Battery life

  • 3,000mAh battery mostly lasts the day
  • Old-style USB port
  • No fast charging

That lower-res screen has done the Honor 7A something of a favor here: since there are fewer pixels to power, its battery lasts a little longer than you'd expect if you're used to denser displays.

We ran our usual battery test: 90 minutes of full screen HD video over Wi-Fi, with the screen set to max brightness and accounts syncing in the background.

Read more: Honor View 20 review

From a full charge, the Honor 7A had 77% of its power left at the end of the test, a loss of 23%. In other words, you could expect to watch at least 5 hours of video before you ran the battery out, even if you were using it for other things too.

For comparison, the Moto G5 lost a very similar 22% in this test, while the Nokia 3 (2017) lost just 16%. On the other hand, the Nokia 5 (2017) lost a whopping 37% of its power in this test, and the Alcatel 3V lost 35%. So it could be better, but it could also be a lot worse.

For daily use, again we found the 7A lasted longer than we anticipated - but part of the reason for that is that due to its lower processing abilities, we weren't actually able to use it for as many tasks as we usually would.

For instance, more than once we gave up waiting for the camera app to stop hanging and just didn't take a photo/video, and we mostly avoided intensive gaming after the first few bad experiences. Yes, this means the battery lasts longer, but at the cost of actually using the phone.

In fairness, though, the battery does also deplete more slowly than it could given the price. 3,000mAh is a reasonably generous power pack, and it lasted us all day on most of the days we used it (fairly lightly).

Charging it back up again is a slower affair than on most modern phones, due to the old-style micro USB port and lack of any kind of fast charging. Still, if you're the plug-it-in-and-leave-it-all-night type, as many people are, you probably won't even notice.

Camera

  • 13MP rear camera with autofocus (f/2.0)
  • 8MP selfie camera (f/2.2)
  • 'Selfie toning light'

We half-expected to see a dual-camera setup here, considering the much cheaper Alcatel 3V has one, as does the next model up (the Honor 7C). But no, you just get the one 13MP snapper on the back, and an 8MP front-facing camera.

The main issue with the cameras isn't their performance, but the phone's. We had enormous trouble getting the app to open, to respond, and to take pictures in anything like a timely manner. Speed-wise, it was like using your nan's spyware-stuffed Windows XP PC at times.

When the app was working, we got good pictures out of the main camera as long as there was decently strong light. Sunny days and brightly-lit shots are no trouble for the 7A, but trickier light environments resulted in much less usable photos.

For instance, we tried photographing a black cat in a lamplit room, and got a whole lot of darkness (although the flash did a good job of brightening it up).

On the selfie side, again the f/2.2 front-facing camera performs well in good lighting, and also has a bright white LED for 'selfie toning' in lower light. 

You turn this on like a flash (it comes up in the menu as 'soft flash' but it's actually pretty harsh), and it stays lit while you take your photo (it doesn't actually flash).

You can also dial up the brightness (tap the 1 in the bottom right corner), which makes it even more blinding. It does definitely help in dark environments, but the result isn't overly flattering.

Speaking of unflattering selfies, the beauty mode on this phone doesn't appear to do much - until you take the photo and open it. The difference is pretty subtle until afterwards, unlike many phones which show the effect live as you're looking at the screen.

This is worth being aware of, because level 10 beauty mode on this phone gives your eyes alien-esque proportions, and you might not realize until after the photo's been saved.

Besides the performance problems, the Honor camera app is as usable as ever. It includes fewer extra modes on the 7A than other Honor phones, presumably because the handset can't handle some of the more processor-intensive ones, but you can download a few more. Sadly, Honor/Huawei's excellent night modes aren't there.

Videos on the Honor 7A suffer from the same problems as photos, with the addition of no stabilization (we wouldn't have expected OIS at this price, but maybe EIS). They default to 720p, but you can jack them up to 1080p at 30fps with software if you must.

Camera samples

Image 1 of 8

Reasonable quality and accurate color reproduction in good sunlight.

Reasonable quality and accurate color reproduction in good sunlight.

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Again, clear and accurately-colored under bright artificial light.

Again, clear and accurately-colored under bright artificial light.

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Image 3 of 8

Taken in good light, but we lose detail and clarity on some of the leaves.

Taken in good light, but we lose detail and clarity on some of the leaves.

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Image 4 of 8

Clear and readable.

Clear and readable.

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The colors of the radio and wallpaper have come through accurately in moderate indoor light, but zoom in and there's detail missing from the control panel that other phones would have captured.

The colors of the radio and wallpaper have come through accurately in moderate indoor light, but zoom in and there's detail missing from the control panel that other phones would have captured.

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Great detail and good standout for the subject against a gloomy indoor background.

Great detail and good standout for the subject against a gloomy indoor background.

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Not a great representation of how the scene actually looked, but we can at least see the cat...

Not a great representation of how the scene actually looked, but we can at least see the cat...

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Image 8 of 8

...unlike the same shot without flash. You'd think this was taken in a pitch-dark room, but there were actually several lamps and the cat was clearly discernible to the naked eye (and other phone cameras).

...unlike the same shot without flash. You'd think this was taken in a pitch-dark room, but there were actually several lamps and the cat was clearly discernible to the naked eye (and other phone cameras).

Click here to see the full resolution image