Huawei Ascend P7 review

Huawei's new hero phone isn't going to worry the flagships

Huawei Ascend P7 review
A flagship for Huawei, but not for the market

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The Huawei Ascend P7 has two cameras and both are winners. The main rear camera's a 13MP option provided by Sony, which itself produces some of the better cameraphones on the market, such as the Xperia Z2.

As well as that the Ascend P7 also has a staggering 8MP front-facing camera, perfectly positioning the phone as the top option for those for whom the "selfie" is a serious hobby.

The main camera app is clearly also influenced by Sony, with the Ascend P7 using a similar overlay system for its menus as found in the Xperia Z2. It's a simpler app, though, with fewer comedy options and modes to wade through.

The main options are a selection of shooting modes, with Huawei's "Smart" shooting feature the default. There's a huge range of interesting filters to apply to shots live, a HDR option for enhancing dull scenes, smile detection and object tracking.

Huawei Ascend P7 review

Huawei's added some ideas of its own, too. You can capture an Audio Note after taking an image, perhaps recording the name and phone number of the person you've just rudely accosted.

The app also has a really useful audio control shutter option, so you can balance your phone, get into shot then clap, cough or tap on something to take your shot. Plus a Best Photo option, like the one found on Sony and HTC's recent phones, offers to capture a burst of 10 shots, then lets you save the best and bin the rest.

What's nice to see here is a lack of processing of the results. Images taken at the full 13MP resolution come off the Ascend P7 at between 4MB and a massive 7MB in size, and are refreshingly free from JPEG-style artefacts.

The images are bright and clean to begin with, and the fact they're not overly processed means they look great a full resolution.

Huawei Ascend P7 review

If you want to take advantage of the 13MP sensor the images have to be taken at 4:3 aspect ratio, with the 16:9 option taking the maximum resolution down to 10MP and reducing the image size from the maximum 4160 x 3120 to a top and tailed 4160 x 2336.

The seemingly innocent dog photo on the next page is an enormous 7.2MB in its original form. Good job the P7 has an SD card slot on it, as the 16GB of supplied memory will be full within days if you're a prolific pet-snapper.

Huawei Ascend P7 review

And the "selfie" front-facing camera is a surprisingly good performer. If you have a face you don't mind seeing at high resolution and from a fairly unflattering and close angle, the results are superb. It even includes a front-facing panorama option, for stitching together wider shots and squeezing more faces in.

It works, but surely part of the fun of the selfie is spontaneously trying to fit faces into the frame? Extending the amount of time people have to remain in close proximity to each other and adding extra layers of fuss to the process makes it all feel a bit silly, especially if your cheek is touching the cheek of someone you're not usually physically intimate with.

Huawei Ascend P7 review

Overall, I found the Ascend P7 to be a great camera. The double-tap volume down quick-snap option means you can take a photo in literally one second from standby (albeit without focusing and at a lower resolution).

Plus all results are saved at a high quality and are therefore free from many of the problems you can see with sensors from other companies.

Even the front-facing camera, with its superb 8megapixel clarity, could convince me it's a good idea to start sticking pictures of my face all over the internet.