Gionee Elife S5.1 Review

Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee

September, 2014
4.8" AMOLED display, MT6592 chipset, 8 MP primary camera, 5 MP front camera, 2050 mAh battery, 16 GB storage, 1 GB RAM.
EUR:€240 | USD:$272 | PKR:28,268 | INR:19,200

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Gionee Elife S5.1 Review

Gionee Elife S5.1 Review


Introduction

Gionee Elife S5.1 was recently released with a quite expensive price tag and it has been called the World’s thinnest smartphone. Gionee Elife S5.1 is the successor of the Gionee Elife S5.5 that was launched earlier this year. It has also entered into the Guinness book of world records in September. Apart from its ultra-thinness, the Gionee Elife S5.1 also appears to be a decent smartphone that features a Super AMOLED display of 4.8 inches with 720 x 1280 pixels, 5 MP wide-angle front-facing camera, 8 MP rear camera, quad-core Snapdragon 400 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal memory (non-expandable), and a 2100 mAh battery. The handset is available in four different colors i.e. black, white, pink, and mint green. Moreover, it runs on Android 4.3 with Gionee's Amigo 2.0 UI.

Gionee Elife S5.1 is not the Gionee's first thinnest mobile phone, rather the company also has the Elife S5.5 which is 5.5mm thin. The Elife S5.1 successfully shed some grams and millimeters at the cost of some screen and camera resolution, but even that it makes an impressive first impression. It ideally has all the features that a user wants in a smartphone, that is, it is light, slim, sturdy, good-looking as well as very powerful. What else you could ask in a mobile phone? Let’s put this anorexic device through its paces to reveal if Gionee's engineering accomplishment is worth the effort?

Unboxing the Gionee Elife S5.1

Here is the list of freebies you will get with the Gionee Elife S5.1.

  • Gionee Elife S5.1 Smartphone
  • Flip Cover
  • Silicon Case
  • 4 Scratch Guard (2 for Front and 2 for Back)
  • 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

Design & Build Quality

Although, the two handsets from the Gionee look pretty much alike but the Elife S5.1 is just awesome handset. The moment you hold it in your hand, you will be amazed with its lightweight as it weighs just 98 grams that too with the battery. The 5.1mm of thickness would be next thing you will be impressed with. The phone is an octa-core with the dimensions of 139.8 x 67.4 x 5.1mm.

When comparing its design with Gionee Elife S5.5, the S5.1 comes as a better design because everything has been included in only 5.1mm of thickness with nothing coming out of it. The front screen as well as the back side are completely flat giving the handset design an extra finesse. Most surprisingly, the camera module is also integrated within the 5.1mm dimensions.

Build quality of the Elife S5.1 is also very good and the phone successfully grabs attention with its nicely curved sides with no sharp edges. The bezel is very slim and the screen comes with a black border. Talking about power button and volume rockers, they are placed on the right side whereas micro USB and audio jack are present at the bottom of the handset. The single SIM tray is located on the right side. There is nothing on the top and there are dual Mics for noise cancellation.

The glass back does make the phone a bit slippery to hold, but then again bearing the weight and slimness in mind, we found no scruples in putting a cover on it. The Elife S5.1 allows only a little room for complaint in the design department.

Display

The Gionee Elife S5.1 sports a 4.8 inch AMOLED multi-touch display which poses brilliance with an HD resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and a stunning pixel density of 306 ppi. Viewing angles are exceptionally good along with the sunlight legibility. Although, it is an over-saturated screen but not to the extent that it looks bad.

The handset is small in size and can be carried and operated very easily. It’ll fit in your pocket, hand and anywhere else you want to put it.

The Elife S5.1 comes with magnesium alloy frame with brushed metal finish. On the whole, the build quality is solid and the phone definitely feels premium. Moreover, the back has Corning Gorilla Glass protection. It has a 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a tiny secondary microphone hole. It also has loudspeaker grill along with the Gionee branding on the back. Furthermore, 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 Gionee Elife S5.1 is a unique smartphone which is light weight and ultra slim, you got to hold it to believe.

User Interface & Performance

Coming to the interface and functionality, the Elife S5.1 runs on Android 4.4.2 (KitKat) with Amigo UI 2.0 on top. The user interface is entirely different from the interface of the Elife S5.5. There is a separate themes app, wallpaper app called Amigo paper and more customization options are available. The Gionee's launcher customizations runs very deep and keeps the Google apps and services intact and even bring quite a few features of its own.

The default lockscreen comes with two non-customizable panes, one of which shows time and upward swipe will unlock the phone, whereas the second pane shows a widget with four shortcuts for camera, voice recorder, torch and fake call. Apart from the lockscreen, the homescreen is pretty standard and comes with four customizable shortcuts that are visible on all home-screens. You can have up to nine homescreen panes at most. Each pane supports a plethora of configurable and resizable widgets and app shortcuts. The notification area has two tabs – one for all the notifications, while the second is a 3x4 grid of various toggles.

Talking about its performance, the phone is powered by MediaTek MT6592 chipset, which translates into an Octa-core Cortex-A7 processor at 1.7GHz, Mali-450MP4 GPU and 1GB of RAM. Although, the performance is smooth as compared to the Elife E5 and the Elife E6, but not the best. It stutters and chokes when multiple apps are opened at the same time.

