Review: Gionee F1033 min read . Updated: 14 Oct 2015, 01:28 PM IST
Gionee's new phone is a consistent performer but fails to impress on the whole
Make in India is a popular catchline among smartphone makers these days. Chinese phone maker Gionne is the latest to join the bandwagon, with their new budget smartphone called the F103. It is priced at ₹ 9,999, and has been made at Foxconn’s Hyderabad unit. It will be available online as well as through retail stores, which means it should be more easily available than Lenovo’s K3 Note ( ₹ 9,999, exclusive to Flipkart.com) and the Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen ( ₹ 12,999, exclusive to Flipkart.com).
Solid and good looking
The Gionee F103 has a well-designed exterior and is also quite sleek. The flat and glossy back, however, feels slippery at times. F103 comes in two variants—black and white. The white variant comes with a gold plated metal frame. While this doesn’t improve the grip, it certainly enhances the phone’s good looks.
While the Moto G measures 12.3mm, the F103 is only 7.9mm thick. However, it is not as handy as the former, because the curved back and the texture on the Moto G feels more comfortable in hand than F103's. The K3 Note is big but handy, courtesy the sleek (8mm thick) profile.
Despite its flaws, the F103 is a good looking device with a fairly compact and solid form factor.
Sharp but small display
The F103 has a 5-inch display with an acceptable screen resolution of 1280x720 pixels. Though the K3 Note (1,980x1,020 pixels) looks sharper, the F103’s display doesn’t disappoint in most aspects. It is bright, handles colours well and allows users to juggle between warm (which gives it a yellow tint) and cool (for pure whitish background) colour modes through a setting. The wide viewing angles work well but sunlight readability is hit due to the reflective nature of the screen. The Moto G’s 5-inch display is not sharp either but it looks more colourful.
Unique flavour of Android but no Indian content
The smartphone runs on Android 5.0 (the previous version of Lollipop) with Gionee’s own Amigo UI over it. It is a colourful interface with lots of themes and customisation options for users. For instance, the settings menu doesn’t show up only in the drag down notifications bar (most Andorid devices club settings menu within notifications to help users). Some of them such as the settings, camera have been moved in a new drag-up bar. It is handy and also reduces the clutter on the drop down notifications bar. Though heavily modified, the interface is smooth and easy to use. Surprisingly, for a made in India phone there is hardly any India-specific content, like themes or wallpapers. Moto G runs on Andorid 5.1 with the bloat-free and simpler stock Android UI. The K3 Note runs on Andorid 5.0, but uses a more sophisticated-looking Vibe UI.
Works smoothly until stressed
Powered by Mediatek’s 64-bit quad-core processor and paired with 2GB of RAM, the F103 can handle most everyday chores such as reading, browsing, social networking, audio and video playback with ease. It can also handle the less graphics-intensive games comfortably, but struggled with the likes of FIFA 15 Ultimate Team. We didn’t notice any heating up during games or slowing down while switching between apps. The phone comes with 16GB of internal storage and supports micro SD cards up to 32GB. The 2400mAh battery lasted a full day on a single charge, which is good for an affordable phone.
The K3 Note has a tendency to heat-up which in turn drains its battery faster. Moto G handled most tasks without slowing down or heating up. It was also good with games.
The phone’s 8-megapixel camera is a mixed bag. While it captures colours well, it wasn’t very sharp and slight zoom in on photos shows pixilation and blurring in non-focus areas. However, the picture quality during daylight is quite satisfactory and at par with the image quality of the Moto G, but that really doesn’t mean much. The 5-megapixel front camera is good for group selfies and video chats.
Gionee F103 is definitely a very capable affordable Android phone, but it is still not able to trounce the Motorola Moto G 3rd Gen in terms of the overall experience, superior display, good design, water-proofing capabilities and steady performance.
If you don’t mind big screen phones, the K3 Note is a good option. It has a superb display, is handy despite the size and can handle most tasks with ease.