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Gionee A1 Plus

Colours:
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Features:
  • Supports Indian bands
  • VoLTE
  • 64 GB + 256 GB Expandable
  • Dual SIM: Nano + Nano (Hybr...
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Gorilla Glass 3
  • FM Radio

Highlights from Expert Review

Pros
  • Good battery life
  • Decent performance
  • Fast charge support
Cons
  • Too bulky
  • Average camera
  • U.I needs polish

Specifications

General
Launch DateJuly 26, 2017 (Official)
BrandGionee
ModelA1 Plus
Operating SystemAndroid v7.0 (Nougat)
Custom UIAmigo UI
SIM Slot(s)Dual SIM, GSM+GSM
SIM SizeSIM1: Nano
Network4G: Available (supports Indian bands)
Fingerprint Sensoryes
Quick Chargingyes
Design
Height166.4 mm
Width83.3 mm
Thickness9.1 mm
Weight226 grams
Build MaterialCase: Metal
ColoursBlack, Mocha Gold
Display
Screen Size6.0 inches (15.24 cm)
Screen ResolutionFull HD (1080 x 1920 pixels)
Pixel Density367 ppi
Display TypeIPS LCD
Screen ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass v3
Touch Screenyes
Screen to Body Ratio (calculated)71.43 %
Performance
ChipsetMediaTek MT6757CD
ProcessorOcta core (2.6 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A53 + 1.6 GHz, Quad core, Cortex A53)
Architecture64 bit
GraphicsMali-T880 MP2
RAM4 GB
Storage
Internal Memory64 GB
Expandable Memoryyes
Camera
Resolution20 MP Front Camera
SensorCMOS image sensor
Autofocusyes
Physical ApertureF2.0
Optical Image Stabilisation
Flashyes
Image Resolution4128 x 3096 Pixels
SettingsExposure compensation
Shooting ModesContinuos Shooting, High Dynamic Range mode (HDR)
Camera FeaturesFixed Focus
Video Recording1920x1080 @ 30 fps
Battery
Capacity4550 mAh
TypeLi-ion
User Replaceable
Quick Chargingyes
Network & Connectivity
SIM SizeSIM1: Nano, SIM2: Nano (Hybrid)
Network Support4G (supports Indian bands), 3G, 2G
VoLTEyes
SIM 1
SIM 2
Wi-Fiyes
Wi-Fi FeaturesMobile Hotspot
Bluetoothyes
GPSyes
NFC
USB ConnectivityMass storage device, USB charging, microUSB 2.0
Multimedia
FM Radioyes
Loudspeakeryes
Audio Jack3.5 mm
Special Features
Fingerprint Sensoryes
Fingerprint Sensor PositionFront
Other SensorsLight sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer, Compass
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Expert Review

Conclusion:

The Gionee A1 mostly possibly won’t be in anyone’s bucket list because of its size and weight, but the device is undoubtedly a worthy option to have a look at. It performs good, and the battery life is excellent both for heavy and casual users. The Fingerprint sensor is quite fast, and the build quality is solid with an all-metal unibody design. That said, the software still needs polishing for casual users to get used to it and also the camera performance is strictly very average even in good lighting conditions. So, for the asking price, the Gionee A1 sure is a decent phone, but there are few compromises. If good battery life, a massive phone, are your primary requirements then give the Gionee A1 Plus a look, if not you have the Mi A1, Moto G5s Plus in the similar price segment.

Introduction:

Though being in the Indian market for quite some time now, Gionee never was in the limelight nor was able to capture commendable market share in the country. For obvious reasons, the brand was never the first choice for the mass audience. But, keeping all those aside, Gionee is all set for a new beginning in the country with the launch of it’s A-series phones which were earlier introduced at MWC event. While A1 is the first phone in the series, A1 Plus is the new entrant in the Indian market that at least on paper looks good. Taking the cue from the on-going demand for selfie centric phones, Gionee is in to for that action keeping the battery department in focus as the A series is all about selfie and battery. In our today’s review let’s try to take a closer look at the A1 Plus which comes with dual rear cameras and a massive battery.

