Gionee Marathon M4 unboxing and first impressions: a power station with potential

“Hands on with the latest addition to Gionee’s Marathon stable”

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Gionee has several categories of smartphones under its belt, but one of the most relevant these days is its Marathon series. With a focus on long-lasting battery life, the Marathon smartphones are aimed at power users who don’t want to worry about running out of juice. The Marathon M4 is the latest device in this range, and packs in a meaty 5,000mAh battery under the hood. We’ve got the smartphone in our labs, and we’re going to begin by taking a look at the closer look at the phone and its box contents. 

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The Marathon M4 comes in a white box with the image of the smartphone on top and the specs listed at the rear. Opening up the lid you’ll see the smartphone nestled in a foam tray on top. Lift it up, and you’ll find a second tray bearing a flip cover. Underneath, you’ll find the user guide and warranty information, along with wealth of other goodies which are a standard in Gionee retail boxes. The list includes a two-pin wall charger, a micro-USB cable, a USB OTG cable, a stereo headset and a screen protector. 

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Coming to the smartphone itself, the Marathon M4, as you might expect, is pretty heavy at 176g. It’s also fairly thick at 10.2mm, but the tapered back panel makes it feel much slimmer than it really is. The Marathon M4’s 5-inch display features a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels, resulting in a crisp pixel density of 294ppi. The screen uses Super AMOLED technology, which results in fairly saturated colours. From our initial time spent with the device, we found the display to be extremely fluid and responsive. Above the display you’ll find the front 5MP camera, earpiece, sensors and notification LED. A row of capacitive Android keys lies below the screen, but they miss out on backlighting.

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The metal edges feature a chrome trim, and on the right spine you’ll find the volume rocker and power button. The top edge houses the 3.5mm audio jack, while the micro-USB port and microphone are placed at the bottom. The matte-finish back panel features the primary 8MP camera, LED flash and Gionee branding on top, and a loudspeaker at the bottom. The back panel can be removed, exposing the fixed 5,000mAh battery, two micro-SIM card slots and a microSD card slot. 

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The smartphone is powered by a 64-bit 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor, aided by 2GB of RAM. The Marathon M4 offers 16GB of internal storage, out of which you get about 10GB out of the box. The microSD card supports expansion by an additional 32GB. The device runs Gionee’s custom Amigo 3.0 with  Android 5.0 Lollipop as base. Apart from the various customisations and native apps Amigo UI offers, you’ll also find a ton of pre-loaded content. The apps include Facebook, Twitter, GameZone, WeChat, DU Battery Saver, DU Speed BoosterSaavn, Yahoo! Cricket, UC Browser, WhatsApp and TouchPal keyboard. The pre-installed games include Asphalt Nitro, Danger Dash, Spider-Man: Ultimate Power, Real Football 2015 and Teen Patti Ultimate Award. Fortunately, most of these apps can be uninstalled if you want. 

The dual-SIM smartphone supports both Indian 4G LTE bands on both SIMs. The remaining connectivity features include Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, USB OTG and HotKnot. According to Gionee, the 5,000mAh battery offers up to 50 hours of talk time and 440 hours of standby time. You can also connect a USB OTG cable to charge other USB-powered devices.

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The Gionee Marathon M4 has been priced at Rs 15,499, making it more expensive than the competition which includes the likes of the Intex Aqua Power Plus, Lenovo P70 and Lava Iris Fuel 60. To find out whether the performance justifies that price tag, we’re going to be using the device as our daily driver for the next week to bring you our review.
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