Today we will be having a look at the extremely affordable HOMTOM HT7. Naturally, the price tag does warrant some heavy sacrifices so this review is strictly going to be catered towards the budget crowed. Can a $60 do wonders to complete your Android smartphone experience? Looks like you will find out shortly.
HT7: Design and appearance
HOMTOM HT7 might be a very affordable mobile device but let us take a look at where the company had to make significant sacrifices in order to keep the price so low. From the looks of it, the company might have taken a few shortcuts with the design because it is a very generic one; one that you would expect from a smartphone carrying a small price tag. What does catch our eye is the fact that the smartphone has a shiny border that covers the left and right hand side of the body as you can see in the images.
While this quite appealing, the remainder of the exterior is just what you would expect from an entry level smartphone; lackluster, which is completely okay since it carries a very low price. While this should hardly make a difference to the overall experience of the user, there are those people who are extremely picky about what they purchase. However, we should tell you right now that aesthetics hardly cover much for the overall scoring of the smartphone. If looks was the only factor that was required to purchase a smartphone, then we believe that HOMTOM HT7 would be sitting right on top of the rankings table right now. There are several more things that need to be take into consideration, and we will be detailing them right here.
HOMTOM HT7: Button placement and other features
Button placement is by far the least important category of this review but if you will be upgrading to HOMTOM HT7, then chances are that you will have to get used to that button placement, which is going to be quite different from your previous handset. Unlike majority of Chinese smartphones, HOMTOM HT7 has its power and volume buttons situated on the left hand side of the device, which is quite unusual since this is possibly the first time we have seen a smartphone of Chinese origin to use such a configuration.
One great thing about the smartphone is that its battery is removable, but you should only remove it when you want to switch storage or SIM cards otherwise oxidation can occur, which can spontaneously restart the device thanks to improper connectivity between the battery’s and the phone’s golden contacts. While you have an option to place two SIM cards, and one microSD card (maximum storage limit is 64GB), you will have to continuously power off the phone and remove the battery every time you want to switch the SIM or storage card.
While this is not problem for most users, it is just an unnecessary convenience that should not have been present in the first place. The capacitive buttons illuminate when you tap on any one of them or when you wake up your HOMTOM HT7 from sleep mode. There is a microUSB 2.0 charging port present at the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack present right at the top. We were hoping for a USB-C port, because we like to transfer large capacity files from our smartphone to other machines, but decided not to go down this road because USB-C has yet to become mainstream and its accessories such as charging cables are yet to become cheap since this particular charging port is relatively new to the smartphone market.
HOMTOM HT7: Display and resolution
No doubt the smartphone is enormous in size and its width is sufficient too, but there are some disappointing things about HOMTOM HT7 too. Starting off, why couldn’t the company fit in a 1920 x 1080 resolution instead of a 1280 x 720 one? We felt that the company did decide to cut a corner right here because 1080p displays are much more expensive to incorporate than a 720p one, so in order to keep its costs as low as possible, a smaller resolution was present. However, before you start cribbing about this, the primary advantage of having a smaller resolution is obviously battery life.
Despite its resolution being on the low-side, HOMTOM HT7 has some terrific viewing angles, even though you will easily be able to notice the difference in display quality thanks to its 5.5 inch screen. The pixel per inch density of HOMTOM HT7 is relatively low, which will degrade the overall quality and experience of the user, but eventually you will get used to it.
Regardless of the low resolution, having more battery life is always a welcome addition to any smartphone and HOMTOM HT7 will deliver exactly that.
HOMTOM HT7: Interface impressions
HOMTOM HT7 might have had a disappointing display, but our mood quickly turned upside when we discovered that the smartphone came running with Android Lollipop 5.1 as soon as we took it out of the box. While this yet to be confirmed, we are sincerely hoping that a compatible update of Android Marshmallow is made available for it later on in the year because the update is officially available to download and install on your device (at least for the Nexus lineup).
The interface was much smoother than the other devices we have seen up till now, which was really surprising given the fact that it is running MediaTek’s MT6580 chipset which has a quad-core processor and not an octa-core one. We will give credit to Google where credit is deserved and if a mid-ranged chipset running a quad-core processor can run this smoothly on Android Lollipop 5.1, then we are definitely hoping that HOMTOM HT7 gets updated to Android Marshmallow, since that will drive up performance and improve the overall experience for all owners.
