Review: Gionee P7 is just another budget smartphone

Gionee’s new Android smartphone looks like another half-hearted attempt by the phone maker to take on its Chinese counterparts in the budget segment


P7 at its current price is not good enough to take on the Lenovo K6 Power.
P7 at its current price is not good enough to take on the Lenovo K6 Power.

Gionee is one of the few Chinese phone makers which sell their phones in offline as well as online stores. This makes it easier for a user to buy a Gionee smartphone than, say, phones by Xiaomi, which are available mostly on online stores and are often out of stock. After launching a few big-screen smartphones around the price range of Rs20,000 lately, Gionee is again focusing on the budget segment. The P7 is priced at Rs9,999, and goes up against the Xiaomi Redmi 3s Prime (Rs8,999) and Lenovo K6 Power (Rs9,999) .

Though Gionee has tried to pep up the looks with a glossy back, it doesn’t really feel premium.
Though Gionee has tried to pep up the looks with a glossy back, it doesn’t really feel premium.

Design: Plastic body, glossy back

With good quality plastic on the back and metallic frame over the side panel, the P7 feels solid. Though Gionee has tried to pep up the looks with a glossy back, it doesn’t really feel premium. The slightly curved edges give it a well-rounded shape which makes it comfortable to hold. The phone is compact enough to fit into small hands with ease, however, due to the glossy back and slightly hefty form factor (167g), it feels a bit slippery.

The volume and power keys are made of metal and are prominent. The navigation keys are placed in the lower bezel which means more room on the screen. Surprisingly, the keys don’t light up even when tapped.

The P7 is available in white, latte gold and gray colour options.

Display: Low resolution, yet looks good

The 5-inch display has a resolution of 1,280x720p. While we have seen phones offer higher resolution at this price point, the P7’s display doesn’t look inferior. Colours look rich enough to make for an enjoyable experience with movies and games. Legibility from wide viewing angles is good too. Much to our surprise, Gionee has left out all display customisation options such as blue-light filter or option to change colour tint, which is a bit limiting for a custom UI.

The P7 runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with Gionee’s proprietary Amigo user interface over it.
The P7 runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with Gionee’s proprietary Amigo user interface over it.

Software: Custom UI with a difference

The P7 runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with Gionee’s proprietary Amigo user interface over it. Fundamentally, it looks very similar to the layouts in Xiaomi and Huawei smartphones, but works in a slightly different manner. For example, the notification panel is separate from the quick settings. The former can be accessed by swiping down from the top corner of the screen and the latter by swiping up from the lower corner of the screen. The other highlight of the interface is cool wallpapers in the lockscreen, which change automatically every time the user opens the phone.

It’s a colourful user interface (UI) with nice-looking themes and wallpapers, but doesn’t offer as many features as Xiaomi’s MIUI or Huawei’s Emotion UI.

Performance: Adequate for most tasks

Though the P7 is driven by a modest MediaTek MT6737 quad-core processor with 2GB RAM, it was able to wade through most basic tasks and even some games with ease. There was no sign of overheating at the back or spine either. Even when we had 8 to 10 apps running in the background, the phone didn’t struggle a bit, which is impressive.

The phone offers only 16 GB of internal storage, but can take in microSD cards up to 256GB. This internal storage is a bit low compared to what the rivals are offering.

The other big letdown is the phone’s 2,300mAh battery, which barely lasts a whole day on a single charge.

The P7 comes with an 8-megapixel camera but the overall picture quality is not at par with rivals.
The P7 comes with an 8-megapixel camera but the overall picture quality is not at par with rivals.

Camera: Looks average

The P7 comes with an 8-megapixel camera which supports touch to focus and offers live filters and some cool camera modes such as beauty mode, night, panorama, time lapse, GIF and HDR. While there is no doubt that the camera app has plenty to keep the user engaged, the overall picture quality is not at par with rivals. Even in daylight, the colours look washed out. Even in close-ups, we noticed a significant amount of noise. The low-light shots, even in the night mode, look average.

Even in daylight, the colours look washed out.
Even in daylight, the colours look washed out.

For selfie buffs, there is a 5-megapixel camera on the front. If the lighting is good, it can muster good enough pictures for social media posts.

Verdict

Gionee P7 has some good points. We liked its display, user interface and steady performance. However, at its current price, it is not good enough to take on the Lenovo K6 Power, which offers better backup, full HD display, superior camera, twice more internal storage, fingerprint sensor and a premium full-metal finish.

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