Gionee Elife E7 review

Gionee, being a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, has made several attempts to increase its popularity in India through innovative devices. One such innovation is Gionee’s latest flagship smartphone –the Elife E7.

When Elife E6 was launched last year, it didn’t receive a good response from the consumers. Is the Elife E7 (priced at Rs 26,999 -16 GB) better than its forerunner? If yes, how does it take on the competitors in its price range like the Nexus 5? Let’s find the answers in this review of the Gionee Elife E7.

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In the box

  • Elife E7 (with built-in battery), Data-cable & Charger
  • Flip-cover & SIM Ejector-pin
  • Two protection films & Desk Stand
  • User manual & Warranty card
  • Earphones with microphone & three NFC tags

The good – We liked the…

  • High-quality camera and long-lasting battery
  • First-class design
  • Professional features for camera and music apps
  • The pre-included back cover

The bad – We expected…

  • A slightly lower price
  • A microSD card slot
  • Heats up very quickly

Design & Hardware

First of all, the phone has a uni-body design i.e., it doesn’t have a back cover and a removable battery. Elife E7 is available in black, white, blue, pink, green, yellow and orange color.

Unlike the Elife E6, the top and bottom sides of the Elife E7 are curved and the other two sides are plane. The phone, which weighs 150g, is 9.5mm thick, but it feels a lot thin when you hold it.

On the front, you can spot the 5.5-inch touch-screen along with the thin bezels. On the top bezel (on top of the display), there is an ear-piece, an 8 MP front-camera and a notification LED light. Also, Elife E7 comes with a G Sensor (auto-rotation), a proximity sensor and other common stuff. There are three capacitive touch keys on the bottom bezel (menu, home and back). It is a tricky task to use these keys as they can’t be seen unless they are backlit –and to backlit them they need to be tapped.

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The phone is made of a glossy poly-carbonate material which is fingerprint-proof, but it attracts smudges. You can spot the 16 MP auto-focus camera –which is slightly beveled– with LED flash, another microphone and a Gionee branding at the back of the phone.

The micro-SIM slot (tray) is on the left side of the E7.

The volume rockers are on the right side.

The power button and a 3.5mm ear-phone jack on the top of the phone.

The dual-speakers, microphone and a micro-USB port at the bottom.

Display

Gionee Elife E7 sports the third-gen version of Corning’s Gorilla Glass on top of the 5.5-inch FHD LCD display, so you can make sure that your phone’s screen always remains smudge and fingerprint free. This is very important as it makes the Elife E7 even more scratch resistant.

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The display is bright and clear, as you would expect from a premium device. The screen is very smooth and even responsive to gloves. The auto-brightness feature works well in both outdoor and indoor conditions. The viewing angles are great, especially while playing games and watching movies. To add, Elife E7 has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and has 401 PPI (pixels per inch).

CPU & Software

Gionee Elife E7 comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor. If you buy the 16 GB version, you get 2 GB of RAM and a 2.2 GHz (quad-core) processor. On the other hand, the 32 GB version comes with 3 GB of RAM and a 2.5 GHz (quad-core) processor. Also, note that the phone doesn’t come with a microSD slot i.e., no expandable memory. The phone runs on Gionee’s Amigo UI on top of Android 4.2.2 JellyBean. Sources suggest that the phone will get an Android update (KitKat, most probably) in July, 2014. The phone also comes with NFC.

When you unlock the device, you will find a totally modified design –a blurred background, simple icons and more. The hazy background made the phone a little slow and made me feel dizzy, so I turned off the blur-effect.

(To turn off– go to home –open the desktop settings by tapping the menu key –switch off ‘Desktop blur’)

One thing I noticed is that the phone heats up very quickly. I don’t know the exact reason behind this, but I think that the version with 3 GB of RAM (priced at –Rs 29,999) would be better for more performance capabilities.

While playing songs, you can change professional settings like focus, bass boost, 3D effect, clarity and space reverberation. You can even watch a video while working by tapping the pop-out video key in the video app.

The UI is very simple and user friendly, but a lot more different than stock Android. There are four readymade themes available, you can choose between many wallpapers and even control the desktop-scroll effect.

Gionee Elife E7 comes with many pre-installed apps like Saavn, YouTube, CharmCam, GioneeXender, UC Browser and some Gameloft games including Danger Dash.

Now, comes the turn of Smart Gestures. Elife E7 sports some common gestures –Smart dial, Smart answer, Pause alarm, Double click wake and Quick operating.

Camera

Gionee calls its Elife E7 –the most advanced camera smartphone. But keep in mind that Micromax’s Canvas Knight too, has a 16 MP back and 8 MP front camera –and is priced at Rs 20,000.

If we talk about Elife E7’s 16 MP shooter with auto-focus, it has 4x digital zoom and 1x optical zoom. The camera piece with 1.34μ pixels has a Largan M8 sapphire lens, 1/2.3-inch sensor and an AR Protective film. The 8 MP auto-focus front camera with 1.4μ pixels is excellent for selfies, even in low-light conditions.

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Camera features include HDR, face-detection, panorama, geo-tagging and more. Pictures taken in low-light are the best, when the night-mode is turned on.

Video recording by the Elife E7 was fine. It takes videos in avi, 3gp and mp4 format –at 1080P (1920×1080) –30 frames per second. The CharmCam app has many interesting camera features like Track mode, Meeting mode and even a Beauty mode!

Users can switch between normal mode and professional mode. The professional mode lets you handle the device like a pro photographer. You can even change the white balance and ISO settings with this mode.

Battery

Gionee Elife E7 is powered by a 2500mAh polymer battery, which is low, when compared with premium smartphones within the 30K price range. But surprisingly, the phone’s fuel lasted for around 8 hours when we played a looong video and the battery gave me  7 hours of time to surf on the web.

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You could even increase the battery’s potential by using the Power Manager.

Wind-up

Yes, Gionee’s Elife E7 is the most advanced camera smartphone in its price bracket. We cannot compare its capabilities with latest high-end smartphones like the Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8. I liked the professional camera functions of this phone and the battery is really long-lasting. If Gionee had taken care of the things listed in the ‘Cons’ list, I think more people would love to buy it.

What do you think about the Elife E7? Are you planning to buy it? Drop your views in the comment section below!

By Anand Baburajan – Google+
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