Huawei nova9 SE review: A 108MP camera phone with a 40k price tag

Huawei nova9 SE review: It’s been a while since we last interacted with a device from Huawei. The company has been unveiling a number of other products in the local market though, some of which you have probably seen us sharing on our social media platforms. 

The latest product the company is making available in the country is the Huawei nova9 SE. Huawei officially launched this phone a week ago for Ksh. 39,999. 

The nova9 SE is a more affordable variant compared to the nova9 that Huawei unveiled in Kenya last year for Ksh. 65,999. It comes with a larger 108 MP primary camera while clocking in at a more affordable price point making it significantly cheaper than the original nova 9.

We have had the Huawei nova9 SE for around two weeks now and in this article, we will be sharing our experiences with it. 

What’s in the box?

Huawei nova9 SE Unboxing

The Huawei nova9 SE packs the usual accessories in the box. Along with the phone itself, there’s a free soft TPU casing to protect the phone, a USB-C cable, a SIM ejector pin and a 66W SuperCharge charger. The phone also features a pre-applied screen protector so you can use the phone straight out of the box. 

We already did the unboxing article which you can check here. 

Huawei nova9 SE Design and Display

Huawei nova9 SE Unboxing

As far as the design is concerned the Huawei nova9 features a big  6.78-inch flat touchscreen that feels even more massive when you hold it. We are getting rounded corners and while the back has this glassy glittering effect that is a fingerprint and smudge magnet. The Bezels are also very slim just as we like them.

The USB-C port and speaker grille are all at the bottom. The volume rockers and power button/fingerprint scanner are on the right while the top houses a dual nanoSIM card tray. 

There is a floating punch hole for the front-facing camera while the back also houses an oval-shaped camera housing located in the upper corner. 

The display as we mentioned is 6.78-inch with an FHD+ resolution, a fast 90Hz refresh rate, a fast 270Hz touch sampling rate and compliance to the P3 colour gamut. The display is bright and vibrant offering a good viewing experience.  

The Huawei nova9 SE review unit we have is Crystal Blue which looks pretty good but the phone is also available in Midnight Black, Pearl White colour options. 

Huawei nova9 SE specs, performance and battery life

Overall performance the nova9 SE handles everything just fine thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 processor alongside the 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.  There’s nothing really to complain about here.  The phone handles everything thrown at perfectly well offering you quite a smooth experience. No glitches or lags and switching between apps and screens just fine. You can still play your favourite games and the processor will still be able to handle everything just fine.

EMUI 12 is snappy and responsive and comes with a number of interesting features. For example, we have unified menus under the control panel and you can access your music playback, blue-tooth, and wifi settings without having to leave your current screen.

As of now we all still know that you won’t be able to access Google services from any Huawei device but you can still get your favourite apps on Huawei’s AppGallery. Petal Search + APKPure combo also has you covered. One thing we will agree with is that support on AppGallery is growing by the minute. There are so many improvements and new apps compared to what Huawei was offering us a year or two ago.

For the battery, the nova9 SE comes packed with a 4,000mAh which is quite smaller to what the competition is offering in this day and age. It still manages to handle everything just fine though and should be able to run you through the day. The 66W SuperCharge charger also does an incredible job and can juice up the phone from 0% to 100% in a record 35 minutes.

Huawei nova9 SE Camera

Huawei nova9 SE Unboxing

The Huawei nova9 SE is equipped with a 108MP AI Quad Camera system, which comprises the 108MP main camera, an 8MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 2MP Bokeh lens, and a 2MP macro lens. With more pixels, Huawei says the 108MP ultra-high-definition main camera allows users to unleash their creativity. It also supports Super Night Shots, Low Light Shot, and AI Snapshot. There is also a single front camera setup for selfies, featuring a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.2 aperture. 

The 108MP is the headliner here featuring some interesting tweaks to help you capture brighter images. The camera delivers excellent shots with good detail, dynamic range and pretty good colour rendition in both daylight and dim light conditions. The ultra wide angle camera also does a pretty good job. Night mode shots are also really good. Other camera modes include Pro, Dual-view, and super macro among others.

The selfie camera does not disappoint either. Check sample shots below. 

The camera also allows you to shoot videos up to 1080p.

Conclusion and Availability

Huawei nova9 SE Unboxing

Should you buy the Huawei nova9 SE? Yes. The phone offers some impressive specs at its asking price just like we saw on the nova9. We are getting a great large display and some good camera performance among other features. 

The lowdown here still remains the lack of Google Mobile Services, especially for users who are fully invested in the Google ecosystem. This is something which is something we can’t really run away from.  If you aren’t, the nova9 SE is a good option to consider plus you will still be able to access some of your favourite apps from the App Gallery among other options. Compared to how things were a year ago, the omission of Google services isn’t as big a flaw really. 

You can buy the Huawei nova9 SE from Huawei recommended dealers across the country as well as on Amaya here. 

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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