P3. Default screen Huawei Nova 10 Pro works in bright mode. The color gamut in this mode is close in area to the DCI-P3 standard, but still, it turns out to be slightly narrower and slightly shifted. The average gamma level is lowered (2.04) due to sharply falling curves on light shades. The color temperature graph is very even, but it goes a little higher than normal – in the range of 7,700-7,900 K. The average deviation for the extended Color Checker palette (shades of gray + a wide range of color shades) is 4.54.
- Color rendering. Normal rendering mode adjusts the color space to match the content displayed on the screen. The test patterns in our case are − in sRGB space, and the screen's color gamut is narrowed accordingly. Gamma returns to normal – 2.20 (with ideal curves). The colors warm up, though not to the reference 6,500 K, but close – the graph is kept at 6,800-6,900 K. The average DeltaE deviation in the Color Checker palette is approaching the okay – 3.34. The display is set up rather well, especially in normal mode.
- Interfaces. In Huawei, Nova 10 Pro is missing an analog audio jack – a classic of the genre, especially considering that Huawei is very active in the TWS headphone market and does not want to cut the branch it sits on. With Bluetooth, the situation is normal – LDAC profiles are supported and aptX External speakers for Nova 10 Pro stereo, unlike Huawei Nova 9, – along with the one located on the lower edge, the colloquial one works. The quality is normal – the volume is enough, at maximum volume the sound is not “pinched”.
Huawei Nova 10 Pro is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G hardware platform with the 5G modem disabled. Here, nothing has changed compared to Huawei Nova 9 – it also received this platform, which is very common among mid-range smartphones. Specifications:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G. Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G carries eight Kryo 670 cores: four productive (Gold) are based on ARM Cortex-A78 and have a clock frequency of 2.2 GHz, four energy-efficient (Silver) are based on ARM Cortex-A55 with a frequency of 1 .8 GHz. Graphics subsystem – Adreno 642L with support for Vulcan 1.1, OpenGL 3S 3.1, OpenCL 2.0 FP, HDR10+ and HDR10. The platform is manufactured using 6 nm technology.
- Relevance. The hardware platform could not “get old” in a year — and did not, in terms of performance Huawei Nova 10 Pro looks quite decent, even if some competitors (even for less money) break ahead in benchmarks. Nevertheless, there is a margin, applications open quickly, any games will start without problems (the main thing is to make money on a smartphone without Google services) and with a normal frame rate. Stars from the sky, despite its cosmic status, the gadget is not enough, but it doesn’t hit the dirt either.
- Cooling. Finally, this platform has no issues with heat dissipation (as well as a smartphone with cooling). Judging by the tactile sensations, in games and when recording 4K video, the smartphone heats up slightly. A slight decrease in processor frequencies under load is recorded only in the 3DMark's Wild Life Extreme resource test – the drop occurs to the level of 84%, which is not too serious.
- Benchmarks. In the CPU Throttling Test, as in the usual 3DMark's Wild Life, the frequency is not reduced at all. The average performance in the benchmark is 254 GIPS. The result is excellent.
- Memory. Huawei Nova 10 Pro ships in the USA with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. No memory card slot provided, but in most cases it is not needed with such a volume of flush.
Communications and wireless communications
Huawei Nova 10 Pro has a dual nano-SIM slot. The manufacturer does not indicate the speed of the LTE modem, but everything works quickly, without problems. All required ranges are supported. Wireless connections are fully represented: there is Wi-Fi 6 (common set: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax), and Bluetooth 5.2, and NFC, as well as powerful navigation in place module with support for two-position GPS (A-GPS), GLONASS and QZSS, as well as three position BeiDou and Galileo. Also in the list is NavIC.
The rear camera compared to what was in Huawei Nova 9 (yes, normal, not Pro) has changed minimally. Now this is a triple, not a quadruple module – a macro camera flew overboard. Of the remaining three, two cameras are responsible for two viewing angles, normal and extended, and the third one helps with blurring the background in portraits. Camera modules:
- Sensor. Huawei does not disclose which sensor is used in the main camera of Nova 10 Pro, but judging by all indirect data, the same one as in Nova 9, and previously in Huawei P40 Pro. This is a 50 megapixel sensor with filters, arranged according to the Quad Bayer scheme, and even according to the unusual RYYB scheme instead of the classic RGB – that is, one green filter replaces two yellow ones. This helps to capture more light in the dark, both in theory and in practice – we have dealt with a sensor made using this technology several times. The aperture lens works with it f/1.8 with phase detection autofocus. Interestingly, the focal length is different from what we saw on the Nova 9–23 equivalent millimeters instead of 27 there. There is no optical stabilizer. The second camera, which is responsible for the extended viewing angle, received an 8-megapixel sensor and an ƒ / 2.2 aperture lens, without autofocus. The angle of view expands by about one and a half times – up to 112 degrees.
- Quad Bayer. From left to right: extended field of view, standard field of view, 2x hybrid zoom “Native” There are two focal lengths for the Huawei Nova 10 Pro camera, as I noted above – standard (about 26 mm to 35 mm equivalent) and wide (about 16-17 mm). But in the camera application, there is also a 2x zoom on the default focal length scale, which is reasonable – Quad Bayer – the sensor allows for a two-fold crop with minimal losses. Other zoom options are out of brackets – in the application, the smartphone now does not slip them, although no one interferes with zooming with your fingers. However, this will be standard software scaling with a strong drop in image quality. “Hybrid” the zoom is more than working – if there are no problems with lighting, it is difficult to notice artificially raised frame detail or any signs of compression. But with non-ideal light, and even more so in the dark, the quality of the picture drops – the sharpness suffers foremost: we see either noticeable due to artificially raised contour sharpness, or light lubrication.
