Huawei nova Y90 Review

Elegant Supernova, Supercharged

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This is the Huawei nova Y90, the newest mid-range phone from the brand that’s set to be available in stores this August 2022. We’ve had this phone for awhile and here’s what we thought about it in our review.

Huawei nova Y90 specs:

  • 6.7-inch FHD+ IPS display, 2388 x 1080 px
    90Hz refresh rate, 270Hz touch sampling rate
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 4G SoC
    Adreno 610 GPU
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB storage
  • Triple rear cameras with LED Flash:
    50MP f/1.8 main
    2MP f/2.4 macro
    2MP f/2.4 depth
  • 8MP F2.0 front camera
  • 4G LTE, Dual SIM
  • WiFi 801.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, QZSS, NFC
  • USB Type-C
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Side ingerprint scanner
  • EMUI 12
  • 5,000mAh
    40W HUAWEI SuperCharge
  • Colors: Crystal Blue, Pearl White, Emerald Green, Midnight Black

Inside the package we received from Huawei Philippines are the phone itself, a black TPU case (a break away from the usual clear cases offered by most brands), some documentation, the 40-watt Supercharge adaptor, and a USB-C cable.

Design: Elegance, Redefined

Brands are now releasing mid-range phones with good hardware and an equally good, if not better, design that captivates the eyes. Huawei does not miss on that as it brings design cues from its elegant Mate 30 / Mate 40 flagship to the mid-range nova Y90.

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The back, in a Crystal Blue colorway, has a blue-green-purple gradient that greatly shines at the high noon. Its semi-matte finish makes it not susceptible to visible fingerprint smudges and is easy to hold even for long periods of time.

At the upper part is the circular protruding area for the triple-camera setup along with the LED flash, while the Huawei monogram is near the bottom part. Keep in mind that the camera module is protruding higher enough that most phones, so it’s best to keep it safe with its supplied TPU sleeve or any compatible case for the phone.

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Let’s take a look at the sides, where we get flat edges with chrome edge trims leading to the display. The dual SIM card slot, the USB-C port, the microphone, and the loudspeaker are all at the bottom part, while the 3.5mm audio jack is at the top.

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The right sides have all the physical buttons — a volume rocker and the power/lock button that doubles as the phone’s fingerprint scanner. Both are protruding beyond the edge by around 1mm and are easy to reach with any hand operation.

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The front part, meanwhile, has the selfie camera cut at the top-middle part of this IPS display, with the call speaker right at the phone’s upper edge. The bezels of the display are made in such a way that three sides are nearly bezel-less, while the bottom part offers more space.

With an almost 200-gram weight, the phone does not offer that much heft and can be held to multitask or play for long periods of time.

Display: Here for Your Entertainment

The 6.7-inch IPS display here in the nova Y90 is great. It’s huge, offers a more immersive experience with a near bezel-less design, though it may suffer some setbacks on a high noon as it suffers from a bit of glare. The colors are well-reproduced, and you also get good amounts of sharpness (with its Full HD+ resolution) and contrast.

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Audio is just the same as you get with other phones in this price range – decent loudness that can fill up a medium-sized room with good trebles, voice, and tones, but cut out bass. Still good to be heard even when gaming, but it’s best to use your preferred audio gear for a better audio experience.

Cameras: Three is a fancy company

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Sure the camera module at the back is elegant enough to mistake as a more expensive phone, but can the three-camera setup deliver good photos? Actually, they do! The 50-megapixel lens is the star of the setup with good colors and brightness, as well as decent sharpness, contrast and dynamic range. Low-light scenarios could be barely passable for my liking, and these photos are great for social media sharing and even printing as treasured memories.

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Likewise, the 8-megapixel selfie shooter delivers satisfactory photos you can share on your stories or as videos with TikTok or Reels. Portait blurring is also decent and blurs most of the part not included in my facial profile.

Videos also deliver good shots as photos do, but keep in mind that this does not have OIS nor EIS so the outputs tend to be a bit shaky at times. Here are some sample shots and clips:

Performance: An Everyday Phone

Performance-wise, we’re getting a Snapdragon 680 chipset with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. You’re getting around 110GB of storage for all other apps and media files, but there’s no option for a microSD or NM card slot. Huawei is all over the software, from the AppGallery store to the inter-connectivity options with other Huawei products (we’ll explain later) and even exclusive brand software, and we’re not complaining as it still is functional and we’re able to live without much of a Google-reliant app system.

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It’s great enough for everyday use where you’re seen to be using the phone for calls, SMS, photo or video taking, and app browsing over WiFi and GPS. Experience some lag issues for harder multitasking or hardcore gaming in resource-heavy games (Asphalt 9, Diablo Immortal, Genshin Impact) as we’ve seen some slowdowns and lags most especially when we are in full combat. Here are our benchmarks:

  • AnTuTu – 220,489
  • GeekBench – 384 (Single Core), 1,689 (Multi Core), 440 (Compute OpenCL)

Connectivity-wise, we had no issues at all. Wireless connections such as WiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, and mobile data work well, and signal reception is good as always. The GPS is also accurate after calibration, and security features such as the fingerprint scanner and face detection have fast response and unlock times.

Battery: Up All Night

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This phone is a beast in battery. We’ve had one and a half day of medium use with calls, SMS, some camera shoots, and mobile browsing over WiFi and 4G with its 5000mAh battery capacity. When gaming, the phone peaked at six hours on back-to-back intense games such as Diablo Immortal and Genshin Impact on high settings. A video loop using a Full HD clip rendered an 18 hours and 25 minutes score.

Recharging is an easy feat, thanks to Huawei’s 40-watt Supercharge. This charging system is quite different from the usual Supercharge tech we’ve seen as Huawei has imposed a 22-layer protection mechanism so your phone only gets what it deserves — a fast charging speed without destroying your battery or your device. We’ve had the phone charged up from 20% to 100% in one hour, on average.

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Carl writes for WalasTech when he's not working full-time. Give him tips and/or leads at [email protected].