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Honor 7 review

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Honor 7
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  • One Plus 2 test shot
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Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Good camera
  • Decent performance
  • Good value for money
  • Bright screen

Cons

  • Below average battery
  • Heavy Android skin

Key Features

  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 20-megapixel rear camera
  • Emotion UI
  • Manufacturer: Honor
  • Review Price: £249.99

What is the Honor 7?

The Honor 7 is the latest smartphone from Huawei’s spin-off company Honor. The £250 handset follows a trend set by OnePlus in that it aims to offer buyers top-end specifications and features traditionally seen on smartphones that are close to twice the price.

From purely a hardware perspective the Honor 7 achieves this goal and, despite featuring Huawei’s dire Emotion UI skin, is a solid smartphone that offers good value for money.

Honor 7 – Design

143 x 72 x 8.5mm, 157g, fingerprint scanner, nano-SIM, microSD

Honor made a big deal about the Honor 7’s design at the phone’s London launch. Specifically, the firm made a song and dance about the fact that, unlike most smartphones in the £200-£300 price category, the Honor 7 features a “sand-blasted” metal backplate.

The plate wraps around the phone’s sides and makes the Honor 7 feel more solidly built than its key rivals: the OnePlus 2 and Moto X Play.

SEE ALSO: Best Smartphones You Can Buy

Honor 7

The Honor 7’s sturdy build is aided by the phone’s Sapphire Crystal camera lens, which helps protect the sensor from scratches. However, the phone’s premium feel is slightly let down by the addition of plastic along the top and bottom edges.

From a distance it doesn't look too bad, since the plastic panels are designed to look like metal and feature a textured finish. Up close, however, they destroy the illusion that the Honor 7 is a top-end phone as they look bolted on.

To be fair to Honor, though, the design still feels reasonably premium. However, I personally prefer the look and feel of the OnePlus 2, which features metal sides and a polycarbonate, textured backplate.

Related: OnePlus 3

I was impressed with the Honor 7’s custom smart key and rear fingerprint scanner. The smart key is a physical button on the phone’s side that can be configured to open specific applications or services when pressed.

While this may sound insignificant, I found the ability to customise the button’s function useful. For example, during a press event where I had back-to-back interviews, I was able to set the button to activate a dictaphone app.

At a basic level the Honor 7’s fingerprint scanner offers the same functionality as that of most smartphones. Sitting on the phone’s rear, it lets you set the Honor 7 to unlock or approve certain actions only once its holder has proven their identity.

However, Honor has also loaded a few extra functions onto the scanner to make it more useful. For example, once unlocked, a swipe down on the rear scanner pulls down Android’s notification, while a swipe left or right in the photo app lets you scroll through captured images.

Also welcome is the inclusion of a microSD card slot, which enables users to add a further 128GB of storage to the Honor 7’s built-in 16GB of space.

Honor 7 – Display

5.2in, IPS-NEO Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 424ppi touchscreen

The display techonology is often the first features potential smartphone buyers notice about a handset. Aware of this, the Honor 7 comes loaded with an impressive 5.2in panel. With a resolution of 1,920 x 1080, the IPS-NEO Full HD touchscreen offers a pixel density of 424ppi.

This almost puts the Honor 7 on a par with its key rival, the OnePlus 2, which features a 5.5in, 1920 x 1080, 401ppi pixel density display. However, in real-world use, I found that the Honor 7’s display performs better than most smartphones in its price range – and this includes the OnePlus 2.

Honor 7

The Honor 7’s screen brightness is significantly higher than any sub-£200 smartphone I’ve used, and it made the OnePlus 2 look outright dull. In fact, it was so bright that I found myself regularly having to turn off its auto setting and manually lower the brightness.

Colours, while slightly oversaturated, are also satisfying: the RGB calibration is decent, and so makes them look reasonably realistic. Contrast levels are also superb. Overall, I’m impressed with the Honor 7’s screen.

Compared to the OnePlus 2, the Honor 7's representation of white, too, is noticeably cleaner. Viewing angles are better than the OnePlus 2 as well, which is probably down to the Honor 7's inclusion of IPS-Neo technology.

IPS-Neo is a variation of the regular IPS screen technology seen on many smartphones, such as the OnePlus 2.

It aims to improve screens’ viewing angles and contrast ratio using a special form liquid crystal, which can be uniformly aligned on a display’s glass substrate. This helps to eliminates any potential unevenness in the tech’s circuit pattern that may hamper performance.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Dead Words

August 27, 2015, 9:25 pm

Hardware wise, this is fantastic little phone. However, I would not consider it budget. I believe this is firmly mid range. Low mid range, possibly, but claiming it's budget is misleading. This phone is not meant to go against phones like the Lumia 640 or even Moto G (2015).

