The Gionee Elife S5.5 the Slimmest Smartphone at a Great Price Launched

On Monday, Gionee India Launched the latest smart phone the Elife S5.5 at a launch event in Goa. The S5.5 is the slimmest smart phone in the market right now. That doesn’t mean that the phone misses out on any of the features – it features a Octacore processor, 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage. This is powered by a 2300mAh battery. More on the specs a little later. With all this, the Elife S5.5 will be reasonably sold for Rs. 22,999 when it hits the stores on the 27 of April.

Gionee is a force to be reckoned with

Gionee has been around in India for just about a year, and are already proving that they’re a force to recon with. In the first year of operations in India, Arvind Vora (Gionee India Head) announced that they have already reached a turn over of Rs. 500 Crores. 90% of these sales have been from their smart phone line and India contributes to 20% of Gionee’s worldwide handset business. They currently have a 2% market share in India.

This year, they have an ambitious plan of boosting their service center numbers to 750 and be present in 25,000 retail counters around India. They also plan to spend 150 crores in branding to take over 5% of the Indian Market share this year.

Introducing the Gionee Elife S5.5

This beautifully designed phone features a Magnesium Alloy metal unibody on which the phone is mounted and covered on both sides with Gorilla Glass 3. Even the colors of the phone are nice subtle ones which are not in your face. The display units which I played around with during the launch were also quite good and didn’t show much lags. Of course, I’ll wait till I check out the review devices for a full workout before giving my final verdict on that.

Gionee-Elife-S5.5-Phone

Quick Specs of the Elife S5.5

  • Dimensions: 145.1 x 70.2 x 5.55mm
  • The display is a 5.0” Super AMOLED Plus screen
  • It is powered by a Mediatek Octa- Core 1.7GHz CPU
  • The phone comes with 2 GB onboard memory and 16GB storage.
  • The phone comes with a 13.0 Megapixel rear camera and a 5.0 Megapixel front camera which has a 95 Degree Ultra-Wide Angle view for full bodied selfies
  • The Operating system on the S5.5 is AMIGO OS 2.0 which is based on based on Android 4.2
  • Battery: Non-removable 2300mAh Battery
  • The S5.5 also comes with USB OTG so you can connect your USB thumb drives to the phone to transfer data if you get the required cables.
  • Available Colors: Black, White, Blue, Pink, and Purple

Making of the S5.5 Unibody

During the Lauch presentation, Oliver Sha took us through an interesting presentation which went over the actual manufacturing process which went into the making of the metal body and the glass which covers the phone on the front and back. Take a peek to see how it’s made.

Making OF the Gorilla Glass 3 Screen for the S5.5

One tidbit here is that the Gorilla Glass 3 screen on the S5.5 is just as thick as 4 A4 size sheets stacked on each other. Here’s the manufacturing process which goes into the making of these.

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Initial Verdict

I found that the Elife S5.5 lives up to the hype they created when they announce the phone at MWC this year. The world’s slimmest phone also boasts up a respectable hardware spec, while keeping the pricing at a comfortable sub 25K level. The build of the phone is exceptional and it feels much costlier than the price tag suggests. We’ll follow up with a full review once we get a hold of a review unit from Gionee. Do drop in a comment and tell us what you think.

USB on the Go for mobile phones

One feature I miss on most mobile phones is the ability to connect a portable disk and transfer data to the phone. Apple, Blackberry or Android phones, all have to be connected a PC (or a WIFI connection) to transfer media and files across. How about when you want to transfer data from a USB Flash drive?

USB OTG to the rescue

USB OTG, or USB On The Go, provides is a way for two devices to talk to each other without the need of a PC. This allows you to just connect your Flash Drive, Cameras or other Media Players to your phone and directly copy files to and from your phone directly using the phone’s file manager application.

I was really excited when I first saw this feature on the Nokia N8 smart phone last year and thought that most newer smart phones would certainly come out with this feature. After all, who wouldn’t want this?  A year later, most Smart phones still lack this feature, I’ve seen it  primarily on Nokia devices (the N8, E7, C7, X2 and others) and some Android devices (Samsung Galaxy S II).

What can you connect using USB OTG?

Any USB device which doesn’t need more than a few milliampers of  power to run. Most USB flashcards, External Hard Drives, Cameras or Media Players which don’t pull power from USB should work fine. If you’re looking at connecting that power-hungry 1TB drive to your phone, make sure the your drive comes with a separate power cable, if it charges from USB, it won’t work with your phone.

