Gionee Elife E8 Review: Worth a Second Look

Gionee Elife E8 Review: Worth a Second Look

Gionee Elife E8 Detailed Review

When you decide to drop 35k on a smartphone, there are a few things you expect: a good build, great hardware under the hood, no premature battery depletion and a camera with lots of beauty modes. The device should also make crystal clear calls. Chinese smartphone maker Gionee looks set to take on the Nexus 6P, Samsung Galaxy S6 and more with the launch of the Gionee Elife E8. This is Gionee’s first smartphone with a price of around 35K. Can Gionee cash in on beginners’ luck with the E8, or should you hunt for the brands that dominate this price segment?

Build and design
With the Samsung Galaxy S6 we have a full metal unibody design that is sure to turn heads. With the Nexus 6P, we have a sleek design with the perfect bulge for a camera. Both smartphones have a very premium feel when it comes to the design, and the materials used to build it are top quality too. The Gionee Elife E8, on the other hand, has a plastic body, but the plastic used is of very good quality. You’d be forgiven for thinking the device was made of metal. The back of the smartphone is detachable, but you can’t access the battery. Under the back panel you have two SIM card slots along with a microSD card slot. Thank goodness there is no hybrid slot here. On the back is also the camera below, on which the fingerprint sensor rests. The back of the Elife E8 is curved, just like we have seen on many other devices. This makes the device easy to hold and very ergonomic. The review unit we received has the metallic gold finish and is placed next to the gold Nexus 6P, looking a little pale.

As for the placement of the buttons on the device, the right has the volume rocker, the power button and the dedicated shutter button. Although the power button is not structured as we have seen on smartphones from Motorola, the placement on the Gionee Elife E8 is perfect. It’s easy to identify the power button placement without looking at the phone.

With its 6-inch display, the phone is quite large, making it impractical for one-handed operations. However, it works well for two-handed surgeries. The biggest problem I have with the smartphone is that the capacitive buttons that rest under the display are not backlit. This makes it very difficult to spot the Home menu and multitasking buttons in low-light situations.

In general, the build of the smartphone is good and it can survive a few drops from a low height, although we advise you not to drop it. Tickling over one-handed surgeries seems obsolete as large screen phones seem to be the trend these days.

Display and user interface
As we mentioned earlier, the smartphone has a 6-inch display, but where it stands out is its resolution. It has a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and the display uses an AMOLED panel, putting it right on top of the crème de la crème of smartphones. Standalone, the display of the smartphone is quite good. It’s obvious when you’re reading texts, watching movies and playing games, but put it next to the Nexus 6P and we’ve got a problem. Compared to the 6P, the display of the Gionee Elife E8 has a blue tint. It has a slight hue deviation and a weak saturation. Also at full brightness, the screen is a bit dim compared to the Nexus 6P at full brightness. Outdoors, the brightness is good and the viewing angles are good on the Elife E8 too.

By going to the user interface on the Gionee Elife E8, the smartphone runs on Android v5.1 Lollipop, with the Amigo 3.0 user interface on it. The user interface is very similar to what we have seen on other smartphones. There’s no app drawer, and the Settings menu is a little different from standard Android. The drop-down list only gives you the notifications. For quick settings, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. You can access eight shortcuts from the pull-up drawer and you have a ton of options to choose from when it comes to these shortcuts. This is similar, but better than the notification tray we’ve seen on the QiKU Q Terra† In the Q Terra, you have double shortcuts between the pull-up and drop-down notifications. It’s a lot cleaner on the Elife E8.

A cool feature that I came across when using the smartphone is “Fake call”. Simply put, your smartphone rings and a female voice on the other end says, “Can you send me the files please?” This is a very cool feature to have in a smartphone, and I’ve used it to get out of awkward situations at home. Another interesting feature of the Amigo UI is the changing background. There are five wallpapers that keep cycling and new wallpaper sets are also downloaded onto the device. It’s nice to see the wallpaper change regularly without manual input.

Apart from the above features, there is little difference in OS between China and India. I haven’t used the Amigo UI in China, but some who have used it told me that the UI has its own version of Google Now, which is very impressive. Unfortunately, the feature has not trickled down to India.

Overall, the display of the device is impressive, but when it comes to going up against the competition, it falls short. The user interface is interesting with the features offered and delivers a lag and bug free experience.

Performance
Before we go into the performance of the Gionee Elife E8, first the specifications of the smartphone. As we mentioned earlier, the smartphone has a 6-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440×2560 pixels. Under the hood, the device sports the MediaTek MT6795 Helio X10 chipset with an octa-core CPU clocked at 2GHz, coupled with 3GB of RAM. It has 64 GB of built-in storage, expandable by an additional 128 GB via a microSD card. The back of the smartphone has a 24MP camera with OIS, phase detection autofocus and a dual-LED (dual tone) flash. The rear camera can also record video in 4K. On the front is an 8 megapixel selfie camera. A 3500mAh battery powers the whole pack.

Moving on to benchmark performance, here’s how the smartphone compares to other devices in its price range.

The benchmark scores clearly show that the Gionee Elife E8 is not the best, but still scores well.

Moving on to the daily performance, the device worked really well be it texting, calling, playing games, watching videos, playing music and more. Despite the speaker being on the back of the device, it was loud and clear. Placing the smartphone on a table while playing music muffled the audio a bit, but not as much as we’ve seen on other devices.

The Gionee Elife E8 houses a fingerprint sensor. One notable thing is that the fingerprint sensor is significantly dented compared to that of the Nexus 5X, 6P, Honor 7 or even the iPhone 6s. This is in no way a bad thing. It only allows your finger to reach the sensor instead of partially touching it. The fingerprint sensor works well, even if it’s not as fast as Nexus Imprint.

On to the camera performance of the Elife E8, they are really good. The images produced are sharp, clear and it’s easy to achieve a depth of field effect by simply tapping the area you want to focus on before pressing the shutter button. You have a ton of shooting modes at your disposal, such as face beauty, night, magic focus (for better depth of field), and more. Simply put, if you’re looking for a smartphone with a great camera, then you should definitely consider the Elife E8.

Click to enlarge the images

The call quality of the Gionee Elife E8 is good. It has good audio on both sides and the only time we had issues was with the network.

Check out the in-depth review of Gionee Elife E8 below:


bottom line
Overall, the phone’s performance is good. I gave the phone to some of my friends and at first glance they weren’t impressed and I don’t think you can blame them as the phone is simple to look at. They were also not very receptive to the Gionee brand. It wasn’t until we started clicking on a few photos that they were impressed. They were also impressed when the phone outlasted their devices in terms of battery life. It was a process to convince them of the smartphone’s features, and in the end I don’t think they were impressed. Priced at 35k, it’s hard to recommend the Gionee Elife E8 to brand-conscious people with a closed mind. The device is not perfect, but is great with the offer. The camera is great and the overall performance is spotty. But when I handed the device over to the non-tech community I’m associated with and asked them to buy the device, I’ve yet to receive a positive response. Some people deny the interface, others talk about the brand, some say it doesn’t look like a 35k smartphone, and there are only a handful of people who agree with me that it’s a great device to consider. I really like the phone for what it does. The battery life is better than the Nexus 6P (which is my ideal weapon) and the camera produces great images. That should be technical enough, right?

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