Home Tech Editorials Huawei Nova 3i vs OPPO F9: a Midrange Smartphone Battle

Huawei Nova 3i vs OPPO F9: a Midrange Smartphone Battle


The Huawei Nova 3i officially launched here in the Philippines this July 28, 2018. This was the first Huawei smartphone that featured the HiSilicon Kirin 710. As for the OPPO F9, it launched just recently in the country. Its main highlight is the VOOC Flash Charge.

These two are the latest midrange smartphones of their respective companies. The question is, which of the two is worth buying more? Let’s find out in this comparison review.


Phone Huawei Nova 3i OPPO F9
Display 6.3″ Huawei FullView FHD+ display,  2340 x 1080 resolution, 19.5:9, 409 PPI 6.3″ LTPS IPS LCD display, 1080 x 2340, 19.5:9 ratio, 409 PPI, Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Dimensions 157.6 x 75.2 x 7.6 mm, 169g 156.7 x 74.0 x 8.0 mm, 169g
Chipset HiSilicon Kirin 710 MediaTek MT6771 Helio P60
OS Android 8.1 (Oreo), EMUI 8.2 Android 8.1 (Oreo)
GPU Mali-G51 Mali-G72 MP3
Memory 4GB RAM, 128GB internal storage (expandable via microSD card) 4GB/6GB of RAM, 64GB internal storage
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, A-GPS, microUSB 2.0 Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, WiFi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 4.2, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, micro USB 2.0, USB On-The-Go
Battery Non-removable Li-Po 3340 mAh battery Non-removable Li-Ion 3500 mAh battery with Fast battery charging: VOOC Flash Charge 5V/4A 20W
Price PHP 15,990  PHP 17, 990


The Nova 3i sports a glass front and back along with a metal frame. It measures 157.6 x 75.2 x 7.6 mm and weighs 169g. On the other hand, the OPPO F9 measures 156.7 x 74 x 8 mm and weighs 169g. Similar to other recently released flagships, both smartphones have thin bezels as well as the infamous notch. The OPPO F9 surprised everyone when it revealed a tiny waterdrop notch which houses only the front camera. Unfortunately, unlike the Nova 3i, the notch in the OPPO smartphone can’t be hidden if need be. Both devices have no physical or capacitive buttons since they made use of on-screen buttons.

Moving on to the rear part of the devices, both of their dual cameras are located at the back albeit the Huawei Nova 3i’s main cameras are positioned vertically whereas the OPPO F9’s cameras are horizontally-aligned. The two smartphones’ fingerprint scanner is located at the middle.

The usual power button can be found on the right side of the smartphones. The difference would be the positioning of their volume rockers. In the Huawei Nova 3i, the volume control is also located on the right side. Meanwhile, the volume control in the OPPO F9 is seen on the left side of the phone. In addition, the SIM trays can be found on the left side of the device.

At the bottom of the smartphones, you’ll find speaker grilles, USB Type 2.0 port, 3.5mm audio jack, and a mic.

The design of the two smartphones is really modern and elegant looking. Both seem to have a glossy back which makes them prone to fingerprint smudges. Additionally, the Huawei Nova 3i and the OPPO F9 is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass.


The Huawei smartphone features a 6.3″ IPS FullView notched display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. On the other hand, the OPPO F9 sports a 6.3-inch LTPS IPS LCD display with a waterdrop notch. It has a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9.

We tried setting the two phones in their brightest setting. The OPPO F9 produced a brighter display than the other device. However, the Nova 3i’s display is cool-toned making it more pleasing to the eyes and less strainful.

Watching movies on these devices was enjoyable since both are vibrant enough and the colors are accurate. Furthermore, the color and details don’t change even if you view the phones from different angles.

Huawei Nova 3i


As mentioned, both phones feature the infamous notch. In order to maximize the screen, the OPPO F9 made their notch smaller and shaped like a waterdrop. As for the Nova 3i, Huawei made sure to include a hide notch option in order to lessen distractions when the user is either playing games or watching movies.


Phone Rear Camera  Front Camera 
Huawei Nova 3i Dual: 16 MP (f/2.2) + 2 MP, AI dual cameras, Autofocus, Single LED flash Dual: 24 MP (f/2.0) + 2 MP, AI cameras
OPPO F9 16 MP, f/1.8, PDAF + 2 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor 25 MP f/2.0

The Huawei Nova 3i sports a dual rear camera with 16MP + 2MP lens as well as a dual front camera with 24MP + 2MP lens. On the other hand, the OPPO F9 features a dual 16MP + 2MP main camera and a 25MP selfie snapper. Looking at the specs, the Huawei Nova 3i clearly has an advantage on its front camera since it sports a dual one.

To fully determine the quality of the two smartphone’s camera, we took some shots in various scenarios.

This photo was taken on the rooftop. As you can see, it is incorporated with AI since the mode is automatically turned on when you launch the device’s camera. The photo became vibrant and had a yellowish tone to it making it look warmer. The details were sharpened as well which can be seen through the clouds and the buildings.

This is the same photo above but without AI. Huawei gave an option that lets the user turn the AI off if they want to. Even without the AI, the Nova 3i still produced a good output. The details remained sharp and the color is accurate.

We shot the same scenery but this time with the OPPO F9. This shot turned out more vibrant than expected and ended up looking animated or post-processed. This is because the Super Vivid mode was turned on when we took the shot. Detail-wise, we found no issues since they were clear and precise.

