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Huawei Ascend Mate 7 review

Andrew Williams

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR

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Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
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  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Huawei Ascend Mate 7
  • Mate 7
  • Mate 7 games
  • Mate 7 Camera
  • Ascend Mate photos 10
  • Ascend Mate photos 7
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  • Ascend Mate photos
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  • Ascend Mate photos 5
  • Mate 7 battery drain

Summary

Our Score:

8

Pros

  • Decent value
  • Solid design
  • Huge, good-quality screen
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Software not great fresh out of the box
  • Some minor build issues

Key Features

  • 6-inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixel IPS screen
  • HiSilicon Kirin 925 CPU
  • 13-megapixel main camera with LED flash
  • Manufacturer: Huawei
  • Review Price: £399.00

What is the Huawei Ascend Mate 7?

The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is a very large phone, one whose display is close to tablet-like proportions. Gamers and those who like to watch videos on the way to work should have an instant interest in such a phone.

And, contrary to what the name suggests, it’s definitely phone-sized: the screen is six inches across, not seven.

As is so often the case with Huawei phones, you need to fiddle with the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 to iron out a few weird tweaks that have been applied. But with a little effort, this is one of the best large-screen phones money can buy. At £400, it’s a good lower-cost alternative to the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

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Huawei Ascend Mate 7: Design

Huawei is not a master of design. Often its inspirations are all-too apparent, and the original motifs it devises tend to be a little wonky. But it’s getting better, and the Mate 7 is certainly one of the best Huawei phones yet.

The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 has a look very similar to the HTC One Max. It’s imposing, mostly metal and has a fingerprint scanner on the back. A paragon of simplicity it is not.

However, aside from a slight lack of originality the design is remarkably good. Here’s the important bit – for a 6-inch screen phone, it’s very easy to use.

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A handful of clever choices ensure this, and while not exactly a surprise, it is a relief after the Huawei Ascend P7, which seemed to value being thin over being enjoyable to use day-to-day. That phone missed the point. This one gets it, or at least seems to.

The first important bit is that the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is clearly as much all-screen as the company could manage. Bezels are super-thin and there’s very little expanse above or below the display.

For empirical evidence – the Mate 7 is just 0.5mm wider than the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Granted, you’ll find much greater differences compared to phones of 2014 such as the LG G3, but clear effort has been put into making the phone as manageable as possible.

It’s not just the width, but the height too. This phone is thinner, shorter and less wide than its predecessor the Ascend Mate 2.

To make this possible, the soft keys are built into the software, and despite the current trend for front speakers, the Mate 7 keeps its one on the rear to ensure it doesn’t add more bulk. The result is a phone that's 7.5mm less tall than the HTC One Max, a phone we found to be flat-out too big at the time.

The Mate 7 is big, but not too big. Now that phones are that bit thinner, bezels that bit smaller, we’re at last finding 6-inch phones that we don’t wish we could shrink down.

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Huawei has also put the soft keys towards the centre of the screen to make them easier to reach, and it works. Obviously, the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 remains a handful, but this is among the most accessible 6-inch phones to date.

It also feels good. About 85 per cent of the back is anodised aluminium, with just a couple of plastic bungs on the end to house the antennas, which would have trouble transmitting through metal. Build quality isn’t quite Apple-grade on closer inspection – in our sample the ‘volume up’ key lost its clickiness after a few days of use, but we assume this is an unfortunate fault with our sample (it is labelled an Engineering Sample, so this seems likely).

Much like the soft keys, the power button is placed within reach of your digit (right thumb in this case), and the phone’s super-slim 7.9mm body adds to how breezy this phone feels to use. Yes, we’ve complained about Huawei’s obsession with slimness in the past, but in a 6-inch phone, cuts to every dimension are appreciated.

SEE ALSO: Best Phablets 2015

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Huawei Ascend Mate 7: Fingerprint scanner

After first noticing the similarities with the HTC One Max, we were worried about the Huawei Ascend Mate 7’s fingerprint scanner. The HTC’s was so particular it became a nightmare to use.

In another unexpected win for Huawei, the Mate 7’s fingerprint scanner is, as of October 2014, the best you’ll find in a phone outside of the Apple Touch ID sensor. It’s miles better than HTC’s fingerprint scanner and far better than the Samsung one used in phones like the Note 4 and Galaxy S5.

First, the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 does not make you move a finger over the scanner, just place it on there. And it scans your entire fingerprint when calibrating, rather than just the central part.

As such it’s able to be much more forgiving of fingerprints placed at an angle or non-centrally. I still experienced plenty of ‘non-recognised fingerprint’ messages, but it automatically rescans without any extra interaction required within a fraction of a second. It easily achieves the main fingerprint scanner goal of outpacing a typed-in passcode, which the HTC One Max and Samsung Galaxy S5 fail at, in our experience.

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The scanner also sits in just about the perfect position for your forefinger, and is recessed by a full millimetre or so, making blind operation a doddle. It works without getting near the power button too. Huawei rarely shows the big players of Android how things are done, but it certainly has with the Ascend Mate 7’s fingerprint scanner.

