HUAWEI nova 11 Pro Review

When we first featured the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro, it offered a ton of promise as a camera-oriented smartphone.

As a device supposedly tailor-made for vlogging and selfie lovers, it seemed to have both the hardware and software to keep up with its flashy (and admittedly really eye-catching) design.

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It has a whopping 60MP Ultra Portrait Dual camera setup at the front, vlogging modes baked into the camera app, and a new nova monogram design — making it poised to succeed with its target audience.

But does it? After our continued testing, we finally have our full thoughts.

Let’s get into our full review of the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro!

Design and Construction

Design-wise, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro impresses.

It has a very unique design language that’s centered around what HUAWEI calls the nova Monogram Vegan Leather design.

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It’s an embossed ‘nova” pattern on the phone’s back panel that definitely looks trendy and stylish. That added “flash” serves a purpose though — as the embossed nova finish offers a soft and textured feel to the hand that gives users a great grip in the hand.

As somebody who’s gotten used to phones with glass backs, this was probably the first time I didn’t think of using a phone case just to add grip to the phone.

Not to mention the fact that the monogram finish all but eliminates fingerprints and smudges at the back. The nova 11 Pro also feels substantial in the hand, without feeling too light or too heavy. It looks and feels expensive, especially with the curved display at the front (which we’ll get to later).

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We also have to mention that the green on the nova 11 Pro is a looker, too. All in all, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro gets high marks from us in terms of design and construction.

Display, Biometrics, and Multimedia (Audio, IR, Speakers)

Moving onto the display, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro sports a 6.78-inch FHD+ curved OLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate.

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As expected, the OLED screen on the nova 11 Pro is both vibrant and bright. All types of content viewed on it looks great, as the display offers good contrast and top-notch viewing angles.

As mentioned earlier, the nova 11 Pro features curved edges on the screen that make it feel even more premium in the hand. However, I would have honestly preferred if HUAWEI had gone with an outright flat display. The curve on the nova 11 Pro’s screen is pretty significant which made using the phone a bit awkward to use at times.

Huawei Nova 11 Pro (5)

In longer use, there were times when I had to adjust my hand so as to not accidentally touch the curved edges from time to time. But, the curved screen did make using the back gesture a lot easier to do so take that for what you will.

On the upside, the nova 11 Pro’s display also has HUAWEI’s trademark KunLun Glass which has received a five-star glass drop resistance certification at SGS from Switzerland. This gives the nova 11 Pro impressive drop resistance but we’ll get back to you on how this translates in real-world usage. So even with the fragile-looking curved edge screen, I never really worried about the display getting scuffed up — which is a definite plus.

Nova 11 Pro

In terms of speakers, the stereo setup on the nova 11 was surprisingly good. It sounded full and sound separation was decent, especially for a smartphone. We did however wish that there was a headphone jack on the nova 11 Pro, but I suppose we can’t have it all.

Lastly, the under-display fingerprint sensor on the nova 11 Pro was reliable and never failed on me. Even if I wish the animation was a bit faster, the fingerprint sensor got the job done almost 9-10/10 times, so props to the nova 11 Pro here.

Camera

Moving onto the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro’s headline feature, its camera system.

The nova 11 Pro is rocking a 60MP Ultra Portrait Dual Camera and an 8MP Close-up lens at the front.

Nova 11 Pro (16)

At the rear, it has a 50MP RYYB Ultra Vision main lens, an 8MP ultra-wide macro camera, and a laser autofocusing sensor.

Nova 11 Pro (1)

While megapixels are certainly not everything, the fact that the nova 11 Pro’s selfie shooter has a higher MP count shows in real-world performance. Between the rear and the front-facing camera, it’s the selfie shooter that stands out.

Selfies from the nova 11 Pro regularly delivers photos with good skin color, great sharpness, and proper exposure.

We also particularly loved the different focal lengths you get with the nova 11 Pro’s front camera: as a 0.7X ultrawide, a 2X zoom for close-ups, and even a 5X selfie.

