Still set on cracking the smartphone market, Huawei has introduced the Ascend P7 at a launch event in Paris. We jumped on the Eurostar in order to spend some time with the new handset so here's our Huawei Ascend P7 hands-on review.
For starters, the price of the Ascend P7 is very reasonable for a flagship smartphone. Huawei has undercut rivals with a recommended retail price of €449, we expect it to sell for £399 SIM-free in the UK. The device will launch in the next few weeks.
We're waiting for an exact price and release date for the Ascend P7 so we'll update you on that when have it. Until then, here's what we think of the firm's new smartphone.
The firm has kept the style of the Ascend P7 very similar to the P6, so it's recognisable as Huawei smartphone. True to form, the P7 is extremely thin at 6.5mm – its smaller brother is just 6.1mm but there's a lot of tech packed into the P7 and we're impressed.
Compared to its predecessor, the main difference is that the P7 is larger in physical size. This is due namely to a larger screen, a common trait in smartphones - so much so that Apple is even rumoured to be going bigger for the iPhone 6.
It retains the rounded edge at the bottom and has Gorilla Glass 3 on both the front and back. Like before there is a brushed aluminium frame running around the edge of the device. For a phone with a large screen, it's amazingly light and easy to use. We particularly like the spun metallic finish on the rear which is achieved with seven layers.
We took a look at the black/blue model but it will also be available in white and pink options.
With a 5in screen, the Ascend P7 matches many other flagship smartphones on the market. It is big but a reasonable size in terms of balancing how easily you can reach and use it with one hand and offering space for tasks such as video, gaming and web browsing.
Like every other flagship we've seen this year, the Ascend P7 has a Full HD resolution, it looks like we'll have to wait for the LG G3 or beyond for something higher res (if we even need it). The screen looks great and has excellent viewing angles. A small downside is that it seems to need the brightness set at the upper end of the scale for comfortable viewing.
Under the hood is a Kirin 910T 1.8GHz quad-core processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. At first look, the performance seems decent but we'll test it more thoroughly over the coming days. The good news is that it seems better than the Ascend P6.
The device is dual-SIM but one of the draws doubles up as a microSD card slot. So you can either have two SIM cards or just one with some extra storage. Internal storage is a pretty standard 16GB.
Huawei touts its cameras as the best around and things are no different when it comes to the Ascend P7. The firm said the Ascend P6's camera was better than the Samsung Galaxy S4's and iPhone 5's. The P7 has a 13Mp camera at the rear with a 4th generation Sony sensor and a DSLR-level processor. Huawei claims it's great at shooting in low light and for speedy shots.
There's no dedicated camera button but you can double press the volume key to launch the camera and take a photo from sleep. For selfies there's an 8Mp front facing camera with a five-piece lens and Huawei has decided to coin the phrase 'groufies' (group selfies), this is essentially a group panorama taken with the front camera – a central photo then one either side by turning the device.
As usual, we'll test out the camera properly away from the launch event where conditions are far from ideal - but things look pretty good.
As you would expect, Huawei has loaded the Ascend P7 with Android 4.4.2 KitKat which is the latest version of Google's mobile operating system. The Chinese firm doesn't leave it as is though, instead adding its Emotion UI on top.
There are downsides to Huawei's Android skin such as the lack of a proper app menu, so the homescreen panels must house them instead in iOS style. The good news is that is seems much nippier than before – this was the main downside to the P6 as a smartphone. This is also likely down to the new 1.8GHz processor which we mentioned earlier.
What we like about Emotion UI is the amount of customisability on offer. There are loads of themes to choose from and download but you can tweak all kinds of aspects to really personalise the software. These include homescreen panel transitions, icons and fonts.
The battery is rated at 2500mAh and is non-removable. Echoing the Samsung Galaxy S5, the P7 has an ultra power saving mode which can supposedly make the device last for up to 24 hours on 10 percent of charge. It works in a pretty much identical way to the S5 in that you get a black and white interface and basic functions like text messages and calls.
The Huawei Ascend P7 is an impressive smartphone. Huawei has taken the P6 and improved it in many ways but still kept a reasonable price tag. We're impressed but look out for a full review soon.