Huawei Nova 11 SE Review : A Budget Friendly Smartphone with Impressive Performance

5/5 - (8 votes)

The Huawei Nova 11 SE is a mid-range smartphone that offers great value for money. Priced at around $200, it packs some impressive hardware and delivers smooth performance for day-to-day tasks. In this review, we’ll take an in-depth look at the Nova 11 SE’s design, display, camera, performance, battery life and other features to help you decide if it’s the right budget phone for you.

Huawei Nova 11 SE

Huawei Nova 11 SE Review – Design and Build Quality

The Huawei Nova 11 SE features a sleek and modern design with rounded corners and a rectangular camera module on the back. It has a plastic back panel with a glossy finish that attracts fingerprints easily. The plastic frame and back panel help keep the weight down to just 168g. Despite the plastic build, the phone feels sturdy and well put together with no creaking or flexing.

On the front is a 6.67-inch LCD display with a 60Hz refresh rate and FHD+ resolution. The bezels around the screen are relatively thin but there is a noticeable chin at the bottom. The power and volume buttons are located on the right side and are easy to reach. The phone also retains a 3.5mm headphone jack which is convenient.

Overall, the Huawei Nova 11 SE has a stylish and modern design that looks appealing, especially considering its budget price tag. The build quality is decent though the plastic construction does make it feel a bit cheap.

Huawei Nova 11 SE – Display

As mentioned earlier, the Huawei Nova 11 SE sports a 6.67-inch LCD panel with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio and 60Hz refresh rate. The display is bright and vivid, delivering punchy colors and good viewing angles.

With 600 nits peak brightness, the screen is visible under direct sunlight. The 60Hz refresh rate means animations and scrolling are smooth though not as fluid as higher 90Hz or 120Hz panels. Still, it’s decent for the price.

The display has TUV Rheinland certification for reduced blue light emission which helps reduce eye strain. You can also schedule the blue light filter to be enabled at specific times.

Overall, the Huawei Nova 11 SE’s display delivers an immersive viewing experience ideal for media consumption and gaming. The mid-range LCD panel offers impressive quality considering the phone’s affordable pricing.

Huawei Nova 11 SE – Camera

For photography, the Huawei Nova 11 SE packs a quad camera setup:

  • 64MP main camera
  • 8MP ultra-wide camera
  • 2MP depth sensor
  • 2MP macro camera

On the front is a 16MP selfie camera housed in the punch-hole cutout.

In daylight, the main 64MP sensor captures decent photos with good detail, accurate colors and minimal noise. The dynamic range could be better but images generally look pleasant. The ultra-wide camera delivers passable 8MP shots but detail and colors are weaker.

Portrait mode works fairly well with good subject detection and background blur. The dedicated depth sensor helps improve edge detection around the subject.

Close up shots with the 2MP macro lens are mediocre with noticeable noise and lack of detail. The 2MP resolution is quite low by today’s standards so macro photography is a weakness.

Low light photos with the main camera exhibit visible noise and graininess. Night mode helps improve brightness and reduce blur but images still look below average. Rival phones in this price range perform better in low light.

Selfies shot with the 16MP front camera look quite good with natural skin tones and a decent amount of detail. Portrait selfies are decent as well, with smooth background blur.

Overall, the Huawei Nova 11 SE has a very versatile camera setup for a budget phone. It can capture good daylight shots and close ups. Low light photography is a bit of a letdown but otherwise the image quality is very respectable considering the affordable pricing.

Huawei Nova 11 SE – Hardware and Performance

Under the hood, the Huawei Nova 11 SE packs a Snapdragon 695 5G chipset paired with 6GB or 8GB of RAM. Storage options include 128GB or 256GB.

Thanks to the Snapdragon 695 chip, the phone delivers smooth day-to-day performance whether you’re browsing social media apps, watching video content or hopping between multiple apps. Light games like Subway Surfers and Temple Run 2 also run well though graphic-intensive games see some stutter and lag at high settings.

The 6GB/8GB RAM ensures good multitasking capabilities so you can have numerous apps running simultaneously without slowdowns. The generous 128GB/256GB storage gives you ample room for apps, games, photos, videos, etc.

