Gionee Elife E7 Review after 6 Months Usage as a Primary Phone

by Chetan Bhawani 25

Gionee Elife E7 6 Months Usage

This should be very interesting for me, and for the readers as well because usually whatever smartphones we test and review, are new and are reviewed within the first month after the device is launched. We usually like most of those devices, and the actual problems come out a few months later. That’s the reason why I’m reviewing the Gionee Elife E7, a few months later. To be precise, it is just over six months since I am using this smartphone and it has been with me on every trip, every holiday and I have used this as a primary smartphone.

Before you come up with conclusions, this review is not about the performance compared to the competitor devices, but it is on how much can you expect from a smartphone after months of regular usage. And whether a company that was given a “Chinese” tag during its entry into the Indian market, could prove its point with its flagship smartphone?

What I loved the Gionee Elife E7 earlier, was for the amazing camera, the good display and the few apps from Gionee for the productivity and optimization of the performance. One of those factors still hold the same thought in my mind – the camera! There is always a general thought that the camera capture quality goes down with time, but that hasn’t been the case with the Gionee Elife E7, so far. It still gives the same quality excellent captures with the large 16-megapixel rear camera. Below are a few captures from the same camera, with no editing.

Gionee Elife E7 6

Of what I talked about earlier in my original review, it was a criticism towards the Amigo UI, which wasn’t impressive at all, and those who know much about rooting and installing other ROMs, they would have done that already. I didn’t, to check out what alternatives I can try, by just using some launchers and see if that works good enough for me. But frankly, I still hate the Amigo UI and I never complain about the OS updates when it is some custom ROM installed on the device, but here, there were all reasons for me to wait for the update to one of the latest Android versions. The main reason was the compatibility of Android Wear smartwatches, and because I use the LG G Watch, there was no way I could connect it to the Elife E7 running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean.

I tried launchers such as Go Launcher, Everything Me and for a long time, Aviate too. But there were compromises in that as well, so what’s the point? you will not like the Amigo launcher and the Android OS update in this device is quite necessary.

What is still good after 6 months?

The camera (s) – Rear and Front

Gionee Elife E7 Camera

I still love both the cameras of the Elife E7. Ever since the company launched this, I was a fan of both the rear and front cameras, and still carry the same phone to every event, party and the captures come out superb. It’s the era of selfies, right? they come out pretty cool with the 8MP shooter with autofocus!

The display

Playing a 1080p video on this shows great vibrant colors, and the brightness was great as well, though not as good as the AMOLED displays on Samsung smartphones.

The drop and survival

Gionee Elife E7 Dent

It is not once but around 4 times that the phone fell from chest height, always unintentional, and the Elife E7 survived each drop. I could be the lucky one there, but that is still good that the screen didn’t see any damage. There were dents on the corner where the impact was, but because these corners are curving from front to back, the dents don’t get noticed easily.

The call quality and connectivity

Gionee Elife E7 connectivity

This is nothing to boast about, but I’m talking about the quality change over the time. In the past six months, I have been very happy with the quality of calling (voice, video) and the connectivity options in the Elife E7. Have used the smartphone while traveling, and this has been the Wi-Fi hotspot always. Not the best device for connectivity options, but when we are talking of the long-term use and the phone’s response, a 10/10 for the Elife E7 for staying the same even after the months of heavy usage.

What disappointed me all the time?

The top power button

Gionee Elife E7 Power Button

There have been countless occasions when the Elife E7 is in the pocket, and while driving, the power button gets pressed (continuously) such that the device restarts in a loop, until I notice that and take the device out of the pocket.

The Bad Sensor

Another problem with the phone was the front sensors that would automatically detect and turn the display off while a call is active. The sensor on the Elife E7 is pretty bad, and thus many a times unknowingly the screen was on, and the screen got touched by the face and the large “disconnect” button used to get tapped many a times.

