Gionee Elife S7 Review: Beautiful yet Powerful, Slim yet Sturdy

With the increasing number of Chinese OEMs entering India, the cut throat competition is at its peak. We’ve witness manufacturers offering specifications of a high-end flagship phone, at just around Rs. 20,000. But things work out very differently with Gionee. The devices they deliver are oriented towards looks and performance, rather than fitting high-end hardware. So with the perfect blend between performance, hardware and looks – comes with flagship device from Gionee, called the Gionee Elife S7!

First of all, answering the most asked question about this device, the Gionee Elife S7 is not 7mm thick, it’s just 5.5mm thin! This confusion has arisen due to the naming of the S series of smartphones, like the Gionee Elife S5.1 (5.1mm thin) and the Gionee Elife S5.5 (5.5mm thin). So, we’ve spent over a month with the device, and following is our in-depth review of the device from Gionee.

What’s in the Box

If you ask me, unboxing Gionee smartphones feels amazing, not because of the device it hold but the tons of accessories it comes along with. You’d probably never step into a market place to get extra accessories for the Gionee Elife S7 for at least a couple of years. The S7 box comes with 4 scratch guards (2 for front + 2 for back), a Silicon case, a Leather flip case, USB cable, charger, earphones with mic support and yes, the device itself.

Design

Gionee’s key aspect about a phone has always been its design. They manufacture smartphones one after another, they all keep going slimmer and more powerful. The thickness profile is exactly the same as that of the Elife S5.1 and Elife S5.1, but it has other great sporting factors that makes it unique in its own way. The phone comes with a U-shaped skeleton frame, which they claim to have been made of aviation grade aluminium and magnesium alloy. The edges definitely make the grip stronger, and device feels good in hand. In addition, Gionee also claims that the high grade materials used in the manufacturing of the frame help in maintaining the structural integrity of the phone. Weighing just 126.5 grams, the Gionee Elife S7 definitely becomes a style statement for the enthusiastic youth.

With a perfect screen size of 5.2-inches, the front looks very clean, with no capacitive touch buttons. You can locate the phone’s ear piece and the 8MP front shooter above the AMOLED display, along with the sensors that go underneath it. The rear side of the Elife S7 comes with a Gorilla Glass, which needs to be protected in order to keep it away from scratches. The plus side of the rear glass is that it does not catch finger prints, until you plan to go very hard with it. A 13MP camera, LED flash and a microphone is housed on the back panel.

The volume rocker and the power button occupy the right edge and are well within reach, enabling the phone for a single handed use. The 3.5mm audio jack, charging port, a microphone and speaker grill are located on the lower edge, while the left and the top edge remain clear. The design is an example of beautiful craftsmen ship and intelligent engineering, with which the phone packs everything while restricting the phone to a 5.5mm thickness.

Display

Displays have become an important criteria other than the processor which people consider while purchasing. And hence, the Gionee Elife S7 sports a 5.2-inches full HD AMOLED display. The screen colours and the temperature has been carefully adjusted to suit the eyes perfectly. The display on the Elife S7 is quite sharp and bright, which are enough to provide you with legible outdoor readings. The screen viewing angles have also been great, with almost 80 degrees of clear vision. Adaptive display and economical backlight features have been provided with the device, which allows you to adjust the screen to suit your needs. A Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection has been added to your 5.2-inches screen, which is not really a magnet for finger prints but smudges are often seen on the screen. The screen guard that comes with the device is recommend for regular use.

Camera

The slim profile of the Gionee Elife S7 definitely limits the of the camera sensors in many ways. The best Gionee could deliver with the Sony’s IMX214 sensor and 13MP auto-focus rear camera can be seen on the Elife S7. This might not be the best option available with you at this price point, but it does a decent job in snapping shots under good light. Natural light works out the best one, followed by indoor fluorescent lighting which often over saturate the pictures and make them look artificial. You can take a look at the actual images captured by the phone below.

The camera application on the Gionee Elife S7 does offer you a variety of shooting modes – face beauty, HDR, panorama and magic focus being a few of them. But none of the modes can make up for the loss of natural crisp photos, both indoor and outdoor. The following are the detailed capturing modes the app has to offer other than the default one.

1. Professional: Allows you to manually set the entire settings one can possibly locate in a good camera. It starts right from adjusting the focus (auto, manual, infinity) to controlling the shutter speed (130 to 14 seconds). Additionally, white balance, ISO and exposure can also be chosen manually to get the perfect shots.

