Gionee. Yes, not many of you have heard of this particular Chinese OEM. I think we’ve done only one Gionee device review to date. But Gionee is back. And this time with a sleek-looking, mid-range Android device that could pass for a “flagship killer” from far away…whatever those are.
This is the Gionee S Plus. So far, I like what I see.
Released in November 2015, the Gionee S Plus’ specifications put it squarely in mid-range territory. It’s got 2 gigabytes of RAM, 16 GB internal memory, a 5.5 inch AMOLED capacitive screen, rear and front cameras, 13 and 5 megapixels respectively, dual sim (of course), FM radio, micro SD slot, the usual connectivity options (plus 4G LTE), a giant 3150mAh battery, Android 5.1 Lollipop, blah blah blah…
Nothing on the spec list particularly sticks out. Except that battery, which I’m going to be looking out for. I must admit that 4G LTE on a device of this range is also interesting. Full spec rundown can be found here.
What’s in the box?
The box looks like there isn’t a lot in it. Until you open it, and find that there is more stuff in there than you’d expect. So you’ve got your phone, earbuds whose shape I don’t particularly like, a type-C USB cord and two pin charging adapter.
Then, you’ve got the extras. A screen protector, a transparent phone case, and a matte black flip case. Yep, there are two cases to choose from. Too bad you can’t use them at the same time, haha. But thanks, Gionee. It turns out that putting lots of stuff in the box is standard Gionee MO.
The phone’s chassis is ridiculously light. But put the battery in, and then you feel a familiar heft to it. The battery is massive, and I’m hoping that it’s not big for nothing. We’ll see how it holds up in the full review.
The phone’s build is solid. With a plastic, diamond-patterned back and metal chassis, it doesn’t quite scream premium. But you won’t be hiding this in your pocket either. If anything, the Gionee S Plus wants to be held in full view, because it is a rather handsome-looking device.
Black trim around the bezel creates the illusion of an end-to-end screen, which is pleasing to look at when the screen is off, but is quickly dispelled when it comes on. Nonetheless, I can’t hate it. I kind of wish I’d gotten the blue one instead of the gold one though. Too flashy for my liking. Lucky for me, the black flip case mutes the flash, so I’m happy.
The more I use this phone, the more I think it could grow on me. I am a stock Android snob, one who is not easily impressed by even the highest end non-Nexus devices. We got the mid-range Mi4 recently, and I didn’t give it a second look, even though the whole of India and China seem to be crazy about it. I think it’s because most of these phones make it impossible to change the default OEM skin to look like stock Android without an extremely invasive hack, that is know as rooting. Gionee seems to be different. I had no trouble installing the Google Now Launcher and taking the default Amiibo OS out of view.
There is still the matter of bloatware to deal with, but I’m considerably freer to enjoy this device now. I’ve also noticed a lot of Gionee UI/UX features that promise to be useful, from keyboard functions to facial recognition. Looking good.
Pricing and availability
How much does the Gionee S Plus cost? I’m guessing somewhere just under $300. If I’m right, this device will be a must-buy. As to availability, I believe I will have that information by the time I’m done with the full review.
Wanna talk or ask questions about the Gionee S Plus? Great? Let’s talk about it on Radar.