Chinese smartphone maker Huawei has impressively evolved to be a potential smartphone maker. Not only has it been occupying the smartphone market on the basis of volumes of devices but the company has also started offering the best flagship smartphones like the Ascend P8.
Now the company which launched its latest offering - the Honor 7 in some of the European countries back in August has officially announced the same handset in India as well. Called by the same name, the handset is bound to be a monstrous threat to a lot of Chinese devices from Meizu and Xiaomi and OnePlus as well since it is bestowed with the company's very own Kirin processor, which is one of the highly rated CPUs in terms of performance (despite the oddities).
However, many are also of the opinion that the new Honor 7 might also cannibalize on the fame of the recently launched P8. Any, since GizBot has used the device thoroughly over the past weeks, here is what we have to say about it. Let's go ahead with the review.
The design of the Honor 7 is quiet simple. It somewhat resembles the looks of the Xiaomi Mi4. Also since it is simple and doesn't come with any curves and cuts on the edges, from the side view, it looks like the classic iPhone design too. Precisely, I believe it is a mash up of the Apple iPhone 4, the Sony Xperia Z3+ and the Xiaomi Mi4. In plain words, the Chinese smartphone maker has not focused a lot on the design aspect of the phone. I wouldn't say it's a boring design but obviously it doesn't have anything new in it to explore and talk about.
Despite featuring a metal uni-body design, although, smudges are not an issue on the Honor 7, the smartphone fails to appeal the user in terms of design. One fo the things that falls in the positive side is the fact that it is slim and fits just right to your hand. The metallic design feels heavy to hand and does look sturdy as well. However, the display of the handset is not encased within the metal frames leaving which means that if the device hits the solid floor with the sides of the front face, the display might be easily damaged.
Talking about the placements of the buttons and camera modules, the back of the Honor 7 hosts the rear camera and LED flash, and just below that the squarish fingerprint scanner seats with awe. It has to be told that the placement of the fingerprint scanner is perfect to operate and when using it you don't have to worry about stretching your finger to reach out to the module. Move a bit downwards, you will see a large "honor" branding on the panel.
The front face of the device boasts of a 5.2-inch screen surrounded by a fairly thin bezels on either sides. With a comfortable dimensions of 143.2 x 71.9 x 8.5mm the device can easily be one of the most easy to use handset. As far as the weight is concerned, due to the metal that has bene used, it weighs in at 157g.
Just above the display you will see a primary speaker (for phone calls), with front-facing camera, and LED flash on the eight sides of it. The bottom bezel is devoid of any buttons.
The main speakers of the phone is located at the bottom edge of the device which surrounds the microUSB port. The top edge hosts a 3.5mm headphone jack, primary microphone and an IR blaster. On the right-hand side of the handset are the volume rocker and power button, and there's a single button on the left-hand side of the body, which will confuse you for a while.
First you will think that it is a camera button but the functionality of this Smart Key can be configured from the phone's Settings. Anyway, just above it, the electable tray for a dual nanoSIM or a nanoSIM/microSD card setup can be found.
Frankly, the design of the Honor 7 is not quite motivating, inspite of the comfort it offers to the users while holding it.
The Huawei Honor 7 uses a standard IPS LCD panel of 5.2-Inch size offering a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels (Full HD). This roughly translates to the pixel density of 424ppi which is pretty good for a phone with this display size.
The display is pretty sharp and crispy but there is a problem with the manual set up of the brightness level. Most of the times, either it gets too bright that if you are viewing the images it looks too bright or its too dark. It's very hard to adjust the brightness level with ease.
I guess you will have to use the auto mode until you hit the accurate mark while sliding the brightness level. Since the brightness level is pretty high on this device, you won't have to think about the sunlight readability. Viewing angles are great too. Even the reflection is very less and this is what makes the display of this phone a better one if compared to other Full HD displays.
Processor and Performance
Huawei has used its very own HiSilicon Kirin 935 chipset, which is an octa-core processor that's made up of four cores running at 2.2GHz and four running at 1.5GHz. The device is pretty fast but the problem is that the Mali-T628 MP4 GPU, which comes along with the CPU is not much of high-end graphic unit though it is suitable for the Full HD devices. If you are worried about multi-tasking the handset also employs a healthy 3GB RAM. The smartphone is pretty decent, provided that the company launches it at a reasonable price.
As we played graphic intense games (Asphalt 8: Airborne) and tried to exploit the phone by opening a lot of apps at the same time, it didn't show any sort of a lag or screen freeze. I was personally impressed with the performance of the handset, which I had not expected.