McFishcake

August 28, 2015, 3:46 pm

Agree but the Moto G is not the bargain it once was. With launch discount, the Honor 7 it about the same as a 16GB Moto G (2015)
direct from Moto Maker. The Moto gets waterproofing and maybe better
glass, but the Honor 7 has 3GB system RAM and, on paper, a much faster
CPU and a better camera.

Thorsten Czub

September 19, 2015, 8:49 pm

Isn't the honor 7 the rival of the moto X play ?

omari79

October 12, 2015, 5:47 am

If you're buying the phone with demanding games on mind..ditch it..The T628 MP4's performance is somewhere between the adreno 320 and 330..the 2013 flagship GPUs so its nowhere near the adreno 430/SD810 which is already like double the performance numbers of the 330

Adena Noble

November 15, 2015, 11:15 am

I am using Honor 7 smartphone since three weeks and I am pleased with its performance and configuration. This phone comes with great camera that delivers awesome image quality. This phone runs on a high quality processor and also provides good memory storage. I must say a killer mobile at an affordable price.

In order to gather more information, just visit - http://amzn.to/1kKFEmR

iFrank

January 5, 2016, 5:21 am

Has Dual sim option (at expense of SD card slot) sim 1 LTE, sim 2, 2g.
No NFC.
Phone call record built in.

Bogdan Bobocea Nicolae

January 27, 2016, 7:06 pm

where is this phone call record thing.....i have turn alll over the OS of EMUI on Honor 7 and not only that is not have ,but is not working any of record call phone apps either with the OS on Honor 7.

iFrank

February 2, 2016, 8:21 am

Re call recording.
Sorry for late reply, only just found your question.
I saw it demonstrated in one of the You Tube vid's, it's a 27 minutes review by a German guy with brilliant English and a methodical manner : - )

I can't at this precise minute remember his user name but I will try to locate it and post the details in a day or so for you.
I need to look again because it's back on my radar after I found some reports that it's possible to hack the sim tray and create a dual sim AND Micro SD combination.

One small caveat;
I viewed his review approximately six weeks ago but only viewed his unboxing vid last week, during it he stated that his sample was a Chinese supplied phone but that it was presumed identical to Euro version and no problem to change language which would then apply to all settings.
So there is still hope.

shaun rennalls

February 6, 2016, 12:26 am

This phone s brilliant and performs great.
Having now used this phone I can't find anything I really dislike.
I had an S6 edge but downgraded a bit but find it actually performs better.
It's expandable and flexible and the fingerprint scanner is lightning fast.
Screen is great and pics are great I just love it.
My advice seriously is try one you won't regret it......premium quality and specs for a 3rd the price

iFrank

February 6, 2016, 3:11 am

Seems to be in a folder designated 'Tools' where the app for the FM radio resides.
The vid's that I viewed are by S7YLR (45.29) with a screen shot at 31.31 approx.
Techsloth (17.00) " " " " " " " " from 14:00 " .
Both are by brilliant German guys, just put Honor 7 in the You Tube search hole.

I've now lost interest in the 7 because the new 5X 5:5" screen does have two sim slots AND a Micro SD card slot, though you would never know it from the miserable TR review.
Let us know how you get on.

Bogdan Bobocea Nicolae

February 6, 2016, 9:25 am

Tha thing that you saw is voice record wich means it will record only youre voice.....not the phone calls.....anyway i downloaded a app that record the voice calls and seesm that EMUI system on the phone is not working very goodd with all the goolgles apps...and either you root the phone or just try another app wich probally will work. Is a phone with great potential but have so many things that now i dont like...ex camera quality wich is 20 mpx but shoot like a 8 mpx one.... the limits of EMUI software for apps......and with the facebook and facebook mesenger phone seems to lose cpu power and battery, but that is not only this device anyway still my old quadcore LG G2 was doing better than this one.

iFrank

February 6, 2016, 1:33 pm

Thanks for reply Bogdan!

Good of you to take the time and trouble, I'm sure all visitors to these comments will appreciate your clarification regarding my error.
Sorry I wasted your time : - (

Thanks for sorting it out!
Highest and best regards.

PS, just seen a report elsewhere, there will be Honor 7 Premium in March this year.
I'm not optimistic it will be much of an upgrade.

Jason Menezes

May 23, 2016, 7:25 pm

Honor phones are now available for a huge discount online only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com

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