- Wide-angle camera. The same complaints about the wide-angle camera – it produces normal quality in daytime shooting and demonstrates a frank lack of detail at night. What is sad, you can’t fix this due to the night mode with multi-frame gluing – it is only available for standard focal length and zoom. I also lacked the coverage angle a little – this is not the most extreme and interesting wide-angle lens on the market.
- Main camera. As for the main camera, everything is fine here, It’s hard to single out claims: in low light, the sensor performs as expected great, while there are no problems with color reproduction due to an unusual set of filters, the dynamic range is in order, excellent detail without busting. The only point is a rather strong glare optics, due to for which there can be a lot of stray light in night shots.
- Features of Quad, Bayer. Features of the Quad Bayer sensor of the main camera are used not only for zoom, but also for shooting in the highest available resolution – when Hi-Res mode is activated, you can get pictures at 50 megapixels. True, why a smartphone it requires four seconds to hold it still, as for taking a multi-frame exposure. The image, accordingly, will not always be sharp, and even more so in low light.
- Night mode. In night mode, which, as I said, works for standard focal length and 2x zoom, a smartphone in theory should take brighter, richer and brighter pictures, compensating for the small size of the sensor with multi-frame exposure and processing. But Huawei Nova 10 Pro does this only in part – the smartphone does not shoot enough frames (the exposure lasts less than a second regardless of lighting) and consistently allows micro-blur when shooting with zoom. When shooting with a standard focal length, the quality with and without night mode does not differ too much. It is strictly optional here.
- Portrait mode. In portrait mode, the Huawei Nova 10 Pro performs very well. Three focal lengths are available (although detailing already suffers with a 3x software zoom), there are various bokeh effects such as “hearts” or background spirals. Added a new effect slow motion, which simulates a “dynamic” blur in the background, but it does not always work correctly, sometimes allowing this blur on the model’s face. The zone of sharpness stands out, a little rough, there may be artifacts along the border of the object, and in general, it can look artificial, especially in close-ups, but the overall level of shooting in this mode is good.
Huawei Nova 10 Pro camera app interface
Familiar camera app: quite sane navigation, good feature set, but very inconvenient zoom mechanism if you don't switch between the four available focal lengths, and use the slider (when shooting a video, it’s generally very annoying). There is a “professional” mode with manual settings, the ability to shoot simultaneously with the rear and front cameras (“Dual View”), but at the same time, for example, there is no option to force HDR activation. Huawei Nova 10 Pro can shoot 4K video at up to 30fps, and Full HD at up to 60fps.
There is good digital stabilization, which is available when shooting at any frequency and in any resolution. You can also switch between the main and wide-angle cameras at any resolution (including 4K). However, the picture is not uniform. There is also a software zoom – up to six times. Filters are available in the ability to shoot portrait video with background blur and desaturate the background with a colored object in the frame. You can shoot fast and slow (up to 960 frames per second in HD) video.
- Video blog. The video blog feature that debuted on Huawei Nova 9 hasn't gone anywhere either, where the ability to shoot not only simultaneously on the front and rear cameras, but also simultaneously with several focal lengths is exploited. True, it is only available in Full HD + resolution (shooting in full screen, not 16:9) at 30 frames per second. You can also immediately superimpose suggested music on the image or shoot “clips” in the “Story Creator” mode – the smartphone offers to make numerous short videos according to the template on the rear. Above is an example of simultaneous shooting on the front and rear cameras within the same frame. Unfortunately, this feature is limited to Full-HD resolution, while the rear and front cameras separately are quite capable of recording 4K video.
- Aperture. The front camera can do a lot. The smartphone received a dual module, offering three focal lengths at once. A sensor with a resolution of 60 megapixels, unique for a selfie camera, is responsible for two wider angles – and to understand according to what scheme the filters are built here, I could not: the smartphone takes frames by default at a resolution of 12.5 megapixels, for Quad Bayer it seems somehow not enough. In this case, the filters are grouped by four, but here it turns out as if by five – most likely, not the entire surface of the sensor is simply used. This camera received ƒ/2 aperture optics, 4 and autofocus and allows you to shoot with two focal lengths. A closer view is available thanks to the camera with a resolution of 8 megapixels, with autofocus optics, aperture ƒ/2.2.
- Shooting. Shooting 4K video is possible on both modules, and in the process of shooting, you can quickly switch between them and change three focal lengths on the fly – implemented even more conveniently than on the rear camera. Of course, there is a software background blur with various effects and improvements. Both in terms of image quality and feature set, this is the best front camera.
Huawei Nova 10 Pro received a battery with a capacity of 17.1 Wh (4500 mAh, 3.8 V) – quite a standard for a smartphone with a screen diagonal of under seven inches, so the autonomy of some it was not worth expecting special feats. The gadget holds a charge during daylight hours even with a serious load – and we are already accustomed to not demand more from a modern smartphone. In our traditional test with Full HD video playback at maximum brightness, with Wi-Fi turned on and notifications (with a “dynamic” screen frequency), the smartphone showed a good result – 14.5 hours. For charging, the current USB Type-C port (USB 2.0 standard) is used and the proprietary 100W Huawei Super Charge fast charging system works, which allows you to fully charge the battery in about half an hour – there are no compromises. Wireless charging is not supported.
- Bright design;
- Slim body + borderless display;
- Curved and bright 120Hz OLED screen;
- Good quality shooting on the main rear camera;
- Superb front camera with three focal lengths;
- Interesting features for video recording;
- Very fast charging.
- No memory card slot;
- No mini jack;
- No moisture protection;
- No Google services;
- There is no optical zoom in the camera.