2. Face Beauty: This mode will make you look one hell of a person, seriously. With its DIY (Do It Yourself) mode, you can set the smoothing level, whitening level, desired slimming and eye enlargement level. I’d call it a plastic surgery to your face, without making you look any different in actual life.

3. Filter: Adding filters to your photos after they’ve been taken might sound boring. So, with the Gionee Elife S7 you can preview a live filter an take shots accordingly. You can choose from a list of about 10 filters.

4. Magic Focus: Following the concept of shoot now, focus later, this mode requires camera to be stable while processing the image.

5. Pic Note: This camera mode will enable you to automatically focus to important parts of the image, such as PPTs, white boards or handwritten notes. It leaves the rest of the background and just crops it away.

Performance

Gionee Elife S7 come with an octa core MediaTek MT6752 Cortex A53, clocked at 1.7GHz along with a Mali T760 GPU to take care of all the heavy multimedia requirements. We didn’t encounter any major issues while using the phone to the extreme level, such as playing high end games and watching extremely high quality videos on the phone. Though multi-tasking two high memory usage tasks did introduce a lag and one of the programs had to be closed to bring back the phone to the usable state. But situations like those don’t really come up in a daily usage, so you don’t have to worry about the phone getting slow. We benchmarked the Gionee Elife S7, and following were the results.

Benchmarking Application Score
AnTuTu 46525
Quadrant 16109
Nenamark 2 63.3 fps

We noticed that the phone did get heat up to about 40 degrees after about 10-15 minutes of extreme usage, which includes gaming and taking pictures on Professional mode. In case, the S7 got heated up to over 45 degrees after which the device was tough to hold and the processes had to be terminated.

The 2GB of RAM on the phone is capable enough to make the phone run smoothly with almost all the daily use applications. The only disappointment we came across was the limited amount of storage space available on the device. Gionee Elife S7 has 16GB of internal storage (out of which around 11GB is available) and does not support any external memory. So 11GB is all what you’ve got for apps, data and multimedia files.

Operating System and Features

Gionee’s custome UI, Amigo 3.0 which is topped on the Android Lollipop 5.0 runs on the Gionee Elife S7. It isn’t the best user interfaces you’d get, maybe because it is still young and growing. With every update, Amigo UI becomes better than ever and also brings new features along with it. This update is quick and gives a fresh feel, but is a little slow and you might be able to spot small bugs. The Amigo 3.0 comes along with a lot of changes and new applications to offer. The first difference that we could find was the new notifications area, which does not along with the quick settings now. Quick settings can be accessed by swiping up, which bring a Control Center like that on the iOS. Other features have been displayed below with an insight to what they have to offer.

1. Chameleon: With Chameleon, you can capture the colours from the best scenery you come across and the app will automatically set a theme with the same colours for you. Worked like a charm, but you cannot choose colours from manually.

2. Smart gestures: In situations, where touching the screen is not possible – you can deploy smart gestures of different sorts, each corresponding to an action.

3. System Manager: Gone are the days when you had to manually analyze the data on your smartphone. With System Manager, you can clear junk. manage installed apps, free some memory and set restrictions on the data usage.

Battery

To juice up the performance and features of the Gionee Elife S7, there lies a non removable 2700mAh Li-Ion battery. The power back up is sufficient to last a day, with normal usage (3G always turned on). We recently tested the device with 4G services, and found out that the power back was reduced by an hour and half. On a working day, the phone was able to last for 10 hours, which is pretty good for a smartphone with a full HD screen. You can refer to the tabulated data to know more about the backup.

Task Duration Percentage Drop
Cellular Call 25 minutes 3%
Streaming YouTube videos on WiFi at 1080p 20 minutes 4%
Gaming (Real Racing 3) 10 minutes 6%
Browsing the web 15 minutes 2%

Gionee makes analysing battery life much better with their application called Power Manager, which offers three modes of power saving – None, Normal mode (reduces phone performance level) and Extreme mode (only phone, contacts, SMS and clock).

Verdict

At a price tag of Rs. 22,000 Gionee Elife S7 makes a good place in the Android market. There is no competition to the S7 in terms of design, display and battery backup, but user interface is something that brings its value down. But Gionee seems to be committed to deliver quality experience with each update. This smartphone is a style statement for the youth, with its amazing looks and performance.

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