Huawei revealed the unusual Honor 7i smartphone near the end of August, and rather than featuring a sliding camera module as was speculated, Huawei took a page from Oppo’s book, and the rear camera on the Honor 7i — or the Honor Glory 7i, according to the Chinese website — flips over to become the front facing selfie camera.
Updated on 10-13-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of the Honor 7i’s renaming to ShotX for Europe
Honor 7i gets renamed for wider launch
The Honor 7i has been on sale in China through Huawei’s own Vmall online store, where it costs the equivalent of around $300, for a short while. Although an international launch was never mentioned, the Honor 7i began to show up in Europe in October, but under a different name. Various retailers in Germany have order pages up for the same device, but called the Huawei ShotX.
Priced around 350 euros, or about $400, this comes as a slight surprise; not just because Huawei never mentioned the release, but also because it doesn’t wear the Honor name. Huawei introduced the Honor brand in Europe last year, and maintains an Honor-only online store, so why it has dropped the name from the 7i is a bit of a mystery. It even sells the Honor 7 through the store.
There’s no further news on a wider European or international release for the Honor 7i/Huawei ShotX.
Versatile camera, optimized for selfies
The Honor 7i’s camera is by far it’s most exciting feature. Because it can be positioned at a variety of angles, it’s not only good for high quality selfies, but it can also be positioned to take photos from otherwise awkward perspectives.
Produced by Sony, the 13-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash has an f/2.0 aperture and a 28mm wide-angle lens, plus it’s covered in sapphire crystal to keep it scratch-free. Flip it over, and the camera adapts for selfie use, with not only auto face recognition and auto smile shutter, but also the ability to use the fingerprint sensor to snap your photo — a great way to stop any last second camera shake.
The fingerprint sensor isn’t fitted to the rear or the home button, but to the side of the Honor 7i, a placement we’d never seen before, but has since been adopted by Sony on the Xperia Z5. It makes good sense, and is very natural to use. In addition to unlocking the phone and activating the shutter, the sensor can lock files away safely, be configured to allow multiple users, and used to secure apps.
A 5.2-inch, 1080p screen is mounted in the metal chassis, and the thin bezels give it an impressive 79.8-percent screen-to-body ratio. An octa-core Snapdragon 616 processor with 2GB of RAM should prove plenty powerful enough, and there’s 32GB of internal storage memory, plus a MicroSD card slot too. Other features include 4G LTE, a 3100mAh battery, and Android 5.1 with Huawei’s own EMUI 3.1 skin over the top.
Article previously published on 08-20-2015
Next Page: All the Honor 7i rumors we heard before its announcement
Here are all the rumors about the Honor 7i leading up to its announcement:
It seems everyone wants to take selfies, and smartphone manufacturers are giving us better cameras, and more toys, to make our little faces even more beautiful. Huawei’s the latest to jump onboard that bandwagon, but in a quite bizarre way. A new phone called the Honor 7i has been leaked, and it may have a sliding camera module on the rear, which when raised becomes the selfie cam.
The question is, why? It’s not immediately clear from pictures of the device, which come from the TENAA database — the Chinese regulatory board. From the back, the camera module is shown in an extended position, and when viewed from the front, we can see a second camera lens and what looks like a dual-LED flash, but is also rumored to be a xenon flash, underneath. There’s a single sensor next to the speaker on the device’s body, which is probably the ambient light sensor.
We don’t recall seeing a pop-up camera module used in this way on a phone before. Oppo used a rotating sensor to utilize the rear camera as the front camera on the N3, but Huawei’s solution doesn’t do the same thing. Will putting the sensor in its own housing slim down the device? Is it this that makes it possible to squeeze in a powerful flash? Will raising the height of the lens make selfies more natural, as we tend to look directly at the screen rather than the lens itself?
There may not be long to wait before Huawei tells us its reasoning behind the unusual design. A teaser for the Honor 7i tells us the phone will be officially revealed on August 20. Further leaks indicate the phone will be a strong mid-range phone with a Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, and either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. There’s no word on the camera megapixel count though.
We’ll update here with any further news on the Huawei Honor 7i.