It’s not hard to tell when you’re holding a Hisense phone. There aren’t a lot of design options for candybar handsets but Hisense still manages to stand out as having one of the most distinctively generic phones I’ve ever seen. The average Hisense handset looks, on the surface, like a piece of stock photography but that works for them.
The Hisense Infinity H7 Pureshot LTE, the phone with the extensive name, is a new entrant into the South African mid-range market. Hisense are looking to scoop up an advantage in that area with their design, cameras and pricing. The question is: Have they nailed it?
Looks Without Substance
Just to be clear, when I say ‘looks without substance’ I’m referring to the build of the Infinity H7. I know nothing about the lady featured on-screen. I’m sure she’s really rather nice. No, I’m definitely talking about the H7’s build which looks identical to previous Hisense handsets. ‘Looks’ being the operative word.
It’s still the same uniform white slab, with almost no surprises. There’s silvered edging, the 5.0-inch display dominating the front and the glass-looking (it’s plastic, this time, and removable, as is the battery) rear panel. The metallic-looking edges are also plastic, a somewhat less-premium presentation than we’re used to, even from Hisense’s mid-range phones. It’s still durable though. Bounces nicely.
The 3.5mm port is at the top of the phone, the microUSB and speaker vents at the base and the volume rocker and power buttons are on the upper right-hands side. The dual SIM slots live underneath the back panel.
Under The Skin
The coating is less impressive than we’re used to seeing from Hisense so what about the internal organs living underneath the plastic skin? How’s that looking? Pretty good, actually. The 5-inch display is a 1,280 x 720 IPS screen, the company have opted for a 1.36GHz octa-core processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage (around 11GB in actual practise with the Android 5.0.2 OS).
There are a few more hardware highlights, like LTE and the cameras that Hisense have decided to include, but not many. There’s space for two SIM cards, which will attract its share of South African users on its own but the on-paper hardware is… middling. I can understand that, since this is a mid-range phone.
Taking it though the usual benchmarking software gives up some pleasing results. Single-core performance from Hisense’s octa-core chip popped out a score of 586. Multi-core resulted in a tally of 2233, which aren’t bad numbers for hardware like this. If Hisense had gone for a more usual quad, the Infinity H7 Pureshot LTE would have been a lot less impressive.
But there’s something else that bugged me. Attempts to run an AnTuTu benchmark fell flat, because of an app update. Which normally wouldn’t concern me but a much lower-specced handset is able to handle AnTuTu’s newest update. Hisense’s hardware, though, is incompatible. It’s not a train-wreck, but I’d have very little confidence in the Infinity H7 Pureshot LTE’s abilities in a 3D rendering line. But you’re probably not buying it for that.
Because of the cameras, mostly, but the general hardware is still reason enough to take a look at the Pureshot H7. LTE speeds are always a drawcard and Hisense’s octa-core forays are to be applauded, even if they’re rudimentary right now. It’s the dual-SIM and the camera combination that they’re really counting on catching your attention though.
There’s a 13MP rear camera, with a 5MP front cam, and I’m actually more impressive with the speed of the front sensor. It’s very quick to snap images and it has the obligatory make-me-more-attractive filter enabled by default. Turn it all the way up and you’ll look like some overused the Smooth Edges function in a graphics editing program that will not be named but tastefully used it can clear up a couple of blemishes. Till people see what you actually look like.
The 13MP shooter is… competent. It’ll take adequate photos, never mind the megapixel rating, but especially in interior shots you’ll find that the sensor take a time to respond. You can either get good at anticipating your subject or resign yourself to missing that perfect image. It’s not always like that but when conditions are less than ideal you’re looking at a capture delay. Still, 13MP stills, right?
Hisense have tried something different, without altering appearances much, and the result is a pretty versatile phone that comes in under R3.5k. If you’re looking to capture images, selfies and still have a decent amount of processing power at your command on a (slightly larger-than-average) budget, then the Infinity H7 Pureshot LTE is the place to look. Because, you know, LTE as well. But if you’re keen on something more well-rounded, you can grab yourself a Xiaomi Mi 4 with some former flagship specs and noticeably faster performance for just a few hundred rand more. Just sayin’.