Huawei Nova 9 SE: A Non-Techie Tita’s Review

I am not very particular about my mobile phone. I am definitely not the type who’s the first in line whenever a new iPhone or Samsung phone comes out. In fact, I am a very frugal person, I don’t really like spending a lot of money on my mobile phone. I normally change my phone every 3 years. I bought my last phone from Lazada back in Apr 2019 so I know I’m due to buy a new one this year. I started looking into Huawei phones, despite my uncertainties towards this brand years ago.

I was actually planning to buy Nova 7i in April, since it is the cheapest one. But, they released Nova 9 SE in early March and had a pre-order sale on Shopee and Lazada in mid-March. I was not even planning to buy a new phone this early, but I wanted to take advantage of the early bird price and the freebies.

Before even checking out, I had to decide whether I’d save more money purchasing from Lazada or Shopee because they were both having the pre-order sale at the same time. Lazada had more freebies, aside from the FreeBuds 4i, they also added a mini Bluetooth speaker, which is around PHP990. I didn’t really need it – I already have a Marley Bluetooth speaker that I’ve had for years, but thought I could sell it to recoup some money back. I actually almost checked out at Lazada, but per usual, I checked how much it would compare to buying from Shopee. It was cheaper to buy from Shopee because they had vouchers. From the normal sale price of PHP13,899, I ended up paying a cheaper price at PHP12,788. My only regret is that I got too excited, I didn’t realize that I checked out the Midnight Black one, instead of the Crystal Blue color. I really wanted the blue one, but oh well. If anything, that would be my only regret.

Since it was a pre-order, I was expecting to wait around two weeks before they send it out, but it was delivered 5 days after I purchased it online.

What I love about Huawei Nova 9 SE:

  • Ok, I love the FreeBuds 4i. I am really not a fan of earbuds, because I feel like they just do not fit my ears and they normally fall off so easily, it annoys me. So, I would normally go for like the old style earphones or the ones that cover my entire ear. I’m an old school kind of girl. LOL. Since this a freebie, who am I to say no? Also, Huawei Nova 9 SE phones do not have an audio jack, so I really have no choice. However, I have a newfound love for these wireless earbuds! I love how it automatically pauses whatever audio or video I’m listening to if I remove one earbud. I can definitely change the controls for each earbud, but for now, I have only set both earbuds to pause. It has three control modes: noise-canceling, awareness, and of course, off. I, sometimes, would set it to noise-canceling,even if I’m not listening to anything just to zone people out. You can change the control mode by touching the earbud. So cool! I guess the only downside here is that it consumes more battery since your Bluetooth needs to be turned on all the time.
  • Fast-charging! I usually charge it when my battery gets to 20%, and it only takes 35 minutes to get it back to 100. I always set an alarm for 35 minutes because I’m afraid I’ll overcharge it. I’m pretty sure I’ve already done that so I started setting alarms and really watching it. The FreeBuds 4i also charge so far! I have not timed it because it’s easier to spot if that’s done charging because the light turns green.
  • Phone Clone! This is just the best. It made transferring files and apps from my old phone to my new Huawei Nova 9 SE so quick! I am not a fan of clouds, so this was really helpful in transferring all my contacts and photos, as well as those compatible apps.
  • Freebies! Other than the Freebuds 4i, you also get exclusive benefits for new users. For example, you automatically get 5gb of Huawei Cloud, then you can upgrade to 200gb for 1 month. Since I have trust issues, I did not activate this. My Huawei Cloud is currently disabled. Maybe I will be more confident about it in the future, but for now, it will remain disabled. Other benefits include 1 month of Huawei Video, 3 months of Huawei Music, 6 months of Tinder Plus, 3 free themes, and vouchers for Huawei Books and for other apps and games. There’s a lot but I only claimed those that I know I’d use. I feel like Huawei users do get vouchers from time to time.
  • Huawei Health. I still use Samsung Health, since I do like their monthly 200k steps challenges, but for daily tracking, I do like doing this better on Huawei Health.
  • The camera! I mean, 108 MP is pretty crazy! I haven’t really explored the camera much – I will need to read or learn more about how I can take the most advantage of its features, but, but the dual-view is pretty exciting! Sample photos and videos below:
I super love the FreeBuds!
Huawel Health daily steps proof of attendance!
Dual-view front and rear cameras
Dual-view, split screen mode

What I am not so impressed about Huawei Nova 9 SE:

  • I think we can all agree – No Google Play! They do have substitute apps for Google apps so I don’t mind that at all, but I am currently using another phone for Google Calendar. My whole life is on Google Calendar and I won’t be able to function without it! I did try moving all appointments using Phone Clone, but it only captured my dentist appointments. LOL. Also, I do love the color-coding on Google Calendar so I’m keeping that. Some apps are also not compatible with Huawei, for some, it’s because you need Google Play Services for it to function like Angkas, but for some apps I use like the BPI Mobile App, Money Lover and Travel Money, it just doesn’t open and when I try to transfer using Phone Clone, it shows that it is not compatible. Apparently, there is a workaround, but it requires you to downgrade the OS to EMUI 10 and I’m scared to do this. I wlll be downgrading from EMUI 12 to 10 and I don’t really feel good about that and I’m not confident that I won’t screw it up, so let’s stick to two phones for now.
  • This is in relation to the first one – updating some apps are a pain! Since some apps were downloaded as an APK and installed as a third-party thingy, you need to downloaded the updated APK each time and re-install it again. I do not love that.
  • WhatsApp! Ok, a disclaimer – WhatsApp does work on Huawei – definitely! However, I don’t know why it’s not reading my backup. Trust me, I have read different articles to make this work but it just doesn’t! Maybe I will move on from the old messages and will be fine with starting fresh, but for now, my WhatsApp is on another phone.
  • No light indicator. I know not all phones have this, but I think my Lenovo phone just spoiled me with the light indicator when there’s a notification and when I’m charging.

Overall, I am very satisfied with my Huawei Nova 9 SE. I did compare it to other more expensive phones on gsmarena and I must say that Huawei’s technology is amazing for its price. Color me impressed. I cannot wait to go on a trip and put this more into action. I am also looking into buying a new laptop by July and I’m really leaning towards buying a laptop from Huawei. The laptops also have freebies and I actually want that charging lamp. ^^

Talk to me~