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Gionee Elife S5.1 review: Johnny Slim

GSMArena team, 05 December 2014.

Introduction

Last time we met, Gionee had quite a flagship to show off. Looking extra sharp and more than decently equipped, we deemed it capable of getting users interested well beyond the traditional Asian markets. Some months later, Gionee has toned some of the specs down but their next phone is looking even more impressive.

The Gionee Elife S5.1 may have lost some screen and camera resolution but it managed to shed some grams and millimeters off the waistline along the way too. It briefly held the world’s slimmest smartphone title before Oppo slipped a note under the door, in the form of an R5.

But even without a world title on its resume, the Gionee Elife S5.1 makes a fantastic first impression. An AMOLED screen within an all-glass shell reinforced by a metal frame – a premium combo and a weight of the unbelievable sub-100g.

Gionee Elife S5.1 Gionee Elife S5.1 Gionee Elife S5.1 Gionee Elife S5.1 Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1 official pictures

On the inside, the Gionee Elife S5.1 is powered by the same Mediatek chipset as the Elife S5.5, with an octa-core processor and a quad-core graphics accelerator. The camera department is more than reasonable too – an 8MP rear and a 5MP selfie cam. Unlike its premium predecessor, the Elife S5.1 launches straight on Android KitKat, skinned with the Amigo launcher we’ve already seen.

Key features

  • 4.8″ 16M-color 720p Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, usable with gloves
  • Dual Gorilla Glass 3 design, aluminum frame
  • Super-slim and lightweight body at 5.2mm and 97.7g
  • Android OS v4.4.2 KitKat with Amigo OS v2.0
  • Octa-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A17, Mali-T450MP4 GPU; 1GB of RAM; MediaTek MT6592 chipset
  • 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash, 1080p video recording @ 30fps
  • 5MP front-facing camera
  • 16GB of built-in storage
  • FM radio
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Active noise cancellation with a dedicated secondary mic
  • 2,050mAh battery

Main disadvantages

  • Non-exchangeable battery
  • Non-expandable storage
  • No LTE connectivity
  • 1GB RAM raises questions about performance

The Elife S5.1 is certain to impress at the very first touch. The feel in hand is unique – never mind the slim profile, you just expect a certain heft to that handset. And you can’t help but be amazed at just how light it is.

The slim profile forced a few compromises though. The non-expandable storage is something many users have gotten used to but the single storage option being 16GB may as well be a deal-breaker to some. The non-exchangeable battery is quite common nowadays, and the capacity is actually decent for a phone this slim. 2050mAh isn’t a bad achievement compared to the 1860mAh of the Samsung Galaxy Alpha – which is quite slim on its own but not nearly as slim as the Gionee Elife S5.1.

The missing LTE connectivity isn’t a big deal perhaps considering the main target markets. The thing that raises the biggest question is the amount of RAM and we’ll be exploring this in the performance chapter for sure.

Gionee Elife S5.1 Gionee Elife S5.1 Gionee Elife S5.1 Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1 live pictures

We’ll get there but not before we’ve unwrapped the Elife S5.1 and gotten a real feel. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

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