First Impressions: The Elephone Trunk is a shockingly nice $100 smartphone


elephone trunk review

Elephone have launched their Elephone Trunk, an entry-level phone that they hope will compete against the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi, but don’t scoff too soon as this little phone is surprisingly good!

After the P7000 and P8000, Elephone are know for launching devices with crazy specifications at affordable figures and with huge bezels. We all know they make other phones too, but they have never really gotten much attention for their low-cost efforts. I believe this could change with the Elephone Trunk.

When the Elephone Trunk arrived with me today I really didn’t know what to expect. In my mind I knew the phone looked good on paper, but I had a sneaking suspicion that it might not feel and operate as well as we all hope it might.

I’m glad I didn’t say something silly like “I’ll eat my hat if it’s good” otherwise I would be out shopping for a delicious looking baseball cap right about now! The Elephone Trunk is a surprisingly budget phone.

elephone trunk review

The Elephone feels good as soon as it lands in your palm, and the experience gets better when you look at the details and turn it on.

It’s a personal thing, but I really love those soft to the touch rubberized finishes, and the Elephone Trunk has one. The black phone which arrived with me isn’t slim but the soft finish and the very rounded body help to give the illusion of a much thinner phone in the hand.

elephone trunk review

If you give the Trunk the once over you might be fooled in to thinking the device has a unibody construction but there is a a slight indent on the bottom right corner to pull off the rear. Removing the rear means to you switch to one of the bright colour options and also get at that 2100mAh battery, SD card slot and dual SIM locations.

elephone trunk review

With the rear off you can also see that Elephone may have taken some lessons from Xiaomi on the internal construction of a phone. It is all extremely neat and very professionally finished.

elephone trunk review

On the back we can see the simple ELE logo, space for a single speaker, LED flash (blindingly bright) and the glass lens which protects the 8 mega-pixel rear camera (interpolated to 13 mega-pixel).

As usual the camera was one of the first items to test, and I am pretty impressed! First of all the camera application in the ElE ROM really is packed to the brim with features. Everything from pictures size and quality to manual camera settings are all easily accessible from the settings menu. Focus is fast, shutter speed is good (and without one of those tacky camera shutter sounds) and the images are way above my expectations for a phone of this price.

Some camera samples from the Elephone Trunk below.

At the heart of the Trunk is a Qualcomm chipset, this is the first non Mediatek phone from Elephone and uses the budget Snapdragon 410 with 2GB RAM and an Adreno 306 processor. The choice of this chipset opens up the possibility of better and longer support for the Elephone Trunk, and even the chance of third party ROMS.

elephone trunk review

Speaking of the ROM, the Elephone system is based on Android 5.1. The menus and notification tray are all stock Lollipop, but the main UI has custom Elephone icons and a neat method of swiping from one opened folder to the next. I haven’t played around with it too much but so far it is very smooth and all that necessary Google support is built right in.

Elephone Trunk First Impressions

I think you can see that I am impressed with the Elephone Trunk. I would go so far to say that the Trunk is possibly the best Elephone device on the market (by a long way), in fact its possibly the best Elephone full stop! The build is impressive, camera is way above expectations, and the custom ROM runs smoothly on that Snapdragon chipset. I’ll need more time with the phone to see if there are hidden issues, bugs and to check the battery life, but so far I’m happy to use this as a daily driver.

Elephone Trunk Specification Highlights

  • Snapdragon 410 chipset
  • FDD LTE (800,1800,2100,2600)
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB SD support
  • 5-inch HD display
  • Samsung 8 mega-pixel camera
  • Dual SIM
  • Compact and well made.

If you have any questions about the Elephone Trunk feel free to ask in the comments below.

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54 Comments

  1. Zoran
    September 22, 2015

    Hi, can you please tell me if the phone has a notification LED and do those capacitive buttons light up?

    • September 22, 2015

      Backlit buttons – Yes
      Notification light – I believe the home button ‘ring’ is also a notification light. Will double check this.

      • Zoran
        September 22, 2015

        If you could please check and get back to me on that. Phone looks great, 800Mhz FDD LTE is a nice plus for people from Europe. The only drawback when compared to Xiaomi Redmi would be lack of sensors (gyro and compass), but Elephone has never released phones with those included, I don’t know why. Redmi on the other hand doesn’t have 800Mhz LTE. You can’t have it all it seems.

        • mikey
          September 22, 2015

          you hit the right spot!

        • briza
          September 22, 2015

          I´m also very interested if there´s an compass on board.

        • Muhammad Yasir
          September 22, 2015

          that last line … thats the most hated phrase. EVER

      • kdokma
        September 22, 2015

        when we can expect reviews of xiaomi Redmi Note 2?

      • Brooklyn701
        September 23, 2015

        Yeah it probably is one. The question is what colors can it produce?

  2. Chico Migraña
    September 22, 2015

    Looks like Z5s, even the ring is similar.
    When will be available?

    • September 22, 2015

      I believe it is on sale now

  3. Joke Jonnson
    September 22, 2015

    Hi Andy how is the battery life so far?

  4. Steven Fox
    September 22, 2015

    Wow, Elephone actually making good phones? What`s next rich people giving away money 😀

    • Muhammad Yasir
      September 22, 2015

      hey there now …don’t be so harsh !

