Gionee launched the new mid-range smartphone Gionee A1 on 21st March 2017. It is pitched against the Oppo F1s and Vivo V5 by the Chinese smartphone maker. Notably, the Gionee A1 went on sale in the first week of April and has received a positive response in the market.
Selfies are the new rage with Gen-X, a lot of companies are focusing on creating phones to cater to this need. Even the A1 comes with a 16 Mega Pixel front selfie camera with a dedicated flash to entice young buyers, looking for a decent mid-range mobile.
For Starters, the Gionee A1 is now available for Rs. 15,999 in the Indian market and both in the retail stores and online.
Gionee like the Vivo and Oppo is not an ultra cheap brand and usually don’t compete with the Xiaomi and Lenovo when it comes to offering specs.
But the brand tries to create value for users with good robust products and a large after sales service and distribution network. Moreover, the A1 was released with an Alia Bhatt advertisement which is all about selfies.
But is the Gionee A1 just a selfie smartphone offering nothing more? Let’s deep dive into different aspects of this device and find out.
First Let’s Check What’s Inside the Big White Box.
Inside the Box
It comes in a large rectangular Box, unlike the smaller rectangular box that comes with most mobiles these days. Gionee has provided the Following inside the Box :
1). Gionee A1 Smartphone
2). Fast Charging Adapter
3). Micro USB Cable
4). Screen Guard and Silicon back cover
5). Sim ejection tool and manuals
Design & Build Quality
To begin with, the A1 feels robust and a bit heavy in hand as you pick up the device the first time. Moreover, it feels as heavy as the iPhone 7 Plus that weighs 188 grams.
The A1 weighs 183 grams and has a thickness of 8.3 mm. It has premium build undoubtedly. Additionally, comes with the 2.5 curved glass on top of the display and metallic back cover.
There are chrome antenna lines at the back differentiating the middle cover portion from the top and bottom sides. The bezels are neither very thick nor thin. At the top resides the 16 MP selfie camera lens with a dedicated flash, speaker, and an ambient light sensor.
There are two tiny off screen buttons on the side of the oblong-shaped home key that tragically are not backlit and looks a bit odd when you first use the device. There are no markings on these and you will have to figure out which is one is for going back or checking the recent Apps.
The back side has a circular rear camera with concentric rings around it. Below the camera lies a Dual LED flash and the new Gionee Logo. The bottom side has the Dual Speaker grill and the legacy micro-USB port for charging.
For multimedia consumption, it has a large 5.5-inch display with In-Cell AMOLED panel. The display has 2.5 D glass coating and even has the Corning Gorilla Glass protection on top of it. Further, it comes with Full HD resolution with 1920*1080 pixels and 401 PPi.
Also, the screen has sufficient brightness to make it easily visible outdoors. In fact, the AMOLED panel offers one of the best color reproduction in the sub 20K price range. Apart from its selfie camera, the display is one of the distinguishing features of this mobile.
User Experience Amigo OS and Android Nougat
Android Nougat 7.0 and the Amigo OS 4.0 makes the user experience a delight. The User Interface on the Gionee A1 is not cluttered, to say the least, and looks delightful and easy to use and understand. The large icons are easy to navigate and color schemes are not confusing.
Icons resemble that of iPhone, and on the home screen you need to pull up from the bottom to access the quick pull up menu. This is a bit strange for me as I am more used to the pull-down menu. I kept trying the pull-down the menu that just shows the notifications.
Overall, the experience is pleasant and the presence of the Android Nougat 7.0 adds to the fun of using this device. Further the 64 GB of internal storage is plenty and you can easily store whatever you wish.
Distinguishing Features I liked in the Gionee A1 Software
There are myriad of options and software features I liked in the Gionee A1. For starters, there is less bloatware in comparison to some of the other custom OS in the Amigo 4.0. The first thing you will notice when you turn on the device is the custom lock screen, handled by a Mood Wallpapers App.
Moreover, each time you turn on the screen you are greeted with a new lock screen like the Windows 10, which is refreshing.
There is a system’s Manager App which is kind of powerhouse of the OS. You can clean junk files, can manage Apps, enable power saving settings, scan the phone for any malware or just kill some background apps – all in one place. A nice touch.
Double tap to wake the device and Double tap to put it to sleep is straightforward and useful. You can bring your phone closer to your ear and can pick up the incoming call automatically.
Drawing patterns on the locked screen take you to different Apps quickly. For instance, you can draw a C and camera App opens or draw an S and the selfie camera opens.
Another nice trick, you can swipe from the left or right on the fingerprint scanner and some Apps will show up on the left or right side of the display for fast access. Further, you can set camera or settings for quick launch from here.
Another unique feature, you can enable glove patterns and use the device with gloves in the winters. It is quite handy for the people of the north. (not in the game of thrones sense). I mean the northern states of India that suffer from cruel winters every year.
Scheduled Power ON /Off
Another nifty feature, if you wish to set a schedule for turning off your smartphone for a period of time daily, you can do that. Also, it can be a nice touch if Gionee can add a schedule airplane mode or do not disturb mode.
