The follow-up to last year’s awesome Ascend P6 smartphone, the Ascend P7, was announced today at an international Huawei press event held in Paris, France. Hundreds of journalists from around the world (including htxt.africa) attended the announcements at la Maison de la Mutualité.

The P6 was a stonking phone: all the features of a top end handset at less than half the price of flagships from Samsung, Sony, Apple et al. As far as South Africa is concerned, it’s the nearest thing we got to the value-tastic Google Nexus 5 which is available overseas.

The specs of the Ascend P7 are impressive and Huawei has created an elegant 4G LTE device that should appeal to both casual mobile users and those looking for device with business abilities.

From an 8-megapixel front-facing camera and dual SIM capabilities, the company’s vice president of mobile design – Richard Hu – unpacked the Ascend P7’s flagship features and design.

Huawei Ascend P7 Box

Gorilla glass front and back, held together with an aluminium frame may see many comparing Huawei’s flagship smartphone to Apple’s flagship iPhone 5S, and the 6.5mm slim chassis gives the Ascend P7 a sophisticated feel that deserves the comparison. The back of the Ascend P7 is comprised of several layers of micro-patterns and finished which are apparently inspired by Eastern garden philosophy.

“Harmony is the pinnacle of design, and all the levels work together flawlessly,” said Richard Yu, Huawei’s head of mobile design, “We’ve strategically designed every detail, from the icons to the hundreds of customisable themes,” he added. “Creating chemistry behind a product is our global design team’s goal.”

Huawei’s head of technology planning, Changzhu Li, spoke about the increasing popularity of mobile phone photography. With its brand new 13-megapixel back side illuminated rear camera sourced from Sony and that 8-megapixel front-facing camera, the Ascend P7 has a number of photography features which promise to address issues such as low-light conditions, capturing spontaneous moments and taking the perfect selfie.

“Shooting speed is important,” said Li. “Normally taking out a handset and opening the camera takes a few seconds.” The ultra-fast snapshot feature means that the Ascend P7 users can take a photo in as little as 1.2 seconds even from the lock screen. “We’re also looking DSLR noise control and ultra low-light sensitivity with ISO 3600 – it’s a crazy number,” Li added.

Over and above the inclusion of Instagram-esque lens filters and now standard modes like HDR, the Ascend P7 includes watermarks (similar to the iOS app Over) as well as audio notes, panorama and a group selfie mode which Huawei are now calling “groufies”. We kid you not. 

Huawei Ascend P7 Display

On the front of the P7 is a new 5 inch full HD display with minimal 3mm bezels on either side to keep the width of the phone down. The Huawei Ascend P7 has an 2 500mAh battery up from the 2 000mAh that was in the Ascend P6, a new HiSilicon quad core 1.8GHz processor made by Huawei themselves along with 2GB of RAM and 16GB storage. A welcome addition to the Ascend P7 is LTE which the speed freaks out there will have been checking up on after it was left out of the P6. 

Software wise the Ascend P7 runs on the latest version 4.4.2 of Google’s Android operating system with a new iteration of Huawei’s custom Emotion UI skin which has a set of flatter icons reminiscent of the change that Apple made when they released iOS 7 and that Samsung has used in its Galaxy S5.

Available in pink, white and blue-black. While a local price and date has not been revealed for the South African market, Huawei are rolling out the phone to over 30 countries in the next month, with the European price point being set at €499.

Huawei Ascend P7 Specs