There is no way any operating system is going to overtake Android in the near future. But till now Google’s operating system has been grappling with the ignominy that it does not work all that well in cheap or low specification devices. However, that is changing with good hardware now being available at very competitive prices. Recently, we reviewed smartphones like the Micromax Canvas Knight and Lava Iris Pro 30 which have sub-Rs 20,000 price tags, but offer a good user experience. In this range is the Gionee Elife E7, which costs all of Rs Rs 26,999 for what can be compared to specifications of high-end flagships. But how does this translate in performance? Read on.
Quick Tech Specs: 5.5-inch Full HD LTPS dispaly | 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor | 2GB/3GB RAM |16GB/32 GB storage (no microSD) | 16MP rear camera, 8MP front camera, 1080p HD video | 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.0 | GPS with A-GPS | 2500mAh battery | Android 4.2 | No HDMI | NFC
Price: Rs. 26,999 / Rs 29,999 (32GB)
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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 largish 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.
Screen: 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. That is when you will have to increase the brightness of the screen.
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Performance: The processor is among the fastest available in smartphones these days, even without being an octa-core model. So multi-tasking 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 UI tweaks on the phone to get a 3D cylindrical transition on the homescreen 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 16GB review unit had just 10GB 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 Rs 3,000 more and get the 32GB version, it even has more RAM.
Connectivity: No issues here whatsoever, even with an MTNL 3G SIM.
Software: 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 phone. It tries to do a lot of things that other OS like iOS do.
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 8MP and that is again better than the rest. Yes, this is one of the better features of this phone.
Battery: 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 don’t want to spend Rs 35,000 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.