Having spent plenty of time with the Mate 7 I think I've build quite a good opinion of the device. Huawei's new flagship remains polarizing as it offers some quite positive aspects while carrying some big compromises. Huawei again impressed me with their software implementation of Android - they're delivering extremely innovative and useful features with EmUI 3.0 while still packaging it in an attractive presentation that doesn't compromise the user experience. I really wished more OEMs would follow suite in offering such substantial additions to the OS. The security and privacy features on the Mate 7 really left a mark on me as things such as blocking off select galleries or apps with help of a security code or with ease of the fingerprint sensor really made me wonder why we haven't seen this already years ago as it makes so much sense in a mobile device.

While I've had very little criticism towards their software stack, it's on the hardware where we find the Mate 7's weaknesses. And it's not the build of the phone that I'm talking about. The phone itself is very sturdy and with even though it's wider than the Note 4 for example, it makes up in terms of ease of use due to comfortable edges and a thinner design. Speaking of design - there's nothing to object to the Mate 7. It's a traditional phablet industrial design which tries to differentiate itself with help of small distinctive features such as the lips of the phone or back features like the fingerprint sensor and the camera housing.

Rather than any build quality issues, the Mate 7's weaknesses are primarily centered upon component choices. I understand Huawei wanting to try to achieve vertical integration for their products, but I think it's too early for the HiSilicon SoC to be a viable alternative to solutions from dominant suppliers such as Qualcomm. Even though the 4100mAh battery is large enough to push the device towards the top of the battery charts, it's more due to brute force of the battery capacity itself than due to efficiency of the platform.

Outside of the power and thermal management configuration issues, we see issues with the GPU, NAND and camera performance. I'm convinced the first and the last would have been an non-issue had Huawei made a pass on its in-house SoC, and the NAND performance could have been fixed with a slightly higher investment in a better quality eMMC solution.

I've mentioned that I still haven't done objective tests due to my network limitations, but Huawei's integrated modem was an aspect that many people were looking forward to being investigated. I don't think Huawei delivered anything groundbreaking here - battery performance under mobile connectivity suffers visibly in my subjective usage.

I find myself in a eerily similar situation while writing this as when I was doing the conclusion for Honor 6 review. The Mate 7 is an overall good device with some major drawbacks. It's the price which decides if this is a worthy purchase or not. At 499 and 599€ official price points (and now can be found for down to 450€ for the 16GB version) it's not worth the money. If you spend that much, you might as well get a Note 4 for an additional 150€ and enjoy a device that is better in almost every aspect. 

Here's hoping that Huawei continues to improve as they've again showed that they have the potential. They're on the right track with the ideas, but still stumbling on execution.

Camera and NAND Performance


View All Comments

  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Ach, and that storage performance...Yup, all interest gone. Reply
  • massig93 - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Thanks for the great review! I'm so thankful you review products that are noto exclusively Samsungs, Apples or HTCs. I'd love to see more chinese phones reviews on anandtech (Xiaomi Mi4, Meizu MX4, Nubia Z7, Nubia X6, Huawei Honor X1) Reply
  • protomech - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Any comments on wifi performance? No 802.11ac so not expecting much.

    The Ascend Mate 2 was an interesting device: inexpensive and fantastic battery life, due to the 2011-class resolution and SOC performance. If you wanted a physically large display and were okay with the lower performance then it was easy to recommend.

    There's no reason to recommend this phone.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    I'm still lacking the proper equipment for Wifi tests, but from what I can see the Wifi reception and performance didn't change from the Honor 6. Reply
  • alfredska - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Especially for Android devices, it would be great if you could spend more time discussing a manufacturer's historical commitment to long-term support on their products. This includes: how regularly a product receives OTA updates; how recent the base operating system is (version of Android); whether kernel source is released in a timely manner following each update.

    In the case of Huawei, I'm very leary, because their first US phone offering, the Mate 2 which was just released this year, still runs Jellybean. While they claim a Lollipop is in its future, this only came after a barrage of harassment from users complaining about abandoned support. Even then, I don't want to give them praise until the update actually exists.

    Reference 1:
  • Despoiler - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Huawei has been caught numerous times straight up stealing other company's intellectual property. They deployed an exact copy errata and all of Cisco's IOS in their routers. They are in a lawsuit with T-Mobile for corporate espionage. They also got caught siphoning non-anonymous user data from their cell phones and then they lied about doing it. Huawei is a government sponsored corporation and the Chinese government uses it to do whatever they want. I wouldn't anywhere near any Huawei product. Reply
  • pgari - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    The performance charts should have included the Nexus 6 and OnePlus One results, which have already been reviewed by Anandtech Reply
  • pichemanu - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Hi, just today I read another review and they didn't encounter any overheating nor did they have problems in low light photography. Also the autonomy was quite good (5h of gaming if I recall correctly)

    Is the terminal you reviewed on the latest firmware? Maybe a defective unit or another hw revision could explain this.
  • Andrei Frumusanu - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    It was on the a late October released firmware.

    I'm getting the same gaming battery life of 5h (5.6h!) as pointed out in the review, I don't think there's changes in that regard.
  • pichemanu - Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - link

    Sorry for the gaming autonomy number, I mistakenly remembered around 2h. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now