There are times when we thought that Gionee flagship was missing a lot by focusing on only one thing. Like in E series, the company focuses on Camera while on the S series more attention is given to design. But looks like the company has finally found a balance between various important factors for a smartphone to being a perfect. Gionee achieved that in its latest Elife S7 smartphone, apart from being the 5.5mm Slim, the device has a lot to offer. Now take a look at our detailed review of the same.
Design & Display
We know for a fact that Gionee love to tag their smartphones as world’s slimmest. This time also they have managed to achieve the feat. The company is calling, its Elife S7 smartphone the world’s slimmest dual-SIM smartphone. It is a commendable feat considering the device’s form factor. This is easily the best looking device company has ever made. Even though, it is built on the slim legacy; the device feels more polished and a real deal than its predecessors. The U-shaped side edges make it a more stylish, as well as give a solid grip. The full metal build of the device is sandwiched by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the front and rear of the device.
Talking about the ports placements, on the left edge you can find the volume rocker and power button while the right edge houses the dual-SIM slot. The top edge is left empty, as the 3.5mm jack is shifted to bottom edge. You can also find the microUSB port and speaker placement there. And yes, the speaker grill looks exactly similar to what can be seen on iPhone. The one thing that makes edges more attractive is that dual band cuts seen on the top and the bottom edges. The company has put two microphones on it, the primary one is at the bottom edge, while the secondary microphone is present on the back at the top, just beside the camera module and the flash. It is amazing how Gionee managed to put a non-protruding camera module on the S7. So, that’s about the design.
Let’s move on to the display. This 5.2″ inch 1080p display is something of a beautiful. With a 79.1% screen to body ratio, this device may have cracked the perfection when it comes to compactness. The Super AMOLED FHD screen with a 424 PPI makes it more interesting. It shows extremely vivid and punchy colors, which is why the oversaturation of color is present. But that’s what makes its content jump out of the display. Take it as an advantage or disadvantage, you’ll eventually end you liking the sharpness. The brightness levels are adequate and are readable under the direct sunlight. We didn’t have any particular issues with the display on S7.
Hardware & Performance
The device is powered by a MediaTek MT6752 Octa- core processor, which was said to be a competitor for Snapdragon 615. With eight Cortex A53 processor clocking at 1.7 GHz, we didn’t felt that it lagged at any point. Supporting the hardware on S7 is the Mali –T760 MP2 GPU, 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage. Unfortunately, there is no microSD card support available on this device, as well as no 32 or 64GB variant is available on the market.
When you hear a MediaTek processor, it is known for a fact that people tend to lose interest in the device. But the things have been changing for the MediaTek, as they are innovating with the demand. We have been using the device for almost a month now, and there wasn’t any lag at all, even though the UI animations are pretty heavy. Talking about the benchmark scores, the device has clocked 41758 in our Antutu Benchmark, which is close to the likes of OnePlus One and Galaxy S5. It may not be the fastest device in its class, but it makes sure that your experience is smoother.
With a combination of powerful chipset and metal body, you will think that the device would heat a lot during gameplay. Well, that’s exactly what happened, even when we are not playing games. Apart from the snappy gaming experience we had, the heating was easily noticeable when we were on a voice call for more than 10 minutes. Well to justify, it is a metal build device and a very slim one, so that’s a liability and would always be present on a slim smartphone. Although, the device did manage to cool it off within few seconds, once kept idle.
We did the browsing test on the Elife S7, and it performed very well as expected. You can easily pinch to zoom and pan around by holding your fingers on the screen. The response was quick and smooth. With Octa- core chipset, you will hardly see a glitch even if you have dozens of tabs opened up in your browser. So, surfing the web is a delightful experience on this device. There’s no doubt about that.