The Gionee A1 Plus sports a 6-inches Full HD (1920× 1080 pixels) IPS 2.5D curved glass display and is powered by the MediaTek Helio P25 SoC clocked at 2.5GHz Octa-core processor with Mali T860 GPU. There is 4GB RAM and 64GB Internal memory that is further expandable up to 256GB. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with Amigo OS on top.

In the camera department, there is a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, PDAF, f/2.0 aperture, 1/3.06″ sensor, 5P lens and a secondary 5-megapixel shooter. On the front, there is a 16-megapixel shooter with f/2.0 aperture and selfie flash. The Fingerprint sensor is present on the front embedded into the home button. Connectivity features include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, and GPS. A massive 4550mAh battery with fast charging support on board.

Design & Display:

By all the means the Gionee A1 Plus is a massive device at 6-inches size and is quite heavy at 226 grams. One-handed usage is not just uneasy; it is not possible. Coming back to the design, it feels quite standard and is familiar except for the rear where the dual camera setup is replacing the single camera sensor of the original A1. It is a metal unibody design with curved edges on all the corners that offer good grip and also fits comfortably in hands. The 2.5D curved glass on the front makes up for decent gaming and media consumption experience. Though there are even larger phones in the market like the Lenovo’s Phab 2, Xiaomi Mi Max 2, the A1 Plus even at a smaller size feels heavier than them while taking calls or watching movies. The back panel is quite slippery and given the bulk; extra care is needed. Up front, there is a 16-megapixel front camera, selfie flash, the usual set of sensors, main earpiece and down below the large 6-inch display, you find the physical home button with a Fingerprint sensor embedded. Accompanying the Home button, are the two capacitive buttons that aren’t backlit making it hard to access in the dark. The power and volume rockers are present on the right side, while the left side is where the SIM tray slot is present. The 3.5 mm audio jack is present on top, and the microUSB port and the speaker grills can be found on the bottom.

The rear is where the 13+5-megapixel dual camera setup, the Gionee logo, dual tone dual LED flash are present. Overall, if not for the large size, massive weight and the familiar design, the build quality is good enough for the asking price.

The Gionee A1 Plus sports a 6-inches Full HD (1920 X 1080) IPS 2.5D curved glass display. Being a large display, the device offers great media and gaming experience. At 1080p resolution, the screen looks pixelated and isn’t the sharpest which can be noticed while browsing or reading the text. But, on the other hand, watching movies or playing games on such a large display is bliss. The color reproduction and the viewing angles are top notch and the display panel even looks better than other 1080p panels in the same price segment. The sunlight legibility is great too as accessing the display under the broad daylight is good and was never an issue. It also comes with the Auto brightness sensor meaning the brightness levels are auto adjusted depending on the surroundings.

The bezels on the either sides are slim offering great media consumption and gaming experience with more display real estate. However, it doesn’t come with any protection and given that the device is slippery, it’s a good idea to have a screen protector installed in order to prevent any scratches or breaks.

Performance:

The Gionee A1 Plus is powered by the MediaTek P25 SoC clocked at 2.5GHz Octa-Core processor with Mali T880 GPU. The Gionee A1 Plus certainly doesn’t win any awards for its performance, but the general day-to-day use cases and performance are quite good and is acceptable. Though as said above, there is lag and sluggishness visible while switching between apps or multitasking, but once the app loads entirely there isn’t any delay in response or lag. The chipset used is quite powerful to daily use cases, but the poor optimization of chipset and software is to be blamed for the sluggishness.

For casual users, this isn’t a big problem, as more often than not, the lag or the stutter isn’t too apparent, but for heavy and power users, it gets annoying as you keep using it. On the other hand, the gaming was a decent experience. We tried out games like Asphalt 8, Nova 3, Need for Speed, Mortal Kombat, etc. All these games ran fine when the graphic settings were set to medium, but once decide on playing with highest graphics, the frame drops, and stutters can be seen and it takes away the entire gaming experience. Overall, the performance of the A1 Plus is a mixed bag where you have to deal with consistent lag, frame drops and sluggishness while gaming and general performance.

The Fingerprint sensor is embedded in the home button, and it is very accurate in identifying finger and is also quick to unlock the device.

