Huawei Ascend P7 assessment: the perfect mid-vary telephone you’ve got by no means heard of
What’s a flagship? For some corporations, it is about cramming as many options into a tool as physics permits. For Huawei, it means one thing else completely: Although it creates smartphones for the facility-hungry crowd, its most eye-catching units sometimes favor mass attraction over brawn. Exhibit A: the Ascend P7, a smartphone that emphasizes design and consumer-friendliness over a blowsy spec sheet. Once we reviewed its predecessor, the P6, final yr, we discovered a stunning telephone that struggled on account of an underpowered engine and lack of LTE. The corporate guarantees it is discovered from its errors, although. So is the P7 the mid-vary smartphone you will truly be proud to point out off?
- Good entrance-dealing with digital camera
- Nice hardware
- Unbelievable display
- Respectable battery life
- Poor video recording
- Fares poorly in benchmark exams
- Glass backing makes the telephone a bit troublesome to grip
With the P7, Huawei has crafted a telephone that defies its modest price ticket. It is probably not as highly effective as different flagships, nevertheless it’s higher than different handsets that value about the identical.
Earlier than we start, we now have to deal with the 800-pound gorilla within the room, and we’re not simply speaking about the kind of glass that coats each side of the system. The P7 seems like the results of gene splicing between the iPhone four and one in every of Sony’s Z-collection handsets. That is not meant to be a criticism, however the lens placement and machining scream Xperia, whereas the plastic dividers that separate elements of the aluminum band are there totally for impact.
Similarities apart, it is an attractive piece of kit and you will have complete confidence within the solidity of this gadget when it is in your hand. Huawei’s acquired a knack for placing smartphones collectively and there isn’t any fear that this package will creak or bend. It is also tremendously straightforward on the pocket, because it’s solely 6.5mm thick and weighs a light-weight 124 grams (four.37 ounces). Relaxation assured that regardless of being greater than £200 cheaper than the Galaxy S5 right here within the UK, it is also an excellent-wanting telephone, so that you needn’t be frightened that the posher youngsters at college/the workplace/the pub will sneer at your cheaper gadget. Actually, this may fortunately sit beside flagships from Samsung and HTC with out showing just like the dowdy good friend who you solely sit with underneath duress.
I am conflicted as regards to consolation. It’s because the P7 is a superb, massive, boxy piece of hardware with squared-off edges. Regardless of this, at no level did it jab into the flesh of my hand or in any other case make my life uncomfortable. I can not think about delicate palms disliking the texture of this system, however I am additionally conscious that my mileage will differ from yours. What’s constant is that the glass backing makes this extra of a slip danger than extra tactile units, so when you’ve acquired greasy palms and a bent to be clumsy, purchase a case.
If minimalism is your bag, you then’ll discover the understated strains of the P7 proper up your road. Up entrance are the speaker, mild sensor and the eight-megapixel ahead-dealing with digital camera, all of which linger above the show. On the underside, there is a micro-USB port for charging, with the three.5mm headphone jack situated up prime. The left-hand aspect is naked, so the appropriate has to carry the micro-SIM and microSD trays, in addition to the middle-mounted energy button — one other Xperia-esque trait. All three are metallic, and there is some lovely machining on the middle button — a excessive-high quality element from an organization you would not all the time affiliate with small, design-centric thrives.Show and sound
The 5-inch, in-cell LCD from Japan Show actually does not look as huge as it’s, because of bezels which were shrunk down to only 3mm. With a decision of 1,920 x 1,080 (that is FHD, acronym followers) and a pixel density of 445 ppi, it sits in the identical league because the Nexus 5, which suggests we have now little to complain about. Footage and video are crisp; the viewing angles are virtually universally good; and it will maintain its personal within the noonday solar, even when not on full brightness. Colour accuracy is suitable, though in aspect-by-aspect exams with one other system, every thing appeared a bit of over-saturated. Not sufficient to harass most customers, although. The corporate has additionally retained its so-referred to as gloves mode, which ups the sensitivity on the display making it potential to make use of if you’re out within the chilly.
