We go hands-on with the Gionee Elife E8!
Gionee, that Chinese brand that made its mark with their big-battery, Marathon series of phones has had a rough time here in the Philippines. While their devices are compelling, their visibility and price left much to be desired. There were rumors that the brand completely pulled out of the country, rumors that turned out to be false. They did go through a transformation of sorts, and have partnered local outfit Cellprime, the parent company of Cloudfone, for distribution, marketing and sales of their devices.
Cellprime has taken the previous failures of Gionee to heart with the release of the new devices of the Chinese brand here in the PH. For one thing, they’re selling Gionee’s phones at a lower price than other markets, notably India, which makes the brand instantly competitive with other Chinese outfits. Today we’ll be taking a look at Gionee’s Elife E8, the company’s newest flagship that comes packing MediaTek’s X10 Helio SoC.
Gionee Elife E8
- 2GHz MediaTek MT6795 64-bit octa-core processor
- PowerVR G6200
- 3GB of RAM
- 6-inch QHD AMOLED display, 1440 x 2560 resolution
- 64GB of storage
- 24-megapixel rear camera with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus, dual LED flash
- 8-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB OTG, NFC, Fingerprint scanner
- 3500mAh battery
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
Initial impressions: A big, beastly flagship that’ll turn heads
This is the first time that we’ve ever gone hands-on with any device in Gionee’s lineup, and we’re pretty impressed with what we’re seeing so far. The E8 is a big, beautiful smartphone that sports a metal frame and is designed along the same line as other flagship offerings of similar companies. The phone’s frame sport beautifully bevelled edges and a subtly curved back, allowing you to hold on to its rather large and substantial body.
We’d forgive you if you thought that the E8 used a full metal body, but that’s not the case – the phone has a metal frame yes, but uses a removable plastic back. We’re very impressed with the build quality of the removable back, as it blends almost seamlessly with the body of the device, even though it is made out of plastic.
We had a little difficulty in removing the plastic back, but we’re not really complaining as the tighter fit really gives you the impression that the device sports a unibody metal construction. Once you remove the back, you’ll see the two SIM slots as well as the microSD expansion slot.
The phone also sports a circular fingerprint scanner on the rear much like other flagships nowadays, along with the 24-megapixel rear camera, dual LED flash and the speaker grille on the bottom.
Once you turn the phone back over, you’ll see the 6-inch, QHD AMOLED display protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The display is bright, crisp and vibrant, has excellent viewing angles all around and is a pleasure to look at. On the bottom chin of the E8 lies the capacitive buttons for navigation. Bezels are okay – they’re not exactly thin but aren’t too thick either.
One of the standout features of the Elife E8 is the 24-megapixel rear camera. On paper, the specs are pretty impressive – 24-megapixel Sony sensor, OIS, phase detection AF, as well as several shooting modes and a manual feature. The E8 can also shoot 120-megapixel photos by stitching several photos together, but unfortunately we weren’t able to try it out during our brief time with it.
The innards of the Elife E8 are pretty impressive as well – it uses MediaTek’s monster MT6795 Helio X10 octa-core processor, along with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. It’s an impressive device for sure, though we weren’t able to run it through synthetic benchmarks because of internet issues at the venue we shot it in. It does use Gionee’s own UI overlay that strips the app drawer and leaves all apps in the open, dubbed Amigo OS. We’re not exactly fans of custom UIs that do that, though your mileage may vary.
One of the biggest assets of Gionee, at least in the PH is price – the E8 retails for Php 23,999 – several thousand pesos cheaper here than the price it’s being sold in India, one of Gionee’s key markets. It signifies a willingness to embrace the price-sensitive sensibilities of Filipinos, which is always a good thing for the end customer.