Review: Gionee A1 will delight selfie lovers, and is a consistent Android phone
Gionee A1 is a solid addition to the sub Rs 20,000 segment, but doesn’t really tower over any of its rivals
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Gionee A1 is another camera phone targeted at selfie enthusiasts. Priced at Rs19,999, it offers a 16-megapixel front camera with flash. Its other highlight includes a metal body, big screen, large battery and the new version of Android. It is available on Amazon.in, Gionee E-Shop and offline retail outlets. At the current price, it is competing with the likes of Asus ZenFone 3 Max (Rs 16,200) and LeEco Le Max 2 (Rs 20,990).
Design: Stylish but big
The Gionee A1 is a metal clad phone with a non slippery back and chamfered edges. While they improve grip quality and phone’s looks, one can’t ignore the phone’s burly form factor. At 182g, the A1 does feel a bit heavy too. The phone is available in gold, black and grey colour options. The volume and power button are placed on the right and the hybrid SIM tray on the left. The buttons are a bit stiff but are easily accessible. The home button on the front panel also serves as finger print sensor. It has navigation keys on either side. You can customise their position in the phone settings. The finger print sensor is quite responsive and accurate most times.
Display: Big and bright screen
The 5.5-inch IPS display has a resolution of 1920x1080p. It is a good looking display. Colours in photos, games and videos look accurate and true to natural shades. Text in web pages and ebooks look crisp which makes reading easy. The interface offers useful display customisation options such as the LCD effect. It basically allows user to change the colour temperature of the screen and switch between the slightly yellowish Warm mode and the bluish Cool mode.
Software: New Android, average battery
The smartphone runs Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box. It is rare to find a Gionee phone offering the latest version of Android. You can’t tell the difference right away as Gionee has overlayed the phone with their proprietary custom UI called Amigo 4.0. It offers lots of cool options such as different themes, split-screen mode, fast charging and the option to access tasks and apps with gestures controls. There are too many pre-loaded apps on the phone such as GStore (Gionee’s own app store), SwiftKey, Peel Remote, Truecaller, Hotday (news), and Xender (file sharing app).There is a Child mode app which keeps your phone’s other apps locked away while your child is using the phone. While the UI has some very beautiful wallpapers and themes, it feels too cluttered and complicated.
Performance: Powerful and cool under pressure
Gionee has used MediaTek’s Helio P10 (MT6755) octa-core processor in the A1 and paired it with 4GB RAM. It is a powerful combination and was able to handle most of the everyday tasks with ease. Even with 8 to 10 apps open we didn’t notice any signs of sluggishness. Games such as Dead Trigger 2 and Big Bash 2016 ran without any issues. You get 64GB internal storage and can add up to 256GB more via microSD card. Despite being powered by a 4010mAh battery, the phone could provide a day of backup on heavy usage.
Camera: Impressive front camera
The 16-megapixel camera on the front can deliver good and clear looking shots for your social media posts. There are live filters and camera modes such as Mood photos and Face beauty, beautified videos which can make your selfies and videos lively. You can also take wide angle shots at lower resolution with the front camera. The 13-megapixel primary camera comes with a dual tone flash and some extra camera modes such as Time Lapse, Smart Scene, Pic Note, GIF, Slow Motion and Night. The rear camera is a mixed bag. While colours in daytime shots look good, the detail reproduction is poor. Even daytime shots look a little dull. Low light shots look washed out. The Night mode can light up the images well. It is a fast camera but the camera interface looks quite cluttered.
Gionee A1 has some good points, but they are not enough to make it standout in the crowd. If you are not obsessed with selfies, you can consider the LeEco Le 2 Max for its bigger 5.7-inch quad HD display, and more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip.