Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Huawei Honor 7

Huawei just gave birth to the budget cousin of the Mate S, the Honor 7. Is it any good? Read on to find out!

 

Design:


The Huawei Honor 7 measures 143.2 x 71.9 x 8.5mm and weighs in at 157g. This is just 2mm thicker than the recently released P8 and 13g heavier. It's got  a metal alloy unibody design with some plastic at the top and bottom. The 20MP rear camera is placed just above the fingerprint sensor and has a slight bulge .There's also a dual-LED dual-tone flash.  The build quality feels very premium and although a bit heavy and thicker than the Mate S, it's still a great device in your hand.

On the top edge sits the 3.5mm jack , IR blaster and noise cancelling mic. The loudspeaker grill is at the bottom edge on the left, while a micro USB port at the centre. The right side has an identical grill which is just for symmetry and not a speaker.  Left edge hosts the cool Smart key button that can be used to launch apps and settings, while above it is the ejectable tray for the SIM / SD card.



Display & Hardware:


The 5.2" screen takes up the most space on the front 7" of the Honor 7. It's a IPS LCD with 1080x1920 display @424ppi. It' decent in bright sunlight but you'll need 100% brightness to be able to see the full screen. In terms of Hardware, it's got Huawei's own HiSilicon Kirin 935 chipset - quad-core 2.2GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 with the not so great Mali-T628 MP4 GPU & 3GB of RAM. Available in both 16 GB or 64GB ROM and a micro SD slot which doubles as secondary SIM slot in case you have the Dual SIM variant of this phone. The one I'm testing is the 16GB (9GB usable) has the same slot but you can't use it for the SIM , only accept the SD card. It supports LTE & Bluetooth v4.0 with GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS & NFC. The IR blaster doesn't have any app linked in the phone so you will have to download one from the Play store.

Software:


It runs on Android 5.0 out of the box underlying the EMUI 3.1, which is definitely not one of the most liked UIs on an Android phone.  The lock screen has options of "covers" or images which can change automatically everyday or you can chose the ones you want from your gallery. Then you can have up to 9 home screens that support widgets but there's no app drawer which I don't prefer personally and am using the Google Now launcher.

The UI also has one hand operation mode and a simple Windows tile style home screen. Motion gesture styled functionalities to mute or answer calls are also available. The fingerprint sensor also has a lot of options like answering calls by touch & hold , stopping alarms, taking photo / videos & notification panel expansion. 

The Smart key (which a lot of manufacturers have taken inspiration for from the iPhones) has 3 options of single press, double press and long press that can be assigned different functionalities. I use them for Wi-Fi , Location / GPS  & Screenshot respectively. Although you can double tap with your knuckles to take a screenshot as well .

Camera:


The 20MP rear camera is a Sony IMX230 sensor and f/2.0 aperture with Sapphire glass protection along with dual tone LED flash.  The front camera is 8MP with f/2.4 aperture and wide angle lens with a single LED flash .While the camera is active you can swipe and switch between modes which is pretty cool. 

The rear camera has a variety of modes and filters of which the light painting mode is my favourite that lets you capture car taillight trails , light graffiti etc  that  are added after the photo is captured. The photos are sharp in daylight and better than average at night. Selfies come out great thanks to the front flash that has a variety of beauty options and owner recognition effects for a groupie ;)
Video recording is a disappointment since 60fps & 4K recording are missing but the 30fps 1080 videos do a decent job.

Gaming & Multimedia:


Asphalt 8, FIFA 2015, Modern Combat all played smoothly without any noticeable lag but even phones with 2GB RAM and a better GPU can play games flawlessly . For multimedia, it's got Huawei's custom music player app with the standard album art, lyrics etc. but missing the most important Equaliser! The speaker volume is not very high and games / music would best be enjoyed with earphones . In terms of Benchmark scores, AnTuTu was at 42689 which is lower than the P8 , Meizu Mx5 which are similar devices.



Conclusion:


A great looking phone with all features you'd get in a flagship for almost half the price is a steal! If you can live without the  4k recording / 60fps mode and non-removable battery with no wireless charging, this is one of the best phones to buy right now .

Huawei Honor 7 gets a 4/5.

★★★★☆

Pritesh Khilnani


Huawei Honor 7 at CeX


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