Slim and sleek: Huawei’s Ascend P7 reviewed

In the flesh, the P7’s interface is easy to use, and very easy to get accustomed to, but if you like it even easier, Huawei has left its Windows Phone-esque grid system in place from the G6, too, meaning there’s an easier option if you so choose.

There are some colour issues as white buttons for Google’s Play Music blend into the near white background of the drop down menu creating a little bit of chaos and confusion, but for the most part, it’s not a bad effort.

Or you can just switch launchers altogether, but Huawei’s Emotion UI is easy to get used to, so we’d try that first.

We’ll tackle the issues with performance later on, but to give you a head’s up, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.

Some of the time, you’ll find the system handles itself well, while other times, there are some obvious struggles, even though Huawei has the right balance of hardware here, with 2GB RAM and a quad-core processor.

Some nifty inclusions can also be found here, with Swype used for the keyboard, which still could do with some usability tweaks, but produces a much better keyboard than Huawei has ever had.

There’s also an improved power saving mode which will let you select specific power modes, as well as tell you which apps are draining the most battery life, a neat inclusion for sure.

An improved Swype-enabled keyboard and a power saving mode. Neato.

On the camera side of things, the 13 megapixel camera isn’t bad, though it won’t be replacing a full-time camera, nor does it really compete with the high end offerings from the likes of Nokia, Sony, or LG, all of which rate the best from the handset makers Huawei is competing with.

From far back, the images look sharp enough, but get in just a little and you’ll see plenty of softness, with colour and brightness blowing out as well. For basic photography that will be tweeted and used on Instagram, this will suit, but anything else and you’re likely to be disappointed.

At night and in low lighting conditions, the quality drops substantially, too, with softness and obvious image artefacts.

Example shot from the Huawei Ascend P7's camera

Equally, the front-facing 8 megapixel shooter will be perfectly suited to the social sharing systems, and Huawei’s “look here” rectangle helps to point your eyes in the right direction, which is great for making sure you’re looking in the right place where the camera fires a shot.

We’re still not huge fans of the beauty mode, which softens skin to a ridiculous level, but if you feel like seeing what your head would look like if airbrush was an automatic part of human life, you can drag the option from level zero — none at all — all the way to an overly Photoshopped “my face is blurry as fog” ten.

The selfie camera. Yes, that's the reviewer. And yes, he severely needs a shave.

Over to the battery, and this is an area where Huawei’s 6.5mm thickness struggles a bit, producing only a day of life on the Ascend P7.

You might find a little more if you opt to not actually use your phone often, but if you’re someone who takes pictures, surfs the web, check and writes emails, makes phone calls, sends text, plays the odd game here and there, and generally uses your phone, the Ascend manages a day of life with a little bit of life beyond this, though we’d recommend a nightly charge.

Beyond this, you’re not likely to get much out, though Huawei has provided an ultra-low power saving mode, similar to what’s offered in Samsung’s Galaxy S5, so if you really need battery life and you’re in a bit of a pinch, you can switch this on.

But while the “P” in the Ascend range normally stands for “performance,” that is one thing missing from the Ascend P7, at least when it comes to software speed.

As you use the P7, you’ll find slowdowns jumping between apps or waiting for pieces of software to load, sometimes to a frustrating level as several seconds can be found waiting for the right thing to start up or be switched to.


If you’re keen on having something thin, sleek, and light, the Ascend P7 is a solid effort, with plenty to offer, from its 4G speeds to the 8 megapixel selfie camera, all the way to the version of Android which will definitely appeal to anyone coming from an iPhone.

We are a little weary of its performance issues, which from a system point of view make the phone feel a tad sluggish.

With a price of $549, we’re in two minds, though, because while the P7 is a decent value, there are probably better choices from the past year which offer better performance across the board, even without the massive front-facing camera.

If you love the idea of a thin phone that won’t blow out your clothing, we’d look into the P7, but given the price and performance, also advise looking around, because while the P7 is a decent little mid-ranger, there are plenty of deals to be had right about now.

Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating0 Votes
Very, very thin; Easy to use Android overlay that mimics iOS; Headphone jack is in a logical place, something unusual for Huawei; Front-facing camera with a ridiculous amount of megapixels; Low power saving mode included;
Performance lags often, with frequent slowdowns;