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.
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.
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.
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.