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Gionee X1 Review

The rise of Chinese manufacturers for phones has turned up the smartphone competition in India vastly. Every now and then, some new company that we have never heard of will turn up trying to get a piece of the action. Surviving in the Indian market is a tough challenge as people here generally put brand trust over outright specifications first. Gionee is one of the few smartphone manufacturers that have managed to nail this. It is a very popular brand in India and has great devices at reasonable prices. Brands like this are usually in a stiff competition from the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi and you need to really have a distinguishing feature to set you apart from the competition.

Gionee launched its budget smartphone the X1 back in August this year, and it is a very unique device in its own regard. So let’s jump into the review.

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Initial Impressions:

The Gionee X1 comes in a compact box like most smartphones today. It seems like every other smartphone manufacturer is trying to impersonate Apple’s style of packaging for some reason and I don’t mind it as this is a very neatly arranged packaging.

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Box Contents:

Gionee has a very interesting array of things inside the box that you don’t generally find on phones of today. The Box has the following accessories inside it:

  • 1x Travel Charger
  • 1x Micro USB connector
  • 1x Headphone
  • 1x Screen Guard with wiping cloth
  • 1x Transparent rubber Phone case
  • 1x Battery
  • 1x Warranty manual and product documentation

The Gionee X1 is one of the few smartphones that actually has removable battery. Also it was nice to see an included rubber phone casing because there are only a few manufacturers that even bother to include a removable phone case with their devices.

Design and Display:

The Gionee X1 is one of the few devices that come with a removable battery. Normally every other phone these days has a policy of implementing non-removable batteries because it does make the phone slim. However the Gionee with its removable battery is the opposite, it is quite a chunky device. However, for some of us it might actually be a good thing because replacing the battery is not only cheaper but also extremely simple. The rest of the device is actually quite simple. With the plastic back looking reminiscent of a Xiaomi device with a different camera position.

The Display is has a 5’inch IPS panel which is pretty basic of a device at this price point. It has a resolution of 720p with a pixel density of 294ppi. Other than that it has a screen to body ratio of 66% which is lower as compared to some devices at this price bracket.

Performance:

The Gionee X1 is a budget android phone and as such it has performance similar to its price bracket.

The device is powered by a Mediatek MT 6737 CPU clocked at 1.3GHz each. It is a quad core chip with all four cores consisting of ARM’s A53 chips which are more battery friendly than powerful. Rest assured this SoC will aid your battery life more than it is going to sate your needs for running heavy games or multiple CPU heavy applications. Also the device has a modest 2GB of RAM for all your needs. Also for graphics, it has a Mali-T720 MP2 GPUwhich is also a low end unit. The device can just about run HD videos without any lag but expecting it to work simultaneously with multi-threaded applications would be expecting a bit too much.

There are devices from the competition that offer significantly more in terms of raw specifications in the same price bracket. So if you are into that sort of thing, it would be wise to look elsewhere.

Software:

On this side of things, the Gionee X1 comes with android 7.0 Nougat with their Amigo UI as the stock interface. The Amigo UI is a very unique interface, functionally speaking. It has some neat little tweaks on it that aid multi-tasking greatly. The status bar for quick toggles is accessed by swiping down from the bottom rather than the conventional way of swiping up. This is reminiscent of how Apple’s action centre is toggled. Also there are tonnes of options for customising the UI from themes to emoticons. It also has built in virus scanner and side bar that can be accessed from swiping from the right to access quick toggles. Also the UI supports gesture support. However, the cost of all this is a rather memory hungry OS and although it has profiles for app management and clearing RAM, that doesn’t much as the phone consumes around 800-900MB of available ram without any open apps. Again lack of stock android is a missed opportunity.

Camera and Storage:

The Gionee X1 has an 8MP rear camera with dual tone LED flash. Although it ships with a CMOS sensor, the f2.2 aperture is too narrow in my opinion. So it directly interferes with image quality. The pictures are average in good light and grainy in low light and the front camera is no better even with its front LED flash. So, a missed opportunity there!

Storage wise, the Gionee X1 gets 32GB of storage for all your files. It can further expanded to 128GB with an SD card that can go in the hybrid sim slot.

Storage and Connectivity:

Battery wise, it gets a 3000mAh Li-Ion battery that is user replaceable. It should easily last you a day or more depending on your usage.

Connectivity wise, it is officially available in India and supports all the radio bands for communication of Indian ISP’s. It has support for 4G LTE, 3G and 2G. It also has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.2, Micro USB connectivity and GPS A-GPS support.

Verdict:

The Gionee has many ups and downs as a device and it may be tempting for someone looking into buying a device with a removable battery. However there are a glaring number of compromises with the device and as such you’re better off getting a similarly priced Xiaomi which will have slightly better specifications overall. The Gionee X1 price in India is Rs.8999 which puts it in direct competition with a number of other manufacturers targeting the same price bracket, especially the Nokia 2 and the Xiaomi Redmi 4.

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