Gionee announced the successor to Marathon M2 few days back and it is the new Marathon M3 with a massive 5000mAh battery. The device comes with a 5 inch HD display and is powered by 1.3Ghz Quad core MediaTek processor. The device also has 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage which is expandable via microSD card. The phone runs on Android 4.4 KitKat and has a custom UI from Gionee which supports themes and customizations.
The phone has dual SIM support and a 8MP rear camera and 2MP front camera. The main attraction of the device is the 5000mAh massive battery powering the phone which the company claims to give 2 days of backup.
Related Reading: Gionee Marathon M3 Unboxing and First Impressions
Here is the detailed review of the device.
Here is the video review of the device.
Design and Build:
Design wise, the Gionee Marathon M3 is a pretty decent looking device. Although the design is not a striking one, Gionee has managed to keep the phone good looking and pretty slim even with the massive 5000mAh battery. There is a chrome finish around the sides giving it a much more premium feel which is carried over to the buttons as well. The rear panel has matte finish and is curved giving a good grip on the device. The phone is pretty heavy and as per Gionee it is 180gms without battery and we are sure it is more than that.
The phone has the power and volume keys on the right side and the 3.5mm audio jack is on the top. The micro USB charging slot is at the bottom. The rear panel houses the 8MP camera, flash and the speaker unit. The three capacitive touch buttons below the display have haptic feedback, but are not backlit. The rear panel is removable and it has the dual SIM cards and the micro SD card. The 5000mAh battery is not user replaceable.
The build quality of the device is really good and the materials and the finish gives it a solid and build to last feel.
The Marathon M3 comes with a 5 inch HD (1280 X 720) , IPS and OGS Display which is pretty good. The touch response is also good. The display has a pixel density of 294 and it is pretty vibrant and the colors look good. The brightness levels of the display is really high and the viewing angles are also acceptable. The sunlight readability is not really great, but is acceptable quality, you might have to manually increase the brightness at time.
Overall, we really don’t have any complaints with the display and it works really well.
Software and Performance:
The phone runs Android 4.4 KitKat and on top of it Gionee has provided it’s custom UI called Amigo UI. But unlike the Amigo UI which comes on Elife E7, S5.5 and E7 Mini, Gionee has made some changes and it comes with app drawer. The notification center has good implementation and similar to S5.5 with the KitKat update. Similar to other Gionee phone, the phone also comes with themes and effects to customize the desktop.
But the major problem with the device is the amount of bloatware it ships with. There are tons of unnecessary apps and games which are included (most of them in trial version) and this takes up a lot of storage as well. We are not really sure why Gionee still sticks with pre-loading software. The new version of Gionee’s Amigo UI has the same problem as that of previous one- laggy performance.
The moment you start using the phone, you get the feeling the UI is not optimized. Although the phone runs 1.3Ghz Quad core MediaTek processor with 1GB RAM, the performance was laggy with the Amigo UI. The moment you install another launcher app (Google Now), the phone gets back to good performance. So it’s clear Gionee hasn’t really worked on optimizing the UI on this phone and also included bloatware. The notification center takes extra time to pull down when you open it. Multitasking was not the best on this device and most of the time we had to clear the RAM to get the phone to working condition.
Marathon M3 comes with the same set of gestures included in other devices including double click to wake. The phone also has HotKnot feature where you can exchange data when the screen touches another device. The gaming experience on the device was not really the best as many high end graphic rich games weren’t able to run in high graphic mode.
The storage is at 8GB and there is 5GB free space available in the first boot. Storage is divided as system storage and phone storage. You can also expand it via microSD Card to 128GB. If you install too many high end games, you will run out of storage pretty quickly as phone storage is just 2.49 GB and you will need a SD card to get going.
The call quality on the phone was pretty good and the speakers were really great. We haven’t seen such a great performance from the external speaker on any mid range device and Gionee claims that it comes with DTS sound. The phone also supports USB OTG out of the box which is again a handy feature to have.
The camera on the device is a 8MP rear camera with LED flash and a front facing 2MP camera for selfies. The interface of the camera is very similar to what we saw on Gionee Elife E7 Mini (review) and does come with host of features. There are lots of modes included like Panorama, Face Beauty, Eraser, Best Face, Best shot and more. There are 4 sets of capture modes- normal, touch shot, gesture shot and smile shot. Apart from this, there are good number of picture frames to choose from. There is also normal set of features to adjust the white balance.
In the video recording mode, you have the white balance and color effects. It can record videos in 1080p.
Now coming to the camera quality, the photo does look decent in the daylight shots, but they are not really sharp. While the colors looks ok, there is too much haze in the photos where there is good amount of light. The macro shots have come pretty good with decent color quality and sharpness. The low light photos are not really impressive and they are mostly noise and some of them are out of focus. The flash works pretty good and can produce decent shots in the night.
The phone can record videos in 1080p and again the quality is nothing much to write about. Overall, the camera is just average and might not beat the Moto G (second generation) or the ASUS Zenfone 5 in terms of quality.
As we said previously, the phone comes with a massive 5000mAh battery which is seldom found on smartphones and this is the biggest strength of this phone. With this device, Gionee claims that you can get atleast 2 days of battery life and the claims are true. When we tested the device for battery usage, we found that it lasts for more than 2 days with average usage. Even if you are heavy user, you will still be able to get close to 2 days of battery life with the Marathon M3.
You can also limit the CPU performance and get more battery life. Another great feature of having the 5000mAh battery is that you can reverse charge another smartphone from this phone if you have the USB OTG cable. In fact you can use the phone as a power bank for long journeys. Overall it is one of the best devices if battery is your primary objective with Android.
If you are looking for a phone with great battery life, without doubt this is one of the best phones with great battery life in this category. But having the best feature of the device is limited to battery and the main issue with Marathon M3 is the performance with Amigo UI. With Good build quality, display and a decent camera, Gionee Marathon M3 is for people who are really concerned about the battery life on Android smartphones. Marathon M3 should be an ideal companion for your long travel needs.
If you are not too concerned about battery life and want to go for performance, the better choices are Moto G (2nd Gen) and ASUS Zenfone 5, both are priced similar to the Marathon M3.