The Amigo UI

The user interface, i.e. Amigo UI isn’t good at all. You cannot place widgets, there is no app drawer, and you can play around with just limited settings. Although I used to switch between launchers, what you expect to be the best is the stuff that company packs into the device. Here, the Amigo UI is what I would love to hate.

OS version, Compatibility

Gionee Elife E7 Android OS version

We got the Android Wear smartwatch, i.e. the LG G Watch about a few days within the launch, and the Gionee Elife E7 being my primary device, I would connect both of them for the best use. But does that happen? no! Android Wear app requires Android 4.3 and later, while this flagship Gionee Elife E7 runs Android 4.2.2, no updates since launch. Thus, the G Watch is of no use, unless I use a secondary device only to pair it with this watch.

Is the Gionee Elife E7 still worth a buy?

There are two scenarios to look at: Whether you are looking to buy a new one or a used one. Several people who are reading this review of mine, might be ones who don’t mind purchasing a used device, if they feel the smartphone didn’t go that bad in these few months of usage.

If you are looking to buy a new Gionee Elife E7, there is one and only reason why you should buy it – the excellent camera. Otherwise, there are some excellent alternatives, like the Google Nexus 5, Sony Xperia Z and at least with these, you get the latest OS updates and thus there is no app compatibility issue at all. If at all you see an update for the Elife E7 in the near future, there is a lot that might change the user experience, but for now, I will hold my thoughts and see this is a Jelly Bean OS running device.

But is the device not worth it? It indeed is, because the camera of the device is still better than several flagships, and now companies have started launching smartphones with selfie cameras showing improvements, but this 8-megapixel front camera in the Elife E7 has been there to impress since the beginning of this year. If the OS version and the UI aren’t much of a concern, the device is still worth it for the price.

Just when I’m writing this, the pricing of the Gionee Elife E7 is dropped to a segment which has some great competition but the Elife E7 clearly can be called a winner with its excellent camera, and while the 16GB version costs Rs. 21999, the 32GB one costs Rs. 24999, and for that price, this is totally worth it.

Chetan Bhawani

Chetan Bhawani is a dentist, a tech blogger and a passionate writer in the field of technology. He keeps himself connected to the web for the entire day, of course except when he's dozed off! Add +Chetan Bhawani on Google Plus for more!

  • Dheeraj Nayak

    How about the battery on the phone? Does the battery suffice for the hardware configuration and usage?

    • Suraj Racharla

      According to someone who told.me I found out that the battery was ok and not too bad. The battery can be better but it is ok

  • Jugal Mudoi

    This would be best phone if Gionee provide a software update within recent days may be with upgraded os or with the more customizable amigo os with lock screen app support, then amigo would also be great.

    • Suraj Racharla

      Yes Gionee should provide an upgraded os. The amigo os doesnt look to good right now and they should update it. Is amigo os any good? or does it outperform itself

    • an overhaul of amigo is needed, even seeing the 2.0 ui with ts new additions and tweaks, i sill feel it can use work, and this phone deserves to receive an upgraded os! Their is so many new features it needs!

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    It seems a little disappointing..

  • Jugal Mudoi

    This is third time I read this..this wonderful review is really helpful for us, please do next of an Oppo device or Xiaomi mi4 when it releases…a review of a 6 months period… this will help people to clear every doubts about devices from such brands… BTW your new concepts are really amazing and interesting !

    • Suraj Racharla

      Yes i want to read an Oppo and especailly the Xiaomi mi 4 device review after 6 months. I want to see how these devices perform after some time. Do they just perform goo in the beginning or they last for a long time and can be called future proof devices. NIce to see Phone radar adding reviews like this!! Shows the true value of the smartphone and the true colors

    • yeah im really inquisitive on the xiaomi redmi note, wondering how exactly will it fare a 6 month testing process, and if its worth it due to its exclusivity in the market. Im even more so interested in the new plus one, that phone is awesome an would like to see how a new device from a new company does too! I can almostt assure Phoneradar will be on top of this!

