We review Gionee’s Elife S Plus!
If you haven’t heard, Gionee’s back in full force in the Philippines, with a brand new trading partner in the form of Cloudfone’s parent company, CellPrime. As part of their re-launch of sorts, the company released a number of new smartphones locally, including the phone we’re reviewing today, the Elife S Plus. Gionee’s mid-range smartphone delivers on most fronts, but is this enough to lure customers looking for a good deal? You’ll have to find out below. But first, the specs:
Gionee S Plus
- 1.3GHz MT6753 octa-core processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 5.5-inch HD AMOLED display, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 16GB of storage, expandable up to 64GB
- 13-megapixel rear camera
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, USB-Type C
- 3150mAh battery
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
A pretty face and a glossy back
The Elife S Plus is certainly a looker, and possesses an aluminum frame that’s present in many mid-range smartphones nowadays. That aluminum body has been chamfered for a more premium look, which certainly does wonders for the phone’s appearance.
Overall the phone is quite thin, coming in at just 7.5mm thick. The back of the phone is curved, so there’s plenty to hold on when you’re holding the phone in your hands. The phone uses black bezels to fool you that you’re using a device that has very minimal bezels, but that illusion is obviously dashed when you turn the display on. The phone is quite tall, owing to the fact that it uses physical Android navigation keys instead of on-screen ones but it’s not unmanageable.
Unlike other phones in its price range, the Elife S Plus features a removable back, though we’re not quite sold on the dark grey gloss finish on it. The back isn’t completely featureless – there’s a subtle weave design to the largely grey, gloss back that reveals itself when light hits it just right. The 13-megapixel camera is located on the upper left side, flanked by its LED flash. One thing that we hate about the back is that it’s such a smudge magnet – it’s a good thing that Gionee includes a jelly case with every purchase because we would hate to have to wipe the phone off every time we held it.
Once you take off the back you’re treated to the sight of two SIM slots, a microSD slot and the removable 3150mAh battery. Going around the phone you’ll be treated to the volume and power button on the right while the 3.5mm jack is on top. The bottom of the phone lies the USB Type-C port, which is surprising to see on a mid-range device.
Gionee is fond of using AMOLED displays on its phones – three of the four devices sold in the PH use AMOLED displays, though we’re not going to fault them for it. AMOLED panels are more power efficient, have excellent black levels and punchy, if oversaturated colors – which is the case with the display of the S Plus. Unfortunately, the lower ppi of the S Plus works against the phone, and if you look hard enough you’re going to start seeing pixels on the display.
The phone uses a custom UI overlay that’s unique to Gionee phones dubbed Amigo OS. Honestly, we’re not fans of custom UIs, but Amigo does bring a few things to the table, namely screen gestures, tap to wake and other functionality like smart mute (mute the phone when it’s ringing by turning it over flat on its screen).
Has enough power for most tasks
Just like other smartphones in the mid-range bracket, the Gionee S Plus uses MediaTek’s MT6753 octa-core processor, paired with 3GB of RAM. It’s capable of handling most tasks, more so than other similarly spec’d smartphones thanks to the lower power requirements of the HD display, though just like other phones with the same SoC it stumbles a little with demanding games. There’s a a generous serving of RAM – 3GB to be exact. There’s 16GB of storage on tap though you’d probably want to put in more via microSD card.
A good camera that’s capable of taking Instagram-worthy photos
To be honest we were certainly quite surprised at the imaging chops of the S Plus. The 13-megapixel rear camera certainly punches above its weight class, and produced rather clear and crisp photos even with less than ideal lighting. We were even more surprised to find out that the phone had a manual mode of sorts, allowing budding photographers to control some of the settings in the camera before taking a shot.
Average battery life
Despite having a 3150mAh battery and an HD AMOLED display, the Gionee S Plus recorded an average score in our PCMark battery benchmark test. At just 6 hours and 21 minutes, the phone isn’t going to last you more than a day with a single charge which we confirmed in a particularly busy day. Because the phone uses a USB Type-C cable you’ll have to keep an eye on the included USB Type-C cable like a hawk, since replacement cables are rarer than hen’s teeth as of writing.
Verdict: Another solid mid-range smartphone in a market that’s filled with them
As a mid-range smartphone the Gionee S Plus does quite well, despite its few failings. It’s pretty, has solid performance and proved itself as a capable shooter. The problem here is that there’s plenty of other phones that fit that description, and with cheaper price tags to boot.
Nevertheless, there’s certainly something to be said about a phone like the Gionee S Plus, and if you’re in market for a solid and gorgeous mid-range phone, you might want to consider the Chinese company’s offering.
The Gionee S Plus retails for Php 9,999.