Hands on: Honor 7A review

Entry-level Android with double biometrics

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Our Early Verdict

The Honor 7A is a cheap, cheerful Android smartphone that has a couple of surprising features considering its low price tag.

For

  • Face and fingerprint unlock
  • Expandable storage and dual SIM
  • Headphone jack

Against

  • Performance question mark

The Honor 7A is an entry-level budget smartphone with a big screen, fingerprint scanner and face unlock.

That's not a bad line-up of features for a low cost smartphone, and the 7A replaces the Honor 6A at the bottom of the Chinese firm's handset range.

The 7A features a 5.7-inch HD display, Snapdragon 430 chipset, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, microSD slot, 3000mAh battery, 13MP rear camera, 8MP front camera and Android 8 Oreo.

Honor 7A price and availability

The Honor 7A price is £139.99, placing it firmly in the bargain basement section of the mobile market.

Unlike the more expensive Honor 7C, the 7A will be more widely available in the UK with retailers including Three, AO.com, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse, Argos and Very all stocking the handset, as well as Honor's own website.

It's not clear if Honor will launch the 7A in any other markets, but we'll update this hands on review if we receive any more information.

Design and display

The Honor 7A has a standard plastic build which makes it clear that this is a low cost smartphone, but that's okay because it feels solid.

It's lightweight and sits nicely in the hand, with the power/lock and volume buttons on the right easy to hit.

The fingerprint scanner on the rear is also easy to hit, while a headphone jack on the top of the handset will please audiophiles who still like to plug in.

On the base of the handset you'll find a microUSB port and single speaker which can go as loud as 88db - which is pretty high. Audio playback from this speaker was passable during our short time with the handset.

Meanwhile, the 5.7-inch HD display comes with a 1440 x 720 resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio - giving you extra height in the screen. When held in landscape this extra screen makes for a better gaming and video experience.

However, the 720p screen isn't the sharpest and when inspected more closely we could see that the detail wasn't as fine as higher resolution panels. However, at this price the display on the Honor 7A can't really be faulted.

Honor 7A hands on gallery

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Power and software

Under the hood the Honor 7A is equipped with a Snapdragon 430 chipset and 2GB of RAM. That is enough power to keep things running on screen, but don't expect blistering performance.

On screen Android 8 Oreo has been covered in Huawei's (Honor's parent company) EMUI 8, which removes the app drawer and switches the theme to something a little less slick and Google's stock offering.

However, this EMUI interface allows Honor to add some additional features to the 7A including a karaoke mode and party mode, the latter of which allows you to connect up to nine handsets together and play the same song through their speakers.

During our brief time with the Honor 7A, Android ran relatively smoothly, but it's not as snappy as it is on more expensive handsets. 

We do worry that the chipset and RAM may begin to struggle as the storage gets filled up and multiple apps are run at the same time, but that's something we'll put to the test in our full review.

The 16GB of storage could well fill up quickly, but the inclusion of a microSD slot in the SIM card tray allows you to build on the internal space - which is a nice addition on a budget phone.

Camera

There's a 13MP camera on the back of the Honor 7A and during our short time with the phone we were able to capture a few shots.

Quality is okay, but nothing more than that. For social media sharing the camera on 7A should suffice, but it's not going to give you high quality shots that you'll necessarily want to share or large, high resolution displays.

Meanwhile, on the front of the phone an 8MP camera is joined by Honor's smart soft light LED, giving you a way to improve the lighting of your selfies. This improves the quality of low-light shots, and Honor has identified that most selfies are taken after 8pm, when light is generally harder to come by.

We'll be putting both cameras through their paces in our in-depth review, so you'll have to wait for our findings to see how they fare in real-world scenarios.

Early verdict

The Honor 7A is a cheap, cheerful Android smartphone that has a couple of surprising features considering its low price tag.

It may struggle with more intensive tasks, but for those looking for a low cost handset with the fancy biometrics more expensive devices boasts, the 7A is a genuine contender.

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.