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HUAWEI launches new mid-rangers Nova and Nova Plus at IFA 2016

HUAWEI introduced two completely new devices, the Nova and Nova Plus at IFA 2016. Here's what you need to know.

Published onSeptember 1, 2016

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IFA 2016 is in full swing, and now it’s Huawei’s turn on the stage. In past years, the Chinese powerhouse launched devices from the Mate series at IFA, so we were expecting to see a successor to the Mate S today. Instead, HUAWEI introduced two completely new devices, the Nova and Nova Plus.

While their name is new, the Nova and Nova Plus feel more like iterations of HUAWEI’s existing devices. The 5-inch Nova looks a lot like a shrunken-down Nexus 6P, while the 5.5-inch Plus takes its cues from the Mate line. As a result, these two phones look pretty different, despite their similar names.

The familiar appearance isn’t necessary a bad thing: the Nova and Nova Plus feature aluminum constructions with clean lines and 2.5D glass, that a lot of people will find attractive.

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The Nova and Nova Plus are both powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 processor, which is a popular choice for mid-range smartphones this season (see the Moto Z Play). They feature 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage space, and 3,020 mAh and 3,340 mAh batteries respectively. Those batteries should be good for about two days of mixed usage, according to HUAWEI’s representatives.

The Nova features a 12MP sensor with phase-detection autofocus and 1.25 micron pixels, while the Nova Plus gets an upgrade to 16MP and optical image stabilization. Both phones have 8MP front cameras, with HUAWEI’s beautification modes baked into the camera app.

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We’ve seen USB Type-C ports on high-end devices so far, but HUAWEI seems keen to push the feature down-range, so the Nova and Nova Plus feature the new connectivity standard. Fingerprint sensors are located on the back of the phones.

The Nova and Nova Plus run EMUI 4.1, based on Marshmallow, which includes heavy customization from HUAWEI. One feature the company wanted to show off was Knuckle Sense, which lets you input gestures with your finger knuckles – the screen can tell the difference between fingertips and knuckles by measuring the electric conductivity of the skin. You can use knuckle gestures to quickly launch the camera or take screenshots of a specific part of the screen, and more.

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HUAWEI said the Nova and Nova Plus will become available in Europe within the next month at a “mid-tier” price. Expect something in the $350 to $450 price range. The phones will be available in white, gold and silver.

We’ll be bringing our hands-on with the HUAWEI Nova and Nova Plus very soon, so stay tuned for that and for more news from IFA 2016. Meanwhile, tell us what you think of these new phones!

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