Thursday , August 24 2017

First Impressions: Huawei Ascend Mate 7

HuaweiMate7-12
Just over a month ago I reviewed the Huawei Ascend P7 and was impressed with the build of the device (less so the software) so when Huawei launched their new flagship in Australia, the Ascend Mate 7 I got in early with Ausdroid staff to have a crack at reviewing it. With so many new phones coming out at around this size and many users in doubt of being able to make the jump into the ultra-phablet range I thought a first impressions of using such a device was in order.

Design

Open the stylish black box and reveal a beautiful-looking gold (Amber Gold is the official colour) phone that immediately reminded me of the HTC One (and due to the size of it the HTC One Max). You can guess what that means- a well-designed, attractive device, I am sure most of us are in agreement that the HTC One range are good looking phones. It may lack the BoomSound speakers of the HTC devices but the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 lacks none of their good looks and adds in a few extra that really make it stand out. The body of the Ascend Mate 7 is constructed of 95% metal, including an aluminium alloy interior chasis. The device feels very premium and Huawei should be commended for that.

ifa+2014-huawei+ascend+mate+7

Hardware

The display is the biggest of the current phablets doing the rounds of the media at 6 inches. While it is only 1080p and not the popular 2k the display, it is pleasant to use, without blowing me away. The back of the device houses the 13MP camera with LED flash but I have yet to test that out yet. What was impressive on the back of the device was the fingerprint reader. Huawei worked with a Swedish company specialising in finger-scan technology and have produced an amazingly accurate, easy to use, fast fingerprint reader. I always thought it would be a gimmick but the robustness of this reader has changed my mind. Makes for a very secure and easy way to switch on the phone. So far I have not had any issues with the HiSilicon Kirin 925 processor and the 3GB of RAM certainly prevents any slowdowns, although I am yet to really put it through it’s paces.

Huawei-Ascend-Mate-7-Beautiful-710x399

Software

The Ascend Mate 7 uses the latest version of the Huawei designed skin – their so called Emotion UI or EMUI. At version 3.0, it’s progressed fairly quickly from the days when Huawei used to deliver basically a stock Android device. One of the main bug bears we’ve had with the Emotion UI is their insistence on removing the app drawer, preferring instead to have apps simply install an icon to the home screen. It’s a very strange way to do it, and this time around Huawei has made it a touch more difficult to change the launcher – yes, despite what you’ve heard, you CAN change the launcher – but once you change it you’re still left with the Huawei settings and notification panel. We’ll get more into this later, but some of the additions Huawei have included make using the overly large phone a little bit easier to use.

Usability

Here it is, the section that all Nexus 6 prospective buyers will jump straight to. Bear in mind that I am coming from a OnePlus One, a fairly big phone as it is, so take what I say as you will. At the start of the year when OnePlus asked about what sized screen I thought they should put in the OnePlus One I voted for a 5in screen. I thought the Nexus 5 had the perfect sized screen, as I did the Nexus 4 and Galaxy Nexus, and HD2 before that. See the pattern here? Each time I try a new display size (and usually a bigger phone) it doesn’t take me long to wonder how I ever survived with a display any smaller than this. After using the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 for less than a day I can safely say that this is the case yet again. While it may be difficult to reach the entire display when using the phablet one handed you find ways to get around it.

Huawei have included some nice additions to help usability on this device. While they are great they are hardly revolutionary and I have no doubt that there will be apps on the Play Store to aid Nexus 6 users as well before too long. The Ascend Mate 7 is slightly smaller and thinner than the Nexus 6 but lacks the curve of the back, and doesn’t feel as good in the hand as it might with that curve. I can easily see this new range of phones hitting 6-inches in size will stimulate not only other manufacturers to build more ddecent phablets but also app developers to innovate with usability ideas that could be implemented in a phablet. I do not wear skinny jeans, preferring cargo pants, so the size of the device is definitely not an issue when pocketing it and I doubt it will be any different for many of you too.

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In the end this quick first impressions post is about the Huawei Ascend Mate 7 so let me sum this up with the following: The Huawei Ascend Mate 7, in the high end configuration we are reviewing, is so far a very good device with what seems to be a great build quality with what has been touted as the best fingerprint reader in the industry. The display is a massive 6 inches making a massive device which is still usable once you get used to it and find ways to navigate the display. At at least $200 cheaper than a Nexus 6 for the high-end model it seems to be a great option for those who can’t stretch to the 900 clams required for a Nexus 6.

 

Scott Plowman   Associate Editor

Scott is our modding guru - he has his finger on the pulse of all things ‘moddable’, pointing us towards all the cutting edge mods hacks that are available. When he’s not gymming it up, or scanning the heck out of Nexus devices, you'll find him on the Ausdroid Podcast.

Outside of Ausdroid, Scott's a health care professional and lecturer at a well known Victorian university.

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9 Comments on "First Impressions: Huawei Ascend Mate 7"

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ocujos
Valued Guest
ocujos

But, does it bend? It’s 95% metal, and about the same size as i6+ so this may be an issue. Can you do a bend test?

Member

I like the sound of this phone and its large battery. I’m worried about updates though, what is their history like? I think I remember hearing one of their recent phones wasn’t going to get an update to something or other. I’d also want to root the phone, is that possible yet?

plasmapuff
Valued Guest
plasmapuff

They’re TERRIBLE. The Ascend Mate 2 which was only released this January with Jelly bean will not see Kitkat (confirmed) let alone Lollipop. Shame really as with the price I’d be all over this instead of the N6. Doesn’t seem to get much/any developer suppport either so the custom ROM scene for updates is a no go either 🙁

Member

OK, thanks, I’ll stick with the Nexus 6 then.

Daniel Tyson
Ausdroid Manager

Putting it bluntly, Huawei haven’t been terribly great. Though they also haven’t been terribly visible, due to their phones not being on carriers, so we couldn’t generally track their updates publicly.

I`m planning on following up with Huawei for more information on their plans for updates on the Ascend Mate 7

JeniSkunk
Valued Guest
JeniSkunk

Dan, until this year’s efforts, the only Huawei I knew of on ANY Australian carrier was the 2010 Huawei Smarkit S7-104 phablet sold here as the Telstra T-Touch Tab.

Andrew
Valued Guest
Andrew

Might look into this over the failure that is the Nexus 6.

I’m sure developers would get stock 5.0 Android roms on it. Seems like this phone is on the right track. 1080p screen, enormous battery, nice build, useful fingerprint scanner that actually works (Samsung, take notes). Seems like a great package at a decent price (again, take note Samsung and Google, ~$900 is absurd).

Montalbert_Scott
Valued Guest
Montalbert_Scott

if it can get some.traction with developers it.could be good. The hardware is quite good. Huawei just can’t do software it seems. Wait for the full review and I’ll also.follow up around the developers circle for support

JeniSkunk
Valued Guest
JeniSkunk

As far as Huawei being unable to do software goes, nothing has changed at all on that score since their initial entry into the Australian Android marketspace back in 2010.
They still have yet to put the effort into learning what Bad Evil Wrong software is, and why their EMUI is a leading example of that.

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