By December 22, 2011

Huawei Ideos S7 Slim review

Huawei Ideos S7Huawei have been making devices for years however their name hasn’t quite hit the big time yet. If you own a 3G dongle then there is a good chance it was made by Huawei. We’ve seen a few of their phones over the years and I have even reviewed one of their tablets before, the predecessor to the Ideos S7 Slim, the S7. The S7 Slim comes to us 10 months after I attended the launch event. Should we even bother looking at this dated tablet. Well, oddly, yes!

What’s in the box?

  • Device: Huawei Ideos S7 Slim
  • Battery
  • Power charger
  • USB cable split with three ends, MiniUSB, MicroUSB and a dedicated power connector

See the unboxing video below:

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The 10 Second Review:

  • Device: Huawei Ideos S7 Slim
  • Price: 3G – £229.00 (£274.80 inc VAT,) WiFi – £199.00 (£238.80 inc VAT)
  • Best of: Battery life, speedy
  • Worst of: Fuzzy screen, still awaiting Gingerbread
  • Buy it now from: Clove.co.uk

 

 

Hauwei IDEOS S7 Slim specification:

  • 2G Network: GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G Network: HSDPA 900 / 2100
  • Dimensions: 200 x 109.5 x 12.5 mm
  • Weight: 440 g
  • Display: TFT capacitive touchscreen, 256K colours, 480 x 800 pixels, 7.0 inches (~133 ppi pixel density)
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate
  • Touch-sensitive controls
  • 3.5mm jack
  • Card slot: microSD (TransFlash) up to 32GB
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot
  • Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP
  • microUSB v2.0
  • Camera: 3.15 MP, 2048×1536 pixels
  • OS: Android OS, v2.2 (Froyo)
  • GPS with A-GPS support
  • Digital compass
  • HDMI port
  • Battery: Standard battery, Li-Ion 3250 mAh

 

 

Highlights:

  • Pocketable
  • Great UI
  • highly connectable

Lowlights:

  • Heavy
  • 2.2 Froyo
  • Odd screen

Review:

Huawei Ideos S7

The device is an odd shape, well in traditional terms. This is the same shape as the original S7 and it continues to be possibly one of the only tablets on the market to use this shape. The screen is quite large in landscape orientation and very narrow in portrait. This makes for a rather interesting experience when entering text. The keyboard is either stretched or cramped. On the right of the screen are the typical Android buttons. Home, Menu and Back. The tablet is missing the search button. To the left of the screen are two dots, one a light sensor, the other a webcam. Huawei have not been entirely forthcoming with the specs of this device, there are a few notable specs missing off the list, this camera being one. I guess the webcam is VGA however it’s possible it could be 1.3mp and my face is actually grainer than I believed.

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On the left are a couple of ports. The first is a mini HDMI out and the other is the mini USB charge point. Beside this is the left stereo speaker.

 

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On the right is the headphones socket, right stereo speaker and the volume rocker. The volume rocker is almost flush with the device, on the one hand it’s quite difficult to push accidentally, on the other it’s quite difficult to find when looking for it.

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On the bottom there is an uncovered MicroSD card slot and a point of a docking station. We are unaware, at this time, of any peripherals that have been released for the device that take advantage of this port however there are some pictures here and there of proposed docks.. There is also the tinniest hole for the microphone.

 

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On the top of the unit is a dedicated power socket. A nice touch, you can charge the device whilst connecting it to other bits and bobs. More recently we have seen companies following Apple’s lead of one port to do everything, so it is refreshing to find a collection of ports that, whilst you will have to have a load of messy cabling around the device, will not have to worry about swapping from one cable to another to keep the battery from going flat.

S7_back

 

Off centre on the back of the device is the 3.2mp camera. There is also an nice silver strap, the orientation of which would suggest the device should be used in portrait mode. The back panel isn’t the easiest to remove, it’s very tight. Underneath is a large 3250mAh battery and the SIM card slot. The SIM card slot can only be accessed once the battery has been removed.

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Onboard is the 3.2mp camera, thankfully the size of the device makes for a more pleasant photo taking experience.. I wasn’t expecting too much from the camera and at the time of taking them ignored them as passable. Reviewing the pictures for the review, I’m actually quite surprised by the quality, not massively, but enough to raise an eyebrow. There is no flash so the low level light conditions make for a fairly messy  affair of bleeding light levels. However, the outside shots are quite bright by comparison and pick up a little level of detail that others might not. There is a hint of a pink sky in the last shot and this was fairly representative of the scene and I wouldn’t have imagined the camera would have detected.

The S7 Slim is slimmer than the S7 however it’s roughly 13mm thick. It also weighs 440g, that’s about 60g more than the comparable Samsung Galaxy Tab p1000.  I guess, by comparison the S7 Slim is lighter than the previous S7 and the large battery might have a lot to do with it.

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Provided with the S7 Slim is a pretty impressive PC suite for interaction. The suite launches an optional install upon USB connection with your computer and allows you to interact over a wired or wireless connection with the device. You can use it to sync media, backup contents, manage applications and take screenshots. The suite is very simple you use and seems to work flawlessly for the most part. This is one aspect of the tablet I did not expect and was quite impressed by the inclusion and execution.

