It’s undeniably slim, but will it compete with other Android superphones?
Huawei isn’t relatively known to most consumers despite it being one of the biggest manufacturers in the world. They’ve been coming out with decent Android smartphones in the past, but its previous line of Ascend smartphones are the ones who have tried to compete with existing top of the line Android smartphones. This year, they have introduced the Huawei Ascend P7, one of their slimmest smartphones to be released. Upon close inspection it seems to match the premium design and quality of the more expensive brands, but does it perform well too? Let’s find out.
Design and Specifications
The Huawei Ascend P7 is amazingly thin at only 6.5 mm – compared to the iPhone 5S’ 7.6 mm and weighs a mere 124 grams. Its design borrows heavily from the iPhone and even Sony’s Xperia line (right down to the curves and even the power button), which primarily comes with an all glass panel and lined with aluminum at its side. Despite the lightweight and slim construction, it still feels tough and solid.
It supports a 5-inch full HD (1080 x 1920) screen – which gave off some the best colors and sharpness we have seen on a smartphone. The IPS panel also meant the screen is great to look at no matter what angle you look at it. The size itself is big enough to view messages and emails, and should be perfect for watching movies. As an example, we viewed the trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction in full high definition – and the quality was stounding. A quick pause at one of the scenes (which included the marketplaces in Hong Kong) showed superior clarity. This is something you wouldn’t really expect with a smartphone of this price. It rivals other premium smartphones in terms of displays.
Specifications-wise the Huawei Ascend P7 features modest components. It is powered by a Quad-core Cortex A9 processor running at 1.8 GHz, which is not as snappy as the Snapdragon processor found on other models, but barely noticeable when you actually use the smartphone. It sports 16 GB of storage which you can of course expand using the microSD card slot. Rounding off the connectivity options are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC (it also include NFC stickers that you can program).
The Huawei Ascend P7 runs the latest version of Android (4.4.2 KitKat) and comes with Huawei’s own customized interface called Emotion UI. Emotion UI distinguishes itself from other Android launches by removing the app drawer altogether and placing them all on the homescreen much like how the iPhone’s home screen is. It also lets you install themes made by Huawei or from other users – which is mostly variations on icon styles and wallpapers. It’s a good addition, but it can be all over the place, especially for users who have gotten used to using app drawers when accessing apps. The Huawei Ascend P7 tries to emulate iOS 7’s design in some form, including the flatter icons – making it seem like its iPhone clone, instead of standing our from the crowd.
The good thing is that it is Android, so you can basically install your own custom launcher and use the UI that you want.
Camera and Battery
The Huawei Ascend P7 supports a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front facing one. The rear-facing camera takes decent images, better than what most mid-range smartphones can do. Sharpness is present and does not get too noisy when zoomed in. Colors are well balanced, and overall, I am pretty impressed by the quality of the images from the Huawei Ascend P7’s camera.
While most smartphones tout their rear cameras, the Huawei Ascend P7’s camera strengths lie on the front-facing camera. At 8-megapixels, it dwarfs in resolution when compared to other smartphones – and it’s not just in resolution, but with its features as well. Truly embracing the ‘selfie’ era, the front-facing facing camera takes very good shots. It might border on the creepy side, since it includes a beauty mode that enhances your face and removes blemishes in real time before you take the image. Selfie lover might like the idea, but I just find it creepy how incredibly smooth my face is. Along with the beauty mode, it also includes scenes and various watermarks that you normally get with third party apps, and it’s great that they’re built-in to the camera app itself.
The Huawei Ascend P7 houses a 2500 mAh battery that didn’t really perform to our liking. After a full charge in the morning, find myself looking for the charger by mid-afternoon, when most batteries with similar capacities tend to last a day.
Retailing for 1699 AED, the Huawei Ascend P7 certainly is inexpensive compared to other premium smartphones. It’s slim design and features make it a good alternative to users looking for a great performing smartphone without burning a hole in their wallets.