Gionee Elife E7 has been around since October 2013, and for a phone that is 2 years old, I’d say, the phone has surprisingly powerful components. It is probably the most ambitious of the Gionee line of phones, as the Chinese OEM positioned itself for some real legitimacy and brand power.
Has the Elife E7 stood the test of time? We’ll find out in this review.
Design and Build
Gionee Elife E7 has a unibody design. It is not unlike the Nokia Lumia 920 and 1520 with their sharp and angular edges. The unibody design means you get a non-removable battery. The LTPS display has a layer of Gorilla Glass 3 and the body has a plastic build made from polycarbonate material, which gives it a deceptively light feel. Not everyone might like all that shiny plastic though, as device’s body is slippery and susceptible to smudges.
The Elife E7 has a weight of around 150 grams and thickness of 9.5 mm with a 5.5 inch full HD 1080p display.
The Gionee Elife E7 ships with a 2.3 GHz Quad Core Qualcomm MSM8274 Snapdragon 800 processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB of internal storage, 16MP rear camera and 8MP front camera, and a Android 4.2 Jelly Bean-based Amigo 2.0 OS. Check out the unboxing post for full specs.
A bit of sad news though, the storage is non expandable.
Vacuum Clip-on stand
It turns out that the stand, which looked random, turned out to be useful. You can prop up your phone with it to watch videos; while in a car, you can hold your phone in place with it by slipping the protruding end in the air vents.
The GioneeXender is used to transfer files to multiple devices in a few minutes. It’s similar to Apple’s Airdrop and Tecno’s Flashshare. The app is available for Android and iOS, so you transfer to smartphones on either of this platform without bluetooth or data.
I transferred contacts, pictures and videos using this app, and it was lightning fast.
Elife E7 has four theme skins pre-installed, which you can change to suit your taste.
The homescreen has shortcuts to the camera, recorder, torch light and a fake call feature. The fourth shortcut is interesting. When you’re in situations you can’t seem to get out of, the feature comes in useful. Just tap the icon and recieve a bogus phone call. You’re welcome.
The Elife E7 comes with a non-removable 2500 mAh Li-Po battery. The phone took a little over 3 hours to fully charge before I used it for the first time; and lasted a day and half surfing the internet, gaming and watching videos.
The OTG USB that ships with the Elife E7 allows it to work as a power bank or portable battery. More on the this piece of convenience that is the USB OTG later.
The Gionee Elife E7 is a quad-band GSM and a dual-band 3G phone. You also get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth v4.0. The device has NFC (Near Field Communication). Unlike most Chinese phones, this isn’t a dual SIM device. Call quality was good, even in noisy settings.
This is another use of the USB OTG. You don’t need to tote your PC all hours of the day to load up files from your USB stick when you have the Elife E7.
The offering is not without its limits, however. When I attached my 1 terabyte HD to the phone via the OTG USB, it took forever to check for errors, and never got around to actually loading up my files. But I was able to access files on a flash drive with ease. I could open files saved in my flash drive after the phone’s inbuilt antivirus had scanned it.
Incase you’re thinking of hacks, like using the USB OTG cable on other devices, don’t bother. It doesn’t work — at least, not on devices that don’t have OTG support.
NFC and NFC Tags
Elife E7 comes with NFC (Near Field Communication) tags in the box. The NFC tag has small microchips with little aerials which can store small amounts of information for transfer to an NFC device. Though similar to bluetooth and WIFI, it’s different in that while bluetooth and WIFI can work over a distance, NFC works at a maximum range of about 4 inches (10 centimeters).
Different types of data can be stored on an NFC tag, but the storage capability, just like a memory card or a flash drive, depends on memory capacity. The NFC tag can be used for contactless mobile payments, but as that doesn’t work yet in this part of the world, I couldn’t test it to see how it worked.
The Elife E7 itself is an NFC enabled device. With NFC, you can transfer contacts, pictures, music, video, web pages and files to other devices that have the NFC functionality as well. NFC has lower file transfer speed compared bluetooth, but consumes less power and doesn’t require pairing, so it connects faster.
The gaming experience on this phone is pretty good. With an Adreno 330 GPU, Quad-core 2.2 GHz and 3GB RAM, you’ll have no problems playing casual, medium and heavy graphic HD games on the Elife E7. I didn’t experience any lag when I played Kim Kardashian Hollywood (which is terrifically addictive by the way), Temple Run, Agent Dash or SIMs.
Not that I expected to see any lag, those are pretty light games. I am sure Elife E7 will hold just as well with high definition games like the Need For Speed Most Wanted for instance.
Sound and Video
The sound from the Elife E7 loudspeaker is loud and clear. Elife E7 design placement is just right as it is not blocked when you place on a flat surface, but you might accidentally obstruct the sound, should you use the device in landscape mode or hold it in a gamer’s grip.
HD videos can be played without any audio and video sync issues. Video playback is supported in full screen. The navigation keys are on the body of the phone and not on the display so they do not affect the device resolution, but it does affect the screen to body ratio.
The Elife E7 has a 16 MP rear camera with autofocus and LED flash; and an 8 MP front camera. The camera software features geo-tagging, touch focus and face/smile detection.
Pictures taken with the device turned out pretty good. You can take professional looking photos with it, if you know how to tweak the settings.
Elife E7 has two custom camera apps: Camera and CharmCam. The Camera app is the primary app that lets you switch between a simple mode and a professional mode. The professional mode features various settings for picture size, exposure value, white balance etc.
CharmCam, features live filters to apply effects, and features various shooting modes, including Face Beauty, an Eraser Mode for removing objects from photos, PPT mode for capturing slideshows, etc.
The quality of outdoor images are good, with high level of detail, accurate colour reproduction and good contrast. Indoor shots also came out okay, though not as good as I would have expected.
- Great Camera
- Good Display
- USB OTG
- NFC Capability
- Nonremovable battery
- Limited storage. No micro SD slot
- Plastic body
To Buy or Not to Buy
That depends on your personal preferences and how much you are willing to splurge on a phone. If you aren’t into devices that are basically covered in plastic, and is susceptible to smudges, then this phone isn’t for you. If you want a phone with expandable memory, i.e SD card, this isn’t for you either.
But if you love games, or you like taking quality pictures, watching movies on the go or you like the convenience the USB OTG provides, then this is for you.
Gionee Elife E7 retails for N75,000, but in an exclusive deal with Konga.com, Gionee Elife E7 sells at N53,000 on the retailing website. Is the device worth it for that price? I’ll let you decide, but it is cheaper when compared to other smartphones in similar range.