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Hands-On: Huawei Ascend Mate 7 and G7

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Sep 4, 2014, 12:13 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Huawei kicked out two new Android smartphones in Berlin this week. Here our our first thoughts on the Ascend Mate 7 and Ascend G7, which compete on cost, but not necessarily quality.

Huawei is gunning for Samsung, there's no doubt about it. The Mate 7 is a clear competitor to the Note 4, and the G7 is a solid mid-ranger to battle Samsung's non-G Series phones. Here are our initial impressions.

Mate 7

The Mate 7 is absolutely huge. Huawei did everything it could to reduce the phone's footprint, but you can do so much concerning the 6-inch display. The bezels are cut down to practically nothing, but it's still a sizable device that takes two hands to use.

Huawei made a big deal about the metallic design of the phone. It has a metal frame and a metal back plate. It's an attractive handset, for sure, and the black, silver, and gold color combinations give it a lot of class. The metals are a fine choice and really improve the overall quality and appeal of the handset. That said, there are better metal phones out there. Apple and HTC, for instance, have done an excellent job with their metallic designs. You can tell that the Mate 7's metal isn't quite of the same quality.

The screen. Wow. It measures 6 inches across the diagonal and offers full HD resolution. It would have been nice to see Quad HD, but Huawei did an excellent job designing the in-plane switching LCD of the Mate 7. (As an aside, I find it rather confusing that the Mate 7 has a 6-inch screen and not a 7-inch screen.) It's quite a display. While it doesn't offer the same resolution of the Note 4, its size and quality make it a solid competitor.

The Mate 7 is incredibly thin and lightweight. I have a hard time wrapping my hands all the way around it, but it is slim. It probably won't fit in small or tight pockets. The buttons are confined to the right edge, where you'll find the screen lock and volume keys. They are easy to find and have good travel and feedback. There are no buttons on the front, as the Mate 7 uses the on-again / off-again Android control buttons.

The fingerprint sensor is positioned on the back, just like that of the HTC One maxx. Huawei claims it is faster and more accurate, but we were unable to test or substantiate those claims.

The EMUI 3.0 looks really pretty. It reminds me a lot of what LG has done with its UI in recent months. Further, Huawei has installed a wide variety of themes and designs so owners can personalize their device.

Huawei didn't say if it will sell the Mate 7 in the U.S.

 

Mate7

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

G7

Had Huawei not introduced the Mate 7 today, the G7 surely would have impressed. It takes all the great features of the Mate 7 and dials them back a bit.

For example, the design. It makes great use of metal, but still uses a lot of plastic to fill in the gaps. With a 5.5-inch screen, it is still fairly large. I found it easier to hold and use than the Mate 7, but not by much. The G7's edges are more rounded and have chamfers to make them shiny and attractive. The G7 uses on-screen controls and keeps the buttons to a minimum on the right edge. It is uncluttered and clean in appearance. The buttons on the side of the phone have good profiles and are really easy to find and use.

The display uses 720p HD resolution. If would be great if Huawei had stuck with full HD, but what can you so. I thought the screen looked good, but it pales in comparison next to the Mate 7. It is bright and colorful, but the pixel density just isn't what I want to see.

The G7 uses the same EMUI 3.0, so the screens and apps look identical to those found on the Mate 7.

It is highly unlikely the G7 will come to the U.S. Huawei listed all the countries in which the phone will be sold, and America wasn't one of them.

 

G7

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

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