“The Honor 7C promises on many fronts but consistency issues make it hard to recommend”
Honor unveiled its 7C and 7A smartphones (first impressions) in India last month and the budget segment offerings come to the market in the midst of strong competition from other brands like Xiaomi and Realme. The more powerful out of the two new handsets, the Honor 7C has been launched by the company in two RAM variants, i.e. 3GB RAM and 4GB RAM, which are priced at Rs 9,999 and Rs 11,999, respectively. To help you figure out whether the Honor 7C offers value for your hard-earned bucks, we’ve reviewed the new handset in detail. Read on.
|Resolution||720 x 1440 pixels|
|CPU||Octa core, 1.8 GHz, Snapdragon 450|
|Internal memory||32 GB|
|External memory||Up to 256 GB|
|Capacity||3000 mAH, Li-ion, Non removable|
|Primary camera||13 MP|
|Secondary camera||8 MP|
|Network support||Dual SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS|
|Operating system||Android 8.0 Oreo|
Design and Display
Dimensions: 158.3 x 76.7 x 7.8 mm
Weight: 164 grams
Size: 5.99 Inch
Resolution: 720 x 1440 pixels
Display Type: IPS LCD
Pixel Density: 269 ppi
Coming to the aesthetics first, the Honor 7C ships with a rather premium design for its price and notably looks identical to the Honor 7A. The handset sports a metal backplate with plastic strips at the top and bottom. The 7C will most likely survive accidental drops and doesn’t look like a phone that is priced below Rs 10,000. The smartphone feels sturdy as well as premium in hand and is easy to hold. The rear-mounted fingerprint sensor has been placed in the middle and is easily accessible. The security sensor works fast as advertised and is accurate too.
The dual camera module, accompanied by an LED flash, has been placed on the top-left at the rear. The volume rocker as well as the power keys have been placed on the right of the handset and are easy to reach, even while using the phone with one hand. The loudspeaker grille as well as the micro-USB charging port, alongside the 3.5mm audio jack, are all placed at the bottom of the handset. The SIM slot is on the left of the handset and the tray comes with a dedicated slot for a microSD card along with dual SIM slots.
Swiftly moving to the details about the display, the Honor 7C packs a 5.99-inch HD+ (1,440 x 720 pixels) “FullView” IPS LCD panel at the front with an 18:9 aspect ratio. The narrow bezels at the front are in line with the recent industry trend and prevent the handset from looking dated. The viewing angles on the phone are good the maximum brightness reaches a level that makes it easy to use even in outdoor conditions. If we talk about quality, the colours are punchy and come across as slightly oversaturated. However, the overall screen quality is decent and narrow bezels work towards improving the multimedia viewing experience with the phone. As you might expect with the screen size and resolution, the low pixel density is a drawback but shouldn’t be a big issue for most users in everyday scenarios. You can have a closer look at the design with our design gallery embedded below:
Primary camera: 13 MP
Flash: LED Flash
Secondary camera: 8 MP
Jumping into the optics, the rear-facing dual camera module on the Honor 7C features a primary 13MP sensor, accompanied by a 2MP secondary sensor and an LED flash. At front, we have an 8MP sensor, with f/2.0 aperture, to click selfies and for video calling. Without beating around the bush, the camera performance offered by the Honor 7C is slightly inconsistent. While the handset manages to capture some really good pictures given apt lighting conditions, in low light and in night conditions, the smartphone fails to recreate the same quality. Images clicked in poor lighting conditions have considerable noise and turn out to be grainy most of the times. The secondary sensor allows the smartphone to capture images with depth effect, which essentially blurs out the background. The images clicked with depth effect turned out to be especially impressive for us.
There are beauty and wide-aperture modes, available right up front on the default camera app. Users get to adjust the background blur even after clicking the pictures. However, some images turned completely green while adjusting the background blur during our testing and never returned to their original state. If you captured a memorable moment and the image got ruined due to this issue, you are bound to be disappointed. Having said that, on certain occasions, the adjustment worked just fine. The company would hopefully roll out the fix for this issue via a software update soon.
