Huawei Honor 7 review
Premium characteristics at every turn
This Huawei Honor 7 review reveals a new breed of smartphone, where an incredible spec is blended with a level of craftsmanship that screams premium in the loudest possible way.
The Huawei Honor 7, also known as the Huawei Glory 7 in certain markets, was released in China in early July 2015 and in a flash sale event it sold out in two minutes as 200,000 units where purchased.
Within one week of the flash sale event a further nine million pre-orders were pledged but the best piece of news is that the Huawei Honor 7 will be coming to Europe, at some point this year.
The build quality is simply supreme as a single piece of aviation grade aluminium alloy is used to form the body. The precision finish is available in Ice Silver, Elegant Grey and Glory Gold and weighs in at 157 grams with an 8.5mm thickness.
The 5.2” display boasts a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which equates to 423 pixels per inch. This sits at level well above what the human eye can see, making the images displayed almost indistinguishable from real life.
A 3D user interface adds in real depth and in-cell screen technology brings the images closer to the surface of the screen for increased touch responsiveness and accuracy, The display on the Huawei Honor 7 also supports glove operation and has an increased contrast ratio for sunlight view-ability.
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The build quality includes innovative L-type structures which uniformly distribute temperature. These work with a thermal gel system and are important as it removes hot spots for comfort in the hand while reducing power consumption by 15%.
Positioned on the sides of the Honor 7 is the power button, digital assistant activation key and a single dual-card holder that holds the SIM and a microSD card with a value of up to 128GB. An octo-core Kirin 935 2.2GHz processor with 3GB of RAM unquestionably delivers lightening quick performance and there is 16GB of internal memory for the user to store files, photos and apps on.
Phone Set Up
The Huawei Honor 7 has the next generation of fingerprint sensor, which now adds functionality on top of security. Once set up this multi-function sensor recognises both touch and movement to offer innovative control over key operations.
Sliding the finger down over the sensor pulls down the notification bar on the screen and a quick double tap clears notifications. A long press activates the camera and taps can be used to respond to actions such as answering incoming calls or turning off alarms.
The fingerprint unlock feature reacts in just 0.5 seconds and a self-learning engine increases accuracy over time. Users may also like to set up fingerprint activated guest modes, which in turn keeps personal data private.
The usual set up process continues with the Android Lollipop OS offering new content and app downloads from Google Play. The continuously scrolling app screens can be tidied up by hiding unused apps, with a simple flick of the app icon towards the side of the screen.
Homes that have dual-band routers can take advantage of the dual-band Wi-Fi antenna built into the Huawei Honor 7 and enjoy internet browsing at up to twice the speed. Otherwise standard Wi-Fi and 4G are available.
Huawei’s own user interface, EMUI 3.1, brings with it a whole host of features that make the Honor 7 distinguished among other Android smartphones.
On top of expected features, such as lock screen notifications, are little gems such as tilting the phone to the left or right to slide the keyboard over for one-handed use. In fact the whole screen size can be reduced in one-handed mode and moved to align for either right or left-handed use.
The Huawei Sports Health app will satisfy the needs of fitness fans. This can track motion, steps, calories and distance, along with support for activities such as long distance cycling or other outdoor sports where insight may be gained through mapping trajectory and velocity.
The digital assistant responds to voice prompted requests and intelligent reminders pre-empt tasks such as the commute by timing reminders based on live information, such as traffic delays.
Huawei Cloud storage is available for backing up files and photos online and this service can be used to share folders with friends or family. The final feature of note on the Huawei Honor 7 is the Music app that has access to over one million lossless music tracks as well as the lyrics for spontaneous karaoke.
Camera & Video
The 20MP camera sits behind sapphire protective glass, which protects it against scratches from things like the keys in your bag or pocket. The resolution of this camera is only equalled by that of the HTC One M9 and the Sony Xperia Z3+, when looking at the latest camera phone releases.
There is no shortage of camera trickery on offer and this includes phase detection auto focus, which delivers perfect clarity in just one tenth of a second. Other features include time-lapse photography, light painting, gourmet mode for enhancing the look of culinary masterpieces and a six second long exposure time for night shots.
The perfection of night-time photography is further aided by SLR-level Image Signal Processing, where a multi-frame noise reduction algorithm runs to remove the effects of background electrical interference that causes noise on long-exposure shots taken in low light. For ease of operation the camera’s shutter can be voice activated.
The secondary 8MP camera has been optimised for group selfies with a 26mm wide angle lens, currently only bettered by the Sony Xperia Z3+ (25mm). However, it is once again the low-light set up that makes this camera stand out against the competition.
The f2.4 aperture is the widest by some degree over other smartphone cameras and this extra circumference lets in more light, essential for low light scenarios. This is coupled with a large pixel sensor size of 1.4µm. The larger the pixel size the more light that hits it, which in turn helps the camera to create an image less prone to noise under low light. The only smartphones that have larger pixel sensors are the Apple iPhone 6 and HTC One M9.
The selfie camera has an advanced Beauty mode and self timer along with a special soft light flash for naturally illuminating the scene. Video can be recorded in 1080p full high definition with stereo sound. Slow motion videos may also be created and the video compression software is extremely useful when looking to share the results.
The 3,100mAh battery matches the performance of every other area on the Huawei Honor 7. Up to 416 hours of standby are available or 23 hours of talk time, 34 hours of music playback, 11 hours of video playback or 8 hours of internet browsing.
In addition to offering excellent longevity the battery can be quick charged to full in one hour and 25 minutes or half charged in only 30 minutes.
Huawei Honor 7 verdict: From top to bottom this smartphone performs at the highest level. While we have to wait for a Huawei Honor 7 UK release date, it will be worth it.
Written by: Michael Brown