Gionee owes its success, at least in India, to its Elife E series. It all started with Elife E3 which was one hell of a ‘value for money’ proposition in a market where budget Android phone around 10K were mostly crap (this was back in 2013). Gionee is much more popular brand now and a hit in offline retail space, managing to scrape monthly sales of over 200 crores, especially in tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Enter Gionee Elife E8, for a steep price of 34,990 INR. Here is what we felt examining it for the first time.
Key Specifications of Gionee Elife E8
|Model||Gionee Elife E8|
|Display||6-inch (2560 x 1440 pixels) Quad HD AMOLED display|
|Processor||2 GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio X10 (MT6795)|
|RAM||3GB LPDDR3 (1.4GB Free on first boot)|
|Internal Storage||64GB, expandable up to 128GB (Around 55GB Free)|
|Software||Android 5.1 Lollipop based Amigo UI 3.1|
|Primary Camera||24MP rear camera with dual tone LED Flash, 1 / 2.3″ sensor, 6P lenses, OIS, 4K video recording|
|Dimensions and weight||164.0 × 82.3 × 9.6 mm; 207 g|
|Others||Fingerprint sensor, USB OTG, NFC|
Looks good, feels good, but…
The Gionee Elife E8 has a 6 Inch AMOLED display, but since we are so much used to seeing big phones these days, it doesn’t feel odd. Bezels are fairly large, which is to say, Gionee doesn’t make a special effort to make it feel any more compact either. Having said that, the device is fairly manageable, sturdy, with a well-balanced weight and slight ergonomic curve on the rear side.
A fingerprint sensor is present below the camera module, but perhaps due to the large form-factor, our fingers didn’t naturally rest on it. The plastic back cover has 4 holes drilled just above the camera sensor and that’s more of a design choice. When you pop the back cover, you will find the secondary microphone underneath one of these, alongside slots for MicroSD card and SIM cards.
Gionee has done a brilliant job with the AMOLED panel, which looked gorgeous from every angle. The capacitive keys below it however, weren’t back-lit and that certainly feels like an unnecessary corner to cut at this price. The Gold color felt a lot better than what I had imagined, but is still a tad bit tacky for my personal taste.
A lot riding on the camera
The 24MP rear camera is the primary reason which instills confidence in Gionee that people will be willing to pay a premium for Elife E8. To eliminate all doubts, Gionee even got it attested by legendary photographer Raghu Rai, who went as far as saying that Elife E8 works better for him than his personal camera.
Now those are some really tall claims, which we didn’t get to examine fully at the hands-on booth today. The low light images we clicked appeared decent, but not extraordinary. We would like to reserve our verdict till we get to spend more time with the device.
A hardware shutter key is also present to click images, but surprisingly, we couldn’t use it to fire camera with the display off. Apart from hardware, there is feature rich software too. Gionee talked a lot about the well optimized camera software for consistent performance in every situation. A pro mode which lets you tweak shutter speed, ISO, etc for both still and video capture should take could care of advanced users. We couldn’t however locate the option to stitch 120MP images from the camera app, perhaps because it was a pre-release unit.
Desi Amigo UI
Amigo UI hasn’t been a strong forte for Gionee devices, but it has consistently improved. Elife E8 has Android 5.1 Lollipop based Amigo UI, which has several India centric themes but essentially feels same. In our initial time with the device we didn’t notice any UI lag. It didn’t seem excessively harsh on resources either.
At the heart of it all, there is Helio X10 octa-core SoC which has consistently flashed sky high benchmark scores, but is yet to impress is practical use. This 28nm based chipset is aided by ample 3GB RAM and Power VR G6200 GPU. Again, it is too soon to judge the performance aspects of Elife E8. We are pretty sure basic and moderate users, who are in majority, will find no reason to complain.
Gionee Elife E8 sounds a bit expensive at 34,999 INR, especially in highly competitive world of smartphone marketing, where branded camera centric phones are selling close by. It all depends on how well the Gionee Elife E8 Camera actually is.
Gionee Elife E8 photo gallery