“The Elife S7 comes with a worthy set of cameras. Read on for a detailed analysis”
Gionee sure has a thing for slim phones. Its Elife S5.5 (review) and Elife S5.1 (review) made headlines when they were launched because they were the slimmest smartphones at the time, but the brand has bowed out of the svelte phone race now. It’s latest, the Elife S7 (unboxing | first impressions) isn’t the slimmest, but with a waist size of 5.5mm, can still beat all but a mere handful of rivals as far as this particular trait is concerned. We’ve also known Gionee to pack in compelling camera capabilities in its devices – the likes of the Elife E7 (review) and the E7 Mini (with the latter featuring a swivel camera) come to mind first. Our expectations were quite high when we set out to test the snappers on the new Elife S7… a device which was launched at MWC and has now made its way to India. Apart from its slim chassis, the smartphone also boasts a solid metal and glass build, and comes complete with 4G support, dual-SIM capabilities and loaded innards, comprising an octa-core MediaTek CPU running at 1.7GHz and 2 gigs of RAM. Our focus for now, pun unintended, is on its cameras, with the primary unit utilising a 13-megapixel sensor and the one on the front offering a very respectable 8MP resolution.
The camera app comes with a simple, no-fuss interface, and includes a variety of colour filters and modes covering the likes of HDR, panorama, night, and face beauty. There’s a so-called professional mode that lets you tweak settings such as ISO and white balance, while the ‘Magic Focus’ mode basically refers to background refocus. The available capture modes include gesture shot and touch-to-shoot as well.
Let’s see how the Elife S7’s shooters fare in a variety of different conditions.
As you can see, we’ve captured a lovely image here, and while the location was nice, we’d have to give due credit to the Elife S7’s primary camera. We see accurate colours, sharp focus and tons of detail… with the building and the trees in the far distance remaining clear even when the image is zoomed in.
Flowers are our favourite subjects for close-ups, and we have yet another lovely pink one here. Again, the accuracy and vividness of colours is quite impressive, and we like the fact that our subject is nicely in focus. There’s a slight depth-of-field effect in the background as well, and this is a good thing as it makes the image look more natural.
Close up (zoomed in)
There’s a slight bit of softness evident when the same image is magnified, but still, ample details are visible… including the tiny insect and the petals of the flower in all their colourful glory.
To test the HDR capabilities of the Elife S7’s main camera, we’ve shot this scene in auto mode. As you can make out, there’s a fair bit of variance in the image, with some areas covered in shade. Let’s see how the HDR mode can change this.
As is evident from the result above, the HDR mode on the Gionee Elife S7’s primary snapper is quite capable. The building on the left as well as the trees in the distance look much better and more detailed. The small gate right in front also looks much clearer than before.
The front camera also looks up for the job. The colours and sharpness of this shot make it clear that selfie lovers won’t be left wanting if they use the Elife S7’s front cam to shoot their mugs.
The night is the biggest enemy of smartphone cameras, and we can’t say that the Elife S7 manages to change that in a big way. There’s a fair bit of graininess and softness in this image, but then again… we haven’t seen too many pass this test with flying colours. Speaking of colour, the grass in the foreground and the blue bin on the side still manage to reveal their hues.
Making things even trickier, we shot this image indoors in very dim lighting, and all we see is a blob. It does have a reddish tinge, but maybe that’s only our eyes playing tricks since we already know what the subject is and its exact colour. Overall though, the image doesn’t look usable.
Low light (with flash)
Switching on the flash helps significantly, and you can see that our subject was a bobblehead with a glossy red body. Thankfully, this image has turned out rather nice, with good colours and no image burnout as is often the case with shots like these.
So overall, we’re quite satisfied with the shooting prowess of the Gionee Elife S7. Most shots captured in daylight, including close-ups and HDR images look impressive, but we can’t say the same for low-light imagery. That’s something that very few have been able to master, so we’re going to say that the Elife S7 does a good job as a camera. Our full review, which is in the factory as you read this, will divulge how the smartphones fares as a daily driver.