Review of the flagship Gionee Elife E7. Does the flagship Gionee have what it takes to become the flagship of choice for Android phone fans?
When Gionee released the Gionee Elife E7 the whole smartphone world stood back and took notice! The Elife E7 is the phone which has propelled Gionee in to the spotlight and the phone which will create a name for the long time smartphone maker. Although well known here in China and in India, Gionee have yet to really set the world alight but that all changed with the launch of the Elife series of phones.
The first Elife model, the Elife E6, proved that Gionee know how to design an attractive, well made phone with capable hardware. The Gionee Elife E7 sealed the deal by taking the hardware level to 11 while remaining competitively priced!
Gionee Elife E7 Review
This review is of the flagship Gionee Elife E7 which boats 3GB RAM and Snapdragon 800 processor. The original Chinese review can be seen here, we have translated the review as best we can for English readers to enjoy.
Gionee Elife E7 Review – 3GB RAM, Snapdragon 800 flagship phone
The version of the Gionee Elife E7 on review here is the top-of-the-range version with all the bells and whistles. The quad-core processor is a 2.2Ghz Snapdragon 8974, there is an amazing 3GB RAM and the 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 display gets a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to help prevent scratches. The Elife E7 also receives Gionee’s own Amigo OS based on Android and featuring some rather exciting camera features.
Compared to Gionee’s previous flagship phone, the Gionee Elife E6, with Mediatek chipset and 5 inch display the Elife E7 is a completely different beast:
As you can see from the main specifications of the current and previous flagship Gionee phones, the Elife E7 offers plenty of updates, more than enough to convince and E6 owner to update. Not only is the display larger, but the Snapdragon 800 processsor with Adreno 330 and 3GB RAM are in a totally different league! Even the front camera gets a major update to 8 mega-pixel, not to mention the 16 mega-pixel rear camera which is possibly one of the most advanced on the market today!
Gionee Elife E7 Review – Unibody design is easy to hold
The design of the Gionee Elife E7 is similar to that of the E6 and is manufactured in a unibody style. This means the battery cannot be user replaced (easily) but allows the phone to be thinner than would normally possible. At it’s thinnest the E7 measures 6.5mm growing to 9.5mm where it bulges in the rear.
To the front of the phone we have the large 5.5-inch display with narrow 2.33mm bezels with an 8 mega-pixel front camera at the very top.
On the chin we have 3 capacitive buttons, which aren’t easily seen on this white model. As you can see Gionee have done an excellent job of creating a 5.5-inch phone with a compact body.
Andi’s note: From my own experience the Elife E7 is almost the same physical size as the Xiaomi Mi3 but has a larger 5.5-inch display and is more comfortable to hold.
The overall design of the Elife E7 is clean and simple. There are physical buttons on the right for volume, the top for power along with a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. The base has just the micro USB.
A Micro SIM tray is on the left of the phone which can be removed with a simple pin. Like most flagship smartphones the Gionee Elife E7 only has room for a single sim card, an odd choice for a Chinese phone.
Turning the phone over to the rear and we have a verity curved back panel, 16 mega-pixel rear camera and LED flash. Compared to the rest of the phone it appears the Gionee designers were suffering from a hangover when they designed the rear and just made do with whatever their groggy minds could come up with. For such a clean looking phone to have an ugly rear it really is a shame!
Gionee have opted for a glossy plastic for the fuselage of the Gionee Elife E7. The glossy finish isn’t to everyones tastes and it can easily pick up fingerprints. The Elife E7 is also available in a total of 7 colours including white, black, green, blue, yellow, pink and orange.
Gionee Elife E7 Review – Amigo OS
The Android based Amigo ROM for the Elife E7 has undergone an overhaul and is now in version 2.0. As is the style of many ROMS (Vivo’s Funtouch, Flyme 3.0) Amigo has a simple flat design with nice bright colours.
Like MIUI, long pressing the home button will bring up the last few apps used and will allow you to clear them to free up RAM. There are also a range of security measures built in, mobile data monitoring apps, advanced photo features, etc.
