Gionee A1 Review : Not just a selfie phone

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A few weeks back, Gionee launched its selfie phone Gionee A1. You may have seen the #Selfiestan Advertisement on television and YouTube where Alia Bhatt is promoting this phone. The phone is priced at Rs. 19,999 and is available from both online and offline retail stores. With this phone, the company wants to target selfie crazy youths who need a good camera phone.

I tested this phone and used it as my primary driver for more than a week. Here is my review of Gionee A1.

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Gionee A1 Review

Design

Gionee A1 is good in terms of design. From the front, this phone looks similar to many other phones but the back side of the phone is unique. It has the front camera, front LED flash above the display. Below the display, it has a physical home button. The fingerprint scanner is also embedded in this home button. On either side of this button, it has two capacitive non-backlit keys. There are no proper icons, but two points to indicate the buttons.

The right side of the phone has the volume rocker and power button. Positions of these buttons are fine and there is no issue in reaching to it. The left edge has the hybrid slot for SIM cards and microSD card. The top side has 3.5mm audio port. It also has microUSB port and speaker grill below the display.

At the top side, it has 3.5 mm audio port. The back panel of the phone has the rear camera and dual LED flash at the top center. The camera bump looks good. Below the camera setup, it has Gionee logo. Initially, I though it as the fingerprint sensor, because the most of other Chinese vendors use this position for the fingerprint scanner.

Edges are curvy and back panel also has a curve to make it easy to hold. The phone has metal build but it can attract dents easily. It is bit slippery as well. Thankfully, Gionee offers a screen protector and back cover within the box.

Overall build quality is fine. With a 5.5-inch display, the phone was expected to be large but the company could trim space above and below the display. The phone is heavy with 182 grams of weight, that was a bit disappointing. I have used few phones with 4000 mAh battery with lesser weight.

I am using the Gold color variant. It also comes in black and Gray color options.

Display

The phone has 5.5-inch Full HD 2.5D glass display with Gorilla Glass protection. It has 401 PPI pixel density. The display is good and offers nice viewing experience. It has good color reproduction and nice viewing angles. I loved this display for their high-saturation and vivid picture quality.

On indoor, you can easily use the phone even on minimum brightness. Not just indoor, outdoor experience is also good. I had no trouble reading my emails and messages under sunlight.

Gionee A1

It offers Adaptive brightness and Economical backlight features to give you good viewing experience and save battery juice. You can also select the color temperature and customize LED indicator.

Software

Like most Chinese vendors, Gionee also has its custom UI skin above Android. Gionee A1 runs on Amigo 4.0 over Android 7.0. You don’t have any app drawer and the UI is inspired by iOS. You can also relate the icons. The phone also comes with bloatware and there is no way to get rid of them.

You have the option to customize the phone with themes and wallpapers. Swiping from bottom to up opens the quick settings panel where you can decide what icons to show. Swiping from top to bottom opens the notifications.

Gionee A1 Review

Most notable feature in the phone is beautified video that enables beauty filter while making video calls. You also have split screen mode to try two apps at the same time.

I also liked the Smart Gestures. It lets you answer the calls automatically when you pick the phone or pause alarms when you flip it over. You can also use this phone while wearing gloves in winter.

Performance

The Gionee A1 comes with octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755) processor clocked at 2GHz. It has 4GB of RAM for good multitasking. At this price point, offering Helio P10 makes no sense. You will still get good performance, but value for money is also something we cannot ignore. The phone shows no issues during multi-tasking with a dozen apps running on the phone. Switching between apps is also smooth. It has Mali-T860MP2 GPU to handle graphics.

It has Mali-T860MP2 GPU to handle graphics. The gaming performance of the phone is good and handles casual gaming well enough. The only issue was the heating while using it for long gaming sessions. It could be a problem if love gaming.

Benchmark scores are low as compared to other phones of this price range. See it below.

