Gionee A1 Plus Review: A “heavy-weight” competitor

Gionee-A1_Gold_MWC

or an industry that is widely regarded for pushing the boundaries of phone design and features, Gionee had marked its entry into the smartphone market in India in 2014 with the Gionee S5.1. The phone was indeed a beautiful device to hold and considering the time when it was launched, it was perhaps the best buy for many users looking for ergonomics.

The story of the Gionee A1 Plus, on the other hand, is entirely different. Yes, companies do have to make a stand against competitors by bringing features that attract customers. The device can either be a bestseller or could easily join the wall of shame and become part of the list of worst phones ever made.

So what’s in store for the Gionee A1 Plus? Does the hardware and user experience justify buying a phone that costs Rs 26,999? Read our review to find out.

Design

With an all metal design with 2.5D curved glass on the front, the Gionee A1 Plus comes with a 6-inch Full-HD display, making this device ideal for those seeking on-the-go entertainment. The colour reproduction is good and viewing angles are great even in outdoors. The fingerprint scanner/home button sits between two capacitive navigation buttons. We were however surprised that the company did not make the Gionee dimple at the back of the device as a fingerprint scanner, as it was an ideal position for this piece of hardware.

Under the hood, the phone runs on an octa-core MediaTek Helio P25 chipset clocked at 2.5 GHz with 4GB of RAM. The internal storage is 64GB, with the option to expand up to 256GB via MicroSD card (a hybrid SIM slot where you sacrifice one of your beloved numbers). As many other manufacturers have already introduced their devices with dual cameras, Gionee is not far behind. The rear primary camera comes with a 13-megapixel camera (aperture of f/2.0) combined with a 5-megapixel one. The dual setup brings bokeh effects to your portrait pictures. Selfie enthusiasts can take advantage of the 20-megapixel camera on the front, since this is the elder-sibling of the Gionee A1 .

Design

With an all metal design with 2.5D curved glass on the front, the Gionee A1 Plus comes with a 6-inch Full-HD display, making this device ideal for those seeking on-the-go entertainment. The colour reproduction is good and viewing angles are great even in outdoors. The fingerprint scanner/home button sits between two capacitive navigation buttons. We were however surprised that the company did not make the Gionee dimple at the back of the device as a fingerprint scanner, as it was an ideal position for this piece of hardware.

Under the hood, the phone runs on an octa-core MediaTek Helio P25 chipset clocked at 2.5 GHz with 4GB of RAM. The internal storage is 64GB, with the option to expand up to 256GB via MicroSD card (a hybrid SIM slot where you sacrifice one of your beloved numbers). As many other manufacturers have already introduced their devices with dual cameras, Gionee is not far behind. The rear primary camera comes with a 13-megapixel camera (aperture of f/2.0) combined with a 5-megapixel one. The dual setup brings bokeh effects to your portrait pictures. Selfie enthusiasts can take advantage of the 20-megapixel camera on the front, since this is the elder-sibling of the Gionee A1 .

All of that hardware is powered by a huge 4,550 mAh battery pack and the company has included a fast charger in the box. We would like to inform our readers that slight heating of the device is expected where fast chargers are concerned. The Gionee A1 Plus is no different in that aspect.

In terms of connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0 is available with standard Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n networks. MicroUSB port is abandoned for up and rising USB Type C. Don’t fret, as the headphone jack still remains at the top. There are dual speakers on the Gionee A1 Plus : one being a front facing and another at the bottom. So, as we said earlier, watching movies and games are a definite plus point here.

The device runs on Android Nougat 7.0.1 out-of-the-box, with its own version of Amigo UI. There are thousands of themes and wallpapers to choose from. It reminded us of the good old days when Nokia theme packs were side loaded just to make the device feel like our own. The OS still does seem to take many leaves from Apple’s books by incorporating animations all the way from the lock screen to app drawers. Unlocking the device brings in an animation which will remind you of iOS 10.
Performance

Gionee’s attempt to bring flagship phablet ticks a lot of boxes and consumers will definitely love the device for its performance. The device is smooth and in our testing, lags were also negligible. We enjoyed watching a lot of content and playing games only because the screen was meant for entertainment purposes.

The UI does feel outdated considering the potential other Android smartphone makers have brought to the table.

The phone runs high graphic games like Asphalt 8 without any lags whatsoever, however, we did notice the device begins to heat up lightly about 8 minutes into gaming.

The battery life on the A1 Plus is great, with an on-screen time of almost 7 to 8 hours. The phone lasted us for more than a day under normal to medium usage. Adding Quick Charge to the equation, the phone is a definite marathoner.

Multitasking is a breeze, making the phone ideal for anyone who uses the phone regularly to check social media, news, browsing the web and messaging while on the move.
Antutu benchmarks achieved for the Gionee A1 Plus were 65457, while Geekbench gave scores of 833 for single-core and 3893 for multi-core.

The Gionee A1 Plus works great, but a design aspect of the smartphone has unexpectedly become its Achilles heel.

The primary reason this device is making us apprehensive would be the weight. It’s a big device. Yes, it’s a flagship. The device comes with a 4,550 mAh battery, yet it weighs 226 grams. It can easily replace your office paperweight. Xiaomi’s Mi Max 2 could kill the Gionee A1 Plus, just for the simple fact that it’s easy to carry around the device without feeling the ‘weight of the world in your pockets’. And it’s not easy to get used to that weight. Holding the device for longer periods of time, especially if you’re watching your favourite TV show after a hard day’s work will just make you end up shifting the phone from one hand to the other.

In good lighting conditions, the camera works well. The night shots though seem to be leaning more towards making the shots brighter. The end results are grainy shots with warmer colours.

Verdict

For a company that brought the best-looking smartphone of 2014, the A1 Plus looks like a haphazard attempt to wow consumers with amazing internals but failing to see the flaws in design when it comes to real-world usage. The Honor 8 Pro would be this smartphone’s bigger contender in the ring, and this heavy-weight device has a lot to lose. And if battery is still your priority, the Mi Max 2 offers a bigger battery pack.

 If you don’t mind the extra weight in your pocket, then the Gionee A1 Plus is a good buy as it performs well in day to day usage. But if you still need a device that’s light on your wallet and pockets, you need to look elsewhere.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here