Gionee Marathon M3 first impressions: power bank meets smartphone

“The Gionee Marathon M3 packs in a massive 5,000mAh battery”

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Smartphones today feature high-resolution displays, powerful processors, advanced cameras and all-metal builds, but the one thing manufacturers still haven’t nailed is battery life. Sure, some smartphones will last you a day, or a day and a half if you’re lucky. But most require a recharge by the evening, if not earlier. Over the past few months, we’ve seen a growing number of devices with extra-long battery life hitting the market. With its Marathon M3, Gionee is now joining this elite group. Launched just last week, the Marathon M3 hides a monstrous 5,000mAh battery unit inside its chassis. We got our hands on the device for a short time to bring you a first look.

When a smartphone packs in a battery as heavy-duty as this, you can’t expect a size zero frame. Inspite of this, Gionee has done a great job with keeping the bulk to a minimum. The M3 measures 10.4mm in thickness, and weighs in at 180g. It’s not exactly slim, but isn’t unwieldy in any way. 

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The front of the device features elegant chrome detailing around the rim and black bezels around the display. Above the screen are situated the front 2MP camera, earpiece, sensors and notification LED. A row of Android capacitive buttons are present on the fascia, but these are not backlit. The display itself measures 5-inches in size and sports HD resolution. It’s smooth with good brightness levels and viewing angles. 

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Around the edges of the smartphone you’ll find the 3.5mm audio jack on top, micro-USB port at the bottom and volume rocker and power button on the right. The back panel features a nice matte finish, and holds the 8MP primary camera and flash on top and loudspeaker below. The rear panel is removable, exposing the large sealed battery unit. A pair of SIM card slots and microSD card slots are also present. 

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The Marathon M3 is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek processor, mated to a gigabyte of RAM. It features 8GB of onboard storage, extendable up to 128GB via microSD. Software is handled by Android 4.4.2 KitKat layered with Amigo UI. Gionee says that the battery can provide up to 32 hours of talktime, and around two days of backup. An interesting feature of the smartphone is that it can be used to charge other devices with the use of a USB OTG cable, doubling up as a power bank in a pinch. 

Smartphones with batteries this big are rare, but there are still a few other options in the market at the M3’s price of Rs 13,999. There’s Gionee’s own M2, which features a smaller 4,200mAh battery, but is available for slightly less. Other options in the same price range include the XOLO Q3000, Lenovo P780 and Philips W6610. To gauge how the M3 performs in real life usage, stay tuned for our full review.
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