The Honor 7 is a funny phone to review in some respects. I have to give Huawei props for not just churning out a regular no-frills mid-ranger that does the job, but with nothing to get excited about. Instead, the Honor 7 is packed with interesting and innovative features, such as a fingerprint scanner, voice control, a custom UI aimed at making one-handed use easier, and a powerful camera.

However, despite Huawei clearly thinking outside the box, the Honor 7 suffers from not following through on its promise, mainly due to uneven implementation. This results in such flaws as a fingerprint scanner that doesn't always work, and certain parts of the interface seeming unfinished.

We liked

The cameras of the Honor 7 are an obvious highlight, with image quality that far exceeded my expectations. While other aspects of the Honor 7 didn't really impress much, both the 20MP rear-facing and 8MP front-facing snappers offer excellent photos considering the price of the handset.

Speaking of price, Huawei has pitched the Honor 7 at a very tempting level – and there's plenty of horsepower for the amount of cash you're putting down.

Huawei Honor 7

We didn't like

Some parts of the Honor 7 feel a little undercooked, which is a real shame. I like the ambition Huawei is showing with this handset, but ropey parts of the user interface, along with a fingerprint scanner that isn't all that dependable, lets this handset down.

Verdict

Overall the Honor 7 is a decent mid-range smartphone with some lofty aims – some of which it nobly fails to achieve. Sadly, a fail is a fail regardless of how noble it may be, so despite its promise there isn't quite enough to make the Honor 7 stand out from the crowd – something that Huawei needs it to do if it's to make it big in the west.

One aspect of the Honor 7 does stand out though – both its cameras are excellent. This means that despite it not being the most exciting smartphone in the world, if you want an excellent smartphone snapper the Honor 7 is well worth considering.

It may also be worth looking at the Honor 8 as an alternative to the Honor 7, but until we've finished our full review it's difficult to tell.

Otherwise, I'd advise looking at the slightly more expensive OnePlus 2 or OnePlus 3 for a more well-rounded user experience.

First reviewed July 2015