Review by Sunetra Chakravati,8/26/2015 11:48:42 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
All metal body | Fingerprint sensor | Fabulous camera | Strikingly beautiful display |
Slightly too wide | Confusing buttons layout
- By Sunetra Chakravarti
Until even a few months back, online brands and little known brands were for the brave. They were for those in the know. They were for those who knew their mili amperes from their mega pixels. In other words, they weren't for us. For people who liked a good phone but were heavily dependant on the store guy’s recommendation.
But this is changing off-late. There is more confidence in online shopping than ever before and with the internet at your fingertips, it is a matter of seconds before you get a lowdown on a product that looks too good for the price.
You will not have this problem with the Honor range of devices. We loved the 6+ and with the 7, the online-only brand has put incredible specs in an attractive all-metal body in our hands for less than £250. The latest offering from a duopoly brand comes in at over £700. Just saying.
While the 6+ was very good, it still had the whiff of a mid-ranger about it. Also it was slightly too big at 5.5" and as we all know, unless you work/stream incessantly- the phablet size gets a lot of getting used to.
Honor have shaved the size down so the screen is a 5.2" one and the body is pure unadulterated metal. There is a largish camera sensor at the back with two flashes and a square fingerprint sensor sited just below the camera cut-out.
The bezels on either side of the screen are almost non-existant and the three buttons at the bottom are on the screen giving it a bigger footprint than if the buttons were lined up below the touch screen.
On the left side is the Smart Key, more on this later and the, rather soft-touch, power button is on the right with the volume toggle above it.
The 3.5mm headphone jack is at the top left and the phone can be charged using a microUSB charger. The SIM card slot is sited together with the microSD card slot on the left.
The Honor 7 is available in a choice of two colours: mystery grey and fantasy silver, it is made from an aluminium alloywith a 'golden ratio' design which stops the phone from overheating. During my week using the phone, I faced no problems with the phone even getting warm to the touch.
The 3100mAH battery is one of the biggest we have tested in the recent past and with my medium use of the phone, a single full charge lasted just over two days. It has several nifty power saving features on it which allow data to be switched off. With 8 percent left over on the battery, a message popped up to say the phone would last 44 mins but with power saving mode, it could be stretched to 1h 8 minutes. Quite significant in my opinion.
Just for comparisons sake, the battery on the Samsung S6 Edge+ is 3,000 mAH and that phone starts at £749.
The Honor 7 packs the ability to fast-charge. Our review went from 0-100% in about 40 minutes. Reverse charging helps you get out of those situations when you run out of juice on your Sat-Nav or smartwatch, so you can use the cable to charge the other device instead.
A 20MP snapper, complete with a Sony sensor brings scenes to life. With all the usual filters and accessories, the stand-out one for me was the 'good food' one- incredibly handy for Instagram-ing pictures of flowers and your dinner in equal measure.
The sapphire glass lens helps protect the rather large lens from getting scratched.
The light-painting feature, seen earlier on Huawei's P8 also makes an appearance here, as do the panorama mode and the time-lapse one.
The 8MP front-facing camera did a great job and I absolutely loved how I could adjust the settings so I would always look impeccable even on the draughtiest of days. All selfies adhered to the 'master setting' and my skin would always be alabaster smooth and eyes massive and sparkling.
But even if you don't go for the airbrushed look, the 26mm front facing lens and soft white light give selfies a depth of field and clarity that isnt usual.
Scroll down to see example pictures.
Android 5.1 comes pre-loaded but there is no word yet on when the phone will upgrade to Android M. Honor run their custom skin Emotion UI 3.1 on the phone which as skins go, is probably the most slimmed down version we have seen on phones. Yes, there are themes but the phone doesnt come preloaded with any manufacturer laden apps that you might take an instant dislike to or that will weigh your phone's memory down immensely.
There is a folder with Gameloft offerings, but that is an easy delete. And a smart controller which you can use as an universal remote control for your television etc as well as a tools folder. Light and breezy, exactly how we like it.