You’re not limited to connecting just storage devices to your phones. If you want to type out those real long emails, connect your USB keyboard to your phone and type them out on that! A keyboard can also help you achieve higher scores on some of your mobile games as well!  If you’re looking for examples of the Nokia N8 working with various devices, here’s some examples of what you can do – the N8 with a USB keyboard and the N8 with a Wacom Graphics tablet.

Have you tried connecting other devices to your phone? Let us know what you were able to connect by leaving us a comment at the end of this post.

The Future?

USB OTG is not a new technology by any stretch. The first announcement of this technology was made way back in 2001. In fact, a lot of media players and DVD drives already support this feature. We would have thought that every mobile manufacturer would feature this on their range of Smart Phone devices. The Symbian^3 OS and Android OS ( as far as I’m aware ) already support this feature. So why are mobile manufacturers slow pushing out this feature?

If you know the answer, let us know by commenting below or sending us a tweet @myportableworld.

The Nokia E7: Entertainment Experience

The E7 is touted as a business phone, but with USB-on-the-Go, an 8 Megapixel Camera, an HDMI cable and a 4″ AMOLED screen you’d be foolish not to use it for a little entertainment around the office.

The Camera

Unfortunately one of the biggest let downs is the camera. 8 mega pixels are all fine and dandy, but if i can’t take macro shots i see no point to it.

Yes the E7 has a fixed focus, no auto focus!

Frankly a stupid move by Nokia because if i’m spending close to 30k on a phone i’d really like to able do whatever i want with it. Especially if it’s being sold with a massive 8 Mega pixel camera. I’m sure the justification is that, since its a business phone and not an imaging flagship, there is no need to give the consumers what they want. But without a macro function there is no future for the E7 in the world of industrial espionage. My E72 is a business phone and has the ability to focus wherever I want it to. I may keep my undercover activities to a bare minimum but atleast I can use my E72 to photograph business cards with ease.

No clarity close up
No clarity close up

Though I did mention that, in the photograph, the clarity close up is quite terrible, but the E7 does take respectable pictures at a distance. The picture below is pretty clear up close, but taking the camera too close to the subject ruins it completely. The advantage of having 8 Mega pixel camera is that you can crop out the offending bit and still have a great picture. Still, not at all a substitute for a proper macro function.

Bright Light, Indoors
Bright Light, Indoors

One issue with the flash was that it seemed to diffuse onto the lens, which caused the left hand side of pictures to be overexposed. I faced a similar issue with the N97, so its surprising that this issue hasn’t been resolved. If you just want to point and shoot the E7 does its job well enough. Don’t bother trying anything fancy, leave those tricks to the N8.

Low Light, Flash
Low Light, Flash

 

The Display

The 4″ AMOLED screen is a boon, and should not be wasted. The software for reading PDFs is a bit slow, but that shouldn’t be a problem if the file is on the mass memory.  I would suggest getting a good comic book reader to while away all those hours of overtime at the office.

Pdf on AMOLED
Viewing PDFs on the AMOLED screen

A neat design feature is that all the cables and paraphernalia that need to be attached to the E7 remain on one side. really does reduce the cable clutter especially when the phone is in portrait mode.

The E7 supports HD 720p Video playback on HD TV through HDMI cable and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound when played with HDMI and a home theatre. A good way to make use of an empty conference room. Playing HD videogames from your E7 on a massive HDTV screen is definitely something to be experienced.

All plugged in
All plugged in

 

USB On-the-Go

One of the features I love on Symbian^3 is USB-on-the-go, for all the inadequacies of the Symbian OS this feature really does make up for some of them. The flexibility offered by USB-on-the-go is unparalleled. I mentioned the E7 has no memory slot, but after a few minutes of using it  i realized it didn’t need one. Accessing data from a usb stick makes life a lot easier, and your colleagues will love being able to borrow movies that you have stored on the phones 16 Gb of mass memory.

Movies Galore
Movies Galore

Playing movies off a pen drive is a luxury most phone users don’t have , so I would suggest flaunt it as much as possible before other manufacturers discover that they missed the bus and try and play catch up.

The E7 supports H.264 (base profile, main profile, high profile), MPEG-4, VC-1, Sorenson Spark, Real video 10 as well as Streaming: H.264, Flash Lite 4 (Flash 10 compatibility for video), On2 VP6, Sorenson Spark. so you won’t have to worry too much about what you can and can’t play.

More E7 reviews will be coming up soon! Stay tuned to our Twitter channel for more updates, we’re @MyPortableWorld!