One specific bugbear of mine is when smartphone producers place the speaker near the place you maintain the gadget. It has been greater than a yr since HTC demonstrated entrance-dealing with audio system are the best way ahead, so why do corporations insist upon this retrograde step? Sadly for me, Huawei has caught the speaker proper within the path of my palm, although it is at the very least made the location work to its benefit. Because of the vertical orientation of the speaker, the curve of your hand may very well make a funnel to amplify the sound, regardless of which one you maintain it with. The quantity is robust up shut, however will not fill a room should you’re internet hosting an impromptu dance social gathering. That is not a criticism both, because it signifies that berks who overlook their headphones on public transport will solely annoy the individuals of their instant neighborhood. Small mercies, eh?Software program
The P7 runs Android four.four, however you would not realize it simply by glancing on the display. As ever, Huawei included its proprietary Emotion UI pores and skin, with this specific gadget operating model 2.three of the software program. The very first thing die-arduous Droid followers are going to note is that there is no app tray. Huawei and I share the identical annoyance with Android’s two-stage launcher, so all apps now reside on the a number of pages of the house display — yep, identical to on iOS. With a purpose to forestall the telephone from turning into unnecessarily cluttered, the corporate crams a number of of the smaller utilities into folders. That is high quality, however do not be stunned if it’s a must to perform a little shunting round to get issues the best way you prefer it.
The touchdown display comes preloaded with climate, music, gallery and Google search widgets, all of that are simply dispatched. The “Me” module, which presents up prompt entry to a favourite contact or two, is essentially ineffective and, fortunately, straightforward to eliminate. The opposite upside is that there is all kinds of customization choices, and you may tweak the icons and surroundings to go well with any variety of tastes. There’s additionally the choice so as to add a droop button — a hoop of shortcuts that hovers over the display, providing prompt entry to utilities akin to notice-taking, messaging and music playback.
Buried inside the settings menu is Easy, a house display type that transforms the abnormal Android setting into one thing extra akin to Home windows Telephone. The corporate’s been providing the setting because the begin of the yr, however that is the primary time I’ve truly been capable of sit down and see what it is like up shut. It is definitely a intelligent method to current this telephone to those that might not have nearly as good eyesight or not a lot familiarity with smartphones generally, however the small icons and textual content — there’s a number of clean area on every button — make me marvel if greater textual content and icons would not have carried out a greater job. Sadly, these shortcuts solely work for launching apps themselves, after which you are simply utilizing normal apps with the textual content blown up.Digital camera
Imaging is one space the place Huawei has, a minimum of on paper, splashed the money. Somewhat than trying to craft an answer by itself, the corporate sought out Sony to offer the thirteen-megapixel sensor used within the P7. Even higher, the ahead-dealing with digital camera now boasts an eight-megapixel sensor, besting each the HTC One M8 (5 megapixels) and the Galaxy S5 (2MP). The first unit is far improved, and the over-saturation we present in final yr’s mannequin has been dialed down considerably. There is a pleasing depth to the pictures now, and I used to be fortunately snapping stills and landscapes in the summertime solar. Within the late-night gloom, nevertheless, photographs received a bit too murky to be helpful, and at night time, the pictures have been respectable, however tremendously noisy. As the corporate works on the inevitable Ascend P8, we hope that as an alternative of simply throwing in additional megapixels, Huawei improves the hardware as nicely.
Everytime you use a ahead-dealing with digital camera that does not take grainy, blocky selfies, it is a second of triumph, and even an unattractive curmudgeon like me loved snapping some vainness photographs with the P7. The ahead-dealing with unit right here is a superb piece of package, and will set the usual for all of these duckface-obsessed youngsters who need to exhibit how a lot of an excellent time they’re having on vacation. Talking of which…
T-shirt: AOL; Coat: Pink Herring; Face: Mannequin’s Personal.
On this world of artifice and constructed actuality, everybody needs to be their greatest once they publish braggies (bragging selfies) on-line. That is why Huawei consists of “Face Magnificence Mode” as one of many choices for the ahead-dealing with digital camera. With the power to detect one face within the body, the P7 will get out the digital Vaseline and clean out the wrinkles, blocked pores and creases in your face. The one draw back is that at a sure level, the impact quickly begins to backfire, and in case you posted an image of your mug at Magnificence Degree 10, we’re positive individuals would begin calling you to verify you were not sick. Certainly these Dove advertisements have taught us all that pure magnificence is the best way ahead, proper?