Connectivity-wise, the Huawei Nova 11 SE includes dual SIM 5G support, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS, USB-C and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Call quality and network reception are solid thanks to the ample LTE and 5G bands.

Overall, the Huawei Nova 11 SE delivers smooth and responsive performance for daily use thanks to its capable Snapdragon 695 chipset and generous RAM/storage configuration. It can handle light gaming as well, though demanding 3D titles are beyond its scope.

Huawei Nova 11 SE – Software

The Huawei Nova 11 SE ships with EMUI 12 based on Android 12. Huawei’s EMUI skin makes some visual customizations but keeps the interface relatively close to stock Android.

There is no Google Play Services which means you won’t find any Google apps pre-installed. Instead, Huawei offers its own AppGallery as the primary app store. While AppGallery has expanded its library significantly, you still won’t find many top apps like Facebook, Instagram, etc. This can be limiting for users who rely on Google services and popular apps.

On the plus side, EMUI 12 brings several useful features and customization options. You can tweak the always-on display, themes, fonts, etc. to personalize the interface. The phone also comes preloaded with a variety of apps to compensate for the lack of Google apps, such as Petal Maps.

Overall, the software experience is decent but lack of Google services remains a notable compromise that users have to keep in mind. Huawei’s ecosystem is still maturing so you’ll need to make do with only AppGallery apps for the most part.

Huawei Nova 11 SE – Battery Life

Fueling the Huawei Nova 11 SE is a respectable 4500mAh battery. Combined with the power-efficient Snapdragon 695 chip, the phone delivers excellent battery life. You can comfortably get 1.5-2 days of use from a full charge with moderate usage. Heavy users will get a full day before needing to recharge.

The 67W fast charging is quite fast by mid-range standards. It can take the phone from 0 to 70% in just 30 minutes. Charging it fully takes about 50 minutes which is impressively quick.

Overall, the large 4500mAh battery ensures impressive battery life while 67W fast charging helps juice it up quickly when running low. You don’t have to worry about constantly recharging it which is a welcome convenience.

Overall Verdict

The Huawei Nova 11 SE offers tremendous value as a mid-range smartphone. You get a sleek and modern design, vivid display, versatile cameras, smooth performance and excellent battery life – all for just around $200.

The phone does have some downsides like the plastic build, average low light photography and lack of Google services. But considering the affordable pricing, it’s quite forgivable and doesn’t take away from the overall value.

If you’re looking for an impressive budget smartphone that excels at fundamentals like display, performance and battery life, the Huawei Nova 11 SE is easy to recommend. Power users may be better off looking at pricier mid-range options with better hardware. But for budget-conscious buyers who want good specs without breaking the bank, the Nova 11 SE hits a sweet spot.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Huawei Nova 11 SE

What colors does the Nova 11 SE come in?

The Nova 11 SE is available in three color options – Black, Crystal Blue and Mint Green.

Does it have a headphone jack?

Yes, the Nova 11 SE retains a handy 3.5mm headphone jack so you can use wired headphones.

What processor does it use?

It’s powered by the Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, with 6GB or 8GB RAM options.

Does the phone have NFC support?

Unfortunately no, the Nova 11 SE does not come with NFC support.

Does it have wireless charging?

No, the Nova 11 SE does not support wireless charging. It relies on the 67W fast wired charging.

How is the display quality?

It has a 6.67″ LCD display with FHD+ resolution. The screen quality is quite good with vivid colors and sufficient brightness levels.

How’s the battery life?

Battery life is excellent – you can get 1.5-2 days of use from a full charge depending on your usage. The 4500mAh battery ensures impressive endurance.

What’s the camera like?

The Nova 11 SE has a versatile quad camera setup featuring a 64MP main lens, 8MP ultra-wide lens, 2MP macro and 2MP depth sensor. It can take good photos in daylight, decent portraits and passable low light shots.

Does it run the latest Android version?

Yes, it ships with Android 12-based EMUI 12 out of the box. However, there are no Google services as it relies on Huawei’s AppGallery.

Is there a MicroSD card slot?

No, the Nova 11 SE does not support storage expansion via MicroSD cards. However it has generous 128GB/256GB internal storage.

Is the Nova 11 SE waterproof?

No, the Nova 11 SE does not carry any official waterproof rating so it should be kept away from water damage.