Noticeably, the UI is very neat and easy to use on most of the Apps like Clock, Weather, Calendar, and Notes.
However, there are a couple of Apps which are double. Like there is hangouts and a messaging App from Gionee, there is a Gallary App and Google Photos, two music players and 2 email Apps.
Having choices is good but I think manufacturers should send the smartphone with only one version that they believe is best. And let the user download the other version from the play store if needed.
Gaming Benchmark and General Performance
Powering the mobile is an 8 Core Helio P10 Processor (Mediatek 6755) with clock speed of 2.0 GHz. I am not a fan of Mediatek Processors and mostly rely on the Snapdragon or Exynos when it comes to performance.
To be fair and objective the Helio P10 has no issues when it comes to performing general tasks like opening multiple Tabs or multiple Apps. The processor along with the 4 GB RAM on the Gionee A1 sail smoothly through most of the tasks.
Even the Gaming is smooth. I tried a couple of games like the Asphalt 8 Airborne which is a graphically demanding game. Both the Helio P10 and the Mali 860 MP2 is able to handle the game without any frame drops.
However, it gets mildly hot after playing the game for 15 minutes, but nothing unusual.
Worth mentioning here, we got an update of around 300 MB which Gionee released to improve the camera and general performance.
The Helio P10 Scores 49,780 on the Antutu Benchmark and is slower than the Snapdragon 625 Processor found in most popular phones like Redmi Note 4 and the Moto G5 Plus and Lenovo P2.
On the GeekBench the it performs well for the multi-core test with 2716 score and the single test score is 709.
There are two speakers at the bottom of the device, offers loud and rich sound. No gripes here, Gionee has done a decent job with the sound output from the speakers. The earphone supplied are basic in-canal earphones and I used my own Sennheiser headphones with the A1.
There is a slight improvement in the sound output from in comparison to a normal smartphone. I tested it against a high-end Samsung phone.
The fingerprint scanner is snappy and doesn’t miss the touch mostly. You don’t have to press it much but just touch the thumb or finger on it and it unlocks the mobile very quickly. No issues found with the fingerprint implementation or setup.
Selfie Camera – The Game of Selfies
The 16 Megapixel front camera is probably the biggest reason to consider the Gionee A1. The camera comes with a fixed focus wide angle lens which comes with f/2.0 aperture. I took several shots using the Gionee A1 front-facing camera and have shared some of the shots below.
The below image is clicked in-doors using artificial bright LED light. The image came out quite clear with details but the colors are faded. You will observe some noise in the left side area.
Indoor Selfie Image
Selfie Clicked Out-doors in the evening in natural light conditions. The below image has much better contrast ratio and colors profile in comparison to the indoor selfie. Though if you notice the camera has overexposed the background area. Overall a decent and detailed image with lots of details.
Outdoor Daylight Selfie Image
Rear Camera Sample Shots
The camera UI is a lot like the Apple iPhone and is fairly simple to use. These are the images taken from the real camera and are considerably scaled down by me at the time of upload as the image sizes are over 2 MB originally. The camera is able to capture decent macro shots in good daylight conditions.
In the artificial light, there is grain which easily becomes evident in the images taken indoor by us. The camera is decent but not one of the best we have seen in the sub 20K price range.
If you are clicking pictures outdoor the colors and light absorption by the camera is decent. The results also are good with good dynamic range and slightly underexposed images from the rear camera. Indoors in the low light scenario camera hunts for the focus and there is some noise in the shots.
Below are All the Shots clicked by the Rear camera on the Gionee A1.
Can Check out the High Definition Full-Size Images Here:
4G LTE / VOLTE Connectivity and Call Quality
There are no issues as far as the call quality or 4G LTE or VOLTE connectivity is there were no issues with our smartphone unit. We used Idea Cellular 4G network as well as Reliance JIO network and the phone worked as desired.
The battery life is also quite decent as the smartphone comes with 4010 mAH battery capacity. It was easy for me to use it all day without any need for a charge again during the day with mixed usage. I usually don’t play many games but usually do a lot of reading and watch videos.
The smartphone takes over 2 hours to fully charge from zero which is quite fast considering the large battery size of the Gionee A1.
Major Pros and Cons for Gionee A1
- 16 Mega Pixel selfie camera is great.
- Bright 5.5-inch FHD Amoled Display.
- Android Nougat and Amigo UI 4.0 is an interesting Combo.
- 2 years Warranty on the smartphone.
- The processor could have been better.
- Backlit keys could have been provided.
- USB Type C port is missing.
Concluding Thoughts – Gionee A1 Review
The Gionee A1 may look expensive in comparison to some of the smartphones from rivals but the extra cost is justified by the Pros it has over the competition. Is it the best phone under Rs 20,000 – it purely depends on what you want from the mobile.
If you are looking for clicking lot of selfies, need a great display and intuitive clean UI, with a battery which easily lasts all day. The A1 is a good phone under 20K price range. Otherwise, there are plenty of other options I have listed in this article that you can scan to decide what suits your needs best.
I would Also suggest to check out our Video Review to have a Closer look at the camera samples, recorded video, and design of Gionee A1.
Video Review Gionee A1
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