Honor 7A Review: bang for your buck?

Huawei’s sub-brand Honor is all in for budget phones this year and rushing the market with its latest lineup of affordable smartphones. Honor 7A is among the newly released phones and comes as a successor to the last year’s Honor 6A.

The naming pattern in Honor’s recent phones is particularly confusing. What’s more confusing is that these phones bear almost the same design language as the Huawei’s Prime 2018 series phones and are priced close to them. It raises the question if it is the right decision for Honor to mimic Huawei so closely, and would it help them build their separate identity?

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Besides the spec sheet and the design, the Honor phones exhibit the same results as Huawei budget phones in our reviews which implies that Honor hasn’t done anything innovative with the phones besides slapping their logo on the same phones that Huawei launched with its name.

Honor 7A specs

  • Display: 5.7 inches, IPS LCD
  • OS: Android 8.0 (Oreo), EMUI 8
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 430
  • RAM/ROM: 2GB/16GB, 3GB/32GB
  • Camera (rear): 13MP + 2MP
  • Camera (front): 8MP
  • Battery: 3000 mAh
  • Full specs

Design and Display

Honor 7A has a plastic build that makes it clear that it’s a low-cost phone. However, this doesn’t hinder the fact that the phone is solid and nicely built, and honestly, you won’t be able to judge the price of the phone by its look alone.

 

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Honor 7A keeps up with the trend of tall screens and boasts a Fullview display with minimum side bezels on the front. The forehead and the chin on the front are also considerably reduced. The back of the phone, however, sports a matte finish, so you don’t have to worry about smudges, and fingerprints.

The phone is lightweight and has the right weight to body proportion. Resultantly it sits in hand well and the power key and volume rocker are easily within the thumb’s reach on the right-hand side. On the left, the dual sim card tray also has a slot for a memory card, so you don’t have to choose between using two SIM cards or inserting a microSD card.

The top of the phone hosts a headphone jack, and the base has a micro USB port and two grills, one for the speaker and the other for the mic. The back of the phone hosts a fingerprint scanner that is easily reachable. The single-camera lies on the top left corner of the phone along with the flash.

Honor 7A has an increased screen size of 5.7-inches than its predecessor’s 5-inches. The screen is a Fullview display having 720 x 1440 resolution and 18:9 aspects ratio giving you enough screen estate to enjoy your movies and gaming experience.

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Although the screen produces appropriate colors, we can’t call it the sharpest screen even in the budget category. The screen tends to darken while tilting the phone to its sides, resulting in darkening the content on the screen.

One particularly annoying thing is that the display is not bright enough for daylight use even at its full brightness. Phone’s basic functions such as dial pad and browsing through screens for apps are doable but browsing web pages, watching movies, and playing games are really tough on eyes.

OS

Like the Honor 9 Lite, which is arguably the best budget phone from the company, Honor 7A also runs on Android 8.0 with EMUI 8.0 skin on top. Just like the iOS, EMUI also comes without an app drawer, but it can be enabled within the settings.

There are several customization options in EMUI which include a themes app so you can customize your phone’s appearance as per your taste. Adjusting the display’s color tone is also a perk included, whereas the layout of the navigation bar can also be changed within the settings.

EMUI and party mode
Preinstalled apps in EMUI(L) and Party mode (R)

Honor 7A also houses a “group music” mode where you can connect 8 Honor 7A phones to play your favorite songs simultaneously on all the phones resulting in a surround sound experience. Dual Bluetooth is also an interesting feature that lets you stream audio to two Bluetooth devices at the same time.

With the new version of EMUI, even the budget phones are getting the face-unlock feature. Although it might not be as accurate or as safe as it is on flagship phones, still it proves very useful.

Performance and Battery

On the performance front, the Honor 7A fails to impress. It hosts the same Snapdragon 430 that was used in its predecessor Honor 6A. 2/3Gb RAM accompanies the chipset along with 16/32GB internal memory.

In benchmark tests, Honor 7A scored 57102 on Antutu. On Geekbench it achieved a single-core score of 675 and a multi-core of 2735.

Noticeably if you put the load on the phone for long, it begins to register the touches on the screen with a bit of delay. It also experiences ghost touches, and the apps keep opening without actually touching on the icon. So you have to clean the RAM now and then, for the phone to work smoothly.

Multitasking also doesn’t bid well for the phone and it keeps freezing too often

On heavy usage, the phone gets beyond the state of warm and takes 4 to 5 seconds even in minimizing an app. However, streaming videos on YouTube occur smoothly if you don’t multitask heavily or else the phone may freeze.

Honor 7A comes with a 3000mAh battery which should be more than enough to juice up a phone with such low internals, well at least theoretically. The company claims that you can get a full day out of the battery even with heavy usage. We, however, incline to disagree based on our real-life tests.

The device charged from 0% to 100% in 2 hours 47 minutes and neither the phone offers USB Type C, nor does it supports fast charging which is ridiculous considering the full charging time of the phone. Be sure to charge the phone overnight to get it to 100%.

The phone lost 18% of the battery in 1 hour of our moderate usage test and that too we blame the poor optimization of the phone’s hardware. Our moderate usage test mainly included going through the phone, browsing the internet, listening to music, and using social media apps.

On heavy usage, the phone lost 25% battery in 1 hour. We noticed that media consumption on the phone took more battery as compared to other tasks. Gaming, streaming videos and using the camera, drain the battery very fast.

Camera

Honor 7A hosts a 13 MP rear camera with PDAF and an 8MP front camera. During our camera test, we particularly noticed that the pictures taken with the rear camera came out to be below average and the colors were pretty washed out.

Auto Mode on Honor 7A
Auto Mode

The HDR mode doesn’t contribute much to the camera result and fails to deal with the bright and dark parts of the picture, and resultantly the photos look all the same with or without HDR mode.

Picture with Auto Mode on Honor 7A
Auto Mode

Picture with HDR Mode on Honor 7A
HDR Mode

The front camera is an improvement over the last year’s 5MP of Honor 6A and works perfectly fine. Surprisingly the beauty mode on the Honor 7A does not smoothen your skin artificially like the Honor 7s and Honor 7c, instead, even in full beauty mode, the phone somewhat preserves the true shape of the face and doesn’t paint everything with a single brush.

Selfie with Honor 7A
Selfie without beauty mode (L) and with beauty mode (R)

Verdict

Honor 7A does not provide much of the improvement over its predecessor and hosts the same processor which doesn’t quite perform well in real-life usage. The phone is solid in its build but sadly follows the same monotonous design pattern that Huawei and Honor phones have been rolling out for ages. As for the camera, it’s quite unreliable and doesn’t perform well enough to compete with its rivals in the budget category.

 

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