Be it China or be it India, the selfie game is strong all around the world. Gionee smartphones had already joined the selfie centric smartphone league with the launch of S6s last year. This year at MWC 2017, Gionee launched its A series smartphone lineup with the launch of A1 and A1 Plus. Well, last month Gionee A1 was brought here in India without much delay for ₹19,999. Branding it along with a new selfiestan jingle, Gionee aims to strengthen its offline coverage even more.
Competitors with similar specs in the same segment makes it a tough call even for us to justify this smartphone over others. We have tried to cover most of the facts in our review below to present a better picture.
Design and build
Gionee A1 features a very similar design pattern as to what we see around in the market today. It features a unibody design available in two color options, Gold or Space grey. We have an unboxing video live which can be viewed on our YouTube channel linked below.
The front sports a bright full HD 1080p 5.5-inch AMOLED 2.5D curved display on the front which looks settled on a little uplifted platform from the chasis (see image below). It has a physical home button which also doubles as a fingerprint sensor. The best part it can now wake the display without pressing the button first unlike the Marathon M5 Plus. The recent menu and back buttons are capacitive which can be assigned to either left or right as per your convenience.
On the top we have the 16MP selfie camera along with a ‘Selfie Flash’ as Gionee likes to call it. The back/rear of smartphone has antenna lines running through the top and bottom with a chrome polish. The back has a 13MP snapper with a dual-tone LED flash in the middle underneath which is Gionee’s logo which might fool as a fingerprint sensor but it is not.
The left edge has hybrid sim card slot one of which supports a micro SIM whereas the other either supports a nano SIM or a microSD card.
On the right side, there resides the volume rocker and power button which an additional red circumference to it which actually looks elegant. The bottom has the speaker grill and microUSB port. The buttons are not flimsy at all and the smartphone feels quite sturdy. With 182 grams it has some weight to it and it is on a heavier side for a smartphone in general when compared.
Gionee A1 Specifications
Gionee A1 packs a decent specification set on paper with 4GB RAM, 64GB on-board storage and an option to expand it even further in case you don’t wish to utilize its dual SIM capability. 16MP front-facing camera with flash is its USP and Gionee is heavily marketing it. Here is a spec list to take a glance:
- Dimensions: 154.5 x 76.5 x 8.5mm | Weight: 182g
- 5.5-inch Full HD IPS in-cell 2.5D curved glass display
- 2GHz Octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor | Mali T860 GPU
- 4GB RAM | 64GB Internal memory (expandable memory up to 128GB with micro SD)
- Amigo OS 4.0 based on Android 7.0 Nougat
- Hybrid Dual SIM (micro + nano / microSD) supporting 4G VoLTE
- 13MP rear camera | Sony IMX258 sensor | PDAF | f/2.0 aperture | 1/3.0+” sensor | 5P lens
- 16MP front-facing camera | f/2.0 aperture | 1/3.06″ sensor | 5P lens | selfie flash
- Fingerprint sensor | 3.5mm audio jack | Waves MaxxAudio
- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n（2.4GHz+5GHz) | Bluetooth 4.0 | GPS | USB OTG
- 4010mAh battery with ultra fast charging
In our two weeks experience with the Gionee A1, we can definitely vouch for its battery. Above that it did support ultra fast charging tech which got it back from dead zero to 100 percent in less than 2 hours. During our regular usage, it could handle the tasks pretty well thanks to 4GB RAM for multitasking and Nougat for optimizations.
Fingerprint sensor on the Gionee A1 is fast and it could unlock the smartphone in a fraction of a second. We find it to be much improved from the previous ones that came along on previous generation Gionee smartphones.
The Gionee A1 comes with Waves MaxxAudio amplifier enhancements which works well for loudspeaker as well as the earphones. The bundled ones which come along with the smartphone are quite average but it would serve the purpose for most of the targeted audience who are not an audiophile. Call quality was great, we didn’t have to suffer much even in low network areas.
Talking about the Amigo OS 4.0 we were quite impressed that Gionee has a smartphone running on Android 7.0 Nougat out-of-box when even quite a lot of OEMs are still in the process of rolling it out for their flagship smartphones. Gionee has integrated Nougat features along with a few additions of its own. With a new Settings UI with top features explained right there with instructions on how to activate it.
Like other Chinese smartphone ROMs, the Amigo OS too doesn’t have a launcher and is very iOS like. The control center and notification panel remains separate. There’s a built-in Virus scanner and a beautified video feature that adds some filters when making video calls via WhatsApp and Messenger.
All good, but Gionee still can’t get over the bundled apps. There are quite a few apps and games pre-installed in the OS which personally I find them to be irrelevant. Good thing that these pre-installed apps can be uninstalled so these can be treated as a suggestion for newcomers to begin with.
Camera being the USP of the smartphone which is being heavily marketed by Gionee. Reiterating the camera specs, it sports a 16MP front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture and a LED flash. On the back there is a 13MP sensor with same f/2.0 aperture, dual LED flash along with Phase detection autofocus.
The front camera produces good results for selfies. There are quite a few filters that can be applied to selfies which can make them look better. As far the rear camera is concerned, the results are fairly satisfactory. The results are good in well in good-lit environments whereas low light images might kill the colors and leave us with fewer details.
The camera app is also quite simple to use. Nothing much left to figure out. There are several modes including time-lapse, barcode scanning, a manual mode, slow-motion, GIF mode, card scanning, and a translation feature where you can scan a word and translate it which is available in Google translate as well.
Both of the cameras record videos up to 1080p and the results again are fairly satisfactory.
Gionee A1 is a good phone if we rate it overall. The specifications, the design all look good with a solid build and performance too is neither bad.
If we compare with selfie shooters OPPO F3 Plus and Vivo V5 Plus, it might not produce as good results but this is what it offers at a cheaper price. There are options giving out a better value for money like the Lenovo Z2 Plus and Redmi Note 4 but they are not available offline and Note 4 is not even available in open sale.
If you are a selfie enthusiast and want a smartphone to handle your social feeds, messaging etc. with a long battery life, go ahead.
- AMOLED Display
- Runs on Nougat Android 7.0
- Filled with Bloatware
- Camera can be improved