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Tech Corner - Huawei Ascend P7

Although Apple and Samsung are well known for their smartphones, Huawei has quietly been getting its act together and is now the third largest manufacturer of handsets. Its offerings are arguably more Apple-esque than Samsung's, who have their own distinctive design. Huawei's newest release is the Ascend P7. It looks very similar to the iPhone 4 or iPhone 5, sporting a brushed aluminum finish on the edge and a glass front and back, but with squarer corners. It is very thin measuring just 6.5 mm (x 0.26 inches) in thickness and weighs just 124 grams, (4.37 ounces). However it is a larger sized phone that its counterpart measuring 139.8 x 68.8 (5.50 x 2.71 inches). The
P7 sports a 5.0 inch display with 1080 x 1920 pixels providing for full HD capability. That translates into 441 pixels per inch for pixel density. The screen is an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with multi-touch as standard, and supports up to 16 million colours. The display uses Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and provides superb viewing, though in bright outdoor conditions you may need to turn the brightness up to full to enjoy comfortable viewing.

The processor is a Kirin 910T 1.8GHz Cotex-A9 quad-core processor and there is 2GB of RAM on board. For the GPU a Mali--450MP4 was chosen. This combination is fast enough for most processes though the phone still might struggle a little with certain apps.

The P7 is a dual sim device, supporting nano sim and micro sim sizes. One of the sim slots doubles as a micro SD card slot, meaning you can have either two sim cards installed or one sim card and extra memory by way of a micro SD card, but not both at the same time. Internal storage is already a healthy 16 GB so it may not be necessary to use the MicroSD card anyway, unless you are shooting video or taking large numbers of photos.

With the cameras in mind, the Ascend P7 has a 13 mega pixel camera at the back complete with a DSLR level processor. It supports 4160 x 3120 pixels, and has autofocus, an LED flash and a quality check feature. The camera on the rear works well in low light conditions and for quick shot photography. Other features include geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, and panorama function, essentially taking 2 pictures either side of the main one. The P7 can shoot video from the rear camera using the 1080p@30fps standard. An eight mega pixel on the front is plenty good enough for selfies and this camera incorporates a five piece lens set for panorama shots allowing you take shots of groups of people. Double pressing the volume button enables you to take a photo directly from sleep mode.

The Ascend P7 runs on the Android operating system and the latest version namely 4.4.2, (Kit Kat) comes as standard. Huawei has also added a custom user interface called Emotion UI. The UI has been simplified and works faster courtesy the new processor. It is also highly customizable allowing you to make the phone much more personal in terms of icons and fonts as well as the look of the home screen. Still available are standard Google goodies including Google Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube, Calendar and Google Talk. Android basic apps are also preserved including an Organizer, a Document viewer, a Photo viewer/editor, voice 
memo/dial/commands and predictive text input. The non removable Li--Po 2500mAh battery boasts up to 422 hours of standby time and up to 22 hours using 2G. 3G surfers can expect to get around 14 hours of use before a charge is required.

The power management system also supports a power saving mode when the battery is low on charge giving up to an extra 24 hours of use on the last ten percent of charge. This is achieved reducing the colours to a black and white mode only and by reducing some of the apps available. If charging at night time, expect to get a full days use from the battery in normal modes, and up to two days with light use.
The phone supports 2G, 3G and 4G on GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900, HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100 and LTE 800 / 900 / 1800 / 2100 / 2600 respectively. Speeds of data transfer are reasonable with GPRS boasting up to 60 kbps, and EDGE up to 236.8 kbps. The phone offers 150Mbps download speeds on 4G using dual antennae. It also has Wi-Fi capability using Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA, as well as Bluetooth with v4.0 with A2DP and LE. For sound, the smartphone has a built in loudspeaker with Dolby Digital Plus sound enhancement as well as a 3.5 mm jack for sound output to drive headphones or active speakers. Active noise cancellation is available with a dedicated mic and the formats for sound playback include XviD/MP4/H.263/H.264/WMV player, as well as MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV and Flac player. An FM radio comes as standard. 

For sensors, the phone features the familiar trio of accelerometer, proximity sensor and compass. GPS with A-GPS support and GLONASS is also included. Message options include SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM and HTML 5. The phone will be available in black, pink and white case designs though undoubtedly there will plenty of third party extras such as protective cases to create a unique external look for the unit.

The Ascend P7 is expected to be in stores by late June 2014 and will be priced at around 20,000 baht based on European release pricing.