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Gionee Elife S5.5 is the world’s slimmest smartphone, and is perhaps the most gorgeous phone that you can buy at the moment. This review is based on a week’s usage and should help you in taking any decision about the phone.
It costs about ₹21,600 online and has all the features that you might expect in a smartphone belonging to this price segment. The Elife S5.5 is made for flaunting.
- Stunning design having premium look
- Wide angle selfie-centric front camera
- Great build quality
- Misses the notification LED
- Heating issues
- Poor low-light imaging
- Flip Cover, 4 scratch-guards, USB OTG cable
- Charger, USB cable and headphones
- Warranty card, User guide, List of service centres.
First Impression: Looks like an expensive phone
The Gionee S5.5 is great for teasing your friends who own iPhone. It costs less than half of the iPhone 5s and beats it in the department of looks!
The front and backside of the phone are protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3.
The glass makes the phone beautiful and fragile at the same time.
Front: The 5MP front camera is located to the right and the proximity and light sensors are located to the left of the earpiece grille.
The loudspeaker is placed at the back. The 3.5 mm audio jack and the primary mic are flanked by the bottom side at the right corner. The top side houses the micro USB v2.0 slot.
Sides: The sides of the phone have metallic finish. The left side flanks the volume rocker and power button and the right side houses the micro SIM slot.
The backpanel is a fingerprint magnet but we wouldn’t complain about it. Unlike other latest phones having faux leather or metallic finish, it has real glass and reminds me of Nexus 4, LG Optimus G, and iPhone 4S.
The top left portion of the back side has a raised bezel housing the 13MP sensor, an LED flash and a secondary microphone for noise cancellation.
Back Panel: Shiny glass reminiscent of premium gadgets.
Despite its large size the Gionee Elife S5.5 fits very well in jeans pocket due to super slim form factor.
Fun fact: Gionee Elife S5.5 is equal to 7 credit cards in thickness.
The hardware buttons (volume rocker and the power button) are well within the reach of the thumb (left-handed operation), and fingers (right-handed operation).
Design Usability: Cleverly designed. More info on the usage of word ‘clever’ later.
The Gionee Elife S5.5 runs on Amigo UI based on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The phone is fast and has little to no lags, but my only gripe is, it coming with the stale Android Jelly Bean OS.
Why Gionee? Android Jelly Bean, really!
The UI is very smooth to operate and should become even smoother with the arrival of KitKat update. We are hoping that it will receive the android update soon.
The system setting has 2 tabs- Common setting and All Settings.
This is highly useful to normal users, as they don’t have to dig deeper into options that they don’t know anything about such Developer Options, Accessibility, Backup & reset etc.
It’s not that we didn’t like the UI or something. I liked the Amigo 2.0 UI. It has rounded icons just like other flagship devices.
Gionee has infact, put in a lot of effort while designing the UI. It looks flat, so that you are distracted by the background, and also provides the interface a contemporary look.
- HOME SCREEN: Unlike other UIs the Amigo 2.0 UI from Gionee has all the app icons on the home-screen. It also categorizes them into different folders.
- THEMES: It comes with 4 default themes- Amigo, Android, Elife S, etc.
- LOCK-SCREEN: The lockscreen is also highly customized. When you swipe to the right you’ll see a window giving you options to open camera, voice recorder, torch and fake call. Check screenshot below.
The best part about the voice recording is that it keeps on recording the audio until you stop it. It becomes a must have feature when you are attending a conference.
When activated, the fake call will ring your phone, and when you answer the call, you will hearing a girl asking you to send a file. She speaks for a few seconds, and hence gives you a few precious seconds to get out of that boring meeting. This fake call feature is not something new, but the smartphone manufacturers were ignoring it. It is good to see that Gionee has implemented such a useful feature.
LAUNCHER: You can also customize the launcher to have different animations and effects.
Useful pre-installed Apps– App Manager, NQ Security, Phone Accelerate, Power Manager, Charm Camera, etc.
The Gionee Elife S5.5 graces a 5-inch full-HD super AMOLED display boasting a pixel density of 441 ppi. The images looks very sharp and vibrant. The blacks are really black.
Fact about AMOLED displays: In AMOLED displays, the black color is represented by turning off the pixels in that region.
We however, did encounter something weird with the display. It displayed the white as cream color. On further analysis, we found out that the display was showing all the colors as warm. We suspect that our review unit had a faulty display.
- Smart Gestures- The Elife S5.5 comes with special gestures like Smart Dial, Smart answer, Pause alarm and Double click wake.
- Smart dial- Directly dials the contact number in the message contents page, call history etc.
- Smart answer- Pick up the phone to your ear to answer the call automatically.
- Pause alarm- Flip the phone to pause an ongoing alarm. I do not recommend using this feature as it will assist you in ignoring the alarm effortlessly.
- Double click wake- It is similar to LG’s Knock ON but it is somewhat buggy. It doesn’t wake up the screen on 2 taps. Sometimes you need 3 and sometimes you need 4 taps to wake up the phone from sleep.
The Elife S5.5 bears a 13MP AF snapper at the back which is accompanied by LED flash to assist in low-light photography. It comes with many modes like Face beauty, V- Shot, Smile Shot, horizontal and vertical panorama, Eraser, Face detection, burst shot (40 photos), etc.
