Battery life is the topic of concern for most smartphone users and even more so these days with manufacturers building thinner and thinner devices, cutting down the available space for a proper battery more and more. The paradox of all this is that only a minority of smartphone users even wants that development. Most are totally fine with thicker devices in exchange for a large battery. Luckily more and more manufacturers start to realize exactly that, resulting in the launch of more and more devices often described at “battery monsters”. Gionee, THL, Lenovo, and just since recently Elephone offer such devices as well. The latter one is the manufacturer we’ve had a device from in the test, and it’s called the Elephone P5000.
Elephone P5000 Review: Specs
The Elephone P5000 is one of the rising manufacturers newest creations, boasting one of the largest batteries that have ever been built into a smartphone. It’s a massive 5,350mAh cell, promising days of battery life. Wanting to provide a benefit over competitors the P5000 even does support fast-charging, eliminating “the wait” you might are used to from previous battery monsters. Unfortunately the other specs might give some of you mixed feelings with an outdated Mediatek MT6592 1.7GHz octa-core SoC, 16GB of memory, no LTE support and a polycarbonate body. Luckily other components seem quite balanced being 2GB of RAM, dual-SIM slots, one micro SD slot, NFC support, a 5-inch 1080p display, a fingerprint sensor, and 16 / 8MP cameras.
Elephone P5000 Review: Unboxing, Design, Build
The Elephone P5000 got delivered in two boxes this time. One larger pack contains the main box and another one housing the 2.5A wall charger for the handset. Unfortunately, the wall charger is the biggest fail we’ve ever experienced with a Chinese phone. It comes with an EU plug but Elephone failed in terms of size. It simply doesn’t fit into a wall socket, making the use of a different USB charger necessary. Other accessories you get with the Elephone P5000 are a micro USB cable, a screen protector, one mini Android OTG adaptor and the usual documentation.
The design of the Elephone P5000 is quite pleasant in our opinion. It’s simple yet elegant and even though it doesn’t feature a single piece of metal feels really nice and solid thanks to a very high build quality. The front does remind us a little towards the Samsung Galaxy S5, which the physical home button housing the fingerprint sensor. What we liked is the fact that this phone does offer a status LED, which still too many phones don’t these days. The front and rear of the phone are black, while the frame is chrome plated. It might seem like the Elephone P5000 does feature stereo speakers when looking at the lower frame, but that’s sadly not the case. It’s a single speaker and the second opening only houses the microphone. The right frame houses the volume and on/ off switches, the upper frame the 3.5mm headphone hack and one micro USB OTG port. The rear is covered by a black, matte cover with a rubberized finish, which does feel very nice and adds a decent amount of grip. The frame of the handset and the edges of the cover are rounded to make the phone appear slimmer than it is at 11mm.
The back cover can be removed to gain access to the normal sized SIM slots of which the P5000 does feature two, as well as the micro SD slot. One also can spot the battery which takes the majority of space for itself. Unfortunately the cell can’t be removed. It is protected by a solid metal body and screwed tightly into the phone which essentially means that you will need to disassemble the whole device to replace it.
Elephone P5000 Review: Display
Elephone is keeping the manufacturer of the P5000’s 5-inch 1080p IPS OGS panel with Gorilla Glass protection a secret but we believe it is made by LG. Quality is typical for LG panels and so are the viewing angles with the slightly reddish tint when looking at it from the bottom or top. All in all this screen is what we call perfect. Colors, contrast, brightness, pixel density, touch panel – it all is top-notch and it can’t be done any better except by using some OLED panel. It’s a real pleasure to the eyes, perfect for pictures and other multimedia content.
Elephone P5000 Review: Software & Performance
The Elephone P5000 is running the usual 4.4.2 ROM which is the basis for all MT6592 devices with some Elephone modifications on top. Some actually claim the Elephone ROM to look like MIUI, which is something we don’t agree with. The only similarity between the Elephone ROM and MIUI are rounded icons but everything else is looking stock Android. The ROM has been beefed up a little with useful features such as off-screen gestures that are working very reliable and have been made fail-proof so you don’t initiate any unwanted actions in your pocket. The performance has been very satisfying throughout the whole review period and we didn’t encounter any crashes. Of course you notice that this handset is making use of a previous generation MTK chipset, but the MT6592 is still more than enough for anyone not into playing the latest games, especially when paired with a 2GB of RAM.
Elephone P5000 Review: Wireless Performance
Reception quality appeared to be good with the Elephone P5000 which we believe is mainly due to the large antennas Elephone built inside this device. Reception of 2G and 3G signals has been above average though not at high-end level during our tests. Phone call quality was very satisfying. Wi-Fi performance has been top-notch with no connection losses throughout the whole building. NFC did also work very well and without any need of perfect alignment thanks to a comparably large antenna in the back cover. GPS performance has been acceptable as well considering this handset is making use of an old Mediatek SoC. Accuracy has been at 2 meters during our tests with cold-fix times of 10 – 12 seconds.