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That’s not to say that the 50MP main shooter at the rear is a slouch. It isn’t.

With good lighting, images from the 50MP rear lens come out great as well. Night shots were also surprisingly good on the nova 11 Pro.

We did notice that both the front and rear cameras have trouble focusing from time to time, so we recommend taking multiple shots and checking focus. However, this probably happens around once in six or seven shots so it’s not a dealbreaker for us.

As we’ve previously covered, the nova 11 Pro also features a built-in Vlog Mode that allows users to shoot multiple camera angles at once. It can shoot your standard rear and front video individually — and also capture footage with different video combinations using the phone’s available lenses.

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In our testing, the mode works as advertised and is a fun way to spice up your videos. However, we did notice that video quality does suffer when using any of the Vlog Mode features so in the end, it’s fun to try but is still very much a gimmick.

Portrait mode on the nova 11 Pro is another highlight as the depth of field and bokeh more often than not came out crisp, with a tasteful cutout of our main subject.

You can check out our sample photos and videos from the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro right here:

Overall, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro really does bring a solid camera system that both vlogging and selfie lovers will love.

Performance and Benchmarks

Next up, let’s take a look at the nova 11 Pro’s performance. Powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 4G, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage.

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In day-to-day use, the nova 11 Pro performs just well. Opening apps is fast and we had no issue multi-tasking with the phone.

It is a shame, however, that the nova 11 Pro still carries the Snapdragon 778G in 2023. The chipset, while it is still very much viable today, was released as a mid-range processor way back in 2021. So we can’t deny that we would have wished the nova 11 Pro to have at least a flagship-level or 1-year-old flagship chipset.

Huawei Nova 11 Pro (2)

In terms of gaming, the nova 11 Pro was a good performer. In Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, the phone defaulted to High graphics and ran great.

Huawei Nova 11 Pro (3)

It was the same story for Call of Duty Mobile, defaulting to the VERY HIGH graphics setting and running with absolutely no hitch.

Lastly, the nova 11 Pro was able to run Genshin Impact at Low settings and was perfectly playable with the 60 fps setting turned on. There were a few dropped frames here and there but it was still a good experience. Do take note though that the nova 11 Pro does get a bit warm when used for gaming.

In terms of benchmarks, the nova 11 Pro got these results:

Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (7) Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (8) Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (9) Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (10) Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (11)

  • 3D Mark Wild Life – 2,494
  • Geekbench 6 – 1010 (single-core); 2421 (multi-core)
  • Geekbench 6 OpenCL – 2127
  • PC Mark Work 3.0 – 11009
  • Antutu – 583996

The HUAWEI nova 11 Pro is definitely a good performer in both day-to-day use and gaming. We just can’t help but wish for a more powerful processor in 2023, especially at this price range (which we’ll get to in a bit).

OS, Apps and UI

The nova 11 Pro runs on HUAWEI’s EMUI 13. With how long HUAWEI’s been making hardware and software, it’s no surprise that the OS on the nova 11 Pro was generally fast and smooth to navigate and use.

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Animations feel refined and there are a ton of customization options within the OS. My favorites are being able to change the fingerprint animation, customizing my Always-On-Display, and having options for Home Screen transitions.

Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (6)Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (1) Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (3)

Of course, the elephant in the room here is the lack of Google apps outright with HUAWEI phones. There have been good strides with HUAWEI’s AppGallery though, which allows users to download a good number of Google services and other apps onto HUAWEI devices via GBox.

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You just have to get used to having an extra step or delay when opening apps (see screenshot below), since the OS is working more than usual to circumvent the lack of Google apps.

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In my use, I was able to download most of the apps I needed such as Facebook, Messenger, YouTube, and Gmail. However, I was not able to get my favorite notes app which is Google Keep. That is very specific to me so your mileage may vary on that one.

We also can’t deny that you’re still losing a ton of app options when using a HUAWEI device. But if all you need are the essential and most popular apps, HUAWEI’s AppGallery surprisingly has most of what regular users need.

