Those looking for an affordable full-screen smartphone have two great options in the Huawei Nova 5T and Vivo V17 Pro.
There’s a reason why the Nova 5T has been at the top of our recommendations. Huawei’s premium midranger has a beautiful glass-and-metal design, a powerful flagship processor, five cameras, and the ability to go all day on a single charge.
Of course, the V17 Pro is no slouch either, featuring a glass back that bends around the edges to meet the frame, an impressive multiple-camera setup of its own, a Super AMOLED screen with a 20:9 aspect ratio, and all-day battery life as well.
Which of these two smartphones should you buy? Here’s how the phones stack up against each other in our Nova 5T versus V17 Pro faceoff.
Design: Simplicity vs complexity
We have been using the Midsummer Purple variant of the Huawei Nova 5T that looks premium and stylish, featuring glass in front and on the back and polished aluminum on the sides.
The front sports a full-screen design with minimal bezels and a punch hole for the selfie camera. It’s a simpler approach to extending the display to all four sides, for sure, and the result is almost as good as you’d get with a retractable motorized system, which Vivo uses for its V17 Pro.
Compared with the V17 Pro, the Nova 5T is noticeably narrower, slimmer, and lighter. We found it more enjoyable to use and hold, even though the Vivo smartphone has a curved rear panel that fits the contours of your hand.
Moving to the display, the Huawei Nova 5T has an LCD panel with a 2,340 x 1,080 FullHD+ resolution and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The screen-to-body ratio is impressive at 91.7%, owing to the notchless front design. The display is among the best you’ll find at this price point without opting for an AMOLED panel.
Meanwhile, the Vivo V17 Pro features a curvier design language, with glass on the front and back, while the frame is made of plastic. It looks great; it feels durable yet comfortable; and the ergonomics is nice, too.
To move to a full-screen design minus a notch or cutout, Vivo has adopted a similar motorized camera system to its flagship NEX 3 smartphone, except the V17 Pro sports two front-facing cameras instead of one. But this makes the phone heavier and thicker, and the extra moving parts are also a concern.
The display on the V17 Pro is Super AMOLED, so it’s nicer to look at and offers more functionality, including an always-on standby screen. It’s taller (or wider in landscape position), too, because the aspect ratio is 20:9, which we prefer to a 21:9 screen. It’s also the better choice for viewing content and gaming, owing to the brighter and more vibrant nature of AMOLED panels.
Both handsets are equipped with fast and accurate fingerprint sensors. The Nova 5T has a physical scanner along the right-hand side that doubles as a power button, while the V17 Pro gets an optical scanner embedded into the screen itself.
Vivo’s execution is obviously more challenging, but it also leaves the phone looking cleaner all around. Again, both work well, and ultimately. it will come down to preference.
Camera: More is better?
There are five cameras on the Huawei Nova 5T — four on the rear and one in front. The V17 Pro boasts a total of six cameras, with two mounted on the pop-up mechanism. But does having more cameras in a smartphone equate to better performance? Well, yes and no.
The Nova 5T delivers higher-quality pictures from the rear most of the time, in both day and night scenarios. Although to be fair to Vivo, the V17 Pro is indeed a versatile shooter for selfies and capable of excellent stills in daylight. But before we go any further, let’s discuss the camera specifics.
Both phones are equipped with a 48-megapixel main sensor and dedicated 2-megapixel sensors for portraits and macro shots for up to 4cm distance. A 32-megapixel selfie camera is standard on the two. And both can do 4K video at 30 frames per second, on top of 1080p video recording at up to 60 fps.
Some photos captured on both smartphones. Those shot on the Vivo V17 Pro tend to be a bit saturated
Around the back, the biggest difference is that the ultra-wide camera on the Huawei phone has 16 megapixels, compared with its 8-megapixel counterpart on the V17 Pro. This results in sharper photos from the secondary camera of the Nova 5T. The ultra-wide option also gets Night mode to capture clearer, punchier pictures of landscapes and cityscapes in low light, something the Vivo handset is not equipped to handle.
Ultra-wide-angle night shots: Huawei Nova 5T (Night mode) vs Vivo V17 Pro (Auto mode; the V17 Pro super-wide camera doesn’t have Night mode)
However, when it comes to selfies, the V17 Pro does a nicer job of rendering skin tones and facial detail, and the ultra-wide camera in front, which the Nova 5T doesn’t have, will come in handy for group shots, or when you simply want more background in your selfie.
When it comes to selfies, the Vivo V17 Pro does a nicer job of rendering skin tones and facial detail. Bonus: You can take ultra-wide-angle selfies, too!
Performance: HiSilicon Kirin 980 vs. Qualcomm Snapdragon 675
The processor inside the Huawei Nova 5T is a HiSilicon Kirin 980 from Huawei’s semiconductor division. It’s the same 7nm chip used to power the Mate 20 and P30 series, and only the latest Kirin 990 is better in Huawei’s arsenal. Still, the Kirin 980 remains one of the fastest smartphone processors in 2019, so you’ll never be lacking for power. And with 8GB RAM, the phone is incredibly smooth to operate.
