Gionee Marathon M5 Plus unboxing and first impressions: a plus-sized phone with a premium price

“A sneak peak at Gionee’s latest Marathoner, the M5 Plus”

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Gionee’s Marathon series of smartphones are all about the battery life. Last year, the brand launched the Marathon M5 (first impressions), which packed in a mega 6,020mAh battery, among the highest on any smartphone available. Following the launch, the brand unveiled the Marathon M5 Plus in China, which was an enhanced version of the same smartphone. Several months later, Gionee has finally released the M5 Plus in India. Apart from the large battery, which is the mainstay of the device, the M5 Plus also makes improvements to the design and innards of the Marathon M5, making it a more premium device. We have the Marathon M5 in our labs, and here’s a first look. 

The Marathon M5 Plus comes in a classic white Gionee box, with an image of the phone on top and the key specs listed at the back. Open up the lid and the smartphone greets you first, encased in a thick, protective plastic wrap.

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Underneath this tray, you’ll find a cardboard sheath that holds the user guide and warranty documentation, a screen guard and a transparent case. Below this, you’ll find the remaining contents. This includes a SIM-ejector tool, a pair of stero earphones, a two-pin wall charger and a USB Type-C to USB cable. Quite the haul, but then Gionee’s always been generous with its retail boxes. 

Putting the box contents aside, let’s move on to the smartphone itself. The M5 Plus is a huge smartphone, thanks to its 6-inch display that dwarfs your hands. The display features full HD resolution, a bump up from the 720p panel on the Marathon M5. Both smartphones feature AMOLED displays, which are nice and saturated, but the M5 Plus also gets 2.5D glass which curves ever-so-slightly towards the frame, giving it a slightly raised look.

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Above the screen, you’ll find the 5MP front camera, earpiece and sensors, while below you’ll find two Android navigation keys, as well as a home button that doubles up as a fingerprint sensor.

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On the right side, you’ll find the volume rocker and power button, as well as an ejectable tray that holds the microSD card. The left spine features another tray that conceals the two SIM card slots. The top edge is bare, while at the bottom you’ll find the USB Type-C port, 3.5mm audio jack and primary microphone.

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The M5 Plus is constructed entirely out of metal, barring the two plastic plates on the rear. The back panel features the 13MP primary camera, secondary microphone and dual-tone LED flash at the top. You’ll also find Gionee branding and the new ‘smiley’ logo plastered over the rear, along with a loudspeaker grill. 

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The M5 Plus runs Android 5.1 Lollipop layered with Amigo 3.1 UI. You get all the usual Amigo tweaks, including Theme Park and Chameleon for tweaking the user interface. The smartphone is packed to the gills with bloatware, with third-party apps including Facebook, WhatsApp, UC Browser, 360 Security Lite, Touchpad, DU Speed Booster, DU Battery Saver, Hotoday, OLX, Bubble Bash 3, Danger Dash, Dragon Mania, Motocross: Trial Extreme and Spider-Man: Ultimate Power, not to mention the various stock utilities on offer. The M5 Plus offers 64GB of storage, and out of this you get about 51.82GB to use out-of-the-box. Powering the device is an octa-core MediaTek 6753SoC clocked at 1.3GHz, paired with 3GB of RAM. The smartphone seemed very smooth to respond while swiping through homescreens and switching between apps, but we’ll be putting it through the paces for a more detailed look at the performance.

The highlight of the M5 Plus is its battery, which is rated at 5,020mAh. This is a downgrade from the Marathon M5, but it’s still heavy-duty, and we estimate you’ll get at least a day and a half of usage at the very least. The smartphone comes with a few power-saving modes to extend the usage further. 

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Gionee’s Marathon devices have always been mid-rangers, but the M5 Plus takes the series into more premium territory. Priced at Rs 26,999, it’s nowhere close to affordable, and the 6-inch display might cater only to a select user base. Plus, it’s up against some tough competition like the Nexus 6, which is available for a very attractive Rs 19,999 after a recent price cut. To find out if it’s worth your money, we’re going to be putting the M5 Plus to the test over the coming weeks, with a review to follow soon.

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