Back in March 2014, Gionee announced the slimmest smartphone in the world, the Elife S5.5 (review). Few months later Gionee has announced yet another slim device, the Elife S5.1 which has already got into the Guinness book of world records as the slimmest phone in the world (although the Vivo X5Max is currently holding that position).
The Elife S5.1 comes with 4.8 inch HD display and is powered by 1.7Ghz Octa processor with 1GB RAM. It runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with custom Amigo UI of top of it. It also features a 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front camera. Here is the detailed review of the device.
Related Reading: Gionee Elife S5.1 Unboxing
Design and Build:
The striking feature of Gionee Elife S5.1 is the design. At just 5.1mm thick and 97gms, the device is terrific to use. The S5.1 is definitely a style statement for people who want their smartphones that way and it does have the looks of iPhone from many angles. While the S5.5 had a bump for the camera, the S5.1 has a flat back panel and both the front and rear panels are made of glass. We had the white and gold variant and comes with curved edges with gold finish running around the sides. Another good aspect of the device is the display size, at 4.8 inches, it is easy to hold as well.
The phone has the power and volume keys on the left side and SIM tray on the right side. The top houses the 3.5mm jack while the micro USB charging slot is at the bottom. Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection is provided on both the rear and front panels are additional protection. The build quality of the device is excellent and feels like a premium device.
Gionee Elife S5.1 comes with a 4.7 inch HD display (1280 X 720P) which is an AMOLED display with 306PPI. While the resolution is only HD, the display is vibrant and colorful and is a fun to use. The touch response is also very good. The color reproduction is very good and display is sharo as well. The viewing angles are also pretty good and so is the sunlight legibility.
Overall, the HD AMOLED display works very well on S5.1
Software and Performance:
The phone runs on Gionee’s custom UI called Amigo UI on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. Amigo UI is the custom UI which is available on all Gionee phones including Elife E7 and Elife S5.5. Gionee has done some optimizations to the Amigo UI on S5.1 and the software looks much more optimized than it was previously. Similar to MIUI or other Chinese OEM based ROMs, Amigo UI also does not feature app drawer instead it comes with multiple home screens.
But unlike previous version, the new Amigo UI has support for widgets and offers all the basic customizations included in Android. The notification center is similar to the one on S5.5 after the KitKat update and looks pretty good with quick launch icons and ability to release the RAM.
Still there are few annoyances on the UI like the ability to disable desktop blur for wallpaper has been removed and also there is no option to remove the default lock screen. But the lock does offer some basic features like ability to access camera, torch and also do a fake call.
The biggest issue with Amigo UI is the amount of bloatware Gionee has shipped with the device. There is Amigo Paper, Kingsoft Office, Du Battery Saver, Du Speed Booster, GioneeXender, Saavn, Touchpal X, GameZone, trial version of games and the list does not end there. It is time for Gionee to reconsider their strategy of adding these unnecessary games and apps.
The phone also comes with Smart gestures like smart dial, answer, double click to wake and more which are quite handy options. The system manager app is also useful as it provides options like Memory Clean, Rubbish Clean, Power Optimizer, Traffic Monitor, App Manager and Permission Manager.
The device comes with 1.7Ghz Octa core processor with 1GB RAM and the performance is pretty decent most of the time. But the issue is when you run too many apps in the back ground and the Amigo UI starts to lag a bit. Performance is an issue because of the availability of just 1GB RAM, but having said that under normal usage the device performed well. The gaming experience was pretty decent and since the device is light weight you wont get tired playing games on the phone.
The phone comes with 16GB internal storage and there is no micro SD card expansion which might be a deal breaker for many. The storage is divided into System (6.33GB) and Phone (9.67GB).
The phone comes with only single SIM card with 3G support and the call quality was very good and we didn’t have any issues like call drops. The speaker performance is average and it is not the best in terms of sound quality.
The phone comes with 8MP rear camera with auto focus and flash and also a 5MP front camera for selfies. The camera interface on the Gionee Elife S5.1 is exactly the same found on Elife E7. While the UI features lots of options including HDR, Panorama, self timer, capture modes (normal, V-sign shot, touch shot, smile shot), the UI isn’t really user friendly.
You can also use the volume keys to quickly capture photos. The 8MP shooter is able to shoot pretty decent photos and the color quality is also good, but comparing the competition it might just fall short of performance. Another big issue with the camera is that with the slightest amount of shake, the photos are also shaky.
The 5MP front camera is pretty good for selfies and the clarity is also good. The phone can record videos in 1080P and the clarity is pretty decent again. Here are some of the camera samples from the 8MP shooter.
The phone comes with just 2050mAh battery which is pretty low and has been compromised for the slimness of the device. The battery performance is pretty decent if you are a normal user. We tested the performance in different conditions. We ran multiple social apps in the background along with emails configured and we got around 17-20 hours on a single charge with three hours of screen on time. On an average the phone should last a day on a single charge.
Priced at Rs 18999, the Gionee Elife S5.1 is definitely pricier when compared to the likes of Moto G or Zenfone 5. It is even pricier than the Zenfone 6 with better specs. But having said that the design and build quality of the device is terrific and you would want to pick this device for its slimness and light weight. The pros of the device include great design and build, decent camera and also decent performance, but at the same time availability of single SIM, low battery capacity and lack of SD card are some of the shortcomings of the device. If you can spent another Rs 1000, it is worth picking the Lenovo Vibe X2 with better specs or even the Huawei Honor 6.