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Huawei Honor 7

Honor 7 review: Wait for the Honor 6X

Nathan Spendelow Katharine Byrne
5 Jan 2017
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
250
inc VAT (SIM-free)

With the Honor 6X coming soon, the Honor 7 is let down by battery life issues and worrying build quality

Pros 
Great display
Decent performance
Cons 
Worrying build quality
Short battery life
EMUI woes
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Specifications

Processor: Octa-core 2.2GHz Kirin 935, Screen Size: 5.2in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 20 megapixels, Storage (free): 16GB (10.4GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 143x72x8.5mm, Weight: 157g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1

Update: Honor 6X announced at CES

If you're thinking of picking up an Honor 7 in the very near future, it may be best to hold that thought. At CES 2017, Huawei announced its Honor 6 successor and similarly priced mid-range smartphone; the Honor 6X

While its all-metal design isn't going to win any awards, for just £229 you get a Full HD 5.5in screen with an impressive dual camera and a Kirin 655 Octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM. While we're yet to spend enough time with it for review (expected shortly), I can see the Honor 6X being a much better choice come the end of January.

That being said, you can find my original review below.

Honor 7 review

Ever since the OnePlus 2 arrived, competition between mid-range smartphones has been kicked into overdrive. The top-end specification and a price less than half of a traditional flagship means it puts other similarly-priced phones to shame. However, when this year's best bargain is locked away behind a strict invite-only system, those without invites must look elsewhere for a better deal. Enter the Honor 7, the follow-up to last year's great value Honor 6.

With a 5.2in Full HD screen, 20-megapixel camera and octa-core chipset, the Honor 7 has a pretty impressive feature list. It even has a rear fingerprint sensor, which is a pretty unusual addition for a mid-range handset. Located just below the rear camera, its square recess is the perfect height for your forefinger, and can open and unlock your phone from sleep mode in little more than a second, beating the OnePlus 2 to the punch in terms of overall speed.  

The fingerprint sensor isn’t just for unlocking the phone, though, as it also returns to the home screen, takes photos and videos, answers calls and stops alarms. The latter can be a bit tricky to silence, particularly if you have the phone face up when it goes off, but I have to admit the rest of Honor's additional functions are rather handy, particularly when it comes to answering calls.  

Honor 7 rear

Honor 7 review: Design & Display

However, while the Honor 7's fingerprint sensor might increase the phone's security, its overall build quality and sturdiness leave something to be desired. Despite having a tough aluminium unibody chassis, I found the front glass panel was very prone to getting scratched, and it even suffered some full-blown cracks during my short time with the handset. 

This is a shame, as the 5.2in, 1,920x1,080-pixel panel is easily one of the most colour accurate I've seen in quite some time. With an sRGB colour gamut score of 98.8%, colours were very rich and vivid, and a black level of 0.3cd/m2 meant that text looked deep and inky. Likewise, a contrast ratio of 1,158:1 ensured there was plenty of detail in my various test images, and a high brightness of 482.28cd/m2 makes it easy to see outside.

Honor 7 side on

Honor 7 review: Performance

Inside, the Honor 7 is powered by a 64-bit octa-core 2.2GHz Kirin 935 chipset and 3GB of RAM – the same chipset as Huawei's flagship P8 – and it puts up a pretty decent fight against the top-end Qualcomm chips you'll find in other Android smartphones. For instance, in Geekbench 3, the Honor 7 scored a respectable 923 in the single core test and 3,554 in the multicore test, putting it just behind the HTC One M9. It's also significantly faster than the Motorola Moto X Play, which is more expensive than the Honor 7, so it comfortably one of the fastest smartphones you can buy in this price range.

Likewise, gaming performance was fantastic compared to other £250 handsets, as it managed 476 frames in the offscreen Manhatten test in GFX Bench GL. This equates to roughly 7.7fps, which might not sound great in practice, but it's more than enough to run games like Hearthstone. Card animations were lovely and smooth, and I didn't see any signs of stutter when the pop-up dialogue boxes appeared either.

Similarly, web browsing was also a cut above the competition, as its score of 1,075 in Peacekeeper puts it a long way ahead of the LG G4 and only a little way behind the Samsung Galaxy S6. I could see it in daily-use, too, as it coped very well with media-heavy pages like the Guardian, and showed very few signs of stutter even when there were embedded videos and lots of photos onscreen at the same time.  Continues on Page 2

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