Elephone P5000 Review: Audio Quality
The Elephone P5000’s Hi-Fi performance has been a let-down for us. The design is promising stereo speakers which obviously is not the case. There is one small single speaker built into the phone that does sound very crappy due to distortions going on at higher volume levels. There also is no base playback at all, which makes audio experience even worse. Attaching headphones does improve the overall situation but also doesn’t provide the best quality. It is ok, but not overly balanced and clear.
Elephone P5000 Review: Camera
Camera is another part the Elephone P5000 managed to surprise us with. Usually, Elephones don’t provide cameras with a decent picture quality, but this time they somehow managed to do. The 16 mega pixel rear shooter takes totally usable pictures with good colors and depth of field. It’s of course not coming close to e.g. the Meizu MX4, yet makes a great everyday camera that you always carry with you. Getting into low-light conditions results in the camera generating some noise, but this can be compensated using the LED flash which actually is bright enough to light up mid-sized rooms. 1080p videos are also recorded in a decent quality and offer good audio quality as well. The only serious flaw we stumbled upon is the focus, which sometimes needs up to 5 seconds to adjust. The front camera makes up for a decent selfie shooter, assuming they are taken under daylight.
Elephone P5000 Review: Battery
And there we hit the most important part of our Elephone P5000 review, that being battery of course. The massive 5,350mAh Li-Ion monster inside of there is promising a very long battery life, and it doesn’t stop there as it certainly delivers. Power-using this phone with 5 e-mail accounts and 3 social media accounts synchronizing constantly resulted in an easy 2 days of battery life for us. And that’s without cutting back on 3D gaming, running Dead Trigger 2 for at least one hour every evening! We are pretty sure that the average user will reach at least a full 3 days of battery life, while some might even hit the 4 or 5 days. There’s reason to complain though, and that’s because we believed Elephone didn’t make use of the full potential this huge battery does offer. Why? Simply because the Elephone P5000 only reached 9 hours and 25 minutes of screen-on time in the PCMark battery benchmark. Remember back to the Colorfly G708 slate, which reached close to 8 hours with a similar SoC and larger screen at only 3,000mAh of battery capacity. Now for hardware optimizations it definitely is too late, but there still can be improved a lot on the software side, which we hope is exactly what Elephone will do with future OTA updates, unlocking a larger junk of monster.
And what’s with the promised fast charging? Well, Elephone actually claims that the battery can be charger to 70% within 30 minutes on their website. What sound like nonsense really is. No battery would survive the amount of amperes that would need to be pumped into the cell to charge it that fast. Still, fast charging is there and it is working well. Charging from 20% to 100% only takes 1 hours and 45 minutes, which is quite amazing considering the size of the battery. So in the end charging time is amazing, while Elephone’s lie definitely is not.
Remains one thing to talk about, and that’s the non-replaceable battery. We’ve heard quite a few folks complaining about that, but actually there is no need to. You have to consider the fact that today’s battery cells are specified with around 800 cycles. But using up all of them doesn’t mean that your battery will be dead afterwards. It only means that a certain degree of the originally specified capacity is gone, which on average are a 20 – 30%. Now this means after 800 cycles you will be left with 70 – 80% of the original capacity, which in case of the Elephone P5000 still would be at least 3,745mAh, a lot more than most other phones provide. Now think about the fact how long one charging cycle does last. Lets assume the average user will re-charge the battery after 3 days. This means that you will use up roughly 122 cycles per year, which basically can be considered as nothing. Of course this calculation is very basic and doesn’t represent the reality, but it is enough to tell that this battery will outlast the phone itself, so stop worrying and start using!
Elephone P5000 Review: Verdict
The Elephone P5000 is a very solid phone that for sure isn’t high-end but doesn’t have much flaws as well. It’s one of those few Chinese phones you simply use without having to worry about something. Screen, reception quality, camera, battery life – this is what the Elephone P5000 does very good in. Yet we have to say, that it is a little expensive. On average you pay $220 for the Elephone P5000, which really sounds like a lot for a phone not even using the next generation Mediatek processors. And indeed, it might be too much to spend for anyone who doesn’t really need such a huge battery. But those who do might well be willing to pay this amount of money, and they do get a very solid device that has been worth the money. In the end it once again depends on what you need, and those who need get our green light on the Elephone P5000.
Thanks to Elephone and eFox-Shop for teaming up to provide us with a review sample.