Other less interesting aspects of the phone still worth noting include that it uses dual pop-out trays for microSIM and microSD cards on the left edge. You get a reasonable 16GB of storage in the phone, but a memory card slot boosts up its media cred several notches.

Carrier pricing updates & information supplied by WhistleOut

Prem Desai

October 9, 2014, 12:02 pm

Good looking phone. The thin bezel helps, but it's still too large.

I think the way forward now is not thinner cases and thinner bezels, but folding displays.

Not the curved or bent screen that are doing the rounds, but proper bend in half display (without a visible hinge or gap).

danielfrisbee

October 9, 2014, 1:27 pm

I think roll up phones that snap straight like those bracelets would be good

Techngro

October 9, 2014, 10:22 pm

Thanks for the review. This phone looks very nice. Now if Huawei could only get them in people's hands, I think they would have a hit.

Which model number did you test? L09 or L10?

zeeshan4it

October 16, 2014, 2:38 pm

You said there is no need of sreen protector if there is Gorilla Glass3 but I want to share my experience with Ascend P7. Its has Gorilla Glass 3 but the screen started to get hairline scratches even from the day1!!!!! and after 4 months the screen is full of scratches! There is something wrong with Gorilla Glass3. My wife is using Asceng G700 and it dont have Gorilla Glass and she used it very roughly and surprisingly there is still not a single scratch on her phone!! The sound quality of loudspeakers is also very bad and you will miss many calls. Motorola and HTC are winner in sound quality area.

I dont prefer to buy phone with such a huge price tag and you get low quality and low sound smartphone of 6 inches screen. 6 Inches smartphones should have louder sound.

Mike Braniff

October 20, 2014, 1:24 am

zeeshan4it are you sure its the Gorilla glass with the scratches? the P7 ships with a screen protector on it. This seems to mark quickly, take it off and the screen looks pristine.

Moose

October 31, 2014, 11:14 am

I used an Ascend Mate 1 for a few months and liked it so I'm sure that the Mate 7 is a good phone. However, the price for the 32 GB version needs to be under $600 Canadian dollars to beat the LG G3 in terms of value, which I paid $599 for. Anything more expensive will be too pricey for a Chinese phone.

Person chap

November 2, 2014, 10:52 pm

The Lenovo P780 has a battery as big as this, which makes it the world's longest lasting 5" smartphone. Yes, 4,000mAh in a regular size smartphone!

Person chap

November 2, 2014, 10:53 pm

I would like my phone to also be a chocolate bar. ;)

Guest

December 17, 2014, 8:25 pm

pleease NAIVE people things that ''gorial glass'' means something.. it is JUST GIMMICK.. for non scratch you need to buy phone with sapphire glass....

Rolando Barr

April 18, 2015, 1:28 pm

....I don't care about having speakers in the front- I usually use my BOSE bluetooth headphones for listening music and to make calls through the noise-cancelling mic, but overall i love this phone. It's Viewing angles, super- bright display and Dual- Sim card capabilities ( L10 model) are very useful, since i am using ATT in the U.S, and Bell in Canada....Still, it's size is very comfortable even in the backpocket, .downside is, i am still on Android 4.4.2, and since buying this Gem 4 month ago there hasn't been any updates...Shame on you, Huawei!!!
I traded my Sony Ultra for it and havent regret it- Sony is my backup now...
I find the price for this phone is still ok....compared to the Sony Ultra when it came out..

Ade Adeniji

April 20, 2015, 6:42 am

Google Lenovo S860.

Klas Lilja

April 23, 2015, 6:06 am

4000mAh is still not a regular sized battery if only two phones has it..Maybe a couple of more in China but still. Regular sizes are 3000mAh and below.

Daniel Ferguson

May 17, 2015, 3:48 pm

Everyone that replied to this is being a bit dull...he was saying that it was impressive that there was a 4000mAh battery...he wasn't saying 4000mAh was in a normal phone

TheRealPatriot

August 20, 2015, 3:03 am

There are no phones with Saphire glass bunghole accept for the custom one I made in my workshop !

LUCKYGIRLSHAZ

October 28, 2015, 3:07 am

Dont buy one, my Huawei Mate 7 failed me, I contacted Huawei services and they ignored me. In my opinion there are better more powerful phablets at much cheaper prices. I would never buy Huawei again.

Judy007

November 13, 2015, 7:44 am

Hi everyone. I did not get a film for my screen in my box. Everyone (perhaps abroad - I am in south africa) seems te get one. So... plse HELLUP!!! What kind of cover do I buy and with a cover do I still need to buy the screen film? I'm scared this thing is going to scratch to smithereens. looking forward to all of your knowlegeable inputs. First phone I'm scared of.

Judy007

November 13, 2015, 2:28 pm

awww I am so sorry. They should exchange it for you? a phone needs to be right for you I think.

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