“The Gionee S6 looks like a promising package”
Gionee is one of the largest smartphone manufacturers in China, and has quite a few noteworthy models in its portfolio. The likes of the Gionee S5.5 managed to grab quite a few headlines, and this phone was in fact, the slimmest smartphone in the world at launch time. The latest from the stable is the Gionee S6, which was unveiled as the Gionee Elife S6 in China last year, and has now been launched in India, with a price tag of Rs 19,999. The Elife S series from the brand does not exactly dig holes in the pocket, and is style-centric too. That said, the price for which the Gionee S6 comes is not something one can simply give away without thinking twice. While we will be reviewing the device soon to clarify any second thoughts you might have, here is a quick unboxing and our initial take on the new Gionee S6.
The phone ships in a large rectangular box, with the phone’s moniker and its image on top. Taking off the lid gives you access to the smartphone itself, which sits in its cavity in the left half of a thin plastic tray. The right half stays a humble white, with ‘S6’ etched in black. Beneath the tray, everything that comes with the smartphone lays in plain sight.
The lot includes a 2-pin wall charger, a Type-C USB cable, a pair of in-ear headphones, the documentation, a SIM-ejection tool, a transparent silicon back cover, and a screen guard. Seeing how most phones these days do not even come with earphones, the Gionee S6 ships with everything you need with a smartphone, which is a plus.
Keeping the style element intact, the brand has offered the Gionee S6 with an all metal body, which we must say, looks stunning. We got the gold variant and it sports a matte finish all over the body. Interestingly, the design looks dangerously similar to the LeEco Le 1s (review), which itself is an extremely stylish looking device.
In terms of port placement, the S6 gets an audio jack on the top edge, while the bottom edge sports a Type-C USB port, flanked by two grilles on each side. While the one on the left hides the primary microphone, the right one is the loudspeaker. The volume rocker and the power key find their way on the right spine… both the buttons featuring intricate concentric circular ridges. On the left spine you find an ejectable tray, which accepts a micro-SIM on one of its slots. The other slot on the tray is hybrid… capable of accepting either a nano-SIM or a microSD card.
Up front, the Gionee S6 gets a large 5.5-inch HD display, which comes flanked by an earpiece, front-camera, a notification LED and some sensors above, and a row of capacitive navigation keys on the bottom. The back panel is understated, which works for the overall classy aesthetics of the phone. On the top left corner, you will find the primary camera module, followed by a secondary microphone, which has been placed more towards the centre. Some minimal branding rounds up the adornments on the rear panel.
Although the phone has been crafted out of metal, it feels amazingly light, and the slim frame only adds to the impressive grip the S6 offers. Additionally, the display on the S6, despite being large, is almost bezel-less, and hence all the element simply work together to make it a great phone for one-hand usage. The build-quality of the device is impressive as well, and overall, the Gionee S6 is definitely a head turner.
The display looks like a treat to the eyes. The brightness seemed adequate indoors and the colours just pop on the screen. However, being an HD display, the Gionee S6’s screen isn’t amazingly sharp. The viewing angles are decent, and the sunlight legibility shouldn’t be an issue. The screen responds to touch quickly too. While the display looks promising overall, we’d like to keep our verdict for later.
Talking about the innards, the Gionee S6 comes powered by an octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor clocked at 1.3GHz, which is aided by 3GB of RAM. There’s a Mali T720 GPU to aid the graphics. Our brief usage on the phone felt quite snappy. With ample amount of RAM at your disposal, multi-tasking shouldn’t be an issue with the S6 either. However, we’d like to save our final take until we review the device.
The phone gets 32GB of built-in storage, out of which about 25GB is available for your personal use, which is pretty impressive. The storage can be expanded further up to 128GB using a microSD card. There’s USB OTG support as well.
The Gionee S6 runs the brand’s custom AmigoUI version 3.1 on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Like any other Chinese smartphone out there, the phone doesn’t offer an app drawer, and all the apps can be found on the homescreens. You can swipe on the lock screen to change wallpapers, as many times as you’d like. Apart from the changed icons, one of the major tweaks you see in the Gionee S6’s UI are the Quick Settings, which are unveiled when you swipe up from the bottom of the display, as swiping down from the top only reveals the notification centre. Swiping upwards on the display anywhere lets you access a bunch of settings to customise the homescreen. There are quite a lot of preloaded apps you can find on the Gionee S6 including Facebook, Theme Park, Mood Card, Gstore, WPS Office, DU Battery Saver, Gionee Xender, TouchPal 2015, DU Speed Booster, 360 Security Lite and all apps from Google. You will also find a bunch of games like Asphalt Nitro, Bubble Bash Mania, Danger Dash, Midnight Pool and Spider-Man: Ultimate Power. A couple of interesting tools like Chameleon, which lets you pick any two colours from you surroundings, using the camera app, to change the wallpaper and accent colours on the phone, and Compass are also present. Another app called System Manager lets you control most of the other preloaded applications. You can uninstall a few and freeze some.
The Gionee S6 supports gestures and motion as well. Bringing the phone close to your ear while viewing a contact or when someone is calling, lets you dial or answer the call, respectively. You can flip the phone over to pause an alarm. There’s the usual double tap to wake up the phone from standby. You can draw letters to launch apps. While the letters c, e, m, and, o have been assigned to launch the camera, email, music and flashlight, a bunch of other letters and patterns can be customised for different actions and functions.
An option called Suspend brings a virtual button ring on the screen for users to quickly go back to the previous screen, go to the homescreen, or switch to one-hand mode. The UI seems decent. While there’s a small amount of bloatware on the phone, with the option of uninstalling some apps, and a bunch of customisation option, the overall experience should be pleasing.
In terms of shooting capabilities, the Gionee S6 sports a 13MP primary camera assisted by an LED flash, and a 5MP front facing shooter. The default camera app is definitely loaded, yet the UI looks pretty clean. The camera settings, flash and front camera toggles, and preset shooting modes, all can be accessed from the left of the viewfinder.
The shooting modes include Face Beauty. Filter, Night, Magic Focus, HDR, and Ultra pixel among others. You can also make GIFs with the Gionee S6.
We tried taking a quick picture of whatever was around, and the output looked pleasing. Still, we will be testing the shooters in different shooting conditions to gauge their true prowess.
The phone gets its juice from a 3,150mAh battery, which sounds enough to make the phone last a day. A couple of power saving modes are present to help prolong the battery life. Connectivity wise, the Gionee S6 gets 4G LTE support with VoLTE, along with usual options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and A-GPS.
The Gionee S6 sits in a price segment, which has recently been more known for devices offering high-end flagship features, but priced like mid-ranger. The Qiku Q Terra (review), which comes for exactly the same price as the Gionee S6, is a solid all-rounder with stunning design, capable cameras, feature-rich UI, good performance and decent battery life. The Lenovo Vibe X3 (first impressions), also priced at Rs 19,999, is another loaded smartphone aiming to offer a better overall user experience. For a few grand more, there are options like the OnePlus 2 16GB (review) and the Honor 7 (review), again all-round flagships. With such great rivals, Gionee S6 is going to be facing an uphill battle. We’ll be reviewing the device to see whether it can make it to the top.