Is Your Next Phone a Gionee?
BARCELONA—Gionee isn’t well-known in the U.S., but some consumers have probably encountered its phones because they often rebranded as Blu phones. The Blu Pure XL$349.00 at Amazon, which received a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars in our review, is a rebranded Gionee Elife E8. With that in mind, we did a quick hands-on with three of Gionee’s most recent devices here at MWC.
The Gionee S8 was launched in Barcelona during MWC and it comes with one top-tier feature—3D touch, just like an Apple iPhone 6s$649.00 at Apple Store—or at least, a version of it. You can open menus and previews by pressing down with more force, so it works similar in that regard, but it’s far more limited. You can’t peek and cross-app integration is limited. Aside from that, the device boasts a decent-feeling metal unibody with dimensions of 6.07 by 2.95 by 0.89 inches (HWD) and 5.19 ounces.
There’s a Samsung-style home button and fingerprint sensor on the front, with a set of capacitive buttons along the side.
In terms of hardware, you’re looking at a setup that rivals many flagships. There’s a 5.5-inch 1,920-by-1,080 AMOLED display with 401 pixels per inch. It looks sharp and bright in the controlled environment of the showcase booth. Under the hood, it has a octa-core MediaTek MT6755 Helio P10 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage.
I didn’t get much time to test the performance, but it felt fast and with that much RAM multitasking shouldn’t be any trouble. There a 3,000mAh non-removable battery under the hood, dual SIM capabilities or a microSD card slot that can takecards up to 200GB. There’s a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera with laser autofocus capable of a mediocre 1080p video recording at 30fps and an average 8-megapixel front-facing camera.
The phone lacks dual-band Wi-Fi and NFC, but supports Bluetooth 4.0. It comes running Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Gionee’s custom Amigo OS 3.2 that splashes icons across the home screens in an increasingly common iOS-style interface. Overall, this is certainly the top-tier Gionee offering.
Gionee Marathon M5 Plus
The Marathon M5 Plus is a gigantic phablet with a monstrously sized battery. At dimensions of 6.33 by 3.20 by 0.33 inches and a weight of 7.34 ounces, it’s the biggest phone in Gionee’s lineup and one of the rare 6 inchers, along the Pure XL and Nexus 6. The M5 Plus has a metal unibody with a fingerprint scanner home button and a pair of capacitive buttons on its front.
Display resolution is on the low side, given its size. There’s a 1,920-by-1,080 AMOLED display with 368 pixels per inch, which starts to look a bit sparse for video and gaming. Hardware is also decidedly midrange; there’s an octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor under the hood with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and 5-megapixel front-facing camera are standard for what you’ll find on most midrange devices. There’s a microSD card slot capable of taking 128GB and a massive 5,020mAh non-removable battery. Uniquely, there’s a Type-C USB connection. The device runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Amigo OS 3.1, and seems like a good option for phablet lovers who want a hefty battery.
The Gionee S6 is another midrange offering, except it also has a metal unibody. It has a size of 5.98 by 2.94 by 0.27 inches with a weight of 5.19 ounces. You won’t find a fingerprint scanner here.
There’s a 1,280-by-720 AMOLED display with a paltry 267 pixels per inch. The processor is the same as the Marathon Plus with a MediaTek MT6753 processor clocked at 1.3GHz with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The phone has dual-SIM capabilities or a microSD card slot that can take cards up to 128GB. The cameras are your standard 13-megapixel rear-facing shooter and 5-megapixel front-facing sensor. You have a non-removable 3,150mAh battery with a Type-C USB port. The phone runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with Amigo OS 3.1. Overall, this is your standard mid-range offering.