The Honor 7 is Huawei’s latest smartphone. Honor is the child company of the Chinese-based smartphone manufacturer. The Honor 7 is a $380 handset that follows the trend set by the flagship killer manufacturer – OnePlus 2.
It’s a mid-budget smartphone that aims to offers buyers top-shelf specs at half the price of a flagship device.
Its interiors do the Honor 7 justice – indeed, it competes with the likes of iPhone 6 and Galaxy 6. Price to value ratio is satisfactory.
Honor 7 Review
It has a pretty great camera and it outputs a more than decent performance. It has a bright screen with a high pixel density. Basically, good value for your buck.
However, its battery life falls short when compared to other smartphones in the same price range. And its heavy Android skin is a little bit unbearable at times.
Honor 7 specs
- Fingerprint scanner
- 20-megapixel primary camera
- Emotion User Interface
Honor 7 Design
At the launch event which took place in London, Honor insisted on making a big deal out of the fact that their new smartphone has a sand-blasted metal backplate, unlike other smartphones found in the $300-$400 price category.
Its key rivals, the Moto X Play and OnePlus 2 don’t have a plate that wraps around the phone’s sides. Indeed, it makes the Honor 7 sturdier and less prone to damage.
The smartphone’s Sapphire Crystal camera lens is built specifically so it offers better protection to the camera sensor i.e. it protects it from scratches and other unwanted embuggerrances.
From afar, it looks premium and it can fool you into thinking that it indeed is. However, when gripped in the palm of your hand, the plastic along the top and bottom edges feels like a letdown.
It’s in no way a deal-breaker, but it’s worth noting that while it looks the part, it doesn’t actually manage to play it.
To be frank, I much preferred OnePlus 2’s textured, polycarbonate backplate, which featured metal on its sides. The Honor 7 looks premium-enough, but OnePlus 2 looks better.
I found the fingerprint scanner intriguing but rather useless in the end. It offers the same amount of functionality as any other fingerprint scanner enabled device, but it tends to be too gimmicky for my taste. It can be found on the phone’s rear.
However, what I did found super useful is the ability to customize how button’s function. This means that you can change their functionality to open other apps like a PDF Reader, Candy Crush Saga and etc.
Honor 7 Display
The Honor 7 sports a 5.2-inch IPS-NEO Full HD 1920×1080 display. With a pixel density of 424 ppi, it’s one beast not to be trifled with.
The display technology is the crucial feature that makes or breaks a smartphone. I found Honor 7’s display to outperform everything else on this price range – yes, this includes the beloved OnePlus 2.
Screen brightness is flagship material. It even makes the OnePlus 2 look like a broken lightbulb around it. Yet, its auto setting makes it too bright, which is more than annoying – more often than not, I found myself lowering it manually because it was too bright
Colors, while outputting a powerful and full of life palette are a little bit oversaturated, but more than satisfying. Contrast levels are flawless.
The bottom-line is that Honor 7’s display is scrumptious and I can honestly say that it beats the OnePlus 2 in this chapter.
Let’s see what we unravel next.
Honor 7 Software
Unfortunately, Honor follows the parent company Huawei in building a user interface that is mostly aimed at the Chinese market. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to use it without major hiccups. It just entails that it doesn’t cater to western needs and it has a heavy Android skin – called Emotion UI.
The general consensus is that it’s a huge deal breaker that will make Honor’s profit soar in western market just because of its poorly-chosen Emotion UI.
It looks like the result of a one night stand between iOS and Android – one filled with all kind of drugs and booze. Take the Android native app tray, well, you can’t, because they removed it.
The heavy Android skin makes it far less intuitive than its competitors. I wouldn’t recommend the Honor 7 to your technically impaired aunt. To be honest, I would have much preferred a Cyanogen or naked Android OS over this custom, sort-of, skin – it will also hamper the upgrade to Android Marshmallow later this year.
Huawei needs to recode Emotion for every new version of Android – this may very well take a few months.
Honor 7 Performance
Performance-wise, the Honor 7 is quite jaw dropping. It comes with an octa core 2.2GHz CPU from an obscure manufacturer – HiSilicon Kirin and their 935 line of CPUs.
It’s paired with 3 gigs of RAM and a Mali-T628MP4 GPU.
For $380, it’s quite the catch – no 22 involved.
The Honor 7’s performance is more than excellent, and it is capable of running intense 3D games such as Dead Space, Grand Theft Auto 3 and The Bard’s Tale – all lag free. Yet, I found its display to heat up, but just slightly.
It’s a more than welcome news considering that Huawei isn’t known for their reliable GPUs.
Honor 7 Camera
This year’s first flagship killer, the OnePlus 2 packed a whopping 13-megapixel rear facing camera, and a 5-megapixel secondary option.
Aware of the increasingly competitive camera technology area, Honor 7 pumped their unit with a 20-megapixel sensor that can take pics at a resolution of 5152 x 3888. It has a dual-LED flash and it comes packed with a Sapphire lens to better protect its monstrous primary unit.
The front facing unit is an 8-megapixel sensor that can output a resolution up to 3264 x 2448.
It’s impressive to say the least.
However, it’s not all rainbows and sunshine – it doesn’t have optical image stabilization. This means that in a low light setting, the Honor 7 will stutter and struggle way more than the OIS-equipped OnePlus 2.
Yet, in decent light setting the Honor 7 takes crisp and realistically-looking pics. Colors aren’t washed-out, and shutter speed doesn’t resemble a drunken snail.
It also comes packed with a plethora of modes, presets and whatnot.
Honor 7 Battery
Unfortunately, even though it has a 3100mAh battery it won’t last more than 12 hours of average use – intense meddling will result in a lifespan of barely 8 hours.
This means that whatever you do, you’ll have to either carry a charger with you or say bye-bye to mobile phones until you get home.
Don’t think of swapping a readily available power unit because that’s simply not possible. The Honor 7’s battery is a non-removable unit.
Honor claims that their latest phone can last up to two days on a single charge. These are unfounded lies and real-world use is the perfect argument to my claim.
However, if you just use your phone to just talk as in no internet connection whatsoever, no gaming sessions and no photo shoots, It will indeed surpass the 24 hour mark, but just slightly.On the bright side, the Honor 7 is fast charging, power saving capable. With the right cable, you can recharge your smartphone in under an hour – 47’ish minutes to be exact.
Honor 7 Sound, Call Quality
It isn’t that great for playing music or watching Netflix without headphones on, but it does rather well if you want to take a quick glimpse at a music video on YouTube.
Call Quality is on par with every other mid-budget, and upwards, smartphone.
I didn’t found any lag issues, dropped calls, or noise and distortion present when calling or being called up by someone.
Honor 7 Verdict
For $380, the Honor 7 is a fantastic smartphone. However, I would choose the OnePlus 2 over the Honor 7 mainly because it doesn’t have a clustered Android skin and its battery life is much bigger.
Yet, if you find yourself liking the Honor 7’s design more, and if you have your eyes set on the 20-megapixel camera unit, then the Honor 7 won’t disappoint.