Honor 7S

Price: £99 inc VAT from fave.co/2v7VuWA

Android Advisor - - Contents -

The Honor 7S is an An­droid smart­phone that tries to cram every­thing good about a phone in 2018 into a sub-£100 pack­age: a slim at­trac­tive de­sign, an 18:9 screen and An­droid Oreo soft­ware.

But it turns out – un­sur­pris­ingly – that £99 is not enough to make a cheap phone great. Honor has a great track record of af­ford­able smart­phones that per­form much bet­ter than their price sug­gests.

The firm says this is a hand­set for ‘new smart­phone users’ but un­less your de­mands for a smart­phone are very low, the 7S is a price-cut too far.

De­sign

The 7S is a non­de­script black (or blue) all-plas­tic smart­phone. It has a 5.45in 18:9 dis­play, the as­pect ra­tio mean­ing it’s a tall and slim de­vice de­spite the size of the screen. In case you want to whip a ruler out, the phone mea­sures 146.5x70.9x8.3mm. We like the size be­cause it’s not go­ing to trou­ble any pocket and save for the give­away Honor logo on the front it could pass for an iPhone 7.

The peb­ble-like plas­tic feel of the phone is only in­ter­rupted by a tiny cam­era bump, head­phone jack and Mi­cro-USB port. The back of the phone is a matte plas­tic that shows fin­ger­prints slightly but much less than a glass hand­set will.

At this price you can’t be too picky about de­sign, but you only need spend a lit­tle more if you want some­thing with a bit more flair, like the Moto G6 Play at £169 or Honor’s own 9 Lite at £199.

Fea­tures

One of the Honor 7S’s hid­den gem fea­tures is in­side the SIM tray. It is one of very few phones on the mar­ket, in­clud­ing high-end phones, that has dual SIM slots as well as a mi­croSD slot. This means you can use two nano-SIMs and a mi­croSD card for stor­age ex­pan­sion at the same time. Many phones have one or the other, or make you choose be­tween 2 SIM cards or one SIM and an SD. On a £99 phone, this is a great (if niche) dif­fer­en­tia­tor. Just be aware that the 7S doesn’t have a fin­ger­print sen­sor, a fea­ture you may as­sume is on ev­ery phone in 2018. You’ll have to re­vert to a PIN or pat­tern to un­lock the phone.

Dis­play

The LCD screen is noth­ing to write home about, but re­mem­ber what you’re pay­ing. At a 720p res­o­lu­tion it’s not HD, but phones this price never are. Colours are vi­brant enough and the bright­ness can go up enough that it isn’t too dim, though you’ll still strug­gle to read in di­rect sun­light (just like prac­ti­cally ev­ery LCD).

It’s fine, but you’ll no­tice pixel­la­tion on app icons and on web pages. If that sort of thing both­ers you look for a phone with an HD screen.

Pro­ces­sor, mem­ory and stor­age

Like many cheap phones, this is where the weaknesses lie. Low-end pro­ces­sors and RAM mean low prices, but at the cost of us­abil­ity. With a quad-core Me­di­aTek MT6739 chip and 2GB RAM you have a com­bi­na­tion

which is the ab­so­lute min­i­mum a mod­ern 4G smart­phone should have. It shows too – spend just a lit­tle more on the Moto G6 Play and we can as­sure you of a bet­ter per­form­ing phone than the 7S. But this phone is tar­geted at a young au­di­ence, one that Honor pre­sumes (hopes?) won’t need to push the hard­ware. Facebook, In­sta­gram and text mes­sag­ing are where this phone is just about com­fort­able. Push it more than that and it grinds to a halt, and we re­ally weren’t test­ing it that hard. It was very frus­trat­ing to use even com­pared to other cheap phones, not high-end ones. Even sim­ple rac­ing games are out of the ques­tion, and some­times even open­ing the set­tings app took about three sec­onds. It’s a real drag.

Check out the bench­marks be­low. At this price per­for­mance doesn’t dif­fer too much. But the Moto

G6 Play and Honor 9 Lite are clear win­ners here and in fact the dif­fer­ences are no­tice­able in real-world use.

Cam­eras

The Honor 7S has a 13Mp main cam­era and a 5Mp main cam­era. They are the base­line against all which all other smart­phone cam­eras could be mea­sured – they are the bare min­i­mum.

