Gionee is one such brand that has smartphones in every needed top category – battery life with marathon series, camera with Elife E series, and sleek design with the Elife S series. But the recent device from the company is in the Pioneer series, which has smartphones in budget to mid-range segment. The Pioneer P2M isn’t a power house when the spec sheet is looked at, but there is one such point to concentrate on, when we talk of this device – it’s 3000 mAh battery capacity.
The Pioneer P2M is priced at Rs. 7000, and for that price, you’ll rarely see a smartphone offering a very great battery life. Initially, even I was skeptical about the battery performance although the capacity is quite high. But after a week’s usage, I’m convinced, because by not packing heavy specs alongside the battery, Gionee has actually done a wise job as the load on battery is minimum, even from the very basic display, which otherwise could disappoint users who expect a decent display on a smartphone for that price.
To start with, the specs of the phone don’t talk good about it. A 4-inch WVGA display is what you don’t see often these days, and even budget phones are coming with a qHD or HD resolution. On the inner side, a Mediatek MT6580M chipset, along with Mali 400MP GPU and 1GB of RAM is provided. A 5-megapixel camera stays on the back with an LED flash.
This is a little device, with the 4-inch screen on the front, and a gray smooth (not glossy) finish panel on the back, which is removable. It isn’t a screen that you would like, as the viewing angles are poor, the display seems bad at brightness and under the sunlight, and the only good thing about it is the touch response.
A rectangular camera housing on the back has the camera and LED flash, while the speaker is located near the bottom. The front touch capacitive buttons are not a part of the display, and they are silver-border ones with no backlight.
We’ve seen Gionee coming up with almost stock-like interface in some mid-range category devices, but now, most of them are coming with the Amigo UI, or they call it Amigo 3.0 OS, based on Android Lollipop OS. Here, the Pioneer P2M runs Android 5.1 Lollipop, and there are loads of options to play around with, and not to forget, you aren’t seeing quick settings in the notification panel but as an iOS-like control centre from the bottom.
The control centre has 10 setting shortcuts, a brightness toggle, and four other shortcuts, for torch, fakecall, calculator and camera. Despite the fact that this is a small screen, the organization is done well with four icons horizontally. There’s no app drawer available, and the pre-installed apps too are almost the same as you see on a top-end Gionee device.
WPS Office, WeChat, DU Battery Saver, Gionee Xender, Saavn, Yahoo! cricket, TouchPal, DU Speed Booster, Facebook, Twitter, Game Zone, Amigo Paper, UC Browser, and Theme Park are all part of the bloatware that you would see, and the good point is that you can delete most of these if you don’t want to have them.
The Chameleon feature that was introduced in Amigo OS 3.0, is also provided here. It is a very good feature that allows users to project the phone’s camera to something colorful, and the app prepares a theme for the interface, based on those colors. Not much is given to change in the settings section, but the interface overall is quite easy to use, and the lack of app drawer can be tackled with a launcher.
The performance isn’t great, but it won’t make the usage experience bad at all. The interface stays swift, except for the occasional lags when ending a voice call, or while switching between the apps. Out of the 1GB of RAM provided, about 420MB is available when no apps are running, though we never felt much of a problem in multitasking.
The GPU isn’t really able to handle graphics well, as some high-end games failed to run as they would normally. The average graphical games like Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers had no issues or lags while playing. You can check the benchmark scores to see how it performed there, but that doesn’t talk about the regular usage.
The camera looks pretty basic by number, but it isn’t otherwise for what is provided – a 5-megapixel camera on the back of the Pioneer P2M is able to do some decent capturing in bright conditions. The app offers features like filters, PicNote, Face Beauty, Panorama, and HDR.
Check the Pioneer P2M Camera Samples here.
Under the settings, one can change the way user can use the volume buttons, and options for Anti banding, countdown timer, picture size, storage location and capture mode are available. Exposure could have been better, but color reproduction is quite appreciable. Many users would use the HDR mode very frequently, but here, one would choose against due to the time it takes to capture and save a HDR picture.
At this price point, if someone is looking to have a secondary device that lasts long, I won’t suggest anything else than the Pioneer P2M. The 3000 mAh battery isn’t just a number, and as said above, although the screen looks pretty bad to look at, it helps by not draining the battery as quickly as the higher resolution displays would do.
We could get well over four and half hours to five hours of screen-on time regularly, and this is the best device in the budget range to have a great standby, with minimal battery drain even when network fluctuates quite a bit. There is no quick charging or such, but that is okay because you won’t be connecting the device to the charger very often.
The device supports 3G connectivity, and it is quite swift at connecting and doesn’t give any hassles. One issue that caught my attention, was the heat produced by the LED light on the back. It got heated to an alarming extent in just a couple of minutes when the torch feature was being used.
The Gionee Pioneer P2M sits in the category that is quite flooded right now, with smartphones from almost every brand available at a price of Rs. 7000, or around the same price range. There are tough competitors that come with seriously good specs, including Xiaomi Redmi 2 Prime, Lenovo A6000 Plus, Yu Yuphoria and such, but I bet none of them would be able to deliver the battery life that the Pioneer P2M does. With other specs, of course, the budget phone from Gionee lacks behind, but it is targeted at that particular set of users who would want a secondary phone that doesn’t fret or ask for a charger every day.