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Gionee Marathon M4 Express Review: This battery lasts and lasts

Gionee Marathon M4 is a phone that won't die on you at the end of the busy day

Rating: 3 out of 5
Written by Karthekayan Iyer |
Updated: September 6, 2015 5:29:15 pm
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Smartphones have evolved tremendously over the past few years. But they have still not got that seven letter word right – ‘BATTERY’. Battery drain is an issue that plagues all smartphones, right from low-end to flagship devices. Thankfully, some of the newer smartphones are packing larger batteries in a bid to woo buyers for whom power management is the biggest pain point. It helps that technology now lets you make batteries a bit smaller than before.

Gionee Marathon M4

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Gionee’s Marathon series of smartphones are all about large batteries. Gionee Marathon M4 is the latest in the series with a 5,000 mAh battery that claims standby time of 440 hours. While last year’s Marathon M3 offered good battery life, it did come with its own tradeoffs, especially in the size. Marathon M4 tries to address all of that. So how does it fare in normal daily usage, read on:

Specs: 5.0-inch (720x1280p, ~294 ppi) LCD display | Quad-core 1.3GHz Mediatek MT6735 processor | 2GB RAM | 16GB storage (expandable up to 32GB) | 8MP rear camera + 5MP front | Li-Ion 5000 mAh battery | Amigo 3.0 UI based on Android 5.0 Lollipop

Price: Rs 15,490

What is good?

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Let’s come straight to the point. You are buying this phone for its extra large battery and I have to say the battery is spectacular. It lasted well over two and a half days of normal usage wherein I spent more than two hours competing with my friend online on Asphalt 8 and often averaged between 6 and 8 hours of screen time.

Gionee has added a layer of power saving modes. The normal power saving mode shuts down background data and kills all running apps while the extreme version of this turns your smartphone into a feature phone with just phone calls, text messaging feature available. The Marathon M4’s battery doubles up as a power bank, letting you charge other devices. For me, this is a neat feature, especially if the M4 is not your primary phone.

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The rear 8MP camera of the Gionee Marathon M4 does a really decent job. The camera app loads really quick and touch to focus works fine. The daylight photos are really crisp and offer natural colours. Even the front facing 5MP camera does a good job with selfies and video calling.

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Gionee Marathon M4 won’t win accolades for its hardware, but it does make up with performance. The smartphone is really good at handling most day-to-day stuff and can even play games like Asphalt 8, Dead Trigger 2 pretty easily. However, there were some issues. But more on that later.

What is not good?

I was not that happy about the build quality of this device. During my week with the device, it dropped once and immediately caught a dent on the metal band around the display. I am not sure how a device this heavy (176g) would fare in the longer run.

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I tried using the phone with the adaptive display active for a few days and eventually switched to manual display settings. Under direct sunlight, the display struggles and you have no option but to manually increase the brightness. Thankfully, you have a battery large enough not to mind.

While the camera is good in regular light as mentioned before, like most budget phones it struggles in low light and can’t handle macro photography.

The software occasionally froze and did reboot in the midst of goat simulator session. And all my Asphalt 8 game data also got lost once, requiring a 1.5GB download again.

Should you buy?

If all you need is a phone that doesn’t die on you at the end of the busy day, Gionee Marathon M4 is a good choice. However, there are phones like the Panasonic Eluga Icon with decent battery life but better overall specs. But none of those phones can last as much as the marathon, a phone for people who stay away from a charging outlet for days on end.

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