Huawei Nova 5T vs Nova 3: What's changed?

Huawei Nova 5T vs Nova 3: What’s changed?

Huawei has just unveiled their latest smartphone and newest member of the Nova 5 series, the Nova 5T. It’s set to launch in the Philippines tomorrow, and in a way, will succeed the Nova 3 in the country from last year. How much improvement does the Nova 5T bring to the table? Let’s find out by comparing the two.

Author’s Note: The Nova 4 series is excluded as they’re exclusive to China.

Here are their detailed specs:

Huawei Nova 5THuawei Nova 3
6.26-inch FHD+ (2340 x 1080) 19.5:9 IPS display, 412ppi6.3-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2340) 18.5:9 IPS display, 409ppi
HiSilicon Kirin 980 (7nm) 2.6GHz octa-core CPUHiSilicon Kirin 970 2.4GHz octa-core CPU
Mali-G76 MP10 GPUMali-G72 MP12 GPU
128GB of storage128GB storage
n/aExpandable up to 256GB (uses SIM2)
48MP F1.8 (main) Sony IMX586+ 16MP F2.4 (ultrawide) + 2MP F2.4 (macro) + 2MP F2.4 (depth) quad-rear cameras16MP (f/1.8) + 24MP B/W (f/1.8) PDAF rear cameras, EIS, w/ LED Flash
32MP F2.0 front camera24MP + 2MP front cameras
Dual-SIM (nano)Dual-SIM (nano)
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/acWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0Bluetooth 4.2
USB 2.0 Type-CUSB 2.0 Type-C
Fingerprint scanner (side-mounted)Fingerprint scanner (rear-mounted)
n/aIR blaster
n/a3.5mm audio port
Face UnlockFace Unlock
EMUI 9.1 (Android 9 Pie) w/ GPU Turbo 3.0EMUI 8.2 (Android 8.1 Oreo)
3,750mAh battery w/ 22.5W SuperCharge3,750mAh non-removable battery w/ 18W Fast Charging
154.3 x 74 x 7.9 mm157 x 73.7 x 7.3 mm
174 g166 g
Black, Crush Blue, Midsummer PurpleBlack, Blue, Purple, Gold

So what changed in the Nova 5T as compared to the Nova 3?

  • Better performing CPU
  • Better performing GPU
  • GPU Turbo 3.0
  • Larger RAM capacity
  • No more expandable storage
  • Higher main camera resolution
  • Dedicated macro lens
  • Higher front camera resolution
  • No secondary front camera
  • No IR Blaster
  • No 3.5mm audio port
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • EMUI 9.1 out-of-the-box
  • Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box
  • Faster charging speed

There’s a lot of changes in the Nova 5T in terms of aesthetics. One of which is the absence of the thick notch. Instead, it now comes with a punch-hole front camera design, which is better for those who want a “smaller” distraction in their screen.


For the performance, The Nova 5T comes with the latest Kirin 980 chipset, which is the same chipset that is powering the P30 series, which is, of course, better than the Nova 3’s Kirin 970. The former also has a larger RAM capacity at 8GB, which is better at handling background tasks compared to the latter’s 6GB.

In the camera department, the Nova 5T has a higher main rear camera resolution along with a dedicated macro lens for close up shots. The front camera resolution is higher as well; we can safely assume that the selfie qualities are better than the Nova 3.

Features-wise, the Nova 5T doesn’t have support for microSD cards, unlike the Nova 3. Given that it has a 128GB of storage, this is large enough for heavy users who install plenty of apps and are into mobile photography or videography. It also has NFC and an updated Bluetooth version that can support hi-res wireless headphones. Lastly, the fingerprint scanner is now located at the side of the phone.

For the battery, both devices have the same battery capacity. However, the Nova 5T has a faster-charging speed with its 22.5W SuperCharge technology.

Given all these changes, it’s fair to say that you could still stick around with your Huawei Nova 3 if you’re just a casual user. However, if you are into gaming, photography, and you want a device with an updated OS right out of the box, upgrading to the Nova 5T should be worth it.

What do you guys think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Vaughn is your go-to person when it comes to comparing gadgets especially smartphones. He's also a gamer by heart and the "Hackerman" of the team.

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