Gionee’s latest flagship phone for the PH takes the form of the Elife E6. It has a full HD display, a quad-core CPU, a 13 megapixel camera paired with a 5MP front-facing snapper & a design that stands out from the crowd in a way. Does Gionee have the potential to take the local market by storm? Read on our full review to find out.
Note: To get a quick look at the highlights of the device, the flip cover & the video sample, make sure to play through the video below:
Design and Construction
When you get a hold of the Elife E6, you don’t notice the design immediately; you notice that large & beautiful display – but that isn’t to say that the design is bad. The device hosts a rectangular plastic chassis that feels very solid & premium. I can’t say that much as you really need to hold it in your hands to appreciate it. Anyway, Gionee mastered glossy plastic design language in a snap – something we still can’t say with other phones in the local scene – rebranded or not.
Five inch displays aren’t supposed to feel huge anymore in this era but this does – the capacitive buttons below the screen are hard to navigate, the power button on the top right side is hard to make up with and the whole flip cover just makes everything worse.
Speaking of the flip cover, the phone packs one in the box, and while the Elife E6 doesn’t attract that much dirt, the white flip cover does and it stains big time.
If Troy had the Trojan Horse, the Gionee Elife E6 has its display. At 5-inches with 1080p resolution, the screen outclasses everyone in the race with its amazingly vibrant colors, wide viewing angles & sharp pixel density. It may seem unrealistic already for some people, but trust us when we say that you can’t get anything close even at a higher price.
Credit here probably goes to its LTPS LCD panel, something we don’t see that much in flagship phones.
OS, Apps and UI
Android 4.2.1 Jellybean gives life to the Elife E6, but it’s a sad story. They took the app drawer & the widgets away and they added a mix of inconsistent icon packs, bouncy animations and unnecessary process-intensive glitters. Upon opening the phone, you are brought to the usual lock screen. Once you get through that, your wallpaper blurs with a Gaussian effect – making it feel a lot like iOS 7. The default icons are square & colorful, adding a little taste of Microsoft into it, but since there’s no app drawer, the overall feel is Apple.
The animations are irritating to begin with. Once you scroll to the beginning or the end of one list, it bounces with a long shot that you have to wait for it to stop before you can press anything. The aforementioned blur too takes a lot of processing power, we guess, that it makes the whole experience somewhat laggy; after all, the CPU needs to push a lot of pixels as well. It would have been a lot better if Gionee kept light on the skin.
Multimedia & Camera
Unlike the other phones you can think of – packing 18 megapixel sensors with underwhelming results – the 13 megapixel shooter on the Gionee Elife E6 is amazing. The camera software is really intuitive & features like smile shot work almost without flaw. Photos produced are sharp, vibrant & not much noisy; the same can be said about the 5 megapixel front-facing one, mostly the same but different in resolution. In fact, I brought this phone to school mostly just because of its camera.
Video quality of the phone’s cameras were okay. If you amp it up to 1080p, it drops frames (just like on any MediaTek device I observe), but once you’re in 720p, it’s good. It’s not the best when it comes to color reproduction, low light & audio, but it will have to suffice for most people. Impressive tap to focus is worth noting.
The speakers on the Elife E6 were very deceptive. There are two speaker grilles on the bottom of the phone, but only the right one is working – it’s a mono speaker and the results were just average. It’s not the loudest, but it isn’t weak either. Maybe if there’s something else worth noting, it’s the music app. Just like Gionee’s other built-in apps, they were modified to look better, but they don’t necessarily function better.
Performance & Benchmarks
Even with a quad-core CPU & 2GB RAM, the phone feels very sluggish to use. Our bet is that Gionee’s Amigo UI takes too much processing & needs polishing in addition to the high powered 1080 x 1920 display. The apps were okay though, since the main problem here is the UI, the homescreen & the other stock elements such as the settings app. We tried replacing the homescreen with Nova and it magically turned smooth so we guess that confirms our thoughts.
As for the benchmarks, there aren’t much things to note. The Elife E6 got a score of 15,190 on Antutu, 4,680 on Quadrant & 34.5 on Nenamark 2.
Call Quality & Battery Life
We took calls on the Gionee Elife E6 and it was a very good experience – no dropped calls, loud voices and also clear microphone outputs on the other side of the line, even WiFi connectivity was a breeze.
Running down looped video at 50% brightness & audio volume, from a full battery, the device lasted for 5 hours & 50 minutes before reaching zero – which is in itself a good score considering it has a sleek body & a 1080p display. Other phones just have 720p displays and yet they’re still in the 6 hour mark.
For a price of Php18,999, a lot of people would say that it’s not worth it because for a little more, you can get something significantly better or for a little less, you can get something that almost nears it. Well, I’m here to say that most of you may be right, but some of you may find Gionee’s handset to be a great buy. It features one of the most amazing displays I’ve ever seen period, and the cameras on these thing are bosses (except video). Everything else is at an average & the Achilles’ heel of this thing is possibly the MediaTek CPU or its heavily skinned UI.
Let’s not forget though that this is Gionee’s initial entry into the PH market – and it’s awesome! I will have to end with this: Gionee can take the Philippines by storm. The successor to the E6 is yet to come, and that is expected to come with what is claimed to be one of the best cameras & a Snapdragon 800 CPU. We’re guessing that those things will surely solidify Gionee’s stand in the competition, but for the meantime, the Elife E6 is here & it’s good.
Gionee Elife E6 specs:
5-inch hull HD LTPS + OGS LCD @ 1920×1080, 441ppi
Mediatek MTK6589T Turbo 1.5GHz quad-core
PowerVR SGX 544MP graphics
32GB internal storage
13.0 megapixel rear AF camera, F2.2 aperture, LED fash
1080p/30fps video recording
5.0 megapixel front-facing ,F2.4 aperture
non-removable 2,020mAh battery
Amigo OS (Android 4.2.1 Jellybean)
142.5 × 69.4 × 7.9mm (dimensions)
Black, White colors
What we liked about it:
- Class leading 1080p display
- 32GB internal storage
- Amazing image quality (front & rear)
- Camera software works well
- Gionee’s skin looks good
- Solid battery life
- Elegant and slim design & construction
What we didn’t like about it:
- Sluggish UI
- Gionee’s skin needs more functionality