Let’s take a look at our detailed review for the Huawei Ascend Mate 7.
Pros: super long-lasting battery life, bright and bold screen display, decent camera, smoothly operate fingersprint sensor, pretty large internal storage: 16GB.
Cons: old Android OS version, many unnecessary pre-installed apps.
Bottom line: although the software is a little bit weird, the long-lasting battery life along with huge & bright screen display shall be the attractive point for users who loves gaming and movies.
The launching of Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus – which has 5.5-inch screen – is surely a proof that era of big phones is coming very close. Such kind of “huge thing” is not strange to Huawei, as this brand did introduce several devices with palm-stretching size before.
The latest member in Huawei’s “big-size family” is the Ascend Mate 7. I’m still wondering about the number 7 since it does not stand for 7th generation or the 7-inch-size screen display at all. This phone supports 4G LTE, has full HD 6-inch-screen, 13 MP cam, fingerprint scanner and octa-core processor.
The Ascend Mate 7 shall be available for purchase in late October and its price has not been fixed yet. According to Huawei, price shall be very competitive.
Design and display
Frankly speaking, the Ascend Mate 7 is quite a giant with a 6-inch screen. The device’s dimension is at 157 mm x 81 mm (length x width). With such huge size, it’s obviously impossible to use this with one hand, unless you have a giant palm size. It is claimed that with very narrow bezel, the screen accounts for 83% of the phone’s front face. Thus, there’s almost no wasted space on the face.
There will be 3 colors available on for the Huawei Ascend Mate 7: silver, light gold and dark grey – exactly the same as iPhone 5S‘ color range. Color’s hue is all in matte metal, which is much nicer than the other plasticky low-cost phones of Huawei. The device’s back cover is curved with lines crossing both at bottom and top, fingerprint scanner is located right under the rear-cam.
The device is comfortable to hold on hands and it also looks quite fancy like elite devices thanks to its narrow metal bezel. Slot for microSD card can be seen on side, which requires removal tool to approach.
As mentioned before, the fingerprint sensor sits right under the rear-cam – the exact location that users’ index finger shall naturally rest when picking up the device. Obviously it’s very convenient, although you will need to pick up the phone to unlock instead of stabbing on the screen of the lying phone.
The fingerprint scanner works accurately and it can recognize user’s finger in every direction. The failure possibility is very small, even the Galaxy S5‘s scanner fails more often as my real experience.
You can wake the phone up by touching finger over the scanner, this feature can also be used for authenticating payments (by PayPal) and for taking pictures (especially helpful and convenient for selfie pics).
Previously, it was gossiped that the Ascend Mate 7’s screen shall have 2,560 x 1,600 pixel display resolution, which is even higher than full HD (same as the LG G3‘s screen). Since then, when holding the device on hand, the Mate 7’s screen I’m seeing now has a lower resolution: just at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.
That’s a pity since such big size screen of Mate 7 deserves more pixels to maximize its capacity. At least, at 367 ppi, the pixel density of the Mate 7’s display is higher than the iPhone 6. As real experience, the display is super crisp with defined-edges icons, clear looking text and high-resolution photos.
The colors are also bright, vivid and vibrant, which are very true-to-life. The screen display also has excellent viewing angles. These factors all make the Mate 7 an attractive choice for Netflix addicts.
Android software and Huawei additions
The operating system being shipped with the Mate 7 is the Android 4.4.2 KitKat. This is quite a disappointment since it’s sort of an outdated version (current latest OS version of Android is 4.4.4). For budget mobile, older OS version maybe forgivable, but for higher-end device like the Ascend Mate 7, it’s inexcusable.
There are many changes for Android interface being made by Huawei. This is the reason why users cannot immediately realize that they are on an old operating system. Visually, the interface on Mate 7 is totally different from the regular Android as app tray is not available. Instead of using app trays, applications and widgets shall be arranges across multiple homescreens.
For me personally, such kind of arrangement is very messy since it’s too hard to always keep everything tidy and in order without app tray, especially when you are using many widgets and applications. Users have to swipe many times through homescreens to find the application they need to use. This is similar in Apple’s iOS thus, if your previous device is an iPhone, you’ll find it not difficult or inconvenient at all.
Various themes can be applied to customize and modify the phone’s interface by changing color scheme, app icons and background photos. It’s so good that you can put your stamp on your things. However, choices are quite limited: there are only 6 themes to choose from and I like none of them. It’s also hard to find further themes to download as official Huawei store is not currently available. After several searching, I did find some themes which are downloadable from some forums, but it’s quite risky and dangerous for the device when installing things from unknown sources and I will not suggest doing this.
There are also some good changes such as: customizing navigation buttons’ orders (those buttons are located on the device’s bottom) or adding shortcut button to pull down noti bar (as pulling down notification bar is tricky when using this massive device by 1 hand). Moreover, Phone Manager can help you clear out unnecessary files and stop background processes in just a blink of an eye. With this tool, you can even set up “Harassment Filter” to block calls/ text from unknown numbers or from specifically assigned numbers. I really like this feature.
There are many unnecessary pre-installed softwares, which let down the device quite much such as: games like Real Football 2015, Dragon Mania, Bubble Bash Mania or apps like Bitcasa and Todoist. It is annoying when seeing too many stuff the first time turning on the phone, not mentioning about the messy and cluttering interface.
Processor and battery performance
The processor being equipped for the Ascend Mate 7 is an octa-core one, which is made up of 2 quad-core processors. One quad-core unit, which is a little bit less powerful than the other, shall be used for basic functions. The other more powerful one shall be used for more demanding tasks like taking photos or gaming. Such processor is very powerful as it achieves 4,468 scores on Geekbench test and 11,401 scores on Quadrant test.
As my real using experiences, the device’s performance is decent. It handles gaming well: intensive games like Asphalt 8, N.O.V.A 3 or Dead Trigger 2 can be all smoothly played. HD videos can also be streamed effortlessly without buffering, user interface is really responsive with quick apps and camera opening.
Thanks to the huge body of the device, the battery is powered at 4,000mAh and this is totally not just impressive on paper. According to my test, the Mate 7 can last for up to 17 hours of video streaming, which is the best results I’ve seen so far. (On the same test, the Galaxy S5 lasted for 15 hours and the iPhone 6 last for just around 10 hours).
Of course, batter life can be differed depending on each user’s usage, but this phone can easily last for several days with normal using with basic tasks.
The rear-cam of the Mate 7 is the 13 MP one, which can deliver great captures.
My first shot with this camera looks great with vibrant and true to life colors, even exposure and fine details. However, for landscape shots, color display is not really excellent. Instead, the exposure is even.
HDR mode is also included for the camera.
There are many noticeable things to talk about with the Huawei Ascend Mate 7: the massive screen, the great quality displays with sharp, vibrant color, the powerful octa-core processor and the most interesting and valuable thing is the super strong battery.
However, the phone’s huge size may not attract everybody and the device’s software is quite confusing and messy with many unnecessary stuffs. But after all, with such features, the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is absolutely a worth looking choice, especially with an attached affordable price.