Huawei Ascend P7 review
A few days ago, the Chinese company Huawei officially presented its new star terminal, the Ascend P7, in Paris, closely following the line defined by its predecessor, Ascend P6.
Instead of going to top-of-the-range hardware, Ascend P7 keeps a careful balance between performance, design and price and that's where the Asian giant hits the table. It is their strategy to stand up to the current top of the range playing the trick of a much lower price to which a superb design is added.
Now, how this terminal performs, where exactly it is located in the market and what differential characteristics it offers are some of the unknowns that we will reveal in this analysis.
Ascend P7 Technical Specifications
As you can see in the previous table there is a notable advance in specifications compared to the Ascend P6. We have a high-quality 5-inch FullHD screen, which we will analyze in depth below, the integrated SoC works at a higher clock frequency (1.8 GHz) but here the important point is the improvement in the integrated GPU, Mali 450 MP4.
We also have LTE Cat.4 connectivity (up to 150 mbps), every day more extended, and to finish, we mention a better dual-camera system and a battery that grows 25% compared to the 2,000 mAh of the Ascend P6.
Design, natural evolution of the Ascend P6
If you are one of those who liked the launch of iPhone 4 as a thin smartphone that had glass on the back, a design that we have seen repeated in numerous Android smartphones afterwards (Nexus 4, LG Optimus G and, for example, Xperia Z2) You will like the design of the Ascend P7.
We could define the design of the Ascend P7 as a strong bet by the company to have a differential element where the Gorilla Glass protection plays a basic role on the screen and on the back, which shows a pattern that seems to move when the light hits. on it.
We are facing a terminal of only 6.5 millimeters thick and this is possible thanks to an aluminum design in the central part. The size of the Ascend P7 and its low weight will make you wonder at some point what you have done with the mobile, although it really remains in the pocket where you left it. In fact, it is the lightest 5-inch terminal that we have analyzed.
The weight and thickness of the Huawei P7 present record figures in a 5-inch terminal
We are not going to fool anyone, the design is very reminiscent of an iPhone 4 / 4s and even the back of the camera is very similar to Xperia Z2, but what really sets this terminal apart from the rest is the bottom that, instead of being a flat part, it is curved and is where the main microphone and the microUSB connector are located.
The left side of the terminal has a completely clean design in which you can see the brushed aluminum finish and it is on the right side where the buttons and the trays for SIM and microSD cards are concentrated.
As you can see in the following image, we have the double volume button followed by a power button that is reminiscent, in part, of the design of the last Xperia, being circular and slightly protruding from the frame to be able to locate it easily by touch. Under it we find the tray for the external microSD storage card (up to 64 GB) and lastly, the microSIM card.
To remove them, a small punch is needed, a tool that accompanies the terminal in its box together with the hands-free, USB to microUSB cable and 220V - 5V 1A charging adapter.The only negative point of the P7's design is its lack of personality. Most aspects remind us of other terminals
At the top we find the minijack connector for hands-free / headphones and a small hole where the secondary microphone is located, for noise cancellation while talking or stereo video recording.
The front is sober in design and covered in full Gorilla Glass 3 except for the metal speaker grill for conversations. Android buttons are displayed on the screen, so the bottom frame has no use other than to display another company logo.
In the upper frame we have the 8 Mpx camera that will allow capturing selfies high quality as we will see in the camera section.
If we look at the back now, we can see a glass finish, friend of the prints, in which in the upper left corner mounts the 13 Mpx camera and the LED flash, and in the same vertical at the bottom, the speaker whose quality has pleasantly surprised us.
Screen, at the top of the range
One of the weak points that we detected of the Ascend P6 model was that its screen stayed at 720p when all the manufacturers launched their top of the range with 1,080p resolution.
With Ascend P7, Huawei has made a great effort of integration since it has not only increased the screen size to 5 inches but has also achieved it in a design that is only 6.5 mm thick.
The screen of the Huawei Ascend P7 is another of its strengths: 5 inches, IPS panel and 1080p resolution
This screen is IPS which promises wide viewing angles and is something that we have been able to verify without problem.
