Gionee Elife S5.1 Hands-on, Initial Impressions & Photo Gallery

by Chetan Bhawani 25

Gionee Elife S5.1 Thickness

When smartphones get slimmer and slimmer, the first thing that comes into users’ mind is the durability. Whether the phone will be able to handle any pressure put on it, or will it just give up? Gionee’s Elife S5.5, the previous slimmest smartphone from the company was tough enough. Breaking the previous record, Gionee announced the Elife E5.1, a smartphone even slimmer with a thickness of 5.1mm.

In the hand, this feels no where like one of those smartphones that you always felt very comfortable with, because there is a doubt about this easily slipping down the hand. But at the same time, that’s the best part. You don’t really need a device that is heavy and occupy much space in your pocket as well.

To talk of the slimmest of them all, this slimmest Gionee smartphone lost the title of “slimmest smartphone” to Oppo’s R5, but there are two important things I would recommend the Elife S5.1 for – a headset jack (that is a big deal for people who travel), and the plain back (the camera on Oppo R5 is raised, putting an impact on itself when always placed on a flat surface). That was all good on the Elif S5.1 from Gionee, which has a very smooth back, reminding you of the Sony Xperia smartphones with the glass body and no raised parts anywhere.

Even the Elife S5.5 had a little raised section at the camera area, but this one is flat, and that removes the risk of the phone landing right on the camera when placed on the surface. The speakers on the back could restrict the sound output, but that is understandable, as the port for MicroUSB and the headset jack are located towards the bottom of the device.

Talking about the interface, it is the Android 4.4 KitKat with Amigo UI over it, but this seems more polished, and better than the Amigo 2.0, that had been sent to Elife S5.5 as an OTA update along with the KitKat update sometime back. The general layout is all the same, with the app icons and widgets on the home screens directly, and there are some new settings we see in the “Settings” sections. There are noticeable changes in the notification section as well, where the quick settings are polished to look better, although no big changes in the functionality.

Just like in Amigo 2.0, this one has the RAM booster shortcut directly in the quick settings section, and the toggles include the ones for connectivity, profiles and a few others.

The best stand-out part apart from the thickness, is the silver strip on the borders (front and back) in the pink model that we tested, although there is a black version as well where these shiny borders are not included.

Gionee Elife S5.1 Android OS

It is because of that thickness, the phone doesn’t even look like one with a big 4.8-inch screen. The 8-megapixel camera on the back is seriously good for the number, because we could capture some excellent photos with amazing color reproduction, though it seemed to give up on retaining details when the light around wasn’t bright. Still, for an 8MP shooter, this was seriously quite a good one.

Gionee has been including a Charmcam feature for the front-facing camera captures, making the fact more obvious that the front camera is only for selfies, although that isn’t the only purpose. The camera samples would be up soon, for you to judge by yourself.

As said above, the phone is not the best at comfort, and here the thickness makes it a little weird because you get worried about this slipping or getting cracked easily (and we’ve been very careful, no drop test and check here). Still, it has all the beauty the company was boasting about. In the pink variant, the shining borders and the buttons add to the good looks.

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!

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    Its pink variant is too shinny than otthers.

  • Joshua Akinsola

    article was down for me for a while but glad its up now great looking phone and in depth article like the slimness but amigo isnt my cup of tea

    • I’ve always been against Amigo UI, but the polishing now makes it a little better. Still, I’m sure they are taking the feedback to ditch Amigo some day.

      • Jugal Mudoi

        Hope the new one is well optimized and doesn’t lag anymore!

      • Joshua Akinsola

        Agreed it looks more cleaner and has a minimal style too it but the icons and the overall feel still doesnt feel like a true android ui. It feels like a launcher you can get from the app store

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    Honestly i hate chinese phone.

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    But gionee is getting its root.

  • Nebu Cherian

    Can the phones get slimmer than this? Becoz of curiosity!

    • Nikhil Narkhede

      OPPO R5 . 🙂

      • And I’d suggest this Elife S5.1 over the R5, for my own reasons. Will list them out later. Have to check out the R5 before commenting.

    • Joshua Akinsola

      One already is the from the oppo line but I they can get even slimmer than the boundaries pushed slim is in and very popular, there are some risks but developers have been known to overcome and should be able to balance performance and style

    • Nebu Cherian

      It almost resembles xperia series from back

  • Shashank Chourey

    Nice design.. At least better than the iphone’s protruding camera..

    • Exactly the point with the Oppo’s R5 as well. Protruding camera.

  • Jugal Mudoi

    A good looking phone, I like their phones specially for the neat design but I think this phone would look better in female hands.. anyway nice to hear that the new amigo supports hs widgets, also got to see in that pic and the whole UI looking now better.

  • MANJIT SARMA

    With that size, there is always a chance to slip! But, it looks great!

    • It does slip, and the culprit is not just the size but the glass body.

  • Arindam Borgohain

    Personally have seen a very bad condition of a gionee s5.5. Can’t fully trust this brand name.

    • Have used its latest Elife E7 for a considerable time, and I did like it quite well. Haven’t used the S5.5 for more than a couple weeks though.

      • Arindam Borgohain

        Ow, so I guess they have overcome those glitches. Thank you for enlightening me. Will surely try my hands on it then.

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    Slimmest phone gionee is set on full mood.

  • Shanky Yadav Jungly

    The best part on this page i like is photo gallery

  • Mark Elreih

    Hello. Do anyone know when it’ll release? i want to buy this. thanks.

  • Joshua Akinsola

    I think the release was in september.

  • Joshua Akinsola

    Amigo amigo, i think personally i would root nd flash to something else its not my favorite ui. But some people like it and thats good enough for them