Gionee had launched its latest flagship device, the Gionee Elife E8 almost after two years of its predecessor, the Elife E7. Gionee had been around for more than a couple of years now and unlike most of the other Chinese companies, it has its devices across offline mobile stores as well. With the E series represent the flagships, the company has been launching devices for each segment. The S series for Slim devices, F series for fashion devices giving more importance to the look of the device, M series for bigger battery life with the Marathon M5 being the latest.
We got our hands on the Gionee Elife E8, a huge device at 6-inches, with the metal frame and finish, to give it a classy look though it is the camera that is claimed to be one of the best for any smartphone currently. It isn’t easy to call a smartphone camera to be close to a DSLR camera by quality, but Gionee claims that. Let us find out more about the device in the review below.
Design: This is a huge smartphone is what we get in mind when first seen or held in the hand. With a 6-inch display and carrying bezels around it, makes it look even bigger. The device is given a fresh look compared to its predecessor, the Elife E7. It is partially metal and partially plastic, with the frames and edges made of metal and the back panel is plastic and removable.
The device looks premium when placed on your desk or held in your hand giving you the feel of the good build quality. The volume rockers, power button and the camera button are all placed on the right of the device. The 3.5mm jack slot is on the top and the MicroUSB port along with microphone on the bottom. The camera along with the LED flash is placed on the back with the fingerprint sensor below it; the company has done a good job with the sensor placement where the finger rests exactly.
The sides and edges of the device on the back are slightly curved giving it a slight raise from the surface when placed on its back, makes it easy to hold and easy to pick up when placed on any flat surface. From the design aspect, it is great although on the bigger side but built well.
Display: The Gionee Elife E8 sports a big 6-inch AMOLED display with Quad HD having 2560 x 1440 pixels resolution. It comes protected with Gorilla Glass 3 which helps in preventing scratches even when placing it in your pocket tightly snug with your keys. There are three effects called Warm, Cold and Neutral to alter the color reproduction of the display, the reason for this feature is not clear and placing it in neutral felt the best option.
The visibility at all angles is great and even in direct sunlight the adaptive brightness did a good job to make the display appear clear even when outside. The large size display surely makes it a treat to watch any movies on the go, it comes in the space between a tablet and a smartphone.
The home, menu and back buttons if made a part of the display would have been better. They lack being back-lit (similar to budget or entry level phones) and have even faced certain unresponsiveness from the keys at times, which is disheartening to see in a flagship. The unresponsiveness might be fixed with an update but the least Gionee could have done was making them backlit.
Interface: Gionee’s own Amigo OS over Android Lollipop is what runs in the Gionee Elife E8, and someone who has previously used a Gionee smartphone, will be at ease while using this device. But for others, the Elife E8 has a rather decent UI, with a lot of improvements from what was the Amigo 2.0 UI earlier, and some gestures, additional features add to the user experience.
The UI doesn’t have an app drawer, though any standard launcher should help in changing the way Amigo OS looks. There is a lot of bloatware, though in that, some of the apps can be removed but some apps that you cannot modify, are actually the ones you might be using with time. Apps like Phone Manager, Amigo Paper and such help in both, personalization and productivity.
Performance: With the device being a flagship we expect good performance, and it does deliver in this front sporting a MediaTek Helio X10 clocked at 2.0GHz it gave a lag free experience all through its usage. With normal usage like browsing, using facebook, WhatsApp etc there was no lag or any heating up.
There was a sign of heating up seem when some games like Asphalt 8 were played even for little duration of time, this might be due to the 2K display in action. The most heated part of the device was the Fingerprint sensor which was considerably hotter than the rest of the device. In spite of the heating up there was no lag or drop in performance seen from the device.
Even with the large screen multitasking and other features where the lag can be felt while Zooming in and Zooming out of the website. With the large display you can view any website in its desktop version and utilize all the features of the website.
RAM and storage: The Gionee Elife E8 comes with 3GB RAM and 64GB internal storage which can be further expanded using microSD card to 128GB. The device runs on Amigo UI 3.1 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop 64-bit version. On first boot the users get around 1.2GB of free RAM with 1.8GB of RAM taken up by the pre-installed applications, etc and 52GB of free storage space with the OS and pre-installed Applications taking up 12GB of space.
Camera: If there’s one brand concentrating on particular features and actually winning at it, it is Gionee. The company’s previous flagship, the Elife E7 had a very good 16-megapixel camera that could challenge any smartphone camera at that time (of course not in low light conditions), and this time, Gionee is doing the same with the camera on Elife E8. A good 23.8-megapixel shooter that does a brilliant job in every condition, and when it was claimed to be enough to be as good as a DSLR, there’s a catch – just like on a DSLR, you need to be good at understanding manual settings to take a perfect shot, which could give you a picture anyone would appreciate.
Smartphone captures are no longer limited to sharing them on social media. They are just good enough to be saved to cherish the perfect moments later, and although not every smartphone camera can do the same job, the Elife E8 for sure holds an edge over the others.
Battery: One of the disappointments with the Gionee Elife E8 is its battery life, since although Gionee has packed in a 3500 mAh battery into its flagship, the power isn’t enough to give more than four hours of screen-on time, and someone looking to use the device for long hours during the day, should have to look for chargers around.
At the same time, the standby is great, and you can see the phone get through the day with ease if you are not a heavy user of smartphones.
Fingerprint Sensor: The position of the touch ID based fingerprint Sensor is exactly where your index finger is placed while holding the phone. The Sensor was not exactly fast as it took almost 1-2 seconds to unlock your phone, the finger had to be placed in a proper position to be unlocked.
The 360-degree recognition was not functional in this sensor. In comparison, we found the Fingerprint Sensor on the Coolpad Note 3 to be faster and more accurate than the Elife E8.
Conclusion: Is the Gionee Elife E8 a worthy choice?
The Gionee Elife E8 is a huge, powerful and good looking device with a more than impressive camera at offer. It has its advantages on the big screen where the viewing angles are good and the big sAMOLED screen makes seeing videos a treat.
The borders of the device are uncomfortably sharp leaving a mark on your hands thanks to the big size. The fingerprint sensor was slow comparatively in out review unit at least. The performance of the device was great, there was no lag whatsoever even while playing high-end games. There is a bit of a heating problem with the fingerprint sensor, in particular, becoming super hot.
It comes with a great display, decent speaker output and the work done on camera is far better than most in the entire smartphone range. With the Elife E8 priced at around Rs. 35k, it is not affordable and there are many other options available in the price range, including the Galaxy S6, Moto X Style to name a few. If you are a lover of smartphones with big displays and cameras that capture the best pictures, then you might be inclined towards the Gionee Elife E8.