The Vivo V17 Pro, on the other hand, is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chipset, fabricated using an 11nm process and also mated to 8GB RAM and 128GB storage, like the Nova 5T. It’s a pretty capable processor that can play heavy 3D games like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty: Mobile without running into framerate issues, but it’s not quite as powerful as the Kirin 980.
The Antutu 8 benchmark score of our Nova 5T review sample is 385,729, which crushes most other devices in its class. Meanwhile, the V17 Pro managed to return 217,438 points in the same test.
When it comes to day-to-day tasks, both phones have enough power to make every action seem fast and responsive. Swiping and scrolling through menus, opening apps, and multitasking all feel snappy on the Nova 5T and V17 Pro. Additionally, the 8GB RAM on the two ensures a seamless experience without needing to close apps in the background.
Dive into gaming, however, and the difference between the Kirin 980 and Snapdragon 675 will be noticeable. The Kirin 980 tears through every game you throw at it, whereas the Qualcomm chip will struggle to run some games, like Fortnite, at the highest settings. If you’re heavily into gaming, the Nova 5T should be future-proof for a while.
Battery and charging: Sufficient battery life, short charging times
Both the Huawei Nova 5T and Vivo V17 Pro are equipped with polymer Li-ion batteries that will get you through a full day of normal use per charge. The latter has a 4,100mAh cell and trumps the Nova 5T in terms of battery capacity of 3,750mAh, though the mileage you get from both handsets should be about the same.
You can top them up for a quick charge via USB-C. The Nova 5T can go up to 22.5 watts using the bundled charger and cable, while the V17 Pro maxes out at 18 watts. The lower battery rating and faster charging standard of the Nova means it can reach full charge from zero quicker, and our tests found that it takes roughly an hour and a half to refill a fully drained battery.
Pricing: Close, but not close enough
The Huawei Nova 5T officially retails at P18,990, or around $371, in the Philippines, whereas the Vivo V17 Pro is P21,999 or $430. The latter is priced lower than its predecessor, the V15 Pro, but still higher than the Huawei.
Of course, the difference would be insignificant if you spread the terms of payment over a year or two. However, it bears noting that only the Nova 5T is available over a local telco postpaid subscription.
Both Globe Telecom and Smart Communications offer the Nova 5T at affordable plans. So if you’re looking to recontract onto another two-year deal and upgrade your daily driver in the process, the Nova 5T would be your default choice unless you have a third or fourth option in mind.
The latest Nova has almost everything you’d ever want in a smartphone — and at less cost than its competitors. It looks and feels more expensive than its price tag; the camera performance is among the best you’ll find in the category; and the Kirin 980 provides plenty of power to drive any app or game.
The Vivo V17 Pro is also a good choice, albeit not as affordable as the Huawei. But the version released in the Philippines lacks a proper telephoto option, and the Snapdragon 675, as capable as it is, is simply no match for the powerhouse that is the Kirin 980. We also prefer the dimensions and weight of the Nova 5T, which is easier to handle and carry around.
It’s a tough call, but the Huawei Nova 5T wins this comparison, primarily on the strength and efficiency of its flagship processor and its lower price tag
It’s a tough call, to be sure. However, the Huawei Nova 5T wins this comparison, primarily on the strength and efficiency of its flagship processor and its lower price tag.
Huawei Nova 5T specs
- 6.26-inch IPS LCD display, 2,340 x 1,080 resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio
- 7nm octa-core Kirin 980 processor
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- Quad: 48MP, f/1.8 main camera (Sony IMX586); 16MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide camera; 2MP, f/2.4 macro sensor; 2MP, f/2.4 depth sensor
- 32-megapixel, f/2.0 front camera
- Fingerprint reader (side-mounted)
- 3,750mAh battery with 22.5-watt fast wired charging
- EMUI 9.1 based on Android 9.0 Pie (upgradable to EMUI 10-based Android 10)
- Colors: Crush Blue, Midsummer Purple, Black
Vivo V17 Pro specs
- 6.44-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, 2,400 x 1,080 resolution (20:9 aspect ratio)
- 11nm Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- Quad: 48MP, f/1.8 main camera; 8MP, f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera; 2MP, f/2.4 depth sensor; 2MP, f/2.4 macro sensor
- Pop-up dual: 32-megapixel, f/2.0 front camera; 8-megapixel, f/2.2 ultra-wide-angle camera
- Face unlock
- Fingerprint reader (in-screen)
- 4,100mAh battery with 18-watt USB-C fast charging
- Funtouch OS 9.1 based on Android 9.0 Pie
- Colors: Crystal Black, Crystal Sky, Midnight Ocean
Share this Post