The same picture was taken again but this time without the mode. The shot is a bit darker compared to the Nova 3i’s shot. Nevertheless, it still turned out well.

According to Huawei, the Nova 3i can recognize 22 categories of 500+ scenes. This was proven true in this photo. The camera detected the leaves as “Autumn Leaves” which is why the shot looked a bit orange and the leaves were brightened. As for the images taken by the OPPO F9, they still look vibrant and the colors are bolder.

Usually, when a smartphone’s camera has an AI, it is automatically perceived that the AI-integrated photo looks better. In this case, however, the two shots taken with the Nova 3i is indistinguishable at first. If you look closer, you’ll see that the photo taken without AI has more contrast in it which enhanced the details more.

Let’s take a look on the photos taken by the OPPO device. The green color looked more vibrant in the shot taken with Super Vivid mode and the flower looked a bit yellow. Detail-wise, the camera was able to capture the subject well although the color was different from real life representation.


This time, we tried taking a picture of a smaller subject. The Portrait mode was used here. The difference between the two shots can clearly be seen – the Nova 3i has a warm tone whereas the OPPO F9 shot had a cool tone to it. Looking at the photo on the left, the color tone was able to complement the subject. Meanwhile, when you look at the photo at the right, the details are more clear on the background even though we made sure to tap the screen so the focus would be on the subject. Furthermore, the sky on the OPPO F9 looked a bit overexposed.

We tried taking a picture of a light in a dim-lit room. Unlike the previous photo, the light is more controlled in the OPPO F9 shot. The light on the Nova 3i image is a bit scattered making it hard to focus on the shot.

Let’s move on to selfies. The Nova 3i’s beauty mode made the subject’s skin smoother as well as removed the bags under her eyes. Unfortunately, it removed the subject’s beauty marks (moles) on her face. Nevertheless, it still gave off a detailed image and the colors are accurate.

Compared to the Huawei Nova 3i photo, the OPPO device produced a softer output making the edges slightly blurred. Similar to the previous image, the beauty mode also smoothed out the subject’s skin and removed her beauty marks at the same time.

Both devices have a Bokeh mode on their front camera. The Nova 3i was able to capture the subject fully and although the bokeh effect looked slightly unnatural, it looks pleasing to the eye.

As for the OPPO F9 shot, it’s less sharp than the previous photo and the edges of the subject looked blurry. Moreover, the image looked edited and really unnatural.

In conclusion, the OPPO F9 definitely takes bright and vibrant photos although the output looks post-processed. As for the Huawei Nova 3i, despite having an AI feature, the shots still look natural. In regards to their selfies, the Nova 3i was able to take sharper photos that looked closer to real life.


The OPPO F9 is louder compared to the Huawei Nova 3i although the latter had the clearer sound. The OPPO smartphone’s bass was a bit overpowering which made the music a bit scratchy on maximum volume.

All in all, the two devices have clear and good quality audio. There were no audio problems while playing games and watching movies. Try listening to it by yourselves.


As for the battery juice of the two smartphones, both can last you through a day. The OPPO F9 is packed with a bigger battery capacity having 3500mAh compared to the Huawei device with 3340mAh.

As mentioned earlier, the OPPO F9’s main highlight is its VOOC Flash Charge. Due to this, the phone was able to charge from 20% to 100% in less than an hour. Meanwhile, the Nova 3i took around 2 hours to charge.

User Experience

Huawei Nova 3i



Let’s talk about the smartphones’ security feature first. Both of them sport a fingerprint scanner as well as a face unlock feature. In terms of speed, the OPPO F9 was slightly faster with its fingerprint scanner but both were the same on the face unlock feature. It’s a good thing to note that these two won’t unlock when the owner is asleep as its face unlock doesn’t work when the user’s eyes are closed.

The Huawei Nova 3i is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 710 with a Mali-G51 GPU. Along with 4GB of RAM and a massive 128GB internal storage, the Nova 3i definitely has a better storage than other phones in its category. In addition, the smartphone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2. Meanwhile, the OPPO F9 is powered by the MediaTek MT6771 Helio P60 coupled with a Mali- G72 MP3 GPU that carries 4GB/6GB of RAM paired with 64GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 256GB via a microSD card. It also runs on Android 8.1 Oreo.

One thing to note of is the fact that the OPPO F9 still has the same chipset as its predecessor, the OPPO F7. This might mean that their performance won’t differ that much.

We tested some benchmark tools and these are the results:

Huawei Nova 3i


Device AnTuTu Geekbench(single core; multi-core) PCMark Work
Huawei Nova 3i 138356 1595; 5595 6987
OPPO F9 137504 1496; 5720 7917

In terms of gaming, both smartphones were able to perform well. The games we played were Asphalt 9, AOV, and PUBG. Launching the games was fast and during gameplay, we experienced no lag and navigation was smooth.


The Huawei Nova 3i is priced at PHP 15,990 whereas the OPPO F9 is priced at PHP 17,990. Price-wise, the Huawei Nova 3i might be more worth it considering its specs especially since it sports one of the latest chipsets for midrange phones. Furthermore, the OPPO F9’s hardware specs don’t really differ that much from the OPPO F7.

As for their camera capabilities, the winner will depend on the preference of the user. If you prefer having vibrant images that are still natural-looking, then you might want to choose the Huawei Nova 3i. Meanwhile, if you would rather have brighter images that look post-processed, then choose the OPPO F9. In terms of storage, the Nova 3i wins by a landslide due to its 128GB internal storage.

What do you guys think? Comment your thoughts down below.

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