Gionee, popular Chinese mobile device design company entered into the Indian market back in March with the Dream D1. Now the company has launched several Android smartphones. The latest flagship smartphone is the Elife E5, that was launched back in July. The Elife E5 is the second phone in the Elife series. We reviewed the Elife E3 recently and the Elife E6 that was announced last month is coming to India next week. Even this phone lies in the 20k price range, similar to most of the latest phones from Indian companies. Let’s jump into the review to find out if it’s worth the price.
We unboxed the phone couple of weeks back and the first impressions were good. Check out the unboxing video below.
- Gionee Elife E5 Smartphone
- A set of screen guards
- List of local service centers
- Textured Flip Case
- Warranty card, User Manual
- AC Adapter
- Micro USB cable
- Red coloured in-ear high quality headset
While there are a lot smartphones that comes with a 5-inch 720p displays, this one has a 4.8-inch HD (1280 x 720 pixels) Super AMOLED display at a pixel density of 306. The display is bright, has great viewing angles and the text is sharp. Blacks are perfectly black, thanks to the AMOLED panel. The sunlight visibility is also good, but the display is shiny, hence it is prone to finger prints. It also has a hardened glass that prevents the screen from getting scratched. We were impressed with the screen.
There is a earpiece on above the screen. There is a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with wide-angle lens next to the ear piece. There are the usual proximity and ambient light sensors on the other side.
There are capacitive touch buttons for menu, home and back. These light up when pressed, but these don’t offer haptic feedback.
The phone is sleek at 6.85mm and has curved corners. Even though the bezel on the front is black, the back cover is white. The phone also comes in Yellow and Graphite Black colors, as well as white.
The volume rocker and the power button are present on the left side. Both these buttons have a steel finish.
On the right side there is a micro SIM card slot under the flap and a micro USB slot.
The 3.5mm audio jack is present on the top. The jack is actually present on the back cover instead of top. There is nothing on the bottom.
The non-removable back cover is completely white, except for the camera module. The plastic back has smooth finish, hence it makes the device slippery when holding it. The build quality is quite good.
There is a 8-megapixel auto focus camera on the back with LED flash. It has a steel rim around the camera. It also has a secondary microphone above the camera.
There is a GIONEE branding on the center. You have the loud-speaker grill on the bottom. Since the phone supports DTS audio, there is a DTS branding next to the loudspeaker.
The phone has a 8-megapixel camera with LED flash. It has a BSI sensor. The UI is quite different from the other phones that are powered by a Mediatek chip. There is a camera switch button on the left side, digital zoom adjustment and a settings button below that. On the right side there is a camera to video toggle, on-screen shutter button and an image preview. The camera UI is a bit laggy and a lot of options such as capture modes (Panorama, Multi Angle View (MAV), Face beauty, Best shot and EV bracket shot), Capture Action (Touch shot, Gesture shot and Smile shot), Color effect (Mono, Sepia, Negative, Aqua, Blackboard and Whiteboard). The Phone booth feature adds a frame to photos. There are a lot of other features such as zero shutter delay, continuous shot (40 or 99) and options to adjust the exposure, saturation, brightness, contrast and ISO.
Coming to the image quality, macro images were decent, but the white balance is not proper. Low-light images were not very good, but can use the LED flash, which is decent. Images lacked color details and has pincushion distortion that causes images to be pinched at their center. The front-facing 5-megapixel camera was decent. It can record videos at 720p HD resolution. Check out some camera samples below.
The phone can record videos at 1080p full HD resolution at 30fps. The audio is good, thanks to the secondary microphone, but the video quality was average and lacked details. Check out the full HD video sample below.
Check out the camera review video to know more about the camera in detail
The phone runs on Android 4.2.1 (Jelly Bean) similar to most of the smartphones in the similar range that brings lockscreen widgets, Quick Settings, and lots more features, but this doesn’t have day dream or photo filters. There are 9 homescreen, you also add or remove the number of home screens by pinching the home screen or from the home screen menu. You can press and hold on the home screen to change the wallpaper and change the desktop settings such as desktop effects, option to enable scroll up and scroll down settings that lets you just just scroll down anywhere in the home screen to bring the notification shade and scroll up to bring the home screen menu.
There are also themes apart from the Android themes. You also get a preview of how the theme would look like, before applying it. Option to add desktop effects, change the wallpaper and Theme is part of built-in Color app.
You can directly launch the camera directly from the lock screen by swiping to the left. There are quick settings in the drop-down notification as a part of Android 4.2. In addition to lot of quick toggles, this also has power saving toggle.
The lock screen lets you add widgets. You can add a range of widgets and also swipe to the right to launch the camera directly from the lock screen. It has Google Now, but you can’t access it from the lock screen, however you can add the Google Now widget on the lock screen.