Beyond that technology we have been able to see how it offers intense colors and good gradients since it can show more than 16 million colors.
It is a panel that offers a good contrast and brightness, we have been able to measure 465 lux, being at the height of terminals such as Galaxy S5 or LG G2, but what we liked the most was how well adjusted the automatic control mode of brightness.
In the dark the brightness drops to a minimum level that does not disturb the eye and on the street in full sunlight the system increases the brightness making the terminal visible and manageable offering a better experience than some top-of-the-range smartphones from the competition.
We found the screen configuration section very complete in Settings since it offers the possibility of adjusting parameters such as the color temperature of the screen.
It is also worth commenting that we will have in Settings -> Accessibility a Gloves mode that will increase the sensitivity of the touch screen as necessary to be able to work with them.
Performance, catching up to last year's flaghship
Huawei has done a great job to be able to manufacture this terminal at such a tight price and for this they have had to sacrifice some aspects.
Performance is one of them, but do not be alarmed, it is a smartphone fully capable of running latest generation games or working smoothly in your day to day without any problem. However, it is well behind the performance offered by current top-end Android smartphones.The Huawei Ascend P7 sacrifices processor capacity but it is enough to run smoothly on a day-to-day basis and is a very important advance over the P6
The SoC that Huawei has developed makes use of a quad-core CPU, similar to Cortex A9, operating at a maximum frequency of 1.8 GHz. The GPU shows a great improvement compared to last year, which is that the Mali 450 MP4 GPU Get more than enough performance for most tasks, even demanding 3D games.
Metal: 731 points
Ice Storm Extreme (1080p): 5,069
Ice Storm Unlimited: 7,417
@ 1.800 × 1.080
High quality: 47.0 FPS
Ultra High quality: N.D.
See complete gallery »Benchmarks Huawei Ascend P7 (14 photos)
As you can see Antutu X is up to the top of the range last year with Snapdragon 600. The arrival of the Snapdragon 800 chips was a new leap in performance that the HiSilicon Kirin 910T chip from Huawei is not capable of achieving.
It is noted that the burden of this SoC is not the GPU but the CPU, which is a generation behind that of other competitive chips, hence in tests where graphics performance does not take so much priority, the result falls noticeably. However, as we say, it is a chip capable of running highly graphic 3D games without problem.
We want to put on record that when doing the tests, that is to say, to demand a high performance from the terminal, a noticeable increase in temperature is observed due to the upper part of the volume buttons.
Sound better than expected
One of the points that many times go unnoticed by users is the sound quality offered by the new terminals. Obviously, there are smartphones that have a clear focus in that direction, such as HTC One M8 with its dual speaker system, but the vast majority of terminals continue to bet on a single external speaker.
This is the case of Huawei Ascend P7 that comes accompanied in addition to traditional headphones, not in-ear, which have seemed quite appropriate.
The quality offered by the external speaker is above average, no longer in volume where it is maintained like the vast majority of smartphones but in the frequencies it reproduces, since it is noted that it reaches a higher level of mid-bass than the rest. phones with the typical sound to can.
In fact, the smartphone uses Dolby Digital Plus (DTS) audio enhancement technology and is noticeable both in the speaker and when we use it with headphones where the perceived change is much better.
As a small problem we can comment that the sound played by the rear speaker is quite blocked if the terminal is resting on a flat surface with the back on it.
The Huawei music application has a simple interface and offers us four playlists for us to catalog our music, also allowing us to filter the typical short duration audios (WhatsApp audios) for example. The rest of the options are basic, allowing us to choose which folders to look for, for example. We are missing, for example, equalization modes.
We will be able to tune into FM stations around the world with Ascend P7, yes, as with most smartphones we will need to have the headphones that make up the antenna connected.
Photograph with Ascend P7, the king of selfies
The Huawei terminal offers a good photography system. The 13 Mpx rear sensor with autofocus and LED Flash and the backlit 8 Mpx sensor with fixed focus.
