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Huawei Ascend P7 review

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Huawei Ascend P7 review

Along with fellow Chinese manufacturer ZTE, Huawei is best known for making wallet-friendly smartphones with very respectable specs. So when it launched the flagship P7, our interest was piqued.

Can it mix it with Android big boys like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8), though? Let's find out.

First impressions and design

huawei ascend p7 side 1

At five inches, the P7 is a big mobile, yet at just 6.5mm thin, it's slimmer than the iPhone 5S. It looks very similar to the well reviewed Sony Xperia Z2, with a metal border and glass back.

Build quality is solid, and the Gorilla Glass will keep it scratch-free, though it does make it a bit slippery. 124g is very light for a five-inch phone, too.

You also get a choice of colours, though with only black, white and pink available, the selection is more limited than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8).

Software

huawei ascend p7 front

The P7 runs Huawei's Emotion UI 2.3 over the top of Android KitKat 4.4.2 (the latest version of Google's mobile OS).

It's not as user-friendly as HTC's Sense UI, or Samsung's TouchWiz. HTC's and Samsung's are a lot more unobtrusive nowadays, whereas there's no getting away from Huawei's.

The layout is decidedly iOS-esque, which is no bad thing of course, and everything moves along at a very nippy pace. But Emotion UI takes a bit of adjustment once you're used to stock Android.

It also means updates will take longer to arrive than on handsets running stock Android.

It's not a problem for now, but the next version of Android is just around the corner...

Features

huawei ascend p7 back

As you'd expect from a high-end smartie, the specs are pretty top notch.

The screen has a resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels, giving it a pixel per inch count of 441ppi. That's on a par with the Samsung Galaxy S4, so everything looks predictably sharp and colourful.

On the back is a 13-megapixel camera, and on the front, an eight-megapixel snapper.

That's a high resolution for a front-facer, and it's simple to switch to selfie mode too – just hit the swivel icon. It even tells you where to direct your gaze so you're looking into the camera.

Picture quality is very good, with accurate colour reproduction and plenty of detail.

Compared to the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S5, it is slow to focus, however, and it can't snap anywhere near as quickly as the iPhone 5S.

Usability

huawei ascend p7 triplicate

Generally, the Ascend P7 isn't bad at all in the usability stakes. You can whip through the menus quick as you like, thanks to the 2GB of RAM and 1.8GHz quad-core processor, and the screen is very responsive.

It might take a while to work out where everything is on Emotion UI. But once you have, it's a doodle to use.

The issues will come further down the line. You'll have to wait for future Android updates, because it doesn't run stock Android.

That's not a problem if you're not bothered about the latest features. But when you're spending hundreds on a phone, you should be first in line.

Huawei hasn't confirmed the UK price yet, but it's thought to be around €449 (£364), which is very reasonable for a device with these specs.

Verdict

The P7 isn't short of wallet-friendly competition from the likes of the Nexus 5 and OnePlus One, and Huawei is far from a household name. But if it keeps making devices like the P7, it could well be one to watch.

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