Gionee Elife S7 first impressions: a super-slim smartphone that doesn’t make compromises

“The Gionee Elife S7 packs impressive specs inside an ultra-thin frame.”

Gionee Elife S7_11Gionee has a penchant for launching super slim smartphones. It all started with the Elife S5.5 (review), which was the world’s thinnest smartphone at the time with its 5.5mm frame. With the Elife S5.1 (review), the Chinese company went one step further, launching an even thinner device. Since then, the size wars have been taken to a whole new level, with several manufacturers including OPPO, vivo and others joining the fray. At MWC 2015 today, Gionee unveiled the latest member of its skinny family, the Elife S7. Instead of re-entering the race for the world’s slimmest smartphone, Gionee has decided to stick with the original 5.5mm form factor, while focussing on a slew of improvements in design and performance, something which rival smartphone makers have been struggling with for their anorexic devices. 

Gionee Elife S7_1From the outset, the Elife S7 looks like a very solid device, but pick it up and it tells a different story. A frame made of aviation grade aluminium magnesium alloy merged with stainless steel contribute to its exceptionally light weight. Both the front and back panels are made of glass, and get Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection against scratches. The two layers are met by a concave metal frame, hence giving it its ‘U-skeleton’ name. The smartphone looks gorgeous to say the least, with its thin bezels, clean lines and metal accents. In the front you’ll find the 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display with full HD resolution. The display is sharp, vibrant and responsive, with ample brightness levels. Above the screen you’ll find the 8MP front camera, sensors, earpiece and notification LED.

Gionee Elife S7_7 Gionee Elife S7_4 Gionee Elife S7_8The chin is bare, since the phone incorporates a row of capacitive backlit Android keys on the display. The right side is where you’ll find the volume rocker and power button, while the left spine is home to the ejectable SIM card slot which can accept two SIM cards. Like Samsung, Gionee has also been inspired by the iPhone 6’s design. The bottom edge features two white antenna lines, five finely drilled holes for the loudspeaker, a microUSB port and a 3.5mm audio jack encircled in white. The glass back panel is the only place where you’ll find Gionee branding. There’s also the 13MP primary camera and LED flash which are located on the top left. 

Gionee Elife S7_5On the inside, Gionee has opted for the new 64-bit 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek 6752 processor which is mated to 2GB of RAM. There’s 16GB of internal usage, which isn’t expandable via microSD. On the display unit we used, around 11GB of storage was user available. Powering the smartphone is a 2,750mAh battery. Gionee says the Elife S7 has been optimised for long battery life, and the phone also features an Extreme Mode which can eke standby times to 33 hours with just 10 percent of juice. 

Gionee Elife S7_13Handling software operations is Gionee’s AmigoOS 3.0, which is a huge improvement from previous versions, featuring flatter icons and a cleaner design. Another Apple-inspired design touch is the quick settings panel, which is now accessible by swiping up from the bottom, ala Control Center. Several smart gestures are also supported, such as double tap to wake, and the ability to swipe your hand above the display to unlock the device, browse photos and control video playback. Black screen gestures let you cold access apps from the lockscreen by tracing particular letters. 

The Elife S7 is a 4G-enabled device, and supports LTE on both slots. As an added bonus, the Elife S7 supports both India’s Band 3 and Band 40 networks. The smartphone is set to be launched in India on April 3rd. The international pricing has been revealed as Euro 399, and the device is expected to priced at well below Rs 30,000 when it launches in India.

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