Hands on: Haier L7 review

It was any more unremarkable, it would be remarkable

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Haier L7 is a perfunctory addition to the unremarkable everyman ranks of upper middle range Android handsets.

For

  • Lovely little vibrate
  • Specs are okay
  • Screen is acceptable

Against

  • Dull
  • Uninspiring
  • Case appears to scratch easily

It’s very easy to review a bad phone, and it’s very easy to review a good phone.

Ask any mobile phone guru the reviews they dread and their response will be unanimous: the dull ones. 

Unfortunately, the Haier L7 is just such a phone. On paper, or at very least on  the glossy mat that you have next to phones when you’re at MWC 2017, this is a well-featured and thoroughly decently-specced phone.

The bottom of a phone, ladies and gentlemen

It’s just… well, if I had to name this phone it would probably be Trevor. It would be the kind of mate who neither got you in horrible and yet deliciously memorable trouble when on a night out, nor held your hair out of your face while you threw up on the way home.

Nope, the Haier L7 would be the person you noticed in the Facebook photos a year hence, and realised you didn’t remember them being there at all. 

And, you know, for many people that’s not a bad thing. It does the job. Just don’t expect Trevor – sorry the L7 – to do much beyond that. 

Haier is best known for making very well-received white goods, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that its phone is so lacking in color. 

Speaking of colors, the L7 definitely looks better in rose gold; in fact I think I almost remember holding the rose gold version, whereas I needed to check my camera roll for evidence the grey version existed at all.

The rose gold version in all its, er, glory

Haier L7 performance

I'm labouring the point; Haier has packed some decent tech into the L7. The 5.5-inch FHD display was colourful and perfectly crisp, while 3GB of RAM and an LTE-ready octa-core processor kept everything snappy enough when I was delving in and out of apps.

The OS is Streamline UI, based on Android 6 Marshmallow – and in fairness that does appear to have worked pretty hard to squeeze any life or personality out of Google's OS to make it gel so adequately with the phone.

There’s DTS-approved sound, and a 3,000mAh battery which is, well – you know what I’m going to say – pretty standard on Android phones.

Haier L7 design

Design-wise, the Haier L7 is reminiscent of every other smartphone you’ve ever seen. It's not trying to reinvent the wheel, and the curved edges feel okay in the hand. 

Weight-wise it's not too badly balanced, and it's not going to stop you moving at your normal walking pace.  

I did have a bit of an issue with the metal body however, which somehow manages to feel like plastic – and even after just a few hours on show it had picked up a worrying amount of dents and scratches.

Perhaps people forgot it existed and dropped it. Who knows?

Early verdict

You've probably got the gist of what I think about this phone. It's okay, fine, meh, unremarkable, and whatever the emoticon is for shrug. 

In the spirit of things, and because the Haier L7 is so wholly difficult to find an angle on, I have racked my mind to find something different about the phone that I liked.

And you know what, I found something: when you press the home key the little rumble is very satisfactory.

So there you have it. Well done Trevor.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.