For users that want to purchase HOMTOM HT7, but are afraid that the device’s interface will be presented in the Chinese language, there are several languages to choose from and depending on your location and of course your native language, you can switch to that from the settings menu.
HOMTOM HT7: Performance (Processing and connectivity)
Now let us come to the core segment as to why consumers want to purchase a smartphone in the first place? Raw performance. We fired up AnTuTu and Geekbench to see how the device would fare when pitted against the remaining competition and we have to say that the smartphone might have missed its mark, but it is still able to achieve a satisfactory score, as you can see in the images below.
HOMTOM HT7: Battery life measurement
For most of you out there, high amount of battery life is a very crucial feature to have in a smartphone. In HOMTOM HT7, its large form factor is big enough to accommodate a 3,000mAh cell so we decided to take it for a battery test. We tested out the smartphone with its screen brightness set to 100 percent. In this way, you will be able to experience the worst case scenario when you purchase HOMTOM HT7.
Having a larger battery is always a great thing to have, and this was witnessed from HOMTOM HT7 when we were able to rake out slightly over 17 hours while connected to 3G. Keep in mind that we carried out some casual browsing tasks and occasionally, we streamed high-resolution videos. We did this to give you an idea on what kind of battery life will you experience should you decide to carry out similar tasks as well.
HOMTOM HT7: What features make this smartphone stand out?
HOMTOM HT7 is a great Android powered handset, especially if you are on a strict budget. There are several features that make it feel that a premium quality smartphone and we would like to point out those features right now. Additionally, we will also point out what we felt could have been added to HOMTOM HT7 in order to make it even better than before. Hopefully the company will be reading this so that they will be able to release an even better device in the future.
Things that we liked about HOMTOM HT7
- Having a very affordable price tag
- Its large screen size
- Ability to accommodate two microSIM cards (keep in mind that if you have a full sized SIM card, then you will have to reduce it to a microSIM form factor)
- Large battery capacity despite being an entry level phone
- Running Android Lollipop 5.1 (It is possible that the smartphone could receive an update for Android Marshmallow, which will result in more performance, and more features)
- Able to accept a microSD card up to 64GB
Things that we thought could have made the smartphone much better
- Having an octa-core processor as a bare minimum since you see lots of smartphones will affordable prices packing quad-core CPUs
- Having a higher resolution (720p is definitely on the low-side)
- Ability to accommodate both SIM cards and still have space for a microSD card (currently, if you place a microSD card, you will only have space for a single SIM card, which kills flexibility)
- Having an LTE modem (though this would mean that the price tag is increased)
- Having a USB-C port (the earlier phone that we reviewed, UMi Hammer S had a USB-C port and was priced much lower than this)
- A bit low in the internal memory storage
- Chipset: MediaTek MT6580
- Processor: Quad-core Cortex-A7 at 1.3GHz
- RAM: 1GB
- Memory: 8GB (supports a microSD storage card up to 64GB)
- Battery: 3,000mAh
- Display size: 5.5 inch
- Screen resolution: 1280 x 720
- Charging port type: microSIM
After looking at each and every aspect of HOMTOM HT7, we have summarized the following scores below:
- Build Quality: 8 out of 10
- Appearance: 7 out of 10
- Button placement: 7 out of 10
- Interface experience: 6 out of 10
- Display quality: 8 out of 10
- Price/performance ratio: 8 out of 10
- Battery performance: 9 out of 10
There is no denying the fact that HOMTOM HT7 is an amazing smartphone when it comes to its price tag alone. Since the handset is also running Android Lollipop 5.1, you would easily experience a nice fluid functionality from the smartphone. There is one thing that we would like to point out. We would like to point out that since HOMTOM HT7 has a microSD card slot capable of accepting a maximum card capacity of 64GB, do not go down the easy road and purchase an inexpensive one since those are the ones that will sacrifice both speed and reliability for a low price tag.
Instead, spend a little more money and purchase a microSD card from reputable brands such as SanDisk or Samsung and trust us, you will not regret your purchase. Cheaply priced storage cards will eventually get corrupted and you will lose an abundant amount of data, not to mention that it will take a very long time for the data to be recovered, if it can be retrieved at all.
As for the smartphone itself, HOMTOM HT7 definitely caters to those who require a budget smartphone and for $60, you cannot go wrong with this. However, if you want something with a bit more firepower, then you will obviously have to invest more money.