Cameras:

The critical aspect of the Gionee A1 Plus and indeed the selling point of the device is its selfie camera and dual rear cameras. The camera app is simple with Pro Mode, filters, secondary camera toggle, video mode, front camera, flash, and HDR present on the front, while the rest of the settings can be accessed by swiping left. Moving to the camera, the performance of it is strictly very average as the image shot lacks the details and produces poor colors as well. The images shot in well-lit conditions looks dull, and there is a purple hue that kicks in a while shooting in the auto mode. The macro shots are decent with acceptable bokeh effect, but the focusing is very slow; it takes ages to fix a focus lock. Also, the processing takes a lot of time before you can click another picture and the end output of it looks dull and pale.

There is a night mode to help you click better quality low-light, but then again there is nothing you can do about that noise that kicks in a while shooting in low-light or artificial lighting. The secondary camera is what that is used to take the portrait modes shots; it calculates the depth after which it blurs the background for cool Bokeh effect. But the edge detection and the sharpening is very poor and is nowhere comparable to competition like the Mi A1, G5s Plus. It feels more like a software enhancement, rather than the camera tricks.

The front 20-megapixel camera with selfie flash takes decent selfies under well-lit and adequate lighting conditions. It doesn’t come with any beautification mode, so you will have to settle with the pre-built filters which you can apply before taking a selfie. The rear camera can record 1080p videos, and the quality of the video is decent but is very shaky just because it doesn’t come with any stabilization mode.

Overall, the camera is overly hyped, but in reality, it just does an acceptable job, and we feel that there is a scope for a lot of improvement that is possible via an OTA update.

Battery:

The Gionee A1 Plus packs a 4550mAh battery with fast charge support. It’s good to see brands giving equal importance to battery department as well as it is one of the norms for choosing a smartphone. The large 4550mAh capacity lasts more than one complete day on a single charge with moderate to heavy usage. We did all our testing with either 4G or Wi-Fi turned on all the time with apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp running in the background most of the time. However, one single issue we found with the battery is that the idle drain is more than what we expected. The device tends to drain rapidly on gaming or while it is left unused.

It comes with Fast charge support, and the supplied adapter can quickly charge up to 60% in less than an hour and takes 1 hour 30 minutes time to charge it completely. Overall, the battery department doesn’t disappoint, but there are some loose ends like the rapid battery drain that still needs to be fixed.

Audio & Video:

The loudspeaker grill is present on the bottom and the 3.5 mm audio jack in the present up top. The speaker performance is great with clear sound quality and is loud enough too. The good thing is that it doesn’t get blocked while holding in landscape when watching movies or playing games, so there is no scope for audio to get muffled. On the other hand, the sound via the headphones is excellent, but the company has bundled an ordinary pair, so you will have to invest some more in a pair of earphones for a better audio experience.

The video department is where things get interesting; the 6-inches large display accommodates for more content regardless of what you are doing. The 1080p display is capable of playing any format video in any resolution. We never faced any heating or freezing issues while streaming Full HD videos and same goes for gaming as well. Overall, barring the fact that Gionee had included an ordinary earphone, the A1 Plus is bliss for a great multimedia experience.

Software & Ui:

The Gionee A1 runs on Android 7.0 Nougat with Amigo U.I on top. This U.I ditch the app drawer as all the icons and widgets are present on the home screen. The notifications can be accessed by swiping from the top. While the quick toggles are being shifted to bottom and can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom, just like the way Apple does with the Control Centre. The icons and theme packs are customized, and you can take advantage of the themes available to change the look and feel the way you want.

The Settings menu has Features tab where you find the functionalities like the Gestures, controls to various features, so you can enable it or disable it directly from there depending on your liking. Apart from Google Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Saavn, Xender, Truecaller and the Touchpal Keyboard come pre-installed. There is a floating widget on the screen with a bunch of shortcuts which will come handy considering the large display.

Out of the 4GB RAM, 2.81GB is available to the user when just the default apps are running in the background. For day-to-day general multitasking and casual use, there was a very little lag while switching. This mostly because of the heavily themed interface. Barring that, the multitasking and the general usability is quite good and smooth. But our main concern with the U.I is regarding the updates and the custom Amigo U.I still needs polishing for better usability.

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