Yesterday Gionee surprised us all by launching the Elife E7 Mini smartphone alongside the launch of the Elife E7 in India. Back in October, when the company had announced it would introduce the miniature variant of its latest flagship Elife E7, nobody would have thought that the phone would be first launched in India. It comes with some interesting specifications as well as design, with its talkpoints being the MediaTek’s octa-core processor and a swivel camera module as was seen on the Oppo N1. And while Intex was the first to announce a MediaTek octa-core chipset based phone in India, the Elife E7 Mini actually debuts with this chipset. With all this and more, Gionee has priced the phone aggressively at Rs 18,999. We got our hands on the phone and here are our first impressions.
Looks-wise, the Elife E7 mini comes in a unibody design like the other two models – the Elife E6 and Elife E7. It takes a cue from both of the other phones, and features the flat sides (left and right) like the Elife E6, and the slightly curved top and bottom similar to the Elife E7. In terms of form-factor, it is made out of plastic however, does not feel cheap, is smooth and good to hold, and comes pretty light in weight. The good part is that this phone actually manages to look different as well as much better than many of its competitors’ offerings in the market. Though, we would have appreciated some bright colors on the frame rather than the very glossy light blue and light pink colors.
The sides of the phone have SIM-slots, and power and volume keys made up of chrome. The lower panel has a microUSB port and a 3.5mm audio jack. The top is where the company has placed the rotatable 8-megapixel camera with flash light, which looks similar to the camera on the Oppo N1. The swivel camera module does look interesting, but adds to the vulnerability considering that a movable part on a phone is usually prone to damages, and wear and tear. The camera works fine under ambient lighting conditions, but we will give you a better idea about the camera and its performance in our detailed review of the phone.
The key feature in the phone is the MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor which is clocked at 1.7GHz and is paired with 1GB of RAM, which makes it the first phones to actually get launched with this chipset on board. We have seen how the chipset vendors have propagated the number of cores on a chipset to add to the performance of the device. However, we are not really sure if this recently launched octa-core chipset from MediaTek for mid-range smartphones will actually be able to create a difference in the performance front or not. That said, this certainly is a major attraction in the phone, but at the same time is under doubts for its performance, at least until we test it.
It flaunts an edge-to-edge running 4.7-inch HD (720p) display, which is vibrant, produces colors well, is subtle to eyes, and offers good viewing angles without being much reflective.
Besides, the phone houses 16GB of internal storage, which cannot be expanded further. Connectivity options include support for dual-SIM as well as the standard features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS/AGPS.
Talking of the software, the phone runs on Android 4.2 Jelly Bean wrapped under Gionee’s Amigo 2.0 UI. Gionee has added some interesting and useful alterations in the software which actually looks inspired from iOS 7, however the company claims otherwise. The software comes with a lot of tweaks and features. In brief, it brings option to club default text messages and other third party messenger app in to one inbox or group these in to different inbox, adds some interesting camera enhancements, and has some other value additions. The UI is essentially the same as seen on the Elife E7, and you can read more about it in our hands-on post of the latter.
Overall, the UI was easy to navigate through and operate, but the software did lag a little due to the heavy skin topping it.
We will end it by saying that the Gionee Elife E7 Mini not only manages to look good, but also has a lot of offer at this price point. However, while on one hand Gionee will face stiff competition from the likes of Micromax and Karbonn, and the Samsung’s recently launched Galaxy Grand 2, and on the other hand it will also have to win the confidence of the consumers here who are still reluctant about investing in a product from a new Chinese vendor.