Unlike most successful Chinese handset brands in India Gionee is doing two things differently. One, they are focusing on brick and mortar retail distribution, and two, they have several models in their line-up. Other players are mostly focusing on one or two product lines and online platform for retail. Of late, two areas -selfie camera and battery back-up – have gained prominence among smartphone makers in their product road map, and Gionee A1 is one of the testament of that. The phone targets both these areas. Does it succeed?
Lets find out..
The Gionee A1 features a 16-megapixel front camera and a huge battery, and it runs Amigo OS based on Android 7.0 Nougat, gets 4GB RAM, 64GB internal memory etc. The MRP of the phone was Rs 21,499 when launched but the device is being available at various online retailers at around Rs 16,500.There are some other devices in the price bracket with similar feature too with the likes of Oppo F1 and Vivo V5. However larger battery and latest Android version is something that is unique to Gionee A1 as of now.
Gionee A1 Look and Feel
Metal body in mid segment phones is increasingly becoming a default feature, Gionee A1 is no different. Metal body gives it a sturdy feel and fortunately the surface finishing of the phone is designed such a way that it does not become slippery even when your hand is wet. Also the phone fits well in our hands thanks to the rounded edges. The Gionee A1 uses A6000 aircraft-grade material.
The phone gets rounded edges and camera, logo and antenna lines add to the premium looks of the device. The front is dominated by glass which comes right up to the corners of the phone and meets the curve of the metal rim.
Home button in the centre also acts as fingerprint scanner and capacitive Back and Recents buttons on either side of it. The volume and power buttons are on the right. Power button is painted red on edges which gives it a unique look. Rest of the placements is pretty standard with front camera and flash on top of the screen and speaker and USB port on the bottom side of the phone.
At the back you have camera lens sligthly protruded on center top side with Dual LED flash below it and round Gionee logo, Antenna lines run across the top and bottom. Overall design has a premium and symmetrical feel to it.
In The Box
The Gionee A1 ships with a charger (which is larger than most as it is a fast charger), a Micro-USB cable, earphones, a transparent back cover, an instruction manual, and a SIM eject tool.
Gionee A1 Hardware
The Gionee A1 is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6755) processor clocked at 2GHz coupled with 4GB RAM. It has 64GB of storage and supports microSD cards of up to 256GB. It has got hybrid dual-SIM support with 4G on both the slots, but only one at a time. You also get VoLTE (voice over LTE), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and USB-OTG.
Gionee A1 gets fairly large 4010mAh battery. Coupled with fast charging feature this phone looks like it can tackle your battery worries for good.
The Gionee A1 has a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display, it is bright with good sunlight legibility and viewing angle. Images appear crisp with vibrant colors overall a fairly impressive display for a phone in this price range.
Gionee A1 software
The handset runs Amigo 4.0 OS based on Android 7.0 Nougat which is a great advantage for this phone as others in the segment are using older Android version. Gionee’s in-house Amigo OS has received much-required visual updates. Users will get the ability to run different apps in split-screen mode.There are features like Smart Gestures that let you do things like answers calls automatically when you pick the phone up, or pause alarms when you flip it over. Smart vibration reminders can notify you about missed calls and messages while the phone is in standby, and a double-tap can wake the phone so you don’t have to reach for the power button. There’s an Edge Bar feature that offers shortcuts to your favorite apps when you swipe left or right on the home button. The A1 also lets you operate the screen while wearing gloves in winter.
One of the concern areas of the phone is that there are lot of preinstalled bloatware from Gionee which are of no use but can not be removed. The Theme Park and Mood Wallpaper apps offer options for changing the look of the UI. There is a G Store app which offers new apps, games and videos. You also get preloaded third-party apps including Amazon, Xender, Hotoday, Messenger, Saavn, SwiftKey Keyboard, and Truecaller plus Asphalt Nitro, Bubble Bash 3, Danger Dash, and Real Football.
Gionee A1 cameras
The Gionee A1’s marketing is focused on its front camera which is a 16-megapixel unit with autofocus and a single LED flash. The camera app offers live filters as well as features like smoothening, whitening, slimming, and eye enlarging so you can “beautify” shots before they are taken. Selfies looked vibrant and detailed, and software tweaks make it fun to use, however software also adds unnecessary color tones which make selfies look slightly artificial. Low-light results were also good though some noise is visible. The selfie flash feature does fill light in shots where there isn’t enough.
The 13-megapixel rear camera on the Gionee A1 has a dual-LED flash and f2.0 aperture. It uses a Sony IMX258 sensor. The camera app offers plenty of modes to choose from including night, professional, time-lapse, slow-motion, smart scene, and GIF. The Gionee A1’s camera app also offers optical character recognition (OCR) which lets you photograph words and system recognizes them.The rear camera can record 1080p and 720p videos, and the quality was decent.
The rear camera managed to take shots with accurate colours. The camera however does take slightly longer to focus which can be annoying. Shots taken at night were also good, however some noise does percolate. Overall, the Gionee A1 offers decent cameras both in front and at the back.
Gionee A1 performance
The Gionee A1 with the kind of specs it boasts should not and did not disappoint. The handset packs 4GB of RAM, however only about 1GB of RAM was free during most of the usage. The fingerprint scanner on the Gionee A1 is really quick we did not even need to press the home button to unlock.
Game play was without any lag what so ever, we also faced on lag in switching between apps and games. The 5.5-inch screen is good for movies and videos.Battery performance is also great phone easily managed about two days on a single charge on moderate to heavy usage. Quick charging which charges about 50% battery in just 30 minutes is something great. However during fast charging the phone does get a bit too hot specially when it is charging from very low battery level. On someother occasions also battery gets heated but we did not face any serious heating issue though.
The Gionee A1 offers MaxxAudio enhancement that claims to improve sound from the speaker as well as earphones works well. Both speaker and earphones performed well till their max level. Speakers were loud for a smartphone speaker. Call quality was also decent, we also did not face any network issue either.
In our opinion Gionee A1 does offer very good battery life and offers lag-free performance, has good premium feel to it and large crisp display makes using the phone a breeze. Slight battery heating issue though does cause some inconvenience, however up to two days battery backup on medium to heavy usage is commendable. Quick charging with 100% charging only taking two hours is also a really good feature. Camera performance of both front and rear is also good with some nifty software tweaks available to make usage fun.
We however do not like the fact that too many apps are pre-loaded and are of the opinion that choice of apps should be left to the users. While there is lot of space available thanks to 64GB inbuilt storage, still these apps are unnecessary and slow the device. We like the phone and would recommend a buy on this.