Huawei has wanted to give one more twist to one of the current trends in photography, self-portraits or as the Anglo-Saxons say selfies with the front camera. In fact it offers something that we have not seen on any other device, the possibility of taking a panoramic selfie. The panoramic photography functionality in which we capture several images and the smartphone merges them into one applied to the front camera.
In addition to this, Huawei continues to bet on its Beauty mode with which it softens skin tones and eliminates wrinkles as a virtual makeup, with the possibility of choosing different degrees of retouching.
Huawei has played almost everything in the panoramic selfie mode of the Ascend P7
You can also apply the typical filters to the images that we capture with the front camera, in real time, and a curious mode of watermark that will "burn" in the photo, date and place where it was made, among others. Regarding video recording, a very good quality is obtained, perfect for both video calls with FullHD quality and for recording any type of video.
This camera is good even for low light photography, read at night, offering great results. This photo is made practically in the dark, with the light on the street at 21:45 Spanish time in a portal in the dark.
Selfie at night, with virtually no lighting
As you can see on the left side we have the reference photo and on the right the selfie, although, yes, with the flash mode active, which is nothing more than lighting the white screen with the maximum brightness during the photo capture.
We now turn to the rear camera, which we remember has a 13 Mpx F / 2.0 sensor with autofocus and an LED flash.
We have to emphasize that Huawei's approach to the field of traditional photography with the rear camera has had 3 main aspects:
- Speed the first photo: we can take a photo from the locked phone in just 1.2 seconds.
- Low-light photography, thanks to the aperture, filters that it has integrated into the lenses and its image processor (ISP).
- Photography in automatic mode perfect in most cases, thanks to its scene detection mode.
- Design and quality of materials
- Control and management software
- Front camera quality
- Quick photography mode: 1.2s
- Aesthetic customization of S.O.
- Emotion UI interface, different from any Android
- Rear camera quality equivalent to the previous generation of flagship phones
- Speaker sound shielded on flat surfaces
Huawei hasn't jumped on the selective focus bandwagon we've seen on most smartphones this year, but it does offer an improved HDR photography mode, photo with audio, burst of photos so you can choose the best, Smart mode with detection. automatic scene, Beauty mode and Watermark mode that we discussed in the front camera.
The quality of the photographs is good in most cases as you can see below. Both normal, smart and HDR modes work very well.
Hover over or tap the image to switch between HDR and non-HDR
Our recommendation after several days of use is to trust us in the intelligent way since almost all types of photographs have turned out with a note. Advanced users will miss the increasingly popular manual photography mode, but it is true that with a mobile phone that functionality is relegated to very specific uses.
See complete gallery »Photographs taken with Huawei Ascend P7 (10 photos)
As for the video, Huawei does not make the leap to 4K recording as we have seen in other top-of-the-range terminals, but it has paid attention to details such as tracking objects in a scene, automatically changing the focus or, for example , a software image stabilization system.
Emotion UI 2.3, Kitkat and cool extras
Huawei makes use of a software layer above Android 4.4.2 which is the version on which Ascend P7 works. With Emotion UI 2.3, users have an interface that is reminiscent of its simplicity to iPhone, that is, we do not have an application drawer, but everything we install stays on the desktops.
For Android users who like to tinker, we comment that this interface is very similar to that of MIUI ROMs. As an interesting point of this interface we have the easy customization of the system, from icons, fonts or wallpapers.
All this can be managed from the Themes application in which we can choose one of those that come pre-installed or access the huge repository that we have online and combine some elements of a theme with those of any other, that is, 100% customization.
In addition to this, there is the possibility of having a traditional Android desktop or a simplified interface, perfect for those who come from Windows Phone or older people, children or users who are starting with smartphones.
The traditional Android interface is simple, having three buttons on the screen, back, Home and multitasking that will allow us to switch between different applications, close the ones that we are not going to use and are in the background, and even close them all at once.
The notification bar is another point to highlight as we find a gray, customizable bar that we can extend and show all the available shortcuts.
As interesting points we highlight the possibility of adjusting the brightness level, turning on the flashlight or taking a screenshot.
The integrated Gallery has a simple interface showing the different images and videos in full screen according to the folder where they are stored.
