Large-screen device focused on imaging, battery and multimedia fails to match peers in price segment, says Khalid Anzar.
All photographs: Courtesy Gionee
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Gionee on July 25 launched the Gionee A1 Plus, the updated version of its Gionee A1 smartphone, in India at ₹26,999.
A large-screen device focused on imaging, battery life and multimedia capabilities, the smartphone offers better specifications, features and design than its predecessor.
We used this device to see how it fares on key performance metrics. Here are our observations on the Gionee A1 Plus:
The Gionee A1 Plus features a metallic build with round edges and curved sides.
It has a 6-inch full-HD 1920 x 1080 in-plane switch (IPS) screen. The screen is protected by a 2.5D curved Gorilla Glass 3.
The side bezels are limited, but the top and bottom ones are huge and unnecessarily increase the smartphone's dimensions. The device sports capacitive navigation keys, along with home button embedded with fingerprint scanner, at the bottom bezels of the front.
At its back, the Gionee A1 Plus' prominent Gionee logo at the centre at first looks like a fingerprint scanner.
The dual cameras and dual LED flash are placed at the centre right above the logo. The vertical placement of the dual-camera module is apt for its usage.
The 3.5mm audio jack finds a spot at the top, and the microUSB port, speaker and microphone sit at the bottom of the smartphone.
The device is on the bulky side, with an overall thickness of 9.1mm and weight of 226 g.
The Gionee A1 Plus has a single speaker at the bottom, but it turns its earpiece into speaker during horizontal use. The phone gives stereo audio output, and that is a nice addition, even as the overall sound quality is just about okay.
Hardware and software:
The smartphone is powered by the MediaTek Helio P25 processor, which features octa-core that runs at frequency shooting up to 2.6 GHz. The processor is enough to power the full-HD screen, but the smartphone still shows signs of lag, even during regular tasks.
The performance remains top-notch in terms of graphic rendering and processor utilisation during heavy tasks and multitasking.
The lags and slowdowns that we noticed here and there could be because of software and might go away with future software updates.
The Gionee A1 Plus comes with a 4 GB RAM and 64 GB internal storage, expandable with microSD to up to 256 GB. The smartphone supports a hybrid card slot that can support either two SIMs, or one SIM and a microSD.
The Gionee A1 Plus runs Android Nougat out of the box under the Amigo 4 skin, heavily customised by Gionee to offer optimal performance by adding multiple utility-based features to it.
The Amigo skin allows split screen for multi-tasking, AmiClone for dual apps and several other features that improve the device's functionality, super screen shot for extended screen capturing and reading mode that reduces blue light glare for extended reading time without any strain on eyes.
The Gionee A1 Plus houses dual-camera set-up at the rear. The set-up features a 13-megapixel (MP) sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a 5 MP fixed-focus sensor with f/2.2 aperture. There is a dual-LED flash to assist the camera at the rear during low-light photography.
On the front, there is a 20MP fixed focus camera with f/2.0 aperture.
While the primary 13MP camera at the rear takes regular pictures, the secondary depth-sensing 5MP fixed-focus camera comes handy in blurring the background.
The cameras work optimally under bright conditions, but fail to impress in low-light scenarios. The focus stutters and the blur just goes haphazard.
The camera also takes some time to focus on a subject, so it is not the quickest that we have seen.
In day light, the pictures turn out good with enough details and balanced colours.
The performance of the front camera is almost the same. In day light, the lens takes stellar shots, but it fails to impress in low light. Also, the huge 20MP moniker for front camera does not justify the quality.
The Gionee A1 Plus has a mammoth 4,550 mAh non-removable battery that delivers exceptional usage. The phone stays up for more than a day and a half, even on heavy use.
The addition of ultrafast charging technology does reduce the charging time a bit. The phone charges from 0-100 per cent within 3 hours, which is on par with chargers that do not support any quick charge technology.
Priced at ₹26,999, the Gionee A1 Plus is on the costlier side, considering that the device fails to show perfection in any department.
The camera works fine, but fails to compete with its direct competition Micromax Dual 5, which also sports a dual-camera set-up at the rear and is available in the same price segment.
In terms of screen size, multimedia capabilities and battery life, the recently announced Xiaomi Mi Max 2 offers better performance than Gionee A1 Plus.