The phone 64GB of storage that is also expandable up to 256GB. It also supports USB OTG. So, storage is no an issue on the phone. You can capture hundreds of selfies daily without worrying about storage.

The phone has a decent fingerprint scanner that can quickly unlock your phone. In my testing, I never failed to recognize my finger. It works from all directions as well.

Camera

The phone is being advertised as selfie phone, so I will talk about front camera first. It has 16 megapixels camera with f/2.0 aperture and a soft LED flash. At the back, it has 13 megapixels rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and dual LED flash.

The camera app of the phone is smooth and offers various camera modes to try. If you love photography, you also have a pro mode on the phone to try,

I personally think that Text recognition, PicNote, Smart Scan and Translation modes interesting as these help a lot.

Gionee A1 Review

The front camera is excellent and I loved capturing selfies with this phone. In low-light, it has front camera flash to help. See selfies sample below. The front LED flash also works well in low-light and is definitely a notable feature of the phone. It captures quality photos with good details. You also have beauty filters to tweak the beautification.

The rear camera also performs well and captures good photos. Sometimes, I got fade colors in photos that look great in the display while capturing. But most of the times, the camera didn’t disappoint. In good light, it quickly focuses and captures. Shutter speed is also good.

Shots taken at night were also good but with considerable noise and motion blur. In the night, the primary struggle is the focus.

You can also record decent videos with the phone. You can record up to 1080p videos from rear camera and up to 720p videos from the front camera. Anti-shaking option in videos works good and gives slightly more stable videos.

You can also record time lapse and slow motion videos.

Although the phone offers decent camera experience, I still think the scope of improvements. I really wish to have a 4K recording on the phone after paying Rs. 20k but the Helio P10 chipset does not support this. This is the reason, I was disappointed after seeing it on the phone.

Multimedia

With good display and decent speakers, the multimedia experience in the phone is good. You will enjoy playing games and watching videos. The speaker sound could be higher. Even on full volume, it was not as loud as I was expecting.  The earphone that comes with the phone is ordinary and you need to get a better one for good music experience.

Gionee A1 Review

Connectivity

The phone has dual SIM support but with Hybrid slots. So, you cannot expand storage is you are using two SIM cards. But the phone has enough internal storage and very few people will think of using expandable storage. It has 4G with VoLTE and works fine with Reliance Jio network.

Other connectivity options in the phone are Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP, GPS with A-CPS and micro USB 2.0.

Battery

Gionee A1 comes with 4000 mAh battery that is large enough to give you longer uptime. I managed to get over a day usage with full time on Jio network, social media browsing, instant messaging and calls. Getting 16-18 hours usage is easy and it can be better if you are not a heavy user.

It also offers power manager to improve battery life by selecting power saving mode.

It also supports fast charging with supplied charger rated for 2A. The phone takes over 2 hours in fully charging from 0-100%. I first 20 minutes, it gave 40% of charge.

Final words

With Gionee A1, the company has done a good job. The only thing I do not find not worth is its performance. In all other things, this phone does a good job. The phone is competing with Vivo V5S and somewhere it beats easily with Full HD display and large battery.

If you are looking for a completely packed with nice performance, I will not recommend this phone. You have many good options with powerful processors and a decent camera. If you are looking for a good phone with nice camera and battery, you can consider this phone. This phone’s camera makes it worth to consider.

Gionee A1


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The Review

Gionee A1

7.6 Score

"Gionee A1 is not as powerful but it has a nice display, decent camera setup, and excellent battery backup."

The Good

  • Nice Display
  • Good camera
  • Nice Battery Backup

The Bad

  • Lack of 4K recording
  • Less powerful processor
  • Heat Up A Little

Breakdown

  • Design 70%
  • Display 80%
  • Performance 65%
  • Gaming 70%
  • Camera 80%
  • Battery 80%
  • Value for Money 65%
Deepanker Verma
Author Deepanker Verma

Deepanker Verma is a well-known technology blogger and gadget reviewer based in India.

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