There are other usual options available like HDR, Panorama, Watermark etc. The default camera app allows users to download and add options like “Good food” for rich colours and “Document scan” for rectangular correction.
Now that we are done with the primary camera setup, let’s move on to the secondary snapper. The 7C packs an 8-megapixel selfie camera. The default camera app doesn’t offer too many options for the selfie camera and unfortunately, the pictures taken from the front camera were average. As we have seen over the years, the higher megapixel count doesn’t necessarily translate into good image quality. This holds true for the front camera performance offered by the Honor 7C. Some of the other handsets in budget price range offer a much better performance in this department.
To get an even better idea about the cameras, have a look at our camera samples below:
Software and Performance
CPU: Octa core, 1.8 GHz, Snapdragon 450
GPU: Adreno 506
RAM: 3 GB
Memory: 32 GB + Up to 256 GB
SIM Slots: Dual SIM , GSM+GSM
Operating System: Android
OS Version: 8.0, Oreo
The Honor 7C is powered by an octa-core Snapdragon 450 processor clocked at 1.8GHz, coupled with Adreno 506 GPU. The unit available with us packed 4GB of RAM, but there is a 3GB RAM variant available at a lower price. In terms of performance, just like the cameras, the 7C is hit-and-miss. The handset manages to breeze past even some of the more demanding apps at times but could then be found struggling with others. Multitasking presented the same consistency issues for us. There were few app crashes but at other times, the 7C performed exceptionally well too. The smartphone runs Android 8.0 Oreo-based EMUI 8.0 out of the box and as you might expect from an Honor handset, comes with some nifty features on top. You get a one-hand mode, Game Suite for configuring system settings for multiple games, and a Ride mode, among other options. The Ride mode essentially disables Bluetooth and provide users with the option to just access the dialler and emergency calls.
Other notable features include dual Bluetooth and real-time audio monitoring. The former allows users to connect the smartphone with two devices simultaneously, while the latter allows you to listen to your own voice, via earbuds, while recording audio. Needless to say, dual Bluetooth brings along utility and definitely proves to be a useful feature but realtime audio-monitoring comes across as mostly a gimmick.
Apart from the fingerprint sensor, much like some of the other recent smartphones, the Honor 7C comes with face unlock for security. The face unlock feature is really fast but not as secure. For example, we managed to unlock the handset with half our face covered as well.
The handset comes with 32GB of built-in storage, which is expandable via a microSD card up to 256GB. Considering how most of us use our smartphones as our multimedia consumption devices, the expandable storage aspect definitely comes across as a huge positive.
Capacity: 3000 mAH, Li-ion, Non removable
The new budget smartphone from Honor packs in a 3,000mAh battery. The company claims that the smartphone’s battery has been designed for longevity and retains more than 80 percent of its capacity even after 500 full recharges. As there are many options priced below Rs 10,000 that offer larger battery sizes, this claim might be able to woo some customers to the handset. If we talk about real-day usage, the handset did not manage to last a full day for us and had to be recharged before the end of the day. However, it needs to be clarified that our usage was reasonably heavy, so the same result might not hold true for casual phone users. In our video loop test, where we run an HD video on loop with half the maximum brightness and half the maximum sound on the loudspeaker, the Honor 7C managed to last around 10 hours.
This means that the battery life might not be the best aspect of this particular handset from Honor.
Unfortunately, the Honor 7C cannot be described as a standout performer in any of the main features that one looks for before buying a smartphone. The handset does tick many boxes as a value-for-money device, but stops short of delivering due to consistency issues. If we talk about the competitors, the Realme 1 (review) and Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 (review) hold an upper hand over the 7C with better processing and camera performance. However, the brand seems to be on right path and if this continues, we might soon see a compelling entry from Honor in the VFM segment.
Editor’s rating: 3 / 5
- Good design
- Thin bezels
- Depth effect offered by dual cameras
- Consistency issues with performance and camera quality
- Battery capacity weaker than the competition
Photos by Raj Rout