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The Huawei smartphone brand Honor has been coming up with some pretty compelling midrange phones as of late. But Honor’s about more than just midrangers – they’ve also been busy establishing a presence in the budget market, with units like the one we’re looking at today, the Honor 7A.

The 7A offers some pretty compelling features for not a lot of money. But is that enough to make it worth your while, especially given how competitive this segment can be?

We’re about to find out – and you should come along for the ride!

Plastic, but not plasticky

OK, first things first. The 7A’s body is made entirely of plastic. But before you close this tab or window after reading that, hold on – it’s not made of the cheap kind of plastic that will repulse you on first contact.

The outer rim of this phone is the part that is akin to the usual (dreaded) plastic – a little bit shiny and maybe a tiny bit slick. But most of the phone, including its rear, is composed of a classier matte plastic that looks nicer and feels better to the touch. As a matter of fact, the entire phone is pretty pleasant to pick up and use. It’s not a lightweight, flimsy-feeling phone – it feels substantial enough to be taken seriously, while at the same time not feeling too heavy for its own good or for the comfort of its users.

Styling-wise, the 7A follows the lead taken by many of Huawei’s and Honor’s other units. It’s not really a head-turner in the vein of range-topping units like the Honor 10 flagship, but we’re not calling it out because of that. It’s got its own quiet brand of good looks, such that you won’t (or at least shouldn’t) be ashamed to use it without a case.

Out back, the 7A is distinguished by its center-mounted fingerprint sensor and antenna lines that break up the smooth expanse of the body, a la Apple iPhone 6 and 6s.

Our test unit came in a fetching shade of metallic navy blue, but the phone can also be had in black and gold – you choose.

(Not quite a) super screen

Flip the phone over and take a gander at its 720p FullView display.

We decided to devote an entire section to talking about the 7A’s screen because the screen can make or break any phone, and in the budget segment a phone with a better screen can easily stand head and shoulders above its competition.

So how does the 7A’s fare? In a nutshell, it’s not spectacular, but neither is it subpar.

First off we have to talk about how large it is. If you’re the sort of user for whom display size counts, you’ll be pleased to know that the 7A’s display is all of 5.7 inches and has a relatively decent 1440 x 720 resolution and a pixel density of 282. All of which means that while it can’t really compare to the displays pricier phones have, for its class its screen is competitive – and maybe could even clinch an easy sale or two by virtue of nothing more than sheer screen size.

Bezel-wise, this isn’t one of those bezel-free headturners, but in all fairness the 7A’s bezels aren’t thick or obtrusive in any way. The phone’s screen to body ratio is 75.5 percent, which isn’t all that bad.

Audio aptitude

Something you might not know – and again a key feature of the 7A – is that it comes with a pretty good set of speakers, one that’s quite a bit better than many speakers mounted by competing phones. Actually, we’ll go out on a limb and say that its speaker set might even be better than those in many pricier phones.

This capacity of the 7A isn’t at all accidental. Honor saw fit to gift it with the company’s own Histen 3D audio technology and accompanying ability to boost the listening experience through selecting near effect, front effect, and wide effect sound options.

Additionally – and this you might find particularly intriguing just as we did – the 7A also comes with the so-called Party Mode, which allows for even more extensive/intensive audio amplification through linking with up to nine other Honor smartphones so they all play the same song at the same time.

Unfortunately we had no way of testing this during our testing period, which is a pity – this sounds like quite an interesting feature if it works as advertised.

Other features

The 7A is powered by the combination of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor and Adreno 505 GPU, which gives it relatively spritely performance.

Honor has seen fit to bifurcate the 7A offered in the Philippines. Buyers can pick between a version that comes with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory, or a lower-echelon version with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal memory installed.

Camera-wise, the 7A’s snappers are an 8MP front-facing and a 13MP rear camera with autofocus. Both took relatively OK pictures in good lighting (but we do have to say that camera app performance is relatively slow, especially that of the lower-situated 2GB + 16GB model).

The 7A’s charging port is in the gracefully-aging microUSB format. Perhaps this will be among the last phones with microUSB ports given that USB-C is beginning to become more and more popular nowadays.

The 7A comes with a battery that’s a bit on the small side as modern-day batteries go, just 3000mAh. The good thing is that its mid- to lower-echelon specs ensure that this battery won’t drain as fast as it might had the phone’s specs and features been more power-hungry. Consequently, our test unit usually lasted until mid-afternoon until it needed charging, and on some particularly light days lasted until early evening before we needed to charge it.

Lastly, you might be sad to hear that the 7A doesn’t come with NFC, but it does come with Face Unlock, which might go some way towards making up for that omission.

The verdict

The Honor 7A won’t excite or tempt too many midrange or (especially) high-end smartphone potential or actual users. But this isn’t a problem – it was never intended to do so in the first place.

Instead, this phone is aimed at the price-conscious crowd – those people considering featurephones and not smartphones because they feel they can’t afford the latter.

For that crowd, a relatively decent phone like this might just be a godsend. And seen from that perspective, the 7A more than fits the bill.

 

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