Design: Gionee, since its launch in India a year back, has been getting rave reviews for its great build quality and design. The Elife E7 is no different, except for the fact that I would have loved a matte finish for the rear. That would have been much more classy that the glossy finish in black. The gloss works well in other colours. The camera has a wide-eyed lens and results in a small bump like in all slim phones. However, the large lens might need to be protected. The phone has just power and volume buttons in unibody design, so you have no space for a SD card. But all this makes the phone very light too.
The full HD screen is very good when you are indoors. It reflects a lot of light though and can be a bit difficult to use in bright sunlight; when you will have to increase the brightness of the screen.
Performance: The processor is among the fastest available in smartphones these days, even without being an octa-core model. So multitasking is a breeze, so is gaming. There was no instance where I had to wait even a millisecond for something to open or load. In fact, I used one of the many user interface tweaks on the phone to get a 3D cylindrical transition on the home screen and was very impressed with how fluid the entire experience was. The phone also did not heat up like some of the recent models we have used.
Memory: This is where the phone could be a bit of a problem for some users. The 16 GB review unit had just 10 GB left for use. With no SD card slot, you will have to depend a bit on cloud services to keep your house in order.
If this bugs you, spend R3,000 more and get the 32 GB version, it even has more RAM.
In terms of connectivity, no issues here whatsoever, even with an MTNL 3G SIM. The phone runs Android 4.2, but definitely not plain vanilla. There are loads of option to tweak the interface. But it is your call on what you want your phone to look like. There are quite a few pre-loaded apps, and a lot of them are just waste of premium space on this Gionee phone.
Camera: This is one of the highlights of the phone. With the phone around, I clicked of lot of good pictures which have since made it to some of my stories and even got some accolades on Facebook. This is among the rare cameras that perform decently in low light and I think that is why this has a lens that is wider than other phones. Yes, we can all live with that given that most of our shots are shot indoors and not outside. The front camera is also 8 MP and that is again better than the rest. Yes, this is one of the better features of this phone.
On the battery front, with regular use this phone can last up to 14 hours and that is pretty decent. There is a power saver app pre-installed to help you get more out of the battery.
Verdict: If you are looking for a high-end phone, but dont want to spend R35,000 or more for the same, then the Gionee Elife E7 is a great pick. The only matter of concern for us is that new Gionee flagship Elife S5.5 is just weeks away from its launch in India and seems like a good phone too.
* Display: 5.5-inch Full HD LTPS display
* Processor: 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor
* Operating system: Android 4.2
* RAM & internal storage: 2/3 GB RAM, 16/32 GB storage
* Camera: 16 MP (rear); 8 MP (front)
* Video: 1080p HD video
* Connectivity: 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0
* Battery: 2500mAh battery
* Estimated street price of Gionee Elife E7: Rs 26,999