When there's too little we complain about lack of competition and when there's too much competition we complain of too many choices. There's really no balance, but we have to accept the fact that smartphones are in abundance and there's no end to this progress in sight. Despite this, budget smartphones have a soft spot among consumers in India and the most recent Honor 7S was recently launched to leverage that demand.
We had been using the Honor 7S for over a week now, mostly as the main driver to thoroughly test this new budget phone. The handset's first sale on September 14 was quite successful and it appears to be for a good reason.
While some companies believe in setting the benchmark high for smartphones with premium offerings, there are brands focused to bring smartphones for the masses through their affordable pricing. Honor 7S is one such knight in a shining armour. Priced at Rs 6,999, Honor 7S steps into a dangerous territory where Xiaomi leads the charge with a variety of Redmi phones.
Honor 7S has a solid build and doesn't feel like a cheap production. It is sturdy, compact and perfect for single-hand use. The power button and volume controls are well within the reach of my thumb, the SIM card tray is placed on the right, which by the way has a dedicated microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm jack sits on the top. But to my surprise there is no stereo speaker at the bottom, instead, Honor 7S uses the earpiece as the speaker, which helped me during calls for clearer sound even in busy roads.
Honor 7S has a 5.45-inch full-screen display (no notch), and the HD+ resolution seems to be just enough for using it in low light or in well-lit areas. I had to stress my eyes slightly or cover the screen partially with my hand under direct sunlight for a clearer view, but that's the case with any phone with the 720p LCD screen.
Honor 7S features a 13MP rear-facing camera with PDAF and LED flash. We were not completely blown away by the camera aspect as it did a good job in well-lit indoors and under sunlight but suffered from a lot of grains and lost details in low lights. The focusing seems to be out of place under low-light conditions, but we had tested in extremely dark places to get an idea of what is possible. We had no problem shooting indoors, even if it was nominally lit.
A few camera samples for you to get an idea of Honor 7S' camera right here:
The front camera for selfies works surprisingly well. The built-in beautification feature does a good job at refining your selfies so there's no need for filters or post edits. Although there's an option to disable beauty mode, photos appeared better with it.
While the design and display made us happy, the battery of the phone seems to be the star. Of all the features here, the 3,020mAh battery made sure we did not run out of juice unannounced. In standby, the phone lost 15 percent over 8 hours, and with mixed usage of calls, messages, social networking and 4G data on at all times we got about 10 hours runtime. But the usage was minimal and did not include video streaming or gaming, so users with such necessities will see their battery go down sooner than 10 hours.
Honor 7S also did not heat at any point and internet browsing speeds were quite good too. Honor 7S lacks a fingerprint scanner but offers a Face Unlock, which served a great alternative. There was hardly any problem unlocking the phone just by glancing over the screen. In dim light conditions, the face unlock seemed to take a bit longer than it did in well-lit areas but worked nevertheless. Users won't miss the fingerprint scanner as Honor has made up for it with the face unlock feature using the front-facing camera.
Keeping the phone's low pricing in mind, Honor 7S turned out to be a good handset with great design and battery. The camera could have been better and I did experience some lags while launching certain apps, but it wasn't a regular affair. Honor could optimise the phone's UI through software updates and make it more seamless. If you are not willing to spend more than Rs 7,000, you cannot go wrong with this one.