Huawei serves up midrange Nova series phones

Huawei has launched the Nova and Nova Plus, two solid smartphones that won't break the bank.

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The Huawei Nova.

Image: Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Huawei's two new Nova smartphones are aiming to be affordable while not skimping on the specs, as the Chinese tech giant tries to realise its ambition of shipping 140 million smartphones in 2016.

The pair of handsets were launched today at the IFA trade show in Berlin. The smaller of the two, the Nova, has a five-inch screen, while the Nova Plus comes with a larger 5.5-inch display. Both devices feature an aluminium unibody, with a rounded back for easier gripping, and are finished using Huawei's classic sandblasting process, seen on its popular upscale P9 and other handsets.

While these are firmly midrange phones, both devices include features that set them apart, including a full HD display, a reversible USB Type-C connector, and eight-core Snapdragon processors.

The Nova takes some design cues from the Nexus 6P, including the black bar at the rear top, which houses the camera and flash above a centrally placed, circular fingerprint sensor. The Nova Plus's camera on the other hand is centred, located above a curved square fingerprint sensor.

The Nova has a slightly smaller 12-megapixel main camera, compared with the Nova Plus' 16-megapixel primary camera, while both share an eight-megapixel selfie-shooter. The Nova Plus also has a 3,340mAh battery, compared to the 3,020mAh cell in the Nova.

Not surprisingly, while Google has released Android Nougat, these phones don't have the honour of being the first new phones to ship with the OS. Instead, they'll run on last year's Android Marshmallow, overlaid by Huawei's customised Emotion UI (EMUI) 4.1, which also features a number of Nova-specific themes to customise the interface.

Appealing to fashion-conscious buyers on a budget, the Nova devices will be available in gold, silver, or grey.

According to ZDNet's sister site CNET, the camera software includes Huawei's vanity-ware for selfie takers, which allows users to dynamically add eyeliner and lipstick.

The Nova and Nova Plus will both be available with 32GB storage with an expandable storage slot. Huawei has only revealed European pricing to date, although according to the Wall Street Journal, the devices will be available in 50 markets across the Middle East and Asia over the next two months.

The Nova will cost €399 and the Nova Plus will cost €429. Huawei hasn't confirmed US availability.

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