Think buying a metal phone means splashing out top dollar on the HTC One M8 ? Think again. Huawei's Ascend G7 is a 5.5-inch Android phone with a metal body, a full HD screen and a much more affordable price tag.
The G7 also comes with 4G LTE for fast data speeds, a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front facing camera. So where has Huawei saved money? Chiefly by outfitting it with a decidedly low-end 1.2GHz quad-core processor.
Huawei has yet to say exactly how much the phone will set you back and it hasn't said where it's going on sale either. It did give the rather vague prediction that the phone will cost "below €269", which equates to around £215, $355 and AU$380, based on direct price conversions. Keep your eyes fixed on CNET for more pricing details in the run up to the phone going on sale later this year.
Although you'd think the Ascend G7 would share some design cues with the G6 launched earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, the phones are in fact completely different. For one, the G7 is wrapped in metal, not plastic, making it feel like a more luxurious, premium device. It's bigger too, by a whole inch, clocking in at 5.5 inches diagonally.
Although the metal body is a classy touch, it's not the most exciting of designs -- it has a plain grey back with slightly darker grey strips at the top and bottom for some reason. The glass front sits above the metal edge which, together with the relatively slim bezel, helps the phone look a little more attractive. It feels fairly well put together, but I'll reserve my judgement on its durability until I've had time to perform stress tests.
Its big screen means it's not easy to use in one hand, but it does mean there's plenty of screen real estate to show off videos and games. It has a full HD (1,920x1,080-pixel) resolution, which will help your TV shows look pin-sharp. It seemed bright and bold in my hands on time, but again, I'll wait for the full review before making a final verdict.
The phone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, which is surprisingly low-end considering its other specs. I'd expect to see a more potent processor, particularly given a very similar chip is in the rock-bottom price Ascend Y550 . It seemed responsive enough in my hands-on time, but how it handles demanding tasks like gaming remains to be seen.
You'll find Android 4.4 KitKat on board, but it's hidden under Huawei's Emotion UI software, which makes a slew of changes to the look of Google's mobile software. The app icons are different, there's no app tray -- so everything is stored on the homescreens -- and there are a load of different themes to choose from to personalise the look of the interface.
Huawei claims the G7's 13-megapixel rear camera is "superb" in low-light situations thanks to its f/2.0 aperture -- a claim that we will be testing thoroughly in the full review. There's a 5-megapixel front-facing camera too, which comes with various effects to apply to your selfies, as well as a panoramic selfie mode to capture more of your background.
With its huge, full HD display and metal body, the Huawei Ascend G7 is likely to appeal to those of you after a premium-feeling device for videos on the move. Especially if you don't fancy splashing out the huge amounts of cash for similarly large phones such as the Sony Xperia Z2 or LG G3. Its low-powered processor is a concern, but keep your eyes peeled for the full review where we'll be putting all its features through rigorous tests.