It also integrates a complete image editor from which you can adjust levels, add filters, crop, apply effects, improve sharpness and endless possibilities.
As an interesting extra we have the Telephone Manager that allows us to optimize our terminal easily by doing a little analysis of it.
It serves as a hub for other small applications that we will discuss below.
See complete gallery »Ascend P7 administration and management apps (6 photos)
It indicates that we can close open applications, the power mode of the phone, invites us to delete applications that start at startup, free up space and even choose which applications will be able to show notifications in the notification bar.
These functionalities are quite advanced and in many other terminals we have to be root to be able to control them and with Ascend P7 they come standard.
A curious application is the Mirror application that not only serves to turn on the front camera and use it for this purpose, but can also serve as a magnifying mirror.
One of the strengths of Ascend P7 is the possibility of sharing its multimedia content on the network, that is, it can function as a DLNA server showing on the TV the photographs taken with it or even those received by WhatsApp or any other application.
And in the office field we have to comment that it is accompanied by the Polaris Office 4.0 suite that allows you to interact with the most common file formats: Word, Excel, PowerPoint or PDF, among others.
Ascend P7 has NFC connectivity and comes with an application that allows you to program labels to perform actions or functions such as entering car mode (turn on Bluetooth, GPS, open driving mode), just by touching that label with the back of the smartphone.
And finally we comment that Huawei has integrated the floating button functionality that we can place in any position on the sides of the screen and will give us direct access to the Android keys and close open applications at all times.
In addition, from it we can also access a small list of floating applications that will be available on the desktop or any Android application. This list includes: calculator, music, calendar, create note and new SMS.
Ascend P7, autonomy and battery management
This smartphone mounts a 2,500 mAh battery, which although it is a substantial improvement compared to its predecessor Ascend P6 lags a little behind what other manufacturers such as LG and Sony are mounting on their terminals, passing the 3,000 mAh.
One of the big problems of the Ascend P6 terminal was that its battery was short, making it difficult to overcome the day with a load if we made average use of the terminal.
With Ascend P7 the Huawei company has made a great effort to control the consumption of its terminal and offers many tools to improve this aspect. The first of these is a user-configurable energy saving system with normal, smart and Ultra mode (which only keeps the basic functions active: calls and SMS). The latter mode promises 24 hours with just 10% charge.
See complete gallery »Management of energy consumption (5 photos)
Accompanying these modes we find several tools that will help us avoid unnecessary consumption of the battery, such as the Energy Control that centralizes all the different possibilities that are offered to us.
Among them we have the option to prevent applications that we do not use from opening when the phone is turned on, choosing which applications can work in the background / when blocking the phone and which will be closed.
We will even receive warnings if the terminal detects that an application consumes more energy than supposedly necessary and makes it easier for us to close it.
However, and with all the aforementioned, with the Ascend P7 smartphone it will be difficult to endure more than a day with normal use, that is, we will reach 24 hours of use as long as we do not use it exhaustively and have the brightness at a level not elevated.
Once the terminal has been thoroughly tested and seen what it is capable of offering both in terms of hardware and the software possibilities that it brings as standard, we can positively value the new Huawei smartphone.
Ascend P7 is a compact and lightweight terminal to be 5 inches, something to be appreciated, which is located in a mid-high range, high in terms of specifications and performance, but without reaching the top of the range.
It is clear that Huawei has wanted to launch a terminal that offers a great balance between design, performance and price and that is that the 420 - 450 euros announced in its presentation (we have already seen it via Huawei direct Amazon at 363 euros) that will have a price when it reaches the market - it will be significantly different from the prices of the current top of the range.
The photographic section is somewhat fair for the high-end that seems to have taken a step forward reaching 16 and 20 Mpx sensors with new functionalities such as selective focus. However, the great front camera reinforces this section.
We are talking about a 4G terminal capable of moving any current application with ease and fighting with dignity when we talk about very demanding games, although there is some aspect such as autonomy that still resists it even with all the care they have put in the management of the same.
7,8Design9 screen Performance6.5 Camera7.5 Software8 Autonomy 7.0
The terminal has been loaned for testing by Huawei. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises.
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