“Wha-Way”. That is how you pronounce Huawei and as their advert says, that is the most complicated thing about their phones. I have been a long time user of the Huawei Ascend P6 phone and I have to agree. The Ascend P6 is light, thin and powerful. So when the Ascend P7 was announced in France, I was excited to get my hands on it – especially when Huawei said they made improvements since the already excellent P6 !
Look and Feel
The Ascend P7 runs Huawei’s own skinned interface is known as Emotions UI which runs on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. The icons have moved away from the slightly rounded shape of the other Android and iOS systems and are now flat and square which gives them a nice organised feel.
At the top of the device is the headphone jack which is a better position to have it compared to the location on the P6 where it was on the side. On the left of the device there is the volume rocker button, followed by the power button, and then the slots for the MicroSD and the Micro SIM. You will need the “picker” which is included in the box to open these drawers. On the bottom of the device is the USB charging port.
The Ascend P7 has some impressive hardware specs under its hood but your first reaction is just how light and thin the device is. Officially its measurements are 139.8mm(L) x 68.8mm(W) and is only 6.5mm thick and weighs 124 grams. It has an impressive 5inch Full HD display 1920 x 1080 with 445ppi sitting behind Gorilla Glass 3. Powering the device is a 1.8 GHz quad-core chipset with 2GB RAM. It has 16GB of internal storage and expandable up to 32GB with the MicroSD card. Its an 4g/ LTE phone so browsing, Facebooking, Instagramming are done with no hassles at all.
Huawei has fitted the Ascend P7 with a 13 Megapixel rear-facing camera. A lot of the camera in phone suffer in taking photos in low-light conditions, however the Huawei is fitted with Sony’s 4th generation BSI sensor, Image Signal Processer (ISP), IMAGESmart 2.0 software and f/2.0 aperture on its 13MP 5P non-spherical lens. All this tech means that photos are clear, with good depth of field, sharp images and vivid colours even in when shooting in Smart Mode in non-ideal conditions.
The Camera uses Huawei’s proprietary Image Signal Processor (ISP) that allows the Ascend P7 to have functions that are found in professional digital SLRs, such as white balance and noise reduction. The best feature is that you can select to set the focus on one part of the the scene you are going to shoot and get the exposure metering function from another part of the scene to play with how light/ dark/ dramatic the image becomes.
In this example, I focused both images on the coffee cup on the left of the computer. In the first image the coffee cup is too dark to see as I used the exposure metering from the light of my computer. However in the second image, I still focused on the coffee cup, but this time I moved the expose metering to the back of the room and so the coffee cup is now visible.
Another cool feature built into the Camera option is the ability to capture an image with up to 10 seconds worth of sound. Huawei calls this feature Audio Note which I can see me using to capture family moments . These Audio Notes are also good to remember people where you can snap a photo of the speaker when they introduce themselves.
Events happen right before your eye and unlocking the device, to fire up the camera to take that photo is simply too late.Huawei has created the Ultra Snapshot function that let the user snap a pic by simply double tapping the Volume down button from the locked screen. You don’t have to unlock the phone and fire up the camera app – just double tap. It also lets you know how many seconds it took to snap the photo if you want to play a Wild Wild West quick draw game….
Being able to take a good selfie is a key feature that consumers look for in a phone and so Huawei has built in an 8 Megapixel front facing camera allowing for even selfie videos to be recorded at full 1080p High Definition. If you want to take a selfie that involves multiple people – a “Groufie” if you will – then the front facing camera has a panorama view to ensure everyone fits in. You can also add in cool Watermark that shows your location, the date, graphics which you can move around the screen to the perfect spot.
Huawei’s Ascend P6 device is legendry for its battery power management and often outlasts most of the other phones. That device has a 2000 mAh batter but the Ascend P7 has a 2500 mAh battery with Huawei‘s own proprietary battery saving technology. There is a power saving management function enables users to save battery by switching off any applications running in the background that are consuming unnecessary power. You can select between Normal mode that slightly adjusts the processor and network usage to allow for more juice out of the battery, Smart Mode that automatically adjust the processor and network usage which is recommended for daily usage and Ultra Mode which keeps only basic call and messaging function which is what you switch to when battery is very low.
The Power Monitoring facility automatically informs you of which apps are using the most power allowing you to switch them off.
One of the biggest power drains on phones is the constant attempts to connect to the cellular network and to the WiFi network. As the phone keeps searching for network and attempting to log in it requires a lot of power from the processor which puts strain on the battery. To counter this, Huawei has built in smart technology that allows the device to connect to the network faster and remain connected with the unique dual antenna design that improves signal reception. The Huawei Ascend P7 also uses smart network switching technology that stabilizes the connection even during weak signal reception to minimize battery drainage.
The Emotions UI Interface
Nothing will frustrate a user more than a phone operating system that is complicated to use. This is where Huawei’s development team have clearly put a lot of effort in the new version of Emotions UI. It is very intuitive and easy-to-use and allows the user to customise the phone to the way they work rather than visa versa.
The Phone Manager feature is superb and straight forward. From this app you can enable the Harassment Filter which allows you block messages and calls, Optimise the phone with one tap, clean up unnecessary files to make room for more apps, backup the device and other features.
3 Bonus Tips & Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks that make the Ascend P7 even cooler:
On the Lock Screen, swipe up from the bottom to reveal a hidden app drawer which allows you to quickly launch Calendar, Calculator, Torch and Mirror.
If you want to have a very simplistic view of the device’s apps, then you can go into Settings, Home Screen Style and choose Simple. It will change your home screens to very large simple icons. You can switch back to the Standard view at any time.
Do Not Disturb is a good feature that allows you receive calls only from specific people – the rest will be directed to voicemail and all notifications will be set to mute. This allows you read your book, watch a movie or get some work done with no interruptions and yet know that if an emergency happens your selected contacts can still get a hold of you.
So in summary:
I love this device. Huawei has taken the great Ascend P6 and have stepped it up to a whole new level. Its a good looking device, light, simple to use, great battery and has all the features you could want when being mobile. It also has another factor going for it – the price. This device has a recommended retail price of R6699. This price bracket is normally reserved for the mid-level phones but with Huawei Ascend P7 you get a premium device. Its no wonder that Huawei have shipped just over 1 million Ascend P7s since its launch on 07 May 2014.
The Ascend P7 will be available in South Africa from the 7th of July to the 31st July exclusively from Vodacom on the Smart S plan for R379 per month. Other networks thereafter. It will be available in black and white in July while pink will be available later in the quarter.
Some pic taken with the Ascend P7: