Conclusion

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
POST A COMMENT

72 Comments

View All Comments

  • tipoo - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Really appreciate you guys reviewing some of the more niche phones! I was interested in this as well as the Oneplus, both got reviews I never expected. Reply
  • beehofer - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Nice but I'm wondering what Anandtech has against Sony? Why no Z3 or Z3C reviews. Hmmmm. Reply
  • Moizy - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    They review the phones manufacturers provide for them. So if no Sony phones are being reviewed, that means Sony isn't giving them any phones to review. Perhaps you'd like to send them a Sony for them to review? Reply
  • beehofer - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    If only I had the resources for that :) Reply
  • NeoteriX - Sunday, December 7, 2014 - link

    ...then maybe you should think again before jumping to conclusions and spouting your mouth off with accusations. Reply
  • techcrazy - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    Do they really need a manufacturer to provide them phones? AnandTech Has enough money to buy any particular cellphone. Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 compact are considered one of the best android phones of the year. AnandTech is my favorite tech review site, seeing they're not reviewing one of the best phones of the year is really disappointing. Unless Sony specifically asked them not to review their products i think AnandTech should review Xperia Z3 lines products. At least I really want to see them review Z3 Compact. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    While I'm sure AnandTech could afford to buy a device on occasion for review (and we've done so in the past), ultimately that doesn't work out -- there's always another device some people will want us to review. "Hey, you bought XYZ; it's not fair that you didn't also buy and review UVW, ABC, QRS, ...." Buying and reviewing (or not reviewing if it's not worth the time?) every product just can't be supported in a realistic manner I don't think.

    Fundamentally, there's also the question of reviewer throughput -- how many people are needed to review every potentially interesting device? And can AnandTech afford to pay them? We have coverage of most major categories, but simply increasing the amount of content on a site doesn't linearly increase the site revenues, so there's a balancing act. And you still need quality content, not just a deluge of "me too" stuff.
    Reply
  • mkozakewich - Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - link

    This isn't just "potentially interesting," though. Sony has released some new and different stuff, but it's barely even mentioned. I sometimes forget they're making high-end devices.

    I don't know how feasible it would be to borrow handsets if someone in your area is willing to lend theirs to you.
    Reply
  • garretelder - Thursday, December 4, 2014 - link

    The The Huawei Ascend Mate 7 is far from one of the better phones if you ask me! /Garret http://www.topreport.org/phones/ Reply
  • Ethos Evoss - Wednesday, December 17, 2014 - link

    dont understand what u mean .. do u have it ? u even didnt hold it in hands .. and u judging .. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now