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Huawei makes Android 2.2 Froyo their own. This is one of the nicer overlays installed by a manufacturer. There is plenty to play with here and a nice organisational approach for the home screens. Along the bottom you have groupings, each grouping has two screens to populate with widgets and shortcuts. There are a couple of bits and pieces here to show the user just want to put and where. There isn’t any way to switch this off, that I found, however given the ease of use, I’m not sure you will be wanting to.

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I love the task manager on this tablet. I was seriously surprised when I found it. Everything useful to manage Android is here. You have your hardware functions along the top. Notifications on the left and tasks you can kill on the right. Many other devices have tried but none have managed to make things quite a easy as Huawei have here. Simple and to the point!

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The contact hub combines together a few nice surprises also. You can browse your contacts alongside check out the social updates for all those listed. You can also update your social statues from this app and whilst it isn’t a fully featured as you might see on a dedicated client for Facebook or Twitter this is still a great option I found myself using more than I expected.

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The big critism of this device is that it comes with Froyo and not Gingerbread. There has been talk that an update will be available soon however given that we first saw this in February 2011 and it’s now December 2011 and still no update I wouldn’t be holding my breath. Froyo was a great update for Android and a strong operating system but many will ignore this device as you can get similar specs with Gingerbeard almost everywhere else.

It is important to note that the speed of the processor is unknown at this time however I never once came across any serious lag. The previous S7 was underclocked to 700mhz and I have feeling this might have something similar that Huawei doesn’t want anyone to know about. However, whatever clock speed this is at does not impede performance and some more challenging games run super smooth. Yet again, Huawei have done well.

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The S7 Slim comes with Google’s suite of apps. I figured the funny screen shape might have caused a few compatibility errors for some apps however, I was unable to find anything that had a problem and from my own collection of apps that were Froyo compatible everything was available.

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In addition to the Android Market, Huawei have included Hi Space, their own application catalogue with an emphasis on development. There was a language barrier and I ultimately gave up. It’s a fairly standard store with a nice selection of free apps, however the sense of community and loyalty to Huawei is quite evident here, a lot of the comments brag and boast how well an individual app runs on a user’s Huawei XX.

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This will never replace the iPod or a dedicated MP3 player yet there is a good MP3 player included. Certainly containing more options and a nicer user interface than the stock player we saw on Froyo.

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The Memo app is also another refreshed app by Huawei. Simple if a little unremarkable. There is no inclusion of voice notes or pictures from the camera.

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Browsing the internet is a love/hate affair. This is due to the peculiar screen. In landscape things might seem okay, it when you rotate to portrait things get a little squished, however you can see more of the site without having to scroll much. Certainly, things run fast enough to allow the user to flip between the two and have the best of both world however most people tend to browse in one orientation  and seldom turn the device unless they really have to.

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Youtube is a perfect example of how well this screen can serve certain apps. From the initial layout of the app you can see much more in the portrait mode then the app automatically twists to allow for an impressive display of the video you have selected.

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As I mentioned before, the processor seemed to be able to deal with most things I threw at it with ease. Reckless Getaway is quite an intensive game for most Android devices however there are no issues here. Obviously I wouldn’t be entertaining playing something like Shadowgun or Galaxy on Fire II even if the latter was compatible.

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Conclusion:

Things run well on the Huawei S7 Slim at the moment and it’s honestly quite bizarre. I liked this device a lot more than I should have. Maybe going into the review with low expectations has allowed me to be a little more surprised when I found a number of things I really liked. However there are some drawbacks.

First, is the screen. Not so much the odd shape, that is a matter of personal preference. The quality of the screen is not great. There is a limited viewing angle and the picture is not very sharp.

Secondly, is the weight. It’s a heavy beast, and that’s the price you pay if you want a battery that is going to last this long. After a while your wrist will get sore from holding this and you’ll be changing hands more other than other tablets.

Lastly, is Android. We need to see Gingerbread on here. I’ve already said that Froyo runs well and Huawei’s overlay has enhanced Froyo enough to make this a more accessible operating system, however after a couple of months of use I would imagine the OS will become bogged down with the usual rubbish and then you’ll notice a performance decrease. Gingerbread may remedy this but it has been a long time coming and if Huawei want to make any form of success out of this then Gingerbeard is the easiest route to take.

The Huawei S7 Slim is a good, but ultimately disappointing tablet. It’s had a hard life so far and things don’t look terribly bright for it’s future. With Ice Cream Sandwich being flavour of the month this device will be completely overlooked by the masses and it’s a shame is it’s better than some of the competition out there.

Doing a little digging on the Internet I have some unconfirmed specifications for the tablet. A 1ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon with 512mb of RAM and the Adreno 205 GPU. My source for this has no reason to lie and from using the device of a few weeks I have no reason to dispute this. These are fine specs for a budget tablet however the Slim is almost £280! A very worrying price considering some of the Tegra2 competition out there.

My hat is off to Huawei for making a decent tablet here, they have added a number of very nice touches along the way however, unless you see this in a sale somewhere I can only advise you that you will find better value elsewhere.

Poster by: Gareth

Posted in: Reviews, Tablets
Tags: , ,

About the Author:

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of both the Mobile Tech Addicts podcast and Retro Tech Addicts podcast.
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