Gionee launched the Elife S5.1, the company’s thinnest smartphone in India last month at a price tag of Rs. 18,999. It is the successor of the Gionee Elife S5.5 that was launched earlier this year. Even though it was called the world’s thinnest smartphone and even entered into the Guinness book of world records in September, it was dethroned by the Oppo R5 and later by the vivo X5Max that is 4.75mm thick. This looks better than the Elife E6 and its predecessor, the Elife S5.5. Should you buy it for the looks and design? What about the performance? Let us find out in the complete review.
We unboxed the Gionee Elife S5.1 smartphone recently. Check out the unboxing below.
The box is filled with several freebies, here are the box contents
- Gionee Elife S5.1 smartphone in White
- Flip cover
- Silicon case
- Scratch guard
- USB OTG cable
- In-ear earphones with tangle-free cable
- 2-pin USB charger
- micro USB cable
- SIM ejector tool
- User manual, warranty card and service center list
Display, Hardware and Design
The Elife S5.1 has a 4.8-inch HD (1280 x 720 pixels) Super AMOLED display at a pixel density of 306, similar to the Elife E5. The 5-inch 1080p screen on the Elife S5.5 definitely looked better since it’s much sharper, but the Elife S5.1 doesn’t disappoint. 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. It even has a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Even though the screen is too bright, the auto brightness is perfect for both indoor and bright outdoor conditions. There is a ACL mode that automatically adjusts the screen brightness according to the content, thus saving power.
It has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.4 aperture and 88-degree wide-angle lens, along with an earpiece and the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors, above the display. The body is compact since the smartphone has a 1.8mm ultra-narrow frame on the sides. It has a screen-to-body ratio of 74%.
It has the usual set of capacitive touch buttons below the display. These are not backlit, but offer haptic feedback when pressed.
The smartphone has magnesium alloy frame with brushed metal finish. The build quality is solid and is definitely feels premium. There is a single micro SIM slot on the right side. The SIM tray, which is also made of metal, can be removed using the bundled ejector tool. The Elife S5.1 comes in gold color in India.
The volume rockers and the power button are present on the left side. It takes some time to get used to the power button on the left side since right handers are not used to power button on the left side. Both the micro USB slot and the 3.5mm jack are present on the bottom.
Even the back has Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It has a 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a tiny secondary microphone hole. The loudspeaker grill is also present on the back. It has Gionee branding on the back.
Coming to the camera, the 8-megapixel rear camera with single LED flash, f/2.2 aperture is decent, but not the best. Daylight and macro shots are good and the low-light shots could be better. Some images were dull in cloudy conditions.
The camera app has different capture modes such as V-sign shot, Touch shot and Smile shot. It also lets you capture images using volume buttons. There is a separate Charm Cam app that has Stamps, Live effects, PPT mode to capture better images from PPTs, Face beauty (1 to 6 scale) and make up mode.
Check out the camera samples below (click the image to view the full resolution sample)
It can record videos at 1080p resolution at 30fps. It supports stereo audio recording and the audio is crisp since it has a secondary microphone. The video quality is good, check out the sample below.
Coming to the software, it runs on Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) with Amigo UI 2.0 on top. The UI is completely different from what we had seen on the Elife S5.5 based on Android 4.2.2. There is a separate themes app, wallpaper app called Amigo paper and more customization options are available.
Out of 1GB of RAM, you get 952MB of usable RAM. About 300MB of RAM is free when the phone is idle. Out of 16GB of internal storage you get about 9.7 GB for mass storage and 2.64GB for apps. The phone doesn’t have a SD card slot, but you can move compatible apps to the phone storage from the system storage.
The phone comes with a lot of pre-loaded apps and games. Apart from the usual set of Google Apps and utility apps, it has Kingsoft office, WeChat, Du Battery Saver, Du Speed Booster, GioneeXender, Saavn, NQ Mobile Security, Camcard, TouchPal X keyboard, Cricket and games like UNO & Friends, Real Football 2014, Spider-Man: Ultimate Power and more.
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 that has the usual MediaTek user interface. It has auto search and recording but lacks RDS support. Audio from the loudspeaker is not the best and the bundled in-ear earphones is decent. The default video player can play videos at full HD 1080p resolution smoothly.
The settings menu is divided into two parts, common settings and all settings. The connectivity features include, 3G, 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 even has USB OTG support.
Performance and Benchmarks
The phone is powered by 1.66 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6592 processor with 8 ARM Cortex-A7 CPUs and is based on 28nm HPM. It has Mali 450-MP4 GPU and comes with 1GB RAM. The performance is smooth without any lags and is definitely better than the MediaTek 6589T processor in the Elife E5 and the E6, but it is not the best in class. Check out the synthetic benchmark scores below.
It managed to score 13806 points in Quadrant benchmark.
AnTuTu Benchmark 4
It managed to score 27217 points in the AnTuTu 4 Benchmark.
Vellamo 2.0 HTML5
It grabs the second spot, better than most other octa-core smartphones in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmarks. You can check out the complete set of Gionee Elife S5.1 benchmarks here.
Coming to gaming, the gaming performance is just average. Even though graphics was good, some games didn’t performance well and did lag. It supports PS3 or any other USB controllers. Check out the gaming review below, to know more about the gaming performance of the smartphone in detail.
Coming to the battery life, the phone packs a 2100mAh built-in battery. The battery life is decent, and it lasts for less than a day with average use. Thanks to the CPU power saving mode, you can get a battery life of one day. CPU power saving mode limits the CPU performance and lowers the temperature of the device. The Du Battery Saver app tweaks the WiFi, Bluetooth and Auto Sync when the screen is off to improve the battery life.
In our battery life test, the Gionee Elife S5.1 lasted for 9 hours and 39 minutes. Even though the smartphone’s talk time is good, other things such as browsing and video playback were not impressive. You can check out the complete Gionee Elife S5.1 battery test results here.
Overall, the Elife E5.1 is just an average mid-range smartphone. It has good display, good build and sleek body. The performance could be better and the phone lacks a memory card slot, which are similar constraints that we faced with other Gionee smartphones. At a price tag of Rs. 18,999, it is definitely a bit costly compared to other smartphones in this range, looking at its specifications. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.
- Brilliant display
- Sleek design and solid build quality
- Decent camera
- 16GB of internal storage without expansion slot
- Average performance
- Average battery life