Annoyance: The camera sensor is located at the corner and can get covered by a finger. This is not a major issue as you can get used to holding the phone in other photography friendly way, over time.
Camera UI also requires some getting used to. The “Charm Camera” app also has lots of features like Face beauty, make-up, eraser, live filters, stamps, PPT (scanner), and tracks.
We couldn’t test the camera on a bright sunny day to monsoon. The camera samples have some bluish tinge so, we are unable to comment on its color reproduction.
This 13MP camera can capture images with good amount of details during broad daylight.
There is a different story for its low-light photography.
The HDR mode brings up the details out of dark and very bright spots in a scene. You can use it when you want the blue sky in the background and also do not want your subjects to appear black.
The videos are captured in 1080p @30fps, but they do not capture details like a full HD video is supposed to do.
The wide-angle 5MP front camera is another USP of the phone. It can be used to capture some great selfies even in low-light conditions. This bright secondary camera has f/2.4 aperture.
Gionee Elife S5.5 Camera Samples:
Normal & HDR shots
Front camera samples
|Camera start-up time||~1.5 s|
The loudspeaker produces average volume with very little bass but it is clean to listen.
The stock music player has normal functionalities like shuffle, repeat, equaliser, etc. along with extra functions like shake to change music, sleep timer etc.
The music player automatically recognizes almost all of the popular audio formats with the exception of .aac
You will first have to tell the phone that the .aac is an audio file.
- mp3- Yes
- aac- Yes
- wma- No
- wav- Yes
Video- The stock video-player supports standard features like tap to seek, scrub, shortcut for taking a screenshot, etc. It also supports floating window similar to what we are used to seeing in Samsung and LG devices.
- mp4- Yes
- flv- Yes
- avi- Yes
- mkv- Yes
Resolution Supported (mp4):
- 480p (SD)- Yes
- 720p (HD)- Yes
- 1080p (full-HD)- Yes
- 4K (Ultra HD)- No
The phone doesn’t detect the .flv and .mkv files as videos but plays them just fine after selecting them as video file type.
Now, to put its octa-core processor to test we tried to play 4K (UHD) video. We were surprised to see that it failed to play our test UHD clip without the audio getting out of sync and after missing a few frames every few seconds.
This octa-core processor cannot play 4K videos. Period.
Gallery- The gallery allows us to sort the items folder-wise. The album can be further sorted by Time, people and story.
The Gionee Elife S5.5 didn’t let us find a chance to complain about its performance. It didn’t even lag even when we had more than 10 apps open in the background.
Power users will like it.
The phone performs really well like a high-end phone is supposed to, but it gets heated up in no time. We all know nothing is perfect and a few compromises have to be made. For Gionee S5.5 heating issue is one of those compromises.
Here the results of some famous benchmarking apps. Please exercise caution while using the numbers indicated by the benchmark test results.
Here are some timing benchmarks which might come in handy:
|Activity||Approx. Time (sec)|
Gionee Elife S5.5 has a 2300 maAh battery with a standby rating of 490 hours. The 2G and 3G talktimes are 27.3h and 11h respectively.
During our usage we found out that the battery backup is not that great. Power users will have to charge their phones within 12-14 hours of use. For getting more battery backup we advise that you configure the Battery Saver app. Most of us have adapted ourselves to using smartphones with not so good battery backup. Many of us even carry the phone charger with us at all times!
Average battery backup.
Why I used the word ‘Clever’ while describing its design?
Like I mentioned above, the phone gets heated up within no time. Click a few pictures, play a video and you have a heated phone.
Its heats up but it wouldn’t roast your hands.
Gionee has made sure that the portion where the phone will get heated, is outside the region when you’ll grip it with your palm or fingers.
- Single SIM
- 2G, 3G
- Wi-Fi (with Direct & Hotspot)
- Bluetooth (v4.0)
- USB OTG
- FM Radio
- Dedicated HDMI port
- IR LED
Final VerdictSlim phone for fashion conscious users
The Gionee Elife S5.5 not only looks hot but also gets very hot within no time. Thankfully, the heating issue wouldn’t affect its usage due to its thoughtful design. It was designed for those who don’t appreciate plastic body phones and want their phones to look superb.
So, if you are searching for a beautiful phone under Rs. 25,000 and can live with an average camera then go ahead and buy it.
You ought to know this- Why we don’t trust specifications?
Gionee Elife S5.5: Specifications
|General||Name||Gionee Elife S5.5|
|Internal Memory||16 GB (available- 9.47 GB)|
|Display||Type||Super AMOLED Capacitive Touchscreen|
|Size||5 inch; 1920×1080 pixels (440.58 ppi)|
|Camera||Primary||13 MP, AF, LED flash|
|Secondary||5MP (95 degree Wide Angle)|
|Connectivity||EDGE||Yes, Class 12|
|Wi-Fi||WiFi Hotspot and WiFi Direct|
|Bluetooth||Yes v4.0 (with A2DP)|
|GPS||Yes, supports A-GPS too|
|FM Radio||Yes. Supports recording too.|
|Others||Sensors||Proximity, Accelerometer, Ambient light, G- sensor, Compass|
|Dimension||145.1 x 70.2 x 5.55 mm|
|Online Price||₹ 21,600 approx|
If you are planning to buy Gionee Elife S5.5 or have been using it for a while, please do share your thoughts and experiences about it in the comments section below. Your feedback might help someone in making the right decision.