What of the Huawei Ascend P7’s video efficiency? There’s nothing incorrect with the pictures, per se, and we will even forgive the accelerometer challenge that triggered footage recorded in panorama to sometimes save in portrait. Audio, nevertheless, is a completely totally different, and painful, story. The P7’s microphone manages to be each far too weak and much too delicate. When the topic is mere inches away from the telephone, the audio seems to be piped in from some faraway land. Regardless of this, the microphone simply adores wind shear, and even on an virtually completely nonetheless summer time day, the footage sounded as if I might been filming it in a gale. Suspecting that these flaws would make it a great system to report indoor gigs with, I took the P7 to see The Brian Jonestown Bloodbath, and even standing behind the auditorium, the audio merely could not deal with the noise. As an alternative, it made all the things sound as if the handset had been left in a field of dry cereal throughout an earthquake.Efficiency and battery life
The subtitle for our Huawei P6 evaluate learn “a lovely handset, however efficiency is missing.” That is as a result of that handset got here with a Huawei-made 1.5GHz quad-core CPU, which, whereas reasonably priced, wasn’t as much as the duty of operating a flagship smartphone. The corporate says it is discovered its lesson, and guarantees that the pill-class, 1.8GHz quad-core CPU, Mali-450 GPU and 2GB RAM on present right here can be as much as the duty. This new silicon even boasts HPM know-how — briefly, a system designed to supply decrease energy consumption for demanding purposes. As you’ll be able to see above, nevertheless, this new hardware nonetheless is not sufficient to get the P7’s head above its rivals within the benchmark stakes. Actually, in an business the place standing nonetheless is equal to going backward, the truth that this telephone is up to now behind its rivals goes to show off many individuals who would in any other case think about giving the P7 a shot.
Benchmarks don’t inform the entire story, and day-to-day, this obvious weak spot was on no account noticeable. Tweeting, making calls, browsing the web, dicking round on Instagram and watching video have been all undertaken with solely the odd flicker and stutter to say. I did discover that if I needed to launch the digital camera app from a standing begin (e.g., from the lock display), the motion did not sustain with the graphic reorientation as I switched the telephone from portrait to panorama mode. The end result was that every thing would freeze for a second whereas the software program caught up, which meant that I missed a couple of motion photographs I might have in any other case been capable of take. The most important check, in fact, is in video games efficiency, and graphically intensive 3D titles like Asphalt eight labored like a dream. The one difficulty I discovered was that it took a couple of masses (and a tough restart) earlier than Lifeless Set off 2 would play, however as soon as it did, it was buttery clean.
So what of the battery life? In Engadget’s commonplace video-rundown check, I managed to crank out a good seven hours and 12 minutes from the handset’s 2,500mAh energy pack. A minimum of, it is respectable in the event you’re contented to match this with handsets in the identical worth bracket, such because the HTC One mini and the Galaxy S4 Mini, however extra on that later. Over the course of a day with mild to regular use, we have been discovering that it nonetheless had round 20 % of cost remaining to it.
The opposite factor we have to speak about is the info price, and sadly, whereas Norwich has a thriving arts scene, lovely panorama and a quick practice to London, Three have but to supply LTE within the metropolis. That is why I used to be as an alternative solely capable of check the P7’s 3G efficiency, which hit 6.sixty two Mbps down and 1.10 Mbps up. The subsequent time I am in an LTE space, I shall replace this part with my findings. Name high quality is completely advantageous, in case you have been questioning, not that anybody makes use of their telephones as telephones anymore.The competitors
As I benchmarked the P7 and tried to evaluate its efficiency, I considered which telephones I ought to be evaluating this gadget with. On one hand, Huawei, would place this as a considerably cheaper various to the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5. Sadly, at the very least within the UK, no carriers have introduced that they will offer the handset, and so we will solely take a look at it within the context of its SIM-free worth, which is £330. For round that very same amount of money, you can even purchase the Galaxy S4 Mini (£330), the Huawei Ascend Mate (£330) or the primary-era HTC One mini for £320. (Sure, I do know the alternative known as the HTC One mini 2, however let’s keep away from confusion.)Wrap-up
In a cash-is-no-object world, each smartphone would include a Snapdragon 805, a forty one-megapixel digital camera, a wonderful physique and a 4K show. Huawei’s purpose right here was to construct a tool that might be spoken of in the identical breath because the Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8 at a considerably lowered value. And it succeeded with a handset that’s greater than the sum of its elements. Huawei wins factors for the rock-strong construct high quality, the supplies used and the general aesthetic. The imaging prowess of each the ahead- and rear-dealing with cameras is best than you might anticipate from a handset that is priced nicely inside the second tier. That is one other benefit, since at £330, the Ascend P7 is about £220 cheaper than the Galaxy S5 — sufficient cash to purchase a primary-era Android Put on system and nonetheless manage to pay for left over for a meal. Should you’re ready to simply accept a number of tough edges right here and there, the Ascend P7 is a worthy recipient of your exhausting-earned money.
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- Key specs
- <a href=”http://www.engadget.com/merchandise/huawei/ascend/p7/” title=”Huawei Ascend P7 evaluations” goal=”_blank”> Critiques • four </a>
- Sort Smartphone
- Working system Android (KitKat [4.4])
- Display measurement 5 inches
- Inner reminiscence sixteen GB
- Digital camera thirteen&#one hundred sixty;megapixels
- Dimensions 5.5 x 2.7 x zero.25 in
- Introduced 2014-05-07