The Huawei nova plus comes in a big flat black box pointing to the premium nature of its inhabitant. The nova plus comes accompanied by a 2A charger plus, a USB Type-C cable, and a pair of EarPods-inspired headphones with a mic and remote. These are all packed in separate black paper boxes inside the big one.
The Huawei nova plus measures 151.8 x 75.7 x 7.3mm, about the same as the Huawei P9 Plus and about right for a 5.5-incher. It weighs 162g, the same as the P9 Plus again. Not too hefty after all considering the all-metal design.
While the smaller Huawei nova we also got for a review is sharing lots of DNA with the P9, it seems the nova plus is more akin to the Mate lineup. Opting for a bigger screen and a high-end camera resulted in a bigger footprint and a small hump at the rear to accommodate the optics, but overall Huawei did a good job.
If you're after a good-looking phablet, the Mate series have long earned Huawei a spot on the shortlist and the nova plus doesn't disappoint either. It is mostly made of airplane grade aluminum which is very lightweight yet durable.
There are two tiny plastic strips around the back for the antennas, but that's pretty common. And Huawei is proud with the nova plus antenna setup, which reportedly features gold-plating for enhanced performance.
The beautiful 2.5D glass on the front covering the 5.5" IPS screen serves the phablet right, while the almost flat back is great to the touch thanks to the nice matte finish. Finally, the frame that goes all around the sides is tastefully done in silver, looking sturdy and allowing a reasonable grip.
The fingerprint scanner on the back of the nova plus is, and we know we are repeating ourselves, one of the best solutions in the market: always-on, blazing-fast, and with great sensitivity. It's the opposite of tiny, and Huawei has its ways to use it beyond its primary function. Its frame goes well with the overall design.
The camera hump is really nothing to worry about as it doesn't make the phone wobble. We are not fond of its patterned texture, but that's a personal thing.
Overall, the nova plus feels and handles like a Huawei flagship. Even though it's not targeting the high end, Huawei did its very best to deliver a great phablet with strong grip and excellent build quality.
Above the 5.5" display is the earpiece with a subtle metal accent. The 8MP selfie camera and a couple of sensors are on the side. There is also a tiny status LED hidden close to the earpiece that flashes notifications.
There is nothing below the screen but the Huawei logo.
The hybrid SIM/memory slot is on the left which can either take two nano-SIM cards or you can swap one of those for a microSD card.
The volume rocker and the power/lock key are on the right side.
The top of the nova plus houses the audio jack and the secondary mic. The USB-Type C port is at the bottom, in between a couple of grilles, one for the primary mic and another one for the speaker. We guess the big microphone grille is there for symmetry and we appreciate the effort.
Finally, the 16MP optically stabilized camera is humping at the back, complemented by a dual-tone flash. The always-on fingerprint sensor enjoys the space below.