Furthermore, the phone comes with 1GB of RAM out of which you get 952MB while 300MB of RAM is free when the phone is idle. This means that at any given point of time, you can get close to a maximum of 350MB which is very slow. For this reason, it is suggested that you delete some of the bloatware to ensure that you don’t have to kill apps every time when you are running out of memory.

On the other hand, there is 16 GB of internal storage available that gives you about 9.7 GB for mass storage and 2.64 GB for apps. Although, it is not expandable via SD card slot but alternatively, you can easily move compatible apps to the phone storage from the system storage.

Multimedia

Let’s start with the custom gallery app that comes with a pre-defined folder view of Albums, Wallpapers, Screenshots, Videos and Others. It is pretty much simple and you have no option to change or customize it. All the standard features for viewing and editing the images are available here along with the light adjustments that let you bring out the shadows or the highlights or even create a tiny "planet photo".

The music player in the Elife S5.1 has simple interface and is very easy to use and navigate. It can play variety of audio formats. It has DTS effects that can be enabled from music player settings. Moreover, the FM Radio has the standard MediaTek interface and can search for the radio stations automatically. Audio from the loudspeaker is not the best and the bundled in-ear earphones are decent. The app also offers stereo FM recording in the .OGG file format and the recorded files can be accessed via the Sound Recorder app.

Video playing is also pretty much a standard affair. There is a separate video player app that lists all your videos and it can play XviD or DivX AVI files or MP4 and MKV's without any problem. Since, DTS and AC3 audio track are not supported, the MKV compatibility is quite questionable. Pop-up play feature is available that lets you watch a video while doing something else on the phone.

Camera & Video Recording

The Gionee Elife S5.1 comes with the 8-megapixel rear camera with single LED flash, f/2.2 aperture which is pretty much decent. It gives excellent results in daylight and low light shots can be make better. On the other hand, images taken in cloudy conditions turn out to be dull. Color reproduction is good, even though a little on the cooler side and the auto-focus and image processing don’t take much time.

The camera interface is very simple and cluster free. It comes with all the standard options. There are different capture modes available like V-sign shot, Touch shot and Smile shot. Furthermore, there is an additional CharmCam app that has five mode options - Face Beauty, Make Up, Live Filters, Stamps and PPT. You can access settings menu either via its dedicated shortcut or with a top swipe. It gives you access to HDR mode, Auto scene, geo-tagging, resolution settings, anti-banding, among others.

Images have an average level of resolved details. The photos look incredibly good when viewed on the phone's display, but viewing them on a larger screen brings out their issues. However, exposure, contrast and colors are good, which makes for nice looking photos when you view them fitted on HD or Full HD monitor. There is also a 5 MP front facing camera.

The camera can record videos at 1080p resolution at 30fps. Its interface is very similar with the still camera. It supports stereo audio recording and the audio is crisp since it has a secondary microphone. The video quality is good. Videos recorded with the Elife S5.1 offer smooth framerate, good contrast and colors with low dynamic range and unimpressive resolved details.

Battery life

Coming to the battery life, the Gionee Elife S5.1 packs a 2,050mAh built-in battery which is 9.5% lesser than the Elife S5.5. However, the battery life is decent, and it lasts for less than a day with average use. Though, it could not match the performance when it comes on 3G calls, but definitely did well on the web browsing test.

With the help of its CPU power Saving Mode, you can get a battery life of one day because it limits the CPU performance and lowers the temperature of the device. Additionally, its Du Battery Saver app tweaks the Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Auto Sync when the screen is off to improve the battery life.

One more exceptional feature is its standby endurance which is simply outstanding. The battery can last you nearly a month on a single charge even without any battery saving enhancements turned on, and this is something really amazing.

On the whole, the battery in the Gionee Elife S5.1 lasts approximately for 9 hours. Despite the fact that its talk time is good, other things for instance browsing and video playback are not remarkable.

Connectivity

The world’s thinnest smartphone supports quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G with up to 42Mbps of download speed. The connectivity features include, 3G, dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth v 4.0 with GPS and GLONASS, plus an FM radio with RDS. Though, there is no LTE connectivity nor NFC available on the Elife S5.1.

Furthermore, a microUSB 2.0 port is there for charging as well as for data connections. On top of that, media transfer mode is also supported in order to access built-in memory by means of USB connection. In addition to this, the microUSB 2.0 port can also be used in USB On-the-go mode for connecting other USB devices like pen drives, keyboards or real USB hard drives.

To end with, reverse tethering is also available that lets you share your PC’s internet connection with Elife S5.1 with the help of the microUSB cable.

Should I Buy The Gionee Elife S5.1?

The Gionee Elife S5.1 unquestionably is a revolution in terms of thickness of smartphones. Gionee has successfully crafted such a slim smartphone and that too with a 4.8-inch display. It is definitely a good option for you if you are looking for a stylish phone. However, it is just an average smartphone that looks like a premium one. It has good display, great build, sleek body, reasonably fast performance, good camera and also support for 4G networks which make it a good option to consider. But, it definitely is bit costly when compared with other phones in this range.