    • Yeti hand
      September 22, 2015

      you might surprise to learn that leagoo is following the same road

      • Steven Fox
        September 23, 2015

        Now that I have to see for myself, a Leagoo phone that lasts more than 6 months before falling apart. Their new devices are barely out, a review based on a week’s usage is nothing to get upbeat about.
        Me, I`ll wait 3-4 months for user feedback, before considering Leagoo, Ulephone or Elephone seriously.

        • Yeti hand
          September 23, 2015

          YES Sir, understood Sir.
          I will provide you feedbacks Sir.

  5. fadlisaad
    September 22, 2015

    I owned Elephone G7, the stock rom was suck. Luckily there is a lot of great Russian dev building a good rom for all Elephone phone based on MIUI! Google Translate is your friend. http://miuipro.ru

  6. yalok
    September 22, 2015

    Finally, they managed to build a phone.

    • Mesterio
      September 22, 2015

      let’s not get ahead of ourselves they probably managed to build a good phone by mistake. 🙂

      • Muhammad Yasir
        September 22, 2015

        lets hope they keep repeating these mistakes

        • Chico Migraña
          September 22, 2015

          Now is cheap enough so you can buy!

      • Yeti hand
        September 22, 2015

        AHAHAHAHAHA

      • September 23, 2015

        It could be a case of Infinite monkey theorem 😛

  7. Muhammad Yasir
    September 22, 2015

    well … if ANDI of all the people says so ….

    then this just MIGHT be it ! elephone FINALLY learn to build a top notch phone ! (AND THE CAM’s KILLA for the PRICE , OMG OMG!)

    i can only hope for better innovations and MASSIVE improvements in Elephone’s main series … based off of this little gem !

    Elephone , i hope to see more of the same AND even better in the future !

    • Riccardo Benzoni
      September 22, 2015

      Maybe after a couple of years you could finally settle for a phone 😀

      • Muhammad Yasir
        September 22, 2015

        feeling’s mutual bro 🙂

      • Yeti hand
        September 22, 2015

        a couple of centuries maybe

  8. Hakim Farouk
    September 22, 2015

    Now, what they need to focus on is their rom development segment. Still too much bugs on models like p8000 to even be called a stable release.

    • Chico Migraña
      September 22, 2015

      Maybe with a snapdragon SoC we can put some custom ROM or a MIUI one, that would be great

  9. Sansa
    September 22, 2015

    An additional good thing, Snapdragon = Good GPS

    • Brooklyn701
      September 23, 2015

      You still live off Stereotypes….? Even Snapdragons have bad GPS from time to time. Not all Snapdragon are as good as their Flagships. And not all MTeks are bad.

      • Sansa
        September 23, 2015

        Have yet to find one SD with horrible GPS as mediatek.

  10. slartiblart
    September 22, 2015

    The camera is surprisingly good. Might be my secondary phone because I’m a playa innit.

    • September 23, 2015

      Agree. I get this out of my pocket and snap away without a care because it is so cheap. With my OP2 or Mi Note I’m always a little more careful when quickly whipping it out to snap a photo.

  11. E8hffff
    September 22, 2015

    Looks very similar to the Jiayu S3 which was a great cheap phone.

  12. Mrd Macdonald
    September 22, 2015

    Elephone Trunk, Flash deal price only $89.9 (last 15 piece available).
    http://goo.gl/3kSQKi

  13. Mrd Macdonald
    September 22, 2015

    $89.9 ,Freeship

  14. Matthew
    September 22, 2015

    Could you list the 3G frequencies?

    • Matthew
      September 23, 2015

      Found them:
      WCDMA :Band 1/5/8 (850 900 2100)

  15. balcobomber25
    September 23, 2015

    Should be a decent Redmi 2 competitor providing it doesn’t suffer from the usual Elephone problems.

  16. Jasper
    September 23, 2015

    lol, I just realized how difficult it is for me to believe that Elephone actually made a decent phone without major flaws, even though I trust your opinion Andi

    • September 23, 2015

      This is the best Elephone I have used so far, and a decent budget phone. Don’t buy one just yet though as I’ll post my impressions after a week of use next week. By then we will know if it truly is a great phone 😀 Keep posted

      • Joel Adames
        October 6, 2015

        any updates on the trunk???

  17. Rezneck
    September 23, 2015

    This looks amazing, i’ll order one for sure 🙂 Since its qualcomm, maybe we can get source code 🙂 And see Cyanogenmod 😀

    • September 23, 2015

      That would be pretty exciting

  18. Tommy
    September 23, 2015

    i own elephone p7000, but i don’t like it anymore, i have preorder trunk from elephone.cc, i only hope i can receive it on time

  19. PandaTel
    September 24, 2015

    Do you think this phone is better than Elephone P6000, as they have similar price?

  20. fido futte
    September 24, 2015

    I also use an chinesse 5″ Snapdragon 410 phone and Android 4.4.4 back from Nov.2014 last year, and it just run 100% stabel and have not found any bug yet. Qualcomm SoC seems to be better quality than mediatek, but unfortunate they are slower.

    • MSi_GS70
      September 30, 2015

      But for hundred bucks ? Great deal

  21. RuR‎
    September 24, 2015

    Which is better, this or P6000?

  22. Dinin
    September 26, 2015

    The device lacks gyro sensor, so i wonder how is google maps navigation. Does it show the direction you are facing with an arrow, or only a dot is visible?

  23. MSi_GS70
    September 30, 2015

    Very nice .. but I hate elephones logo .. ugly please change it for rounded fonts make it dynamic not crackily

  24. Samuel
    October 14, 2015

    What about the front camera? Is it good? How MP does it have?