Gionee may be unknown to many in the west, but the Chinese company is becoming a big threat to Samsung, especially in India. Just a year ago, Gionee introduced the Elife S5.5, a different kind of smartphone than anything before it.
Its Elife 5.5 held the title of World's thinnest smartphone. The device was critically received, but it didn't turn out to be big seller, thanks to its poor battery. Later, it came up with a second phone with even thin profile - the Elife S5.1. Unfortunately, this phone too had battery issues.
Now Gionee is releasing an all-new, Elife S7. The new, Elife S7 carries over many of the same features and design traits that worked so well before. But the company has significantly upgraded virtually everything in the Elife S7, including an efficient battery life.
We had a chance to explore the Gionee Elife S7 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC), and later at an event in Hyderabad. Here are our first impressions.
Gionee Elife S7 First Look: Form Factor, Design, Display and Operating System
The device is sandwiched between two pieces of Gorilla Glass 3, and like its predecessor, it has a world class design. The Elife S7 feels like the premium handset, with the aluminum alloy frame around the edges of the device. The back cover is not removable, made of high-quality glass that gives the phone a sturdy aspect. Unfortunately, the back side of the device is prone to fingerprints.
At the right hand side, you'll find the power button and the volume adjustment buttons. With all of those things added up, the Elife S7 is a well-designed phone that's comfortable to use and looks great at the same time. It's easier to hold than the Galaxy S6 and nicer feeling than the Oppo R5.
The Elife S7 has a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, which looks far more impressive when we held the device. The display is sharp and bright in nature when tried out the device. On the downside, the display seemed to be reflective.
The handset comes with the Android 5.0 Lollipop OS with Gionee's native Amigo 3 slapped on top of Android. Amigo UI works like Xiaomi's MIUI. There's noticeably no app drawer by default. Amigo UI is simple, and easy to master. However, it felt a tad sluggish when we tried out the S7.
Gionee Elife S7 First Look: Processor, RAM and Connectivity
Gionee touts its S7 as a multitasking powerhouse, which is why it comes with an octa-core MediaTek MT6752 (64-bit) chipset running at 1.7GHz. It also packs 2GB of RAM. We had no issue zipping around the S7's interface and launching apps, even when leaving other programs open in the background. The phone will support dual-SIM 4G and normal 3G connectivity. The handset comes with 16GB of native storage, and there's no option given to expand the internal memory.
Gionee Elife S7 First Look: Camera and Video
The Gionee Elife S7's 13-MP camera took sharp and colorful photos in our testing. We haven't noticed any issue related to pixilation in our brief testing. The S7's video looked more stable, even without built-in optical image stabilization feature. The phone's 1080p camcorder captured smooth and fluid footage when we tested. There's also an 8-megapixel front camera. It worked just fine in our testing.
Gionee Elife S7 First Look: Battery and Early Verdict
This time around Gionee promises long battery than its previous devices. It has a non-removable 2,750mAh battery and it even comes with a power saving mode, like the Samsung Galaxy S5.
Gionee Elife S7's design is definitely strong. On the other hand, while the phone's camera is insanely powerful, it will turn off some buyers because it lacks microSD card support. Plus, there's a non-removable battery, which could be treated as yet another bummer.
At last, Gionee has launched its Elife S7 in India. The device will go on sale in the country at a price of Rs. 24,999, although the exact retail availability is still unknown.