Huawei ups ante with Ascend P7

China’s Huawei has unveiled its new flagship smartphone, the Ascend P7, at an event in France as it moves to grow its market share. By Nafisa Akabor.

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The Huawei Ascend P7

Huawei has announced its newest flagship smartphone in Paris, France. Like its predecessor, the Ascend P6, which has sold more than 4m units, the new Ascend P7 is just 6,5mm thick, making it 1,1mm thinner than Apple’s iPhone 5s.

And it boasts a 5-inch full-HD display with a pixel density of 445ppi — a figure the fast-growing Chinese company claims is higher than any other smartphone. (Of course, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime, rumoured for release next month, will boast a 565ppi display.)

Huawei went for a similar design to the P6 with the new P7 — clean lines with a metallic finish. But the company says it has packed more features into the small form factor.

Head of technology planning at Huawei, Changzhu Li, says the camera has been redesigned to cater for the “selfie” generation. The front-facing camera is an 8-megapixel monster that features a smart preview window that allows for “sight line alignment” — a Huawei-patented innovation that makes sure the user takes selfies looking straight into the camera.

The company has also introduced a new panoramic group selfie feature called “groufies”. The front-facing camera also doubles up as a mirror, and includes a fog-like gimmick when users blow on the screen.

The 13-megapixel rear camera, with Sony’s fourth-generation sensors, has also been given a boost and now has ultra low-light sensitivity of ISO 3600.

A new “image smart engine” (version 2.0) has three additional functions: post processing, intelligent scenario processing and computer vision calculation, which Huawei says is the basis for low-light shooting. It is also capable of taking ultrafast “action” snapshots.

The phone’s 4G/LTE antenna is capable of a theoretical 150Mbit/s (that’s a 1GB movie download in one minute). There’s also fast Wi-Fi options, and, of course, Bluetooth is standard.

The P7 has a new dual-Sim feature, too, and, although it has the same memory expansion slot as found on the P6, a nano Sim card fits into the same space.

Other enhancements to the P7 include a built-in cooling system, consisting of a thermal gel coolant. It is also splash-proof, but don’t go swimming with it.

The Ascend P7 runs Android KitKat 4.2.2 with the latest interface update from Huawei, which includes loads of new features (and seems to borrow ideas from Apple’s iOS 7). One nifty update is the the phone manager feature. which lets users scan for viruses and manage permissions, a harassment filter, power endurance, power saving and storage cleaner.

The P7 has a 2 500mAh capacity battery — far from the best in the market, but it has an “ultra power saving mode” when required.

Bad news for South Africans hoping to get their hands on the P7 soon. It will not be launched here in the initial roll-out phase.

The phone will retail in Europe for €449 (about R6 500).  — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media

  • The writer travelled to France as a guest of Huawei

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