Huawei is a name that has very quickly become synonymous with quality phones at a fairly reasonable price. With the release of the Ascend Mate 7, they look to not only continue their meteoric rise in the South African smartphone market, but to prove that they are able to play with the big boys.
The Ascend Mate 7 is no small beast. The first thing you notice is the 6-inch full HD display. Turn the phone around and you see the beautifully simple metal back with a 13MP camera, flash, a rather curious square indentation and the speaker grille.
The right hand edge of the device features a volume rocker and a power button. The left hand side has a removable SIM card tray as well as a removable SD card tray (YAY for expandable storage). The 3.5mm headphone jack sits at the top edge of the phone with the micro-USB charging port at the bottom.
Huawei has gone for a refined, no frills design for their phablet, but we happen to quite like this design. Glass on the front and metal on the back seems to be the standard for most high-end smartphones these days and Huawei’s restrained implementation definitely works for us.
The Ascend Mate 7 is a very smooth, easy to use device. Swiping between pages and swopping between apps was a breeze thanks to Huawei’s in-house Hisilicon Kirin 925 chipset and octa-core processor (4 1.8GHz cores + 4 1.3GHz cores). While the better-known Snapdragon processors might not power it, the Ascend Mate 7 does not suffer at all when it comes to performance. And thanks to the 4100mAh battery, we certainly weren’t worried about the phone dying on us when we needed it most (in fact we got just over a day and a half’s worth of usage on a single charge).
The camera on the Mate 7 is also pretty good.
The layout of the capture screen is very simple and has a photo, video and beauty option just above the onscreen shutter button and direct gallery access next to it. It also has the usual flash, swop camera and options “buttons” at the top of the screen. While it’s not the best camera on a smartphone, it more than adequately holds up and delivers photos with minimal noise (especially under not so well lit conditions). The Mate 7 also features something very commonly found on Chinese made smartphones, beauty mode. So when you’re taking selfies on the 5MP front facing camera and you want to ensure that you look your best, then beauty mode might be for you.
One of the other interesting features of the camera on the Ascend Mate 7 is the ability to take panoramic pictures, both horizontally and vertically.
When it comes to sound on a smartphone, there are very few instances where I’ve been impressed. While I wish that more smartphone makers would produce devices with dual speakers, the single rear speaker on the Ascend Mate 7 is pretty good…for a smartphone. Sound is loud and fairly clear without much of the tinny noise reproduction that you tend to get from most smartphones.
There’s really only one other thing to mention on the Ascend Mate 7, that curious square indentation on the back of the device. Yup, it’s a fingerprint scanner.
I haven’t been the biggest fan of fingerprint scanners on smartphones because they very rarely work.
Huawei has decided to go for the press down option as opposed to the swipe over option, which ended up being a pretty smart move.
You can set up to 5 different fingerprints and you can even use your fingerprint to protect apps from prying eyes or use it to take selfies. Huawei has made a fingerprint scanner that actually works and I found myself locking the phone just so that I could use the fingerprint scanner to unlock it again. Don’t fret if you’re not trustful of fingerprint scanners or if someone ends up locking your device because their fingerprint isn’t recognized, you can also unlock it using the more traditional methods of a pin, pattern or password.
Overall, the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is a great device even though it doesn’t run Lollipop yet. While it is a big phone, it delivers on usability (thank you single-handed UI, which does need some tweaking though Huawei), battery performance and great simplistic design. The Emotion UI (version 3.0) might not be to everyone’s liking but that’s easily remedied with the last number of launcher’s available on the Google Play store.
The Ascend Mate 7 shows that Huawei is definitely ready to take on the big boys in the smartphone scene.
This is a phone that we would definitely get. If the size of the Ascend Mate 7 is a bit much for you though, then keep an eye out for Huawei’s P8 which was recently unveiled in London.
About 185g (including the battery)
6” FHD Screen,1080p (1920 x 1080), 368PPI
Hisilicon Kirin 925
4×1.8GHz + 4×1.3GHz + 1x230MHz
Android™ 4.4/HUAWEI Emotion UI 3.0
RAM : 2 GB
ROM : 16 GB
LTE FDD Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/20/28(Aphase)
LTE TDD Band 40
UMTS 850/900/1900/2100/AWS MHZ
GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHZ
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ with Wi-Fi Direct support
MicroUSB (High Speed USB)
13 Mega pixel Camera ，1080p video recording/1080p video playback；F2.0；