Out of 1GB of RAM, you get 967MB of usable RAM. About 470MB of RAM is free when the phone is idle. Out of 16GB of internal storage you get about 10.56 GB and 1.79GB user storage for apps. The phone doesn’t have a SD card slot, but there is a separate area that shows where the app is present. If there is a tick next to the app, it is moved, if not, it is present in the phone memory. Even though some apps have been automatically installed in the SD card, we couldn’t find an option to move the apps to the internal memory.
The phone comes with a lot of pre-loaded apps and games. Apart from the usual set of Google Apps, it also has utility apps including File Explorer, Gionee’s Weather app, Compass, Sound Recorder, Calculator, Calendar, Notes, Torch, Kingsoft Office for viewing and editing office files, Hao123 news app and Gionee Xender . It also comes with NQ Mobile security, Yahoo! Cricket, WhatsApp and du battery saver.
It also has some pre-loaded games including Little Big City, Asphalt 6, Wonder Zoo, Fishing Joy and Texas Poker. There is a Game Zone to download free and paid games.
Music Player and FM Radio
The phone can play different audio formats. Instead of standard equalizer settings, this has DTS effects that you can enable from the music player settings. You can also control the Bass boost and 3D effect manually. The phone has FM Radio with auto search, recording but lacks RDS support. Audio from the loudspeaker is decent and the bundled in-ear earphones offers good bass. The default video player can play videos at full HD 1080p resolution.
Calls and Messaging
The dialer and the messaging features are similar to the smartphones from local OEMs, but the colors are different. It also supports speed dialer and quick search. Since this doesn’t come with Dual SIM support, you don’t have options to switch SIM cards. The keyboard is stock, but it doesn’t come with gesture typing present in the stock Android 4.2.
The settings menu is divided into two parts, common settings and all settings. The common settings has connectivity options that are used often. The connectivity features include, 3G (HSDPA), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth v 4.0 with A2DP and GPS. It has support for wireless display that lets you share content from the phone to a HDTV by connecting a wireless display adapter to a HDMI-enabled TV. It doesn’t come with USB OTG support present in the Micromax Canvas 4. In addition to the scheduled power on & off settings present in the other phones, this also has scheduled airplane mode that lets you turn the airplane mode ON or OFF for a particular time period.
Performance and Benchmarks
The phone is powered by a quad-core MediaTek 6589T processor clocked at 1.5 GHz with PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU so the benchmarks would be obviously better than the 1.2 GHz MT6589 chip present in the Elife E3 that we reviewed back in June. We didn’t find any lags while using the phone. Check out some benchmark scores below.
The Gionee Elife E5 tops the Quadrant Benchmark when compared to other quad-core smartphones in the similar range.
AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3
Again the Elife E5 tops the AnTuTu Benchmark 3.3 with over 16k points.
Vellamo 2.0 HTML5
The Elife E5 scores over 1600 points in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark.
Check out the complete set of Gionee Elife E5 Benchmarks here.
Gaming was decent, but some high-end racing games were not impressive. Asphalt 7 and Riptide GP2 had details and good graphics, but the gameplay was not smooth. Dead trigger, Shadow Gun and Modern Combat 4 had good graphics and the gameplay was smooth. Check out the gaming review of the Elife E5 to find about the gaming performance of the device in detail.
Coming to the battery life, the phone packs a 2000 mAh battery. Even though the battery capacity is less than the Xolo Q1000’s 2500 mAh battery, the battery life was impressive. Thanks to the CPU power saving mode, you can get a battery life of more than a day with average use. CPU power saving mode limits the CPU performance and lowers the temperature of the device. You can use this when you are not playing games. The System power saving tweaks the display, WiFi, Bluetooth and Auto Sync when the screen is off. You can also enable custom power saving mode that triggers when the battery is down to a certain percent. If you enable the System power saving mode, you can get about 2 days of battery life, which is rare in Android smartphones. Overall we were impressed with the battery life of the smartphone.
Overall, the Elife E5 is definitely a worthy upgrade to the Elife E3. It has good display, has good build quality and a slimmer body. It also offers good battery life and is powered by a faster quad-core processor. The camera could be better and the phone lacks a memory card slot, which are similar constraints that we faced on the Xolo Q1000S that we reviewed recently. At a market price of Rs. 18,999, it is definitely costly compared to other smartphones in this range. If you are looking for a phone with a good display, battery life and build, but can compromise on the camera and the micro SD slot, go for it. You can also consider the Elife E6 wich is all set to launch next week. It is slightly costlier than the E5, but packs a 2GB RAM and a 5-inch full HD display.
- Good display
- Good build quality
- Good performance
- Good battery life
- Average Camera
- No expandable memory card slot
- Smooth back cover makes the device slippery
- Slightly on the expensive side