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Huawei Nova 5T review: old wine in a new bottle

AndroidPIT Huawei Nova 5T Front 1
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Under the new name, Nova 5T, Huawei once again markets the Honor 20, which we have already reviewed. Now a hundred bucks cheaper, the device has what it takes to become an inexpensive high-end recommendation. During my review period, the Huawei Nova 5T proved just what this wolf in sheep's clothing can do.

Huawei Nova 5T


  • High-end hardware
  • Good battery life and quick charging
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Very good camera


  • No headphone jack (adapter included)
  • No MicroSD slot
  • Few accessories included
  • No IP-rated waterproofing
Huawei Nova 5T: All deals

Huawei Nova 5T release date and price

For the Huawei Nova 5T, the manufacturer asks for the princely sum of £399.99. This makes it 30 quid cheaper than the Huawei P30, which has almost the same equipment. The device, SIM tool, a 22.5-watt fast charger and an adapter for headphones are included in the box. You have the choice between the colors 'Midsummer purple' or black.

huawei nova 5t
The Huawei Nova 5T comes with a protective cover, but no headphones / © NextPit

Tip: If you buy the identical Honor 20 instead, you can currently save around 70 pounds.

Huawei Nova 5T design and build quality

The Huawei Nova 5T is beautiful, even if the manufacturer does not break new ground here. The shiny, reflective back, the glass and metal, and the hole in the front of the display are well known from the competition - also from the devices of the sister brand, Honor.

huawei nova 5t
I like to turn a blind eye to the hole-punched display on the Huawei Nova 5T / © NextPit

A special feature could be the fingerprint sensor on the side. This is integrated in the power button on the right edge. So to wake up the display you have to touch one of up to five registered fingerprints; you don't even have to press the button itself.

huawei nova 5t
The fingerprint sensor is on the side of the Huawei Nova 5T / © NextPit

The  headphone jack is missing on the Nova 5T ; the Nova 3 still had it. However, Huawei also supplies an adapter for the USB-C port.

huawei nova 5t
The back of the Huawei Nova 5T is adorned with the splendor of the old days / © NextPit

Huawei Nova 5T display

The 6.26 inch LTPS display has a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels or 412 DPI. The aspect ratio is therefore 19.5:9. The selfie camera is embedded in the display, looking out from the hole punch. Consequently, this time it's a single selfie camera; the Nova 3 presented about a year ago had a dual-camera at the front in its notch.

huawei nova 5t
The display of the Huawei Nova 5T is flawless / © NextPit

Google software on the Nova 5T, but how long will it last?

Actually, nothing would be surprising about the software if it weren't a Huawei smartphone. The Western world is currently setting an example for this manufacturer. The USA's mistrust of China and the ongoing trade war prevented a nationwide launch of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

Because without an official software license from Google, the manufacturer does not want to bring any new devices to the Western market. Because without the Play Store or Google Maps, the user experience with Android is simply not the same (trust me, I tried it.) Even on import devices from Huawei, the Google apps cannot be installed; so back doors known from other Chinese imports remain closed as well.

The native Google support of the Huawei Nova 5T stems from the fact that Huawei was able to continue using the Google license for the identical Honor 20. Should Huawei keep its promises for the Honor 20 for updates, you have nothing to fear despite the trade embargo. Google services will be retained and even an update to Android 10 is to come .

At the time of testing, the device had a security patch from October 6, 2019.

Huawei Nova 5T performance

Even though the Nova 5T is classified in the "middle class" in many shops, it is an uncompromising high-end device on the level of the Huawei P30, Google Pixel 4 or iPhone 11; but it is much cheaper. There's plenty of storage space. After installing the most necessary apps I still had almost 110 GB for photos and games.

Huawei Nova 5T benchmark comparison

  3DMark Sling Shot Extreme 3DMark Sling Shot Geekbench 5 (Single/Multi) PassMark memory

PassMark Disk

Huawei Nova 5T 4000 3634 673/2405 29929 -
Google Pixel 4 5069 5987 610/2396 25621 75604
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 4905 4872 704/2283 19730 73145
OnePlus 7T 6020 6649 786/2825 32960 50068

Huawei Nova 5T audio

The sound from the single loudspeaker at the bottom is well suited for hands-free phone calls. The speaker on the earpiece turns up beautifully loud and allows conversations in noisy environments. Otherwise, the sound depends largely on the connected headphones, of which none are included. Its sound can be adjusted in many ways with a digital equalizer. With Bluetooth connections, aptX-HD can be used.

huawei nova 5t
In addition to the USB port, the Huawei Nova 5T has a mono speaker / © NextPit

Huawei Nova 5T camera

As the main camera, the Huawei Nova 5T uses a 48-megapixel sensor with f/1.8 aperture and autofocus. In addition, there is a 16-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture and fixed focus, a 2-megapixel sensor with f/2.4 aperture and a 2-megapixel sensor with f/2.4 aperture. The latter supports the autofocus system with phase focus and contrast focus. As a front camera, the Huawei Nova 5T uses a 32-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a fixed focal length.

huawei nova 5t
At the back of the Huawei Nova 5T we find a 3+1 camera, of which we can only use two actively / © NextPit

Panorama, HDR, Bokeh and AI-supported scene detection modes are available. Unfortunately a night mode is missing in the Nova 5T . Videos are stabilized with the main camera (in 4K) as well as with the selfie camera (in Full HD). With selfie videos, you can replace faces with things like Animojis.

Since the user experience with the camera is the same as with the Honor 20, we simply refer you to the appropriate section of our review from July:

Huawei Nova 5T battery

The battery of the Nova 5T withstands seven hours of continuous use. With moderate use, it lasted almost two days; which is usual for phones these days. The included charger is super fast. I recharged the battery from 10 to 90 percent within about an hour . Especially the first 50 percent were available within 20 minutes, which would be enough for a night out.

huawei nova 5t
With the original charger, the Huawei Nova 5T is full within an hour, enough for one and a half days / © NextPit

Huawei Nova 5T technical specifications

Final verdict

So after eliminating the trade war and Google difficulties as well as the overpricing, we should actually correct our verdict on the Honor 20 - um, excuse me - on the Huawei Nova 5T. If only it weren't for its twin brother, now available for around £330 and thus offers the same hardware.

Then there are strong competitors such as the Pixel 3a with exciting additional features (Stadia!) cavorting in this price segment, and you should not overlook these alternatives. Perhaps they have the unique selling point that the Huawei Nova 5T unfortunately lacks.

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Eric Ferrari-Herrmann

Eric Ferrari-Herrmann
Senior Editor

Eric has been with AndroidPIT since 2014. He’s writing articles and reviews for the German website. Topics are mostly privacy and new technology but there's also the occasional piece on environmental sustainability.

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  • David Martrano 29
    David Martrano Dec 10, 2019 Link to comment

    Without Google apps, DOA, unless you live in China,