Gionee is having a dream run in its mobile business in India. Ever wondered as to why this Chinese handset vendor is making waves in the market? The answer is simple: its devices are super-slim and beautifully crafted, have a great display and come with a judicious mix of hardware and software which renders a pretty efficient mobile experience. Gionee phones are decently priced too. For evidence, Gionee’s Elife S5.5 and S5.1 have witnessed huge acceptance amongst Indian consumers.
From business point of view too, Gionee is going steady in the market place. Having entered the domestic market two years back, it has cornered 4% of the Indian smartphone market share; it also claims to have collected revenue of R2,750 crore in FY2015-15, compared to R500 crore a year back.
Today, Gionee sells over 25 million handsets per year worldwide and ranks No.10 in the world by smartphone market share. Even in India, it claims to have sold over 4 million devices.
Recently, the Chinese firm debuted its latest ultra smartphone Elife S7 and sent across as a fresh unit for product evaluation. One look at the Elife S7 and it becomes obvious that Gionee isn’t chasing the “world’s thinnest smartphone” crown anymore, and is instead concentrating on making the best device possible wrapped up inside a still super-slim chassis. It shows that Gionee is maturing, and wants to prove it can make a great all-round phone.
The Elife S7 was first showcased at an event during Mobile World Congress this year. Much like other super-slim phones, the Elife S7 feels barely there in the hands. It measures 5.5 mm thick (body dimensions: 139.8 x 67.4 x 5.5 mm), returning to the still very thin profile of the Elife S5.5 from last year. Out of the box, the Elife S7 is beautifully made, its body has a delicate, precise track running around the edge. Think of it like the profile of a railroad track seen from the side, and you’ll have the right idea of the shape.
Inspired by the U-shape design of railway tracks, the Elife S7 features iconic frame design, beautifully merging a high glossy finish and metal effect with two parallel metal light lines. The unique ergonomic side profile provides an extremely comfortable grip for one-handed use. The phone is crafted in aviation level aluminum magnesium
alloy. Overall, this attractive design gives the phone character, and it is easy to get a grip on to it than the slippery and super-light Elife S5.1. The aluminum magnesium alloy body is sandwiched between two pieces of Gorilla Glass 3.
The Elife S7 sports a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED FHD display and has a 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution. Colours were bright and vibrant, and viewing angles were excellent when I tried out the Elife S7. On the front, you’ll find that the Gionee has left out physical keys, and relies completely on soft keys. The rear of the phone is equipped with a 13-megapixel camera. The camera is packed with features, from a new facial-recognition mode and depth-of-field adjustment, to gesture controls and an advanced low-light setting. Gionee’s self-developed Image+ image processing system enables users to shoot stunningly high quality images with easier user experience. There’s also a 8-megapixel front camera; this incorporates intelligent Face beauty 3.0 technology.
Internally, the Elife S7 handset runs Android 5.0 with Gionee’s Amigo 3.0 user interface and it comes powered by a 1.7 GHz octa-core processor. It has 2 GB RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage.
To enable the battery to last for a whole day, the Elife S7 is equipped with a 595 density 2700 mAh battery, which is the highest among ultra-slim phones in the market. The user interface has been optimised and the Elife S7 features a unique extreme mode, which automatically enables 10% of remaining battery power to potentially last for 33 hours 45 minutes standby time by freezing functions except calling and text messages to ensure basic communications.
The final word: In my hands-on experience, the Elife S7 comes across as a colourful, modern and good-looking phone with a good selection of apps. For the most part, the device ran extremely well and was very fast opening apps and during surfing the websites, including heavy ones with a lot of multimedia stuff. Snapping away with its camera produced some very good photos with good resolution and amazing clarity.
Overall, the Elife S7 is slim, fast and powerful and will be a decent camera phone to have in your pocket.
* Dimensions: 139.8 x 67.4 x 5.5 mm
* Display: 5.2-inch Super AMOLED FHD display
* Processor: Octa-core 1.7 GHz processor
* Operating system: Amigo OS 3.0 based on Android 5.0 Lollipop
* Memory & storage: 2 GB RAM, 16 GB inbuilt memory
* Camera: 13.0 MP (rear); 8 MP front-facing camera
* SIM type: Dual SIM
* Estimated street price: Rs 24,999