I also have to mention how much bloatware there is on the nova 11 out of the box.

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You’ll have to be ready to organize or delete apps on your home screen because there are a ton of ads and recommended apps front-and-center when you first boot the device. At setup, that’s probably where I missed my more stock Google experience on my personal Google Pixel 6 the most.

Connectivity and Battery Life

In terms of connectivity, the nova 11 Pro only has 4G LTE, no 5G. It features a dual nano SIM slot but no dedicated microSD. It also has Bluetooth 5.2, BLE, SBC, AAC, and LDAC support.

For battery, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro comes with a 4500 mAh battery, with support for 100W SuperCharge Turbo Type-C charging.

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HUAWEI says that with the 100W fast charging, the nova 11 Pro can get to 60% in just 10 minutes and 100% (when the screen is turned off) in 20 minutes. With our testing, the nova 11 Pro produced just that.

It easily lasted us a whole day’s use and was also very quick to top up back to 100%.

In our proprietary video loop test with a 1080p video playing on loop, airplane mode on, brightness at 50%, and volume at zero, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro lasted 26 hours and 6 minutes.

Nova 11 Pro Screenshots (17)

In PC Mark’s Battery test, the nova 11 Pro also lasted 10 hours and 46 minutes.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro is a good mid-range device. It has great cameras, a really stylish and functional design, and a great screen. So what’s the problem?

Well, it’s the price. At SRP, the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro is priced at Php 33,999. Even with all the great features on the nova 11 Pro, I just think you can spend the same amount of money (or less) on a phone with a faster or more recent chipset and a trouble-free and clean OS that’s complete with all Google apps and services.

If you don’t need the flagship-level performance and really like the nova 11 Pro’s design, then the steep Php 34k asking price might be worth the spend.

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Personally, I’ll probably have to pass on the nova 11 Pro — even if I did enjoy using the phone a lot.

What do you think of the HUAWEI nova 11 Pro? Let us know in the comments down below!

Specs and Pricing
HUAWEI nova 11 Pro specs:
6.78-inch OLED E6 panel @ 2652 x 1200 pixels
120 Hz refresh rate, 300 Hz touch sampling rate
KunLun Glass
Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 778G 4G chipset
Octa-core, 4 × [email protected] GHz + 4 × [email protected] GHz
Adreno™ 642L
8GB RAM
256GB ROM
Rear cameras:
50 MP Ultra Vision Camera (f/1.9 aperture)
8 MP Ultra-Wide Marco Camera (f/2.2 aperture)
Front cameras:
60 MP Ultra Wide Autofocus Camera (f/2.4 aperture)
8 MP Portrait Close-up Camera (f/2.2 aperture)
4G LTE, dual nano-SIM
Bluetooth 5.2, Support BLE, SBC, AAC, LDAC.
NFC
GPS (L1 + L5 Dual band)/AGPS/GLONASS/BeiDou (B1I + B1C + B2a Tri-band)/GALILEO (E1 + E5a Dual band)/QZSS (L1 + L5 Dual band)
USB Type-C
EMUI 13
4,500 mAh, 100W HUAWEI SuperCharge Turbo 2.0 wired charging
Green, Black
164.24mm x 74.35mm x 7.88mm
188g [weight]

What we liked:

  • Bright and vibrant screen
  • nova monogram design is stylish and premium
  • Really good camera system

What we didn’t like:

  • Older mid-range chip
  • Complicated HUAWEI and Google situation
  • Tons of bloatware
  • Steep asking price

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Avatar for Luis Miguel Millares

Luis Millares is a Political Science graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University and a former journalist for its official student publication, The GUIDON. He also worked as a writer for the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) before pursuing his passion for tech with the YugaTech team.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar for Rei Rei says:

    Nevermind, found the price :)

  2. Avatar for Rei Rei says:

    “Spec and Pricing” — but I’m missing the “Price” or am I just glossing it over?

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