However, although, the onscreen scores seemed to be close to Adreno 330 GPU from the Snapdragon 801, the graphic performance reflected on high-quality video playback and a lot of graphics-intensive 3D games, which were not suitable for avid gamers. But for regular usage this device is a power horse.
The device fetched a decent 50799 points on the AnTuTu benchmark tool. The score is comparatively better than the LG G4 and the Galaxy Note 4.
The Huawei Honor 7 uses the native EMUI with the latest version 3.1. This is slapped over the Android 5.0 Lollipop. Therefore, you will be getting all the rich features of Android along with the company's added features through the UI. The user interface has remained flat with almost no traces of Google's latest aesthetics.
Some of you might find the UI to be a sort of boring one, since the default lockscreen looks very simple, but hides lots of useful tricks. However, there are various hidden functions that you can do using the fingerprint sensor. For e.g. you can open the iOS like notification panel by sliding down your finger on the sensor and sliding up will simply roll the notification panel back to its initial place.
Sadly, there is no app drawer like there would be on vanilla Android. This means that you don't have to bother creating shortcuts to your apps on the homescreens, it also means that you cannot effectively hide any of your installed apps either. You can, however, group them into folders.
If you want to customize your phone, themes are available as well. You also get a lot of smart features like Smart Key, Motion control, One hand UI and more, apart from the goodness of the fingerprint scanner.
The camera of the Huawei Honor 7 is pretty promising in terms of numbers. It uses a 20MP phase auto-focus camera with Sony IMX230 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, 6P lenses and dual-tone LED flash. However, the camera also comes with a 4K video recording facility but is limited to 1080p. Anyway, you will also get some unique camera modes such as Light Painting, Star Track, etc.
The front camera relies on an 8MP fixed-focus sensor with F/2.4 aperture and wide-angle lens. It is also coupled with a single-LED flash. The flash at the front makes this device a bit more desired as not a lot of devices come with a frontal flash.
The camera interface is clean and simple, as you can see that it is highly inspired by Apple's iOS. There are also live filters along with features like panorama, HDR, all focus, burst, night scene, time-lapse and slow-mo.
As far as the review of the camera is concerned, we were pretty pleased with the performance. The photos appeared to be sharp and unlike most of the smartphones, this camera didn't over-saturate the colors of the image. However, the camera seldom tends to underexpose the subject in bright daylight.
Outdoor images are very good, esp. when the lighting condition is very apt and you have a steady hands holding the camera. And though, indoor images came out to be above average with projection of fine details, it sometimes shows a grainy result. Color reproduction is also very good
The 8-megapixel front-facing camera is top notch if compared to other devices with similar hardware.
However, the videos taken with the Honor 7 were no better than average and the Slo-mo option is evidently just for the namesake.
Connectivity and Storage
The Huawei Honor 7 features enough connectivity options including 4G LTE / 3G HSPA+, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4.1 LE, and GPS. There's an infrared blaster available, but with no relevant software preinstalled. The microUSB port supports USB OTG for connecting peripherals and external storage.
As far as the storage is concerned, the smartphone come with a 16GB on board memory which can be further enhanced using a hybrid SIM/microSD card slot up to 128GB. Out of the 16GB storage, you will get at least 10.5 GB user accessible memory.
Since the Huawei Honor 7 comes with a solid build, the 3100mAh battery is non-removable. It sounds pretty good enough for the 5.2-Inch device. While we used it with the full charge, the battery level dropped to 79% after just 2 hours and 45 minutes, which is pretty bad, as we used it moderately, just for surfing internet, some phone calls.
Unfortunately, the Huawei Honor 7 failed to impress us in this aspect too. However, what can please you is the battery saving app. Huawei uses a number of power-saving and monitoring tools that give you lots of information about which apps and hardware are taking up the most battery. This is of great help.
There are three option in the Power Saving apps. If used under Performance mode, the battery offers about 15 hours of life to the phone. If you choose to use the Smart mode, you will get about 16 hours and Ultra mode can give the phone about 30 hours of life.
Huawei Honor 7 is definitely not the best smartphone we have seen yet but it sure does make its impact in the Indian smartphone market with its sturdy built quality even if the design fails to suite your preference.
Certain things I liked about the phone are the camera quality, the display, and other small features like the fingerprint sensor's functionality. However, others failed to impress us.
The cameras of the Honor 7 was far better than what I had expected. Both the 20MP rear and 8MP front-facing camera offer excellent performance. In the camera section, a disappointment was regarding to video quality which was not likable and up to the mark.
The CPU doesn't fail to offer the desired performance. However, the GPU was a bit of a problem. But if you are not much into gaming, you wouldn't even notice the difference.