Smartphones are undergoing a major design shift. The displays are getting bigger and the bezels around them are getting thinner. Every phonemaker right from Apple, Samsung and OnePlus at the top to Micromax, Vivo and now Gionee are switching to it.

Gionee’s M7 Power, priced at Rs16,999 and available on Amazon.in and retail stores, is the latest addition to this new league of smartphones. The big screen isn’t the only highlight of the smartphone. Gionee has also packed in a massive battery. It is competing against Xiaomi Mi Max 2 (Rs16,999) and Huawei’s Honor 9i (Rs17,999).

Gionee has taken care of that with the metallic mesh like finish at the back which feels very reassuring and grippy.
Gionee has taken care of that with the metallic mesh like finish at the back which feels very reassuring and grippy.

Design: Compact and stylish, but heavy

The smartphone’s edge-to-edge screen gives it a very futuristic and premium look, which is rare in the sub-Rs20,000 segment. Despite the big screen, it looks as tall (156.4mm) and wide (76.7) as a traditional 5.5-inch screen smartphone. However, it is a bit hefty (199g) which is a bit uncharacteristic for thin-bezel smartphones. The Mi Max 2, which is a lot bigger in size and offers a bigger 6.4-inch screen, weighs 211g. Honor 9i has a 6-inch screen and weighs 164g. The good news is that the M7 Power doesn’t feel unmanageable or slippery. Gionee has taken care of that with the metallic mesh like finish at the back which feels very reassuring and grippy. The navigation keys are integrated within the interface and the fingerprint sensor is placed on the back. The fingerprint sensor is fast and can be used for a number of things apart from unlocking your smartphone such as opening the camera app, starting recording or switching on the flash light.

Gionee M7 Power offers a massive 6-inch display which means more legroom for gaming, reading and typing than a 5.5-inch screen.
Gionee M7 Power offers a massive 6-inch display which means more legroom for gaming, reading and typing than a 5.5-inch screen.

Display: Big screen backed by rich colours

The M7 Power offers a massive 6-inch display which means more legroom for gaming, reading and typing than a 5.5-inch screen. The 18:9 aspect ratio creates more immersive gaming and movie playback experience. Surprisingly, for such a big screen, it has a resolution of 1,440x720p only. You may not notice the lack of resolution right away due to bright colours on the screen. The difference shows mostly with games and HD movies. The immediate rival, Mi Max 2, offers a resolution of 1,920x1,080p on a 6.4-inch screen but doesn’t feel any better than the M7 Power.

The Honor 9i is the best of the lot and offers a brighter and sharper 6-inch screen with a resolution of 2,160x1,080p.

The M7 Power has a feature called Smart Eye Protection mode, similar to Reading mode in Mi Max 2, for users who read a lot on their smartphone. It gives the screen a warm tone, which puts less stress on eyes.

Software: Colourful UI with old Android

The Gionee smartphone runs Android 7.1 (Nougat) with a layer of Gionee’s Amigo UI over it. It looks more vibrant than plain Android and offers more customization options too. The icons also look big and are easily identifiable. You can apply new themes, change the placement of on-screen navigation keys and have two versions of your favourite social media apps. There is a feature called Private space which allows users to have a second profile with a different set of apps and activities on the phone. Action on one profile won’t show in the other. You can directly access the Private space from lockscreen by unlocking the phone using another finger print.

The Honor 9i runs Android 7.1 too with a more polished-looking Emotion UI on top. The Mi Max 2 runs Android 7.1 with MIUI, which offers more features than any of them.

Performance: Long-lasting battery, steady with every day tasks

Driving the M7 power is Qualcomm’s entry-level Snapdragon 435 octa-core processor clocking at 1.4 GHz and paired with 4GB of RAM. It is a dependable processor and has been used in a number of budget smartphones such as Xiaomi Redmi 4 (Rs6,999) and LG Q6 (Rs14,999). Despite the fact that the smartphone runs a resource-intensive UI, the smartphone handled multi-tasking and most day-to-day apps without any signs of sluggishness or overheating on the back or edges. It is not cut out for gaming, though. The Mi Max 2, which runs on Qualcomm 2.0 GHz Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM, and the Honor 9i, which runs on 2.4GHz Kirin 659 octa-core processor with 4GB RAM, are better placed in this regard. Internal storage stands at 64GB and is at par with rivals. You can expand it to up to 256GB via microSD card.

The other notable highlight of the Gionee smartphone is the 5,000mAh battery which lasts almost two days without any hassle on browsing, checking mails, reading and watching videos. The Honor 9i stands nowhere near with its 3,350mAh battery. The Mi Max 2 is the only major rival with its 5,300mAh battery.

Camera: Average affair

The Gionee M7 Power comes with a single 13-megapixel primary camera with aperture of f/2.0 and 2x optical zoom. In terms of picture quality, colours look a bit oversaturated, darker areas look poorly lit and even with 2X optical zoom, it doesn’t impress. Colours in close-ups and low-light shots look better but detailing is poor. It is better than the Mi Max 2’s 12-megapixel camera in terms of detailing, but inferior to the Honor 9i’s dual (16-megapixel +2-megapixel) cameras in terms of both colours and detail reproduction. The front camera can muster clear and wide-looking selfies if the lighting is good. Images taken with flash look washed out.

Verdict

Gionee’s new smartphone can’t be ignored due to its stylish looks, big screen, long lasting battery and compact form factor. But the Honor 9i offers a sharper display, faster processor, more polished UI, light form-factor and better cameras. If you have big hands and can manage a bigger smartphone, you are better off with the Mi Max 2 on account of the battery life, bigger screen, faster processor and a more feature-packed UI.

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