Honor 7S Review: the most affordable budget phone

Honor has been busy lately, it has yet again launched its latest lineup of budget phones among which Honor 7S is the youngest sibling. The phone was released in May and is available to purchase along with other devices of the newest budget series, Honor 7C, and Honor 7A. The naming patterns are particularly confusing as the phones get mixed up since they are so close in specifications and design language.

We earlier reviewed Honor 7C and concluded that despite looking a lot like the Y7 Prime 2018, the phone performs better than Huawei’s budget phone as it has got an upgraded processor. That being said, Honor 7S not only follows the same design language as the Huawei Y5 Prime 2018 but also has the exact same internals as the Huawei’s phone.

Honor 7S specs

  • Display: 5.45 inches LCD
  • OS: Android 8.1 (Oreo), EMUI 8.1
  • Chipset: Mediatek MT6739
  • RAM/ROM: 2GB/16GB
  • Camera (rear): 13MP
  • Camera (front): 5MP
  • Battery: 3020 mAh
  • Full specs

Design and Display

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As we earlier professed, the body dimensions, design language, and even the weight are the same as that of Huawei Y5 Prime. During our review of Honor 7S, we particularly liked the build of the phone that made it easy to use even with one hand.

On the usual right-hand side, we have the volume rocker, and the power button conveniently placed and on the left we have a 3 in 1 card slot with a space of 2 sim cards and a microSD card.

The bottom of the phone hosts a micro USB port for charging and on the top, we have our beloved 3.5 mm headphone jack. Just like the Y5 prime 2018, it uses the earpiece as the speaker which has a below-average sound.

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Honor 7S houses a 5.45 inch LCD with a 720 x 1440 resolution. It’s a Full View display with minimal bezels on the sides, bottom, and top. The display sums up into 295 PPI pixel density that is considerably bright and has good viewing angles in indoor as well as the outdoor conditions, still; it may not be a good choice to watch movies on the phone with plenty of sunlight outdoor as the display goes dark and the movie can barely be seen.

The color reproduction can’t be labeled as the best out there in budget phones, but considering the price, what more can we expect. The colors are a little off on videos and incline on the colder side with a bluish tint over the display.

OS

Honor 7S comes with Android 8.1 Oreo having EMUI 8.0 overlay on top. Huawei and Honor phones come with a curse of bloatware in their OS. Pre-installed games and needless applications tend to slow down the phone that has already low-end specs. Honor needs to address this issue and rid of the unwanted apps in the EMUI.

Unfortunately, the EMUI did not run smoothly on the device as much as it does on the flagships. Scrolling through the phone, minor hiccups could clearly be spotted, and as it is an entry-level smartphone, there are also not many options in the settings to tweak the phone.

Performance and Battery

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Honor 7S hosts a MediaTek MT6739 chipset which is a low-end quad-core processor designed for budget phones. Accompanying the chipset is the 2GB RAM with 16GB internal storage. We didn’t expect the phone to perform very well, and on seeing the test results, our expectations were justified.

In a moderate usage test, switching between the apps was a nightmare and froze the phone screen more than twice during our test. Although the test was conducted in a place where the phone had excellent 4G LTE coverage, it faced connectivity issues and kept disconnecting.

Though its a budget phone but that doesn’t count as an excuse for such derogated performance

The speaker’s quality, when listening to music was also average as the sound couldn’t clearly reach someone sitting across the corner. The call quality on the earpiece was also poor, and voice from the other side came shrouded if cranked to full volume.

Honor 7S comes with a 3020 mAh battery that charges up from 0% to 100% in 2 hours 50 mins. Taking that much time for battery charging, we expect the phone to perform at least above average in battery consumption, but that isn’t the case.

The battery doesn’t last long even on moderate usage. The phone used a 21% battery in 1 hour of our moderate usage test. However, if you enjoy listening to music and streaming videos, the battery may be consumed sooner than you think. On heavy usage, the phone froze too often, so it had to be restarted time and again which resultantly ate up 30% of battery in 1 hour.

Watching excessive media might not be a good option if you have the Honor 7S. The phone feeds off the battery like a parasite due to its poor optimization of hardware and software.

Camera

Honor 7S hosts a 13 MP primary camera on its back that comes with face detection autofocus. The phone doesn’t provide many features on the camera to play with except an HDR mode, Panorama, and Beauty mode. On the front, the phone offers a 5 MP snapper along with a selfie flash.

The phone captures decent pictures in Auto mode. The color saturation and contrast are well balanced in macro shots.

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Auto Mode

Though we don’t expect much from the phone given its price range, still the HDR mode blows the colors and contrast out of proportion and seems a bit artificial.

mobile phone photography
Auto Mode

mobile phone camera test
HDR Mode

Though the phone boasts a face detection autofocus on its rear camera, still the feature doesn’t work as good as it should. Placing two objects in proximity exposes the flaw in autofocus of the camera in HDR mode.

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Multiple Subjects in Macro Shot

The front 5MP camera, however, performs alright and captures average pictures. It also fails in capturing natural colors. The beauty mode, however, spreads an overlay of excessive softness on the image that results in losing the detail.

Selfie with Honor 7S
Selfie without Beauty Mode (L) and with Beauty Mode on full (R)

Verdict

Honor 7S is a compact phone with a bigger screen that fits into hand quite well. The performance of the phone may be compromised due to its low-end internals, but this definitely justifies the price tag whatsoever. All in all, the phone might not be a good choice for heavy users as it drains the battery very fast in heavy usage.

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