You get the ability to hide your apps into a folder which you are then able to password-protect, as well as the ability to use the phone using the one hand mode. Simply pinch the corner of the screen and pull it down.
The phone comes with 16GB on-board memory and is expandable to 128GB via SIM tray 2. Honor 7 has a HiSilicon Kirin 935 64bit Octa-core 2.2 Ghz Cortex-A53 processor which makes it blisteringly fast. No lag, no stuttering and no spinning wheel- I would stream videos endlessly and quickly swap through to the browser, Whatsapp and then to emails and I was absolutely staggered by its fleetness of speed.
The Honor 7 has a 72.4 percent screen to body ratio and has a resolution of 1920 X 1080 pixels which brings it in at 424 pixels per inch. Stunning clarity, slightly on the saturated side, but we didnt mind.
The Honor 7 has some really cool features. In a world where every phone does almost the same thing that the other does, these set it apart from its peer group.
On the left of the device you will find the 'Smart key', you are able to configure three settings for it. When you press it once and when yu press it twice, you can set up one of the four actions listed here: Ultra snapshot, Voice recording, torch and screenshot.
You can also press and hold to bring up your favourite app, for us it was Instagram. The Ultra snapshot mode was jittery but when we switched to the screenshot mode, it worked without a hitch.
You can use voice commands to get your phone to wake you up in the morning, our ideal of fresh hell as well as to start ringing when it hears your voice. It was hilarious when we used it in the morning- scared the OH no end!
The square indent just below the camera lens at the back of the phone is actually a fingerprint sensor and it works exactly how the one on the iPhone does. Set upto two fingerprints up and then use the sensor to unlock your phone instead of punching the number code in.
It is a really good feature which works exceptionally well especially when you are on the move and I set up index fingers on both my hands up to enjoy a seamless phone unlocking experience.
This feature has a smattering of gems hidden within it, our favourite is the 'Draw' feature. When the screen is off, draw a letter to open the app immediately. However, you will still need to unlock your phone for it. Draw M for music, W for weather, E for the browser and C for camera- perfect for party tricks as well as for those times when you cannot bear to look through the app tray.
Honor 7: Knuckle screenshot
Knock on the phone to take a quick screenshot. Not sure why you would want to take screenshots but, well, it is there.
We loved the Honor 6 Plus but it did have some drawbacks, the size was a bit too big, the body was all plastic and it ran an older version of Android. With the Honor 7, you can see why there were 9 million pre-orders in China. This is a star phone, one that doesnt have starry airs about it.
A powerhouse of a performer, the phone took everything we threw at it and we are more than impressed with its top notch credentials and we had earlier said that the 6 Plus at just under £300 was unbeatable... we have to use those words again.
Huawei must want a piece of the western phone market pie very very bad, to dish out a 4G phone like this one for so little. But then the online-only strategy must have helped too!
Honor 7 makes us feel hopefuly that manufacturers will not find it easy to take our money and tell us quality is not possible for a low price because with the Honor 7, we see that it is all possible.
Whatever way you look at it, we love it!
Honor 7 will be sold online via VMall.eu/Honor7, Amazon and Three.co.uk will range the product and be sold for £249.99.
Dimensions (mm): 143.20 x 71.90 x 8.50
Weight (g): 157.00
Battery capacity (mAh): 3100
Colours: Silver, Gold, Gray
Screen size (inches): 5.2
Resolution: 1080x1920 pixels
Pixels per inch (PPI): 423
Processor: 1.5GHz octa-core
Processor make: Hisilicon Kirin 935
Internal storage: 16GB
Expandable storage up to (GB): 128GB
Camera: 20-megapixel and 8-megapixel
Operating System: Android 5.0
Skin: Emotion UI 3.1
'Good food' shot
Another macro picture
Selfie camera with 'beautify' tool at 5
Super detail shot