Following in the same footsteps as the Huawei’s P6, a smartphone with an elegant design, the company has succeeded again in creating a smartphone with the same design language: the Huawei Ascend P7. With many visible improvements since its predecessor, is the Ascend P7 enough to propel the Chinese brand into the international market?
Design and Manufacturing
When first picking up the P7, what strikes one immediately is how lightweight it is, despite not being at all flimsy. The front glass is covered (Gorilla Glass 3), while the back has received a discreet metallic texture, also covered with a glass plate.
The whole is set in a stylish aluminum frame, leaving room at the bottom for a rounded edge. A 3.5 mm headphone jack is found on top, while two rather special looking elements were placed on the right side. Depending on the country, the Huawei Ascend P7 has two slots for the microSIM, MicroSD and NanoSim . Three cards in two locations? In fact, one of the trays supports a microSIM, while the other allows for the nanoSim horizontally and the microSD vertically. Unfortunately, the tested model lacked a few of the required pieces, which prevented us from testing this particular point.
The power button is located in an unobtrusive recess and all device pieces fit nicely together. The overall design is somewhat reminiscent of the Sony Xperia Z2 at the bottom and iPhone 5s for the upper part, while the same framework style has been used on many smartphones. Nevertheless, the Ascend P7 is very elegant and ergonomic device.
Ascend the P7 has a 5-inch Full HD LCD panel (1920 x 1080 pixels, 441 dpi). In practice, the display provides visual comfort, is very accurate and well balanced. There is also a color temperature adjustment option in the settings to refine and adapt the display colors to various situations.
Compared with high end gamut of the moment, the Galaxy S5, HTC One M8 and Xperia Z2, the Ascend P7 does a better job, thanks to the temperature control which toggles between a stock, cold style to a Sony Xperia UI feel with very warm colors which turns white backgrounds to a beige which is perfect for reading. Huawei wins points for its great display.
Huawei has completely revised its user interface with the Ascend P7. It still opted to leave out an applications drawer and the design closely resembles iOS . Though this may seem a bit extreme to say this about a UI just because it lacks an app drawer, this is indeed the case. The icons have the same look as the ones on the iPhone running iOS 7.1, the transparent stock widgets and especially the camera shortcut and those on the lock screen widgets really remind one of the Apple Control Center, which is also accessed by swiping from the bottom up.
Huawei has added a lot customization options that let you personalize the type of icons and the overall tone .
All these considerations aside, the Huawei interface is one that you either love or you hate. Personally, I find it very pleasant and ergonomic to use. I must admit that I am not a big fan of the application drawer, which I find impractical and much prefer the use of folders. Large icons are clear and allow you to navigate the home screens easily.
In regards to the fluidity of the P7, it’s very fast and performs very well overall in the menu. It’s a shame though that some bugs disrupt the user experience from time to time. It comes with KitKat right out of the box. There are also a few built-in apps as well: file manager, themes, music player and a mirror which can be blown on to simulate the effect of fog. Finally, a phone manager allows you to manage and optimize the Ascend P7.
The camera is one of the Ascend P7 strengths. Huawei included software to improve pictures in low light. The picture quality is decent with the 13MP camera on the back. Without being the best sensor of the moment, the P7 delivers some decent results.
The P7’s strong point is its 8 MP front camera. Many manufacturers have claimed to have produced the perfect smartphone for selfies, yet it seems that the P7 sits on the throne. The brand has even introduced a new term: "groufie", or selfie group. This is actually a panorama mode which allows you to take a selfie by adding three photographs.
The camera app is simple and well designed and offers options that are pertinent for actual usage and function properly. There’s an HDR mode, panorama mode, filters, various voice commands as well as watermarks to add to pictures.
In low light, the P7 delivered good quality, but isn’t miraculous. The results are free of noise and aren’t blurred, like we see with many other smartphones.
Huawei Ascend P7 has a 2,500 mAh battery, which is very good for a 5 inch device. It heats up a bit, but it seems to charge properly. In a few days, we’ll be able to give a better report about the battery.
|Huawei Ascend P7|
|System||Android 4.4 KitKat|
|Display||5-inch, LCD, 1920 x 1080 pixel, 441 ppi|
|Processor||Unknown chipset, 4 core, 1.8 Gigahertz|
|Internal storage||16 + microSD|
|Camera||13 megapixel (rear), 8 megapixel (front). LED flash.|
|Connectivity||HSPA, LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Dimensions||139.8 x 68.8 x 6.5 mm|
The Huawei Ascend P7 is a smartphone that will seduce many. Its design is very impressive: it’s very thin and light. But the interface might not please everyone: you either love it or hate it. The entire device runs well, despite some occasionally annoying but not crippling bugs. The front camera is clearly the highlight of the Ascend P7, Huawei has released the best front sensor to date. Without actually revolutionizing the market, Huawei offers a great smartphone with undeniable quality. It is likely that other major manufacturers will have to reckon with the Huawei in the near future. Users who require smartphones with the utmost performance may feel annoyed at time to time, but the majority of users should be satisfied with the P7, particularly if selfies are your passion.