A younger or per­haps less fussy pho­tog­ra­pher will be happy to post pho­tos taken to so­cial me­dia but much like the per­for­mance here, spend­ing a lit­tle more will get you a bet­ter cam­era on a bet­ter phone (and maybe even dual cam­eras).

Check out some sam­ples op­po­site.

Connectivity and au­dio

Honor boasts a ‘Loud Voice Call’ fea­ture on the 7S. It’s not en­tirely clear why, but a phone can al­ways do with an au­dio boost in loud en­vi­ron­ments and it was wel­come to us with call qual­ity crisp and clear.

If the phone can’t per­form above the bare min­i­mum when run­ning de­mand­ing apps, at least it can func­tion as a de­cent phone. And an­other great lit­tle fea­ture that you don’t see on high-end phones is an FM ra­dio – but you get one here built in (you just need to plug in wired head­phones to serve as the an­tenna – but there’s no head­phones in the box).

The sin­gle speaker is noth­ing to write home about, but is per­fectly ser­vice­able for the odd hands-free call or pod­cast. There’s Blue­tooth for speak­ers or head­phone, but no NFC, so you won’t be able to use it for mo­bile pay­ments.

Bat­tery life

Bat­tery life is de­cent on the Honor 7S, and al­ways an ad­van­tage of an un­der­pow­ered phone. Honor claims it is us­ing ‘smart bat­tery man­age­ment’, but this isn’t ev­i­dent on us­ing the phone.

Like other An­droid de­vices, the sys­tem will tell you if an app is us­ing too much power and will let you man­u­ally turn off back­ground pro­cesses, but this is still quite com­pli­cated if you are a sim­pler user of phones and in our mind should be au­to­mated – some­thing iPhones do ex­cel­lently but are at least seven times the price of the Honor 7S.

Soft­ware

The Honor 7S runs An­droid Oreo 8.1, which at launch is the lat­est ver­sion avail­able. This is great to see on a bud­get phone, but it is not guar­an­teed reg­u­lar se­cu­rity

or soft­ware up­dates. Dare we say that you may not care if you’re look­ing to spend less than £100, but it’s worth not­ing.

Honor’s EMUI over­lay onto An­droid is quite heavy and means this does not look or feel like the clean stock ver­sion of An­droid that Google runs on its Pixel phones. We think that the com­pli­cated an­i­ma­tions and icons may go some way to­wards slow­ing this phone down, or at least make it feel slow.

But as we’ve re­turned to many times this phone costs £99, and we’ll take Oreo 8.1 with some short­com­ings at that price. If only it ran a lit­tle smoother like it does on other cheap phones.

Ver­dict

The bot­tom line is that the Honor 7S is a slow phone. If you don’t mind wait­ing those few ex­tra sec­onds for apps to open and pages to load is worth the im­mense sav­ing of buy­ing a £99 phone, then you’ll be al­right.

For ev­ery­one else the sac­ri­fices will be too much. Very slow per­for­mance, a grainy screen, barely pass­able cam­era and no fin­ger­print sen­sor aren’t al­ways deal break­ers if you’re look­ing to save money, but when you can spend a tiny bit more and get a Moto G6 Play or even Honor 9 Lite, then you’ll have a much bet­ter phone. Henry Bur­rell

Spec­i­fi­ca­tions

• 5.45in (1,440x720, 295ppi) 18.7:9 AMOLED dis­play • MIUI 9.5 (based on An­droid 8.01 Oreo) • Me­di­aTek MT6739 pro­ces­sor • Quad-core 1.5GHz Cor­tex-A53 CPU

• Pow­erVR GE8100 GPU • 2GB RAM • 16GB stor­age • Rear-fac­ing cam­era: 13Mp, PDAF, LED flash, HDR,

panorama • Front cam­era: 5Mp, LED flash • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi • Blue­tooth 4.2 • A-GPS, GLONASS • NFC • Mi­cro-USB 2.0 • 3.5mm head­phone jack • Non-re­mov­able 3,020mAh lithium-ion bat­tery • 146.5x70.9x8.3mm • 142g

The dis­play’s colours are vi­brant and the bright­ness can go up enough that it isn’t too dim

Geek­bench 4

The 7S runs Oreo 8.1 , which is im­pres­sive in a sub-£100 phone

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