Most of the mobile brands like to introduce their unique user interface over the Android, and Gionee does the same. The S7 offers company’s favorite, Amigo interface. Earlier, it was portrayed as the UI, but the Amigo UI is now Amigo OS. This device packs the latest 3.0 version of the Amigo OS. We have used the earlier versions of the Amigo and were not a fan of that Android skin at all. But it is surprising how much the OS has been improved upon. The reason behind a cool makeover maybe the Android 5.0 Lollipop, as it improves upon the Kitkat OS, but we have to give the credit to Gionee for perfectly implementing that design changes to their interface.
The interface is very clean and simple to use, it has taken its cue from the iOS, as there is no app drawer, and all the apps are right there on your home screen. Unlocking and locking effects are quite simple; you just have to swipe up to unlock and swipe down just from below the notification panel. You may wonder that where are those quick settings gone. Well, they have been to the bottom, as a part of the control center, which obviously reminds of the iOS 8.There may not be something innovation here, but this certainly is the cleanest Android skin you will see.
Talking about the bloatware, you will notice dozens of third-party apps pre-installed on the device. While this time around you can easily uninstall them without flash the ROM. Most of the app can be uninstalled, like games and WPS office and few others. Though, the tools folder is there to stay, and moreover they would be helpful in carrying out activities like taking notes, recording sound, etc. All the more reason to the like the new Amigo OS 3.0.
We want to give a shout out to a very interesting app called Chameleon. With this app, you can change the theme of the interface pretty quickly. Just open the app and point it to the color you want, preview it and select the theme. The app uses the camera to capture the color theme of that object and then implement on your device. With this app, you’ll never run out of the theme options ever. Moreover, there is a separate theme app where you can choose your favorite theme out of thousands of options. Now blend in your device with surroundings.
These days camera performance of a smartphone is a most important factor; users want best of the best. While the cameras on the ELife S7 might not be the best, but they offer a certain quality of captures that you would love to share with social media. The rear camera module on the Elife S7 is of 13MP, which packs Sony Exmor sensor, whereas the front is of 8MP and is truly a sensation for selfie lovers. The rear cam takes great photographs in daylight may it be outdoors or indoors. The details can be easily seen in the capture. Moreover, the camera app is quite fast, as it doesn’t take much time for the app to get ready to take another shot. However, the low light captures were not good in auto or even the night mode. But if you have a photography knowledge, then you can crack up the low light perfection with Pro mode on the app, as it allows you to adjust the exposure, ISO, and various other factors manually.
There are up to 10 modes available on the camera app, and you can do a lot of things with it. When using the 8MP front camera, you can select the face beauty mode to ensure that the capture is no less than amazing. Overall, it’s one of the best smartphone cameras one can get in the sub 30K price range. See our camera samples to learn why it is a great camera.
The 2700mAh battery is the highest capacity that can be put in a device that is 5.5mm slim and isn’t a phablet. But that doesn’t stop the smartphone from functioning all over the day as it will not turn off in the middle of the day. You will be surprised to know that even after getting a screen-on-time of more than four hours, there was around 20% battery left on the device, which is as good as phablet. The optimization is done in such a way that you will get maximum battery life out of the device even with your usual usage. And if you’re a heavy user, you still can get a commendable amount of screen on time with this device.
While of you’re worried that 20% battery won’t last for much longer, and then you can switch to the Extreme mode in the power manager app. With that, you will get at least 30 hours of battery life and a function of calling, texting would be available. The S7 supports the quick charging facility, which is also one of the reasons to rejoice if you’re planning to buy this device. So, that you can juice up the battery as soon as possible.
When push comes to shove, Gionee Elife S7 can prove to be an excellent choice, of course, with some compromises like no microSD card to expand the storage. The most interesting thing to note about S7 apart from its design aesthetics is the software upgrade done on it. In our opinion, the Amigo OS 3.0 may be one of the cleanest Android skins out there.
Its competition in the market by pricing is the Asus Zenfone 2, OnePlus One and Xiaomi Mi 4. But when compared with the chipset, Lenovo A7000 and Meizu M1 Note sport the same processor. While those devices cost around 10K, the Gionee cost around 25K. So, if you’re looking for a premium device, then S7 is a good option. Otherwise, you can still get a good performance out of those mid-range devices.