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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Gionee Elife E7 Review – Smart Phone with Amazing Camera & Exciting Features

Gionee Elife E7 Review – Smart Phone with Amazing Camera & Exciting Features

When a Chinese company enters the other markets, it’s always that Chinese feel for the customers which keep them thinking whether to purchase this device or to still go with a company which already has the trust in the market and it’s not “Chinese”. One of the brands which are making an impact the other way, although being a Chinese one, is Gionee. 

The Elife E6 was quite good in the market for the performance matching the price, and now the next flagship from the company, the Gionee Elife E7 has it’s own USP which includes the Snapdragon based chipset and a Full HD display, supported by an excellent 16-megapixel camera and all this priced quite low when compared with the devices from the well set brands such as Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note 3 and the LG G2. Let’s see how this fares in all the aspects.

Design Overview

Design wise, the Elife E7 doesn’t impress much. Why? the back cover gets the beating with the cheap looking polycarbonate with the camera bulge making it look worse. Of course there’s no alternative to that camera bulge but at least the back cover should have been made with something better. 

The device has got sharp borders and the curves are confined to the top and bottom where it does look neat, and the button placement couldn’t have been better than this (this comes after I checked out the Gionee Elife S5.5 with the buttons on left panel). Overall, it’s all good but the camera hump and the cheap look on the back is what doesn’t impress me on the design aspect.

Interface, OS, Apps and Software

The Amigo 2.0 interface has got some improvements from the previous version, but still it’s not impressive, thanks to the fact that it removes all the feel of Android and the customization. There is no app drawer and the apps are on the home screen, thus you don’t get to use any widgets except for the default weather widget. At one point, I had around 80 apps installed and it was too hard to search for any particular app because there is no way to organize them except in the folders. The lock screen has got the options such as Fake call, camera, torch and voice recording. The FakeCall feature is something new but quite good, introduced in this new UI.

The settings area has got a lot for the users to turn things into something better and the smart gestures are quite good, where even the LG G2′s Knock On feature to “double tap and wake the screen” is available. Some of the pre-installed applications too are quite useful, and there are three apps for personalization and three for the performance -
  • Color, Amigo Paper and Theme for the Personalization
  • Phone Accelerate, Power Manager and Traffic Assistant for more productivity
Personalization options in Amigo UI:

The Phone accelerate feature is something which would make the phone faster by closing background functions and apps, and freeing the RAM. Power Manager is the app which one can use to save the battery by restricting the functions when the device has low battery percentage left, and the Traffic assistant feature is to turn the Data network connectivity off when the data limit is reached.
Productivity apps in Amigo UI:

The Gallery app is very much upgraded in different ways. Firstly, there is a timeline view where you could see the photos organized under the dates which makes it easier for you to browse through, when the gallery becomes larger. Secondly, there are different views such as Time, People and Story where you can name the faces to showcase the photos in a better way, and also name them as stories – Birthdays, Events etc.

Gionee has stuck to the UC Browser which isn’t the best by any means but there’s always a way to use the alternatives and thus you could download the Google Chrome or Opera Mini based on your requirement. The approach to the UI is pretty simple – to be different from the other brands, and give the users a refreshed feel, packing in the same internals which the high-end devices have got. But that doesn’t impress much because the Amigo UI restricts the users from getting into the personalization. Also, the performance gets a hit because of the Navi launcher used by the Amigo UI, and thus in my case, I use the Go Launcher Ex to make things better and run the phone faster.

Gionee Elife E7 Storage & Settings
Storage wise, the 16GB version gives the users a total of around 11GB, in which 7GB is for the user and the other part is for the system files and apps. You would be quite restricted if choosing the 16GB storage version because if you are downloading a lot of apps or high-end games, the file system would be filled in no time. To add to this, there is no MicroSD card option to expand the storage, thus if you are looking for a long-term use, go for the 32GB version.

There is a lot to play around with, in the Settings section. The smart gestures which can bring the features available on the other high-end devices, like the double tap to wake etc., and a lot more. The Suspend button comes to good use for those who have been using a similar function in the Samsung Galaxy devices, and wanted an option to quickly run to the home screen, open the menu from a tap directly on the screen.

Benchmarks Tests
One of the best AnTuTu benchmark score is what the Elife E7 got the early fame for, beating even the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Xiaomi Mi3 and others in the high-end league. With the other benchmarks too, i.e. Quadrant Standard and the Nenamark2 benchmark tests, the device got some excellent scores and that was what gave all the attention to this flagship from Gionee.


Gionee Elife E7 Cameras

The camera is brilliant, to put it in simple words. There was something the Nokia users boasted about – the camera and the settings available for it. Gionee has nearly done the same, with the camera providing some excellent options in the app, and the 16MP shooter does a beautiful job of capturing the photos in bright as well as low-light conditions. The front facing 8-megapixel camera too does a good job in taking selfies, as well as in video calling, but we had our focus on the rear camera – which was good in recording details in every way, and defocusing the background when capturing a particular object, trying to replicate what the DSLR cameras do.

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