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.
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.