Gionee Elife S7 : Brilliant Design and Solid Quality

S7

Gionee is a company that consistently pushes the design and spec limits to higher and higher levels with every device. They have had a list of impressively designed and well thought out devices regularly launched now. The Elife S7 is the latest from them and we can clearly see that the design process and product philosophy has been consistently followed. We review this impressive device

S7

First Impressions

The packing is just brilliant to say the least! They have thought of just about everything you will need for the phone. And we mean literally everything! The package has the phone, the customary USB cable, decent earphones and all that but that is not all! You get a well designed back cover, a neat faux leather flip cover, USB to OTG cable and two sets of screen protectors for the glass in the front and rear sides. By far the BEST package that we have ever seen mobiles come with. This is very clearly becoming a Gionee trademark feature now. Users will simply love it. We did!

S7 side view

 

 

Look and Feel

Just holding the device in your hand makes you feel good! A lot of care has been taken to give it a premium finish. Every edge, every line and every piece of material screams class! This is an ultra thin phone! Holding it in the hand makes you feel very good. The frame has four curved corners. The front and back portions of the body are made entirely of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The phone is  5.5mm in thickness and weighs 126.5g, it feels extremely sleek. We got a black unit, the other options are white and blue. The Elife S7 is compact and even with a 5.2-inch screen, feels very comfortable to use with even one hand.

The volume rocker and power button have brilliant tactile feedback even though they are slightly jutting out from the right side of the phone, because they fit very snugly inside the metal frame. The SIM card tray, which houses two  SIMs, is on the right. The bottom of the Elife S7 houses the Micro-USB port, 3.5mm earphone jack,  speaker grille and primary microphone for phone calls. The phone has on-screen buttons for navigating through the operating system. On top of the screen, you’ll find the earpiece, front camera and ambient light sensor. The primary camera and LED flash are on the rear.

S7 in hand

Specifications

Gionee has equipped the Elife S7 with a 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek 6752 SoC with integrated Mali-T760MP2 graphics. There is 2GB of RAM for applications and services. The phone has a measly 16GB of internal storage and there is no slot for a memory card. Luckily, the phone’s Micro-USB port can also act as a host for external USB devices. There is no need to purchase a separate adapter for this function because Gionee packs a Micro-USB-to-USB converter in the box.

The primary camera on the rear can capture 13-megapixel still images and 1080p videos. For selfies lovers, there is an 8-megapixel secondary camera. Both SIM cards can connect to 4G networks, including the 2300MHz band used in India. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi a/b/g/n and Bluetooth v4.0. There is a 2,700mAh battery which provides adequate juice for the phone to run almost through the day, no complains there, but could use a little more juice is what we felt.

The 5.2-inch Super-AMOLED screen has a resolution of 1080×1920 which translates to a density of 424ppi. The brightness and color density are brilliant. Various viewing angles and sunlight brightness is also very good.

lollipop

Software

The Elife S7 runs Gionee’s latest Amigo 3.0 OS skin on top of Android Lollipop 5.0. The OS skin makes good use of pastel colors and flat icons, which makes it look modern compared to previous versions. In addition, Gionee has managed to address speed issues with Amigo that were plaguing the earlier versions. Amigo 3.0 is nifty and light. No major complaints there.

But then, nothing is perfect and that is the rule of the universe. The biggest annoyance was the fact that the notifications shade only shows notifications, and the quick settings panel has to be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the display. The problem with this is that the on-screen buttons always come in the way, and the action feels awkward. You need to swipe up from the center of the screen to get to the home screen settings.

The device has a plethora of third-party apps and games, quite a few of which are rarely used or not useful. However, we did like the new Chameleon app which uses the camera to automatically choose three colors from the environment and then changes the theme of the phone accordingly. It might sound like frill but playing with it is addictive and we had tons of fun with it.

S7 Top

Camera

The default camera app is very well thought out with a lot of useful and practical options, including a very detailed Professional mode that allows for control over the exposure, ISO, white balance, aperture and focus. There is also a Magic Focus mode that allows precise control over the area of focus after photos have been captured. This works best when the subject is clearly defined in the foreground. This is a very useful feature that impressed us a lot.

The 13-megapixel camera on the Elife S7 can take some really detailed pictures and is a fast shooter too. It does a great job with handling light in daytime shots. We were really impressed with the way the camera handled white balance; better than the competitors in this space. The HDR mode also works very decently to fix exposure issues. The camera is challenged in low-light situations and details were absent as a result of all the noise that crept in when we tried low light photography with it.

S7 Black

Performance

When we tried our average daily usage, the Elife S7 had absolutely no hiccups whatsoever. Even intensive games like Asphalt 8 ran pretty smoothly. Most importantly though, Gionee has made sure that the phone doesn’t get uncomfortably hot during intensive tasks – a HUGE plus given the design constraints that this phone has due to its compact dimensions and sleek frame.

In the AnTuTu and Quadrant benchmark tests, the phone scored 40,607 and 15,487 points respectively. The device achieved 17fps and 10,370 points in the GFXbench and 3DMark Ice Storm tests.

The call quality of the Elife S7 is good and we had no issues in that department at all. In our battery life test the phone lasted 8 hours and 16 minutes, which is average. As usual, there is a customary power saving mode that can be activated to improve battery life.

S7 Black Side

Verdict

This one is clearly the best Gionee Smartphone that we have seen so far! It looks like a dainty beauty but performs like a pretty tough flagship. One thing that Gionee could have controlled was the pricing at Rs 24,999, the phone has to compete with a lot of higher spec-ed competitors. Brilliant Design and sturdy performance

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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