4G LTE also offered some solid download speeds, and while the phone supports Category 6’s 300Mbps speed, our test downloads on Telstra’s 4GX network only found speeds from between 20 and 60Mbps, though more is certainly possible.
At least the battery is stable across two days, and that’s what our testing revealed, providing two solid days of phone calls, listening to music, web surfing, messaging, emails, social networking, taking photos, and the odd bit of gaming.
That’s a better performance than some other phablets we’ve seen this year, and while the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 doesn’t quite have the same resolution screen as some of what it competes against, it still ends up with a top notch battery life.
Finally, there’s the value adds, and these are things that surprise us, though they are in the box, and surprise us majorly.
One is a case with a window, allowing you to protect your phone from the get go, and still letting you take a peak into what the phone is doing, who’s calling, or what music you’re playing, which is something that companies would generally charge for.
The other is a small microUSB cable included to let you charge other devices with that massive battery, or even take charge from other devices and recharge your Huawei.
It’s an interesting inclusion, that’s for sure, and one the company wasn’t required to bring over, so it’s nice to see something so generous inside the box.
There’s also the fingerprint reader, a premium feature that we’re not used to seeing from phones outside of Samsung and Apple, except for that one moment HTC included it in a design with the One Max.
Huawei’s fingerprint location can be good or bad depending on the size of your hand, but if you have big digits, you’ll probably be fine with its placement: directly beneath the camera on the back. Smaller fingers may struggle, though, thanks to this unusual position, and if this happens, we’d register the same fingerprint several times, otherwise you’ll find the reader rarely works. Big fingers seem to be fine for the most part, but those of you with smaller or daintier hands may run into problems.
Fortunately, you’re not required to use the fingerprint reader unless you want to.
And that’s pretty much what the Ascend Mate 7 feels like: a generous package driven by value, especially for people who fancy a big phone with a big heart and not too big a price, and it works well to deliver this, it really does.
We’ve already said we’re not huge fans of Huawei’s overlay, but thanks to Android being so modular, we could easily change this later on, switching to Google’s Now launcher or Aviate. If you don’t mind the iOS-inspired EMUI system, you don’t need to change it, and can fiddle with the settings until your heart is content.
Some things can’t be changed, though, with a couple of bugs here and there, such as with the lockscreen’s music player, which tends to default on the stock music player and not on what you’re actually listening to music with.
For instance, if you listen to music with Google Play Music, the lockscreen will show the album art for the music you’re listening to, and that’s great. But if you click the track skip button and go forward, Google Play will go away and the stock music app for the phone will load up, even if you don’t normally use it.
It’s a bug, and it’s an annoying one, practically telling you never to change tracks when you’re sitting on the lockscreen. Hopefully Huawei fixes this sooner rather than later.
Our last quibble is with the two slots on the Ascend Mate 7: microSIM and nanoSIM.
Now there’s nothing wrong with having either of these, and the inclusion of both is awesome not just because it delivers both 3G and 4G in a dual SIM phone, something that is very rare, but also because it means if you’re upgrading from a recent phone, you’ll be able to plug your SIM into one of these phones and just have everything work.
But the nanoSIM slot isn’t primarily a nanoSIM slot; rather, it’s a microSD slot that can take either a microSD memory card or a nanoSIM.
Unfortunately, however, Huawei’s microSIM slot doesn’t share the same design, and if you install a nanoSIM, you lose out on the microSD slot, dampening things a little.
Sure, there’s a good 32GB of storage in the phone, and that’s great, but it’s a little disheartening to know that nanoSIM owners — potentially former iPhone owners — switching to the Huawei will miss out on upgradeable storage just because of their SIM style.
Alternatively, we suspect people with these cards could use the microSIM slot provided they were using a nanoSIM to microSIM converter, freeing up their microSD tray once and for all.
Huawei’s first serious phablet is a hit as far as value goes, packing so much in it’s hard not to see the work the manufacturer has put into this product.
From the excellent build quality in a phone running two days of battery life, to the amount of extra features you’ll find inside the Ascend Mate 7, Huawei has provided a serious alternative to someone who wants a big phone but isn’t phased by high-price tag either the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or Apple iPhone 6 Plus run with.
Constant travellers also have something to cheer for as this is the first dual-SIM smartphone you will actually want, utilising both 3G and 4G, instead of the regular 2G/3G split we’re so used to seeing on smartphones.
Indeed, there is much to like here, and if you fancy a big screen and a value, we’d check out the Ascend Mate 7, as it practically has your name on it.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Decent screen; Excellent build quality, relying on metal; Excellent battery life; High-speed 4G LTE, with support for Category 6 LTE in the box; Comes with a microUSB to USB converter in the box; Comes with a screen protector preinstalled; Includes a windowed case in the box; The first dual-SIM phone you’ll want, with 4G support; MicroSD slot also works as a nanoSIM slot;
Fingerprint reader can be hit and miss depending on hand size; Lockscreen should support other music players, but doesn’t seem to; If you use nanoSIM, you won’t have a microSD slot available to you; If you use two SIMs, you won’t have a microSD slot available to you;