  • Joshua Akinsola

    Jellybean in a lollipop forward community is a letdown, but those cameras are insane would definitely suceed in selfies. But what is a selfie to someone who cant enjoy an updated os or battery life. Not worth the buy imho especially with the great alternatives out there.

  • Android

    Looking at this phone right off the bat i know it is fingerprint prone. It looks good with Android 4.2.2 and i can imagine how good it with Android lollipop 5.0. You shoould not expect it bu8t a root and android 5.0 would look awsome. Gionee has done good with this phone but they can do better. They should not use material that is figerprint prone because after 2-3 months you can see alot of finger prints on it and it looks like it was years old. The Ui looks okaty but it can be improved witha bit of tweaking. Other than that for the price is may not be worth it and just to let people know who are buying that there are other options

  • Jugal Mudoi

    Yes, I agree with you.. at least a kitkat update was expected if not the lollipop but Gionee lacks it and I think not everyone want a update through root way though root is the ultimate way to get update. for the glossy back panel of e7 you could use flip cover and I know it would never feel big or uncomfortable in hands and yeah the ui needs to be improved but the latest Gionee device gets a better ui than this one.

    • Suraj Racharla

      Yes but the disadvatge to the flip cover is it adds thickness. And i think one the main reasons people buy this phone is for the design and thickness. And we just put a cover on it it just ruins the whole device. Well it really depends on what type of cover it is. It cant be too thick or too thin that. I think a skin would be better for this phone

    • yes man, an update to kit kat at least is deserved! Dont leave the e7 behind as its an amazing and durable device!

  • harinath

    great review , i was using thus phone since march end..battery seems to be ok.camera is awesome..phone is strudy and have survives more than 10 times and have fallen in a bucket fullof water just swiched of and dried it works like nothing happened.i am a hard user.i think its value for money.only drawback is no update till now.or any word from gionee.

    • Suraj Racharla

      Really that is amazing to hear. We rarely hear about Chinese smartphones lasting for long time but here is one exception or should I say exceptional smartphone that goes against that. It amazing to hear that sometimes you drop your phone on a bucket of water but it still works. This shows that Gionee has reLly made a quality device. Thanks for the information!!!!

    • now that is something! Chinese durability has always been in question; falling in water and coming out fine isn’t a trait you would give to a Chinese device. Im amazed this device exceeds expectations and has been so sturdy for you. Just a testament to how powerful this device is!

    • Haven’t seen that happen or did that, dropping it onto the floor or into water. So not sure whether it would have survived, but you are a lucky soul.

  • I really love this review! The phone is great after six months of use and you guys showed that with your in-depth analysis. More stuff like this needed please! Keep up the awesome work!

  • Jayaprakash Pk

    The review is mainly about the camera, other features though are of importance. I have been using this phone E7 for more than six months and I too agree with the writer the quality of the camera has not been affected at all, both front and rear. I too bought this phone only for the camera, having read about it in umpteen reviews. Like the author, what is disappointing me is also the company’s refusal to update the device to the latest android version. Though Gionee has updated their yet cheaper models to the latest versions of android, this flagship phone still waits for it. Is the company waiting to give us a Lollipop android version? I doubt?

    • Glad you agree to the points. We’re told the latest that KitKat is due this month or in Feb.

      • Jayaprakash Pk

        When I try to update system Update, I get ( network anomaly, check the network and try again) repeatedly even when the network is OK. Some trick by Gionee, I think, to avoid an update.

        • Hey don’t worry, it will take time. I too got the error sometimes, that is due to the server issue.

  • harinath

    gps is not accurate .but some chinese phones are brilliant.as far as performance speed in realtime is good i havnt faced any hang in game atuntu score 33800 -35500 .but some software bugs.to be frank i love this phone.i am a hard user normally i would throw my phone after squeezing all the juice.my previous phone was samsung wave1.after using it for 4years it gave off.i have a good feeling that it would last atleast 2 years

  • Sérgio

    Front camera not working after 3 months. Terrible