Andi’s Note: In my short hands on with Amigo on the Elife E7 I found it to be much slower than MIUI on the Xiaomi Mi3 which I was comparing it too. There also appears to be plenty of room for optimisation.
Gionee Elife E7 Review – Cameras
Although the Gionee Elife E7 has some of the most advanced specifications of any smartphone on the market, it is the rear camera of the phone which most buyers will be interested in. According to reports the 16 mega-pixel camera on the Gionee Elife E7 is the most sensitive on the market and has a Largan M8 les and1/2.3-inch sensor with large 1.34µm pixels. The front camera is impressive too being the same 8 meat-pixel unit used as the main camera on the iPhone 5S!
At the launch of the Elife E7, Gionee were proud to shout about the camera hardware, but were rather shy about the aperture size which we later learned to be F2.2. In comparison the Oppo N1 has an F2.0, the Meizu MX3 has a F2.0 and Vivo Xplay 3S is an F1.8, but as we already know after the Vivo Xplay 3S review aperture size isn’t everything.
With such great hardware it would be a shame to have a basic camera app, thankfully Gionee have created a very nice professional mode with easy to use and understand interface.
The above screen shots show the basic options on the left and professional options on the right. In professional model you an choose exposure, white balance, scene selection, HDR, Panorama etc. You also get all the regular shooting options including gesture shot, smile detection, voice shoot etc.
Other excellent features on offer have the Elife E7 remove unwanted passers by from photos, create onion skin layered action photos, object tracking, and a group mode which will snap a few photos of a group and create one single best photo where everyone is smiling with their eyes open. You also have beauty mode, and even a ‘food’ mode to create the best photos of your meal!
Gionee Elife E7 photo samples
These photos taken with the Gionee Elife E7 are from the original review, and have been reduced by the original source. Once we get our review Elife E7 we will upload full size images.
Gionee Elife E7 Review – Performance
With a 2.2Ghz Snapdragon 800 processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB RAM it is not surprising that the Gionee Elife E7 scores over 30,000 points. However, what is a surprise is that it only manages 33,318! In comparison the Vivo Xplay 3S with a higher resolution 2K display scores more than 35,000 points implying that some optimisation of the Amigo ROM is certainly in order.
Gionee Elife E7 benchmarks
- Ice Storm: 17,079
- Ice Storm Extrme: 11,668
- Vellamo HTML 5: 2,775
- Vellamo Metal: 1,162
Gionee Elife E7 benchmark comparisons
In this comparison the Xiaomi Mi3 scores the highest on Antutu with 35,976, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is second with 35,705, third is the Lenovo Vibe Z at 35,521 and the Gionee Elife E7 comes in 4th place.
In Vellamo the Gionee Elife E7 does better and manages to come in second place behind the Lenovo Vibe Z and ahead of the Note 3.
The flagship Gionee also does well in 3D mark coming second place again, this time to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and aped of the Vibe Z.
Gionee Elife E7 Review – Battery
Oddly none of the Chinese reviews we have seen mention the battery life. We suspect this is either due to the fact that most reviewers haven’t had enough time with the phone to see how well the 2500mAh battery lasts, or most possibly are following Gionee’s instructions to focus on the camera rather than battery life.
Once we get our hands on an Elife E7 be sure that we will give you all the battery life figures.
Gionee Elife E7 Review
The Gionee Elife E7 is currently on sale in China in low and mid-range configurations. The top of the range 4G LTE version won’t go on sale until after the Chinese New Year and we have only seen the black and white colour options in stores. The Phone is also scheduled for an official launch in India, Africa and Latin America at some point this year.
I will reserve full judgement of the phone until we have had time to perform a full review but from my brief time with the phone and the reviews we have studied the Elife E7 could be one of the phones to own this year, but before I put down my own hard earned money I want to see some ROM optimisations or possibly even a CyanogenMod build so we can squeeze out all of this Chinese super phone’s potential.