Gionee has launched the Marathon M5 Plus in India for a premium price of INR 26,999/- The device is a successor to the M5 that has impressive battery life and an array of other features. The M5 Plus is a very impressive iteration on top of it. It takes the best of the M5 and marries it with the best of the E8. Hence it is a formidable device. Let us look at it in detail today
The phone has a 6-inch full HD, 2.5D curved AMOLED display (368ppi), comes with 3GB RAM and is powered by the MediaTek MT6753 octa-core 64-bit processor. It comes with 64GB storage space, has Android 5.1 with Gionee’s Amigo OS 3.0 as the UI. The M5 Plus has a smaller 5020 mAh battery in comparison with the mammoth 6020 mAH battery that the M5 had. Marathon M5 Plus gives you standby time of 34.5 days. Which is not bad at all, definitely above average. The phone has a fingerprint scanner built into the home button in the front. Unlocking needs a full push of the home button, unlike the OnePlus Two where just placing the finger works. Alternately, one could wake the screen up and then put the finger on the scanner.
Gionee says that the smartphone’s battery will be able to retain 90 percent of its capacity after 600 charging cycles, which translates to roughly two years of use. Normally smartphone batteries degrade with time and what happens is that the capacity then comes down with the passage of time. Gionee has tried to work around this problem in this device.
The phone weighs 208g, much lesser than the original M5. If you are someone who is used to ultra-light phones, it will be a tad heavy to hold, having said that, most phablet users like me won’t find the weight unbearable. The upside is vastly improved battery life, so don’t expect a phone like a feather here. I have no issues with the weight though. It was just right and felt great in the hand.
The phone has a metal body, which feels very good and premium. Holding it in hand actually made a few heads turn. The right side houses power and volume buttons, there is a separate a tray for two SIM cards and another for the microSD card. The buttons are metal, which gives very pronounced and good tactile feedback. Overall, the feel in the hand is very premium and certainly gets you second looks there.
The 368ppi display of the device, that supports a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, is very sharp and gives out great colors. The over saturation that you see in some displays isn’t there and sunlight legibility is pretty good too. It’s definitely a notch higher than the display of the Marathon M5. It has a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera. The picture with the rear camera were full of detail and had sharp colors. The granularity of macro and close-up shots was also impressive. The Front camera churns out pretty good selfies.
The phone comes with Amigo 3.1 OS, which is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. As usual, Amigo does not have an app drawer, so everything is on the home screens. Some like it that way and some don’t. I like it. Makes uninstalling apps simpler and very easy. Gionee has worked on Amigo and has made it significantly lighter and smoother. When I first tried out Amigo with the S5.1, I wasn’t that impressed with it, but now, Amigo is one of the Top 3 Android skins for me along with LeEco’s EUI and Lenovo’s Vibe UI. There are creative apps like the chameleon that are popular by now bundled with it, but bloatware has been kept at a bare minimum, and that is a nice thing.
Performance of the device was nearly flawless. There wasn’t any lag or stutter. All the usual games and stuff were tried and the device never once buckled under pressure. Very smooth and nifty. The usual connectivity options – 2G/3G/4G and supports bluetooth. Comes with a USB Type – C connector. Good to see that this standard is catching up. Call clarity was good and uniform. Music output was good, barring a few instances of jarring at high volume. Videos were neat and no snags there.
The battery ran for a full day on a single charge with above average usage with WiFi on. Video loop ran for a full 5 hours before battery needed recharge. There wasn’t any abnormal heating observed.
Overall, as an experience, I think this is the best that we have gotten so far from the Marathon series. And Gionee has done the right thing by making this a re-branding driver for the new brand imagery. The phone is top notch. Looks solid, good battery and runs well.
Gionee has sent out a clear message that this is not a budget phone and that higher performance comes at a premium. My verdict is that this is an impressive powerhouse of a phone that will never make you run for a charger. If you are hunting for a device in the 25k-30k range – this is a very good option!