Gionee has thrown in every possible feature at the A1, its latest flagship smartphone that made its debut at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month. Manufactured in India, the A1 largely focuses on battery and camera as its key selling points. Although it doesn’t offer anything special in the design department, but there are enough positives to keep fans happy. Gionee A1 isn’t for everyone though, and there are plenty of other great smartphones on the market to consider in the mid-end premium segment.
Here’s our first impression of the Gionee A1 smartphone.
Design and display
The design of Gionee A1 is unmistakably OnePlus 3T-like, which is not a bad thing. There’s a sophistication to the A1, with Gorilla Glass covering the whole of the front with 2.5D curve around the edges. Of course, all-metal unibody design isn’t something groundbreaking, but this phone does look good.
It’s neither the thinnest nor the lightest handset out there in the market- weighing 182 grams and measuring 8.5mm in terms of thickness. But that doesn’t really matter as the phone feels solid and I was surprised at how comfortable it felt to use, even with such a large display size. There’s a fingerprint scanner on the front, right below the display surrounded with capacitive controls. The volume and power buttons are better placed, and feel comfortable on the device.
A1 packs a 5.5-inch Full HD display. Images and text are pin sharp, and detailed. The screen is bright too. Colours look accurate and there’s enough punch. It should prove to be a decent little multimedia device paired with a loud, clear-sounding speakers. But these are no stereo speakers.
Hardware, battery and software
Gionee A1 is powered by a MediaTek Helio P10, paired 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. It does support a microSD card slot as well (up to 256GB). I don’t really understand why Gionee is so obsessed with a MediaTek chipset.
Still, none of this actually matters to normal users. For them, what is important is how games and apps perform. The Helio 10 processor isn’t the most powerful, but I found the phone to be very zippy with no lag whatsoever while browsing the web and recording 1080p video.
One of Gionee’s claims was that the phone should last more than a day on a single charge from the 4,010mAh battery. This does seem the case in my early testing of the A1. Based on my experience, the phone’s battery easily got me through a day and a half on regular usage. In that sense, Gionee A1 does really push things forward.
Although it’d have been great, if the phone featured the USB Type-C connection on the bottom. To my understanding, this supports ultra-fast charging.
Software and interface
As for software, the A1 runs Android Nougat, Google’s latest Android mobile operating system right out of the box. Naturally, Gionee has added its own custom user interface (UI). I’ve never been a huge fan of Gionee’s custom UI, Amigo OS. The interface reminds of Apple’s iOS. From the icons to the menu, everything looks close to iOS. I will definitely talk more about the interface in detail in my full review.
A1’s front-facing camera is a 16-megapixel shooter with fixed focus and an f/2.0 aperture and a LED flash. In good conditions, the A1 front camera takes consistently decent selfies, with natural colour balance. Notably, the camera app is easy to use.
The phone also features a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture that’s capable of recording 1080p FHD video. This is not the best camera I’ve ever tested on a smartphone. I’d say the performance is entirely dependent on the lightning conditions. Again, I need to spend more time with Gionee A1 to get a full picture of the camera.
The A1 is the most compelling smartphone from Gionee in the past few months. It has the feel and features of a flagship, but it will face tough competition from the likes of OnePlus 3T and Honor 8. Some customers might find this disappointing.
Where’s the Snapdragon processor? Why not included a dual-rear camera setup? Gionee has not announced pricing for the A1, but we should expect to see the phone to cost in the vicinity of Rs 24,999. I’m looking forward to testing the A1 over the next few weeks. We’ll have a full review in the coming days.
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