After a very long time, Gionee has finally made a comeback to the market. Although the brand never really went away per se, the hype around it had totally vanished. The recent launches from the brand were the Gionee F205 and the Gionee S11 Lite which the company hopes to help them regain the reputation they once had. The Gionee S11 Lite is the successor to the Gionee S10 Lite that was released in late 2017 and this new successor comes with better hardware, a total redesign and a higher price.
The S11 Lite tries to offer some of the latest techs for a smaller design, the pricing of the device puts it in straight competition with devices like the Redmi Note 5 Pro, Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, Mi A1 and a few others. How well does the device stack up against the rest and how does it perform in each segment, let’s learn about it in the review.
The design is perhaps the biggest selling point of the smartphone and the Gionee S11 Lite does look very good. For the price, the phone has a relatively premium design that is not commonly seen. The design is very luring in the first sight but when you actually start looking deep is when you find minor flaws in the device. The back of the smartphone is made up of polycarbonate plastic and doesn’t use any premium materials like Glass or Aluminium. The back of the Gionee S11 Lite is a scratch magnet and within just a few days of usage, we could see scratches appearing on the back panel.
Although the back is plastic, it isn’t all negative, the plastic back helps make the device incredibly light and this is instantly noticeable when you take an aluminum or glass body smartphone in your hand. This makes the smartphone very appealing as it brings in the best of both worlds by sporting an incredible design in terms of looks while also maintaining a thin and light profile for the smartphone.
The back of the device sports a reflective glassy design and the color gradient slightly shifts with a change in the angle, the top left corner on the back of the smartphone houses the dual camera setup and below that in the center aligned fingerprint sensor in the circular housing. Moving to the front, the curves on the side greatly improve the overall design and also makes it relatively easier to hold. Although the Gionee S11 Lite isn’t a bezel-less smartphone, the sides are thin while the top and bottom chin are relatively thicker. The design does offer some protection and it survived a major drop with zero noticeable damage on the display or the casing.
The Gionee S11 lite comes with a FullView display with the new 18:9 aspect ratio that most brands seem to go with. The display measure 5.7-inches diagonally and comes with an HD+ resolution. The IPS LCD panel is layered with 2.5D Gorilla Glass for better protection. While the display is fair enough, but a FullHD resolution on the display would have been appreciated as Redmi Note 5, MI A1 and most other smartphones in this price range seem to offer the same. Despite the lack of a very high-resolution display, the colors are pretty good and the images were vibrant. The viewing angles are good too and this helps the device deliver a good viewing experience in most angles.
The touch response is good and smooth and we didn’t have any issues in that aspect while we tested the device. In terms of the brightness, the device is just about average and it doesn’t surprise us. While the device is very much usable in most conditions, going out in the bright sun makes it struggle a bit. This also makes the display look very dull in the outdoors while still draining the battery at a significantly higher rate. However, in the indoors where the phone is most used, the display works very well.
Talking about the performance of the device, the Gionee S11 Lite comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 processor which is a 1.4GHz octa-core processor along with 4GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. The device also supports external memory expansion up to 256GB via microSD card slot. The device handles daily tasks very well and we could switch between mostly used apps without any lags. We tested out the common apps including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat and we only had minor hiccups on the Snapchat app while the rest of the apps performed well.
The multitasking capability on the smartphone is just about average and the game did pretty well when we tested out some games on it. Asphalt 8 Airborne worked without any issues while Need for Speed No Limits did show a few frame drops, this is totally acceptable considering the price that the device comes for.
The Gionee S11 Lite comes with Android 7.1 Nougat based Amigo OS 5.0, while this is acceptable as most of the device in this price segment come to to the same version, an Android Oreo-based operating system would have been an icing on the cake as the device is not expected to be updated down the line. The preloaded apps on the smartphone include UC Browser, WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook. The device has a fingerprint sensor and Gionee has also promised to push a software update that will bring Face unlock to the device.
While the smartphone claims to offer a lot of performance with the front camera, the same cannot be said about the rear camera. The front camera is a 16MP sensor which does the work pretty well on the rear is a dual camera setup with a 13MP primary camera paired with a 2MP secondary camera. While Gionee likes to claim that the camera on the smartphone is one of the best aspects of it, I wouldn’t like to agree on the same based on our testing. We clicked several images in our testing during the review and the images severely lack detail and sharpness.
Check full samples: Gionee S11 Lite Camera Samples
The color accuracy is far from natural and the images look extremely processed. This removes the details and the images look very blurry even when zoomed slightly. Indoor performance was slightly better and we could a little more detail, however, this is far from the performance of the other devices in the same price segment. There is also a portrait mode that adds a bokeh effect for the images. The bokeh control is what we actually liked for the fact that you can choose how much blur has to be there.
The Gionee S11 Lite needs to be held very still and even the slightest of shakes can result in a very blurred image, the shutter isn’t the most responsive in the app and the low light images aren’t something you would be pleased to post on Instagram. The focus takes awfully long and the images are noisy, to say the least, low light images are also grainy and lack details. The front camera is much better on the device and the Selfies turned out pretty good. Unlike the rear camera setup, the images captured using the front camera retain the sharpness and are much more detailed. In the outdoors with strong sunlight, the selfies aren’t very clear and the images turned out overexposed in the sunlight.
Coming to the software, the S11 Lite Camera app features options like the Night mode, Pro mode, Timelapse, slow motion and a few others. The front camera also supports the bokeh mode which is purely software based and we could see that the edges of the subject were also blurred in a few cases.
The Gionee S11 lite comes with a 3030mAh battery and this offers a full day battery life. On an average usage, you will get past the day while heavy usage might require the device to be charged mid-way through the day. The battery performance is pretty good and the device can be recommended for someone who wants a good battery life on their smartphone that comes in a smaller form factor.
The Gionee S11 Lite wouldn’t be our first choice for the recommendation, while it isn’t a bad phone, the device doesn’t outperform any of its competitors in most aspects. The camera on the smartphone isn’t the best there are several devices that do a better job of imaging. The performance is pretty good for the price and the device can handle most of the daily tasks. The design of the device is perhaps the only major selling point on the device as it looks extremely good.