Gionee has upped the game in the Indian market in recent times with the launch of several Gionee 'S' series of smartphones. Back at the MWC 2017, the Chinese vendor unveiled two smartphones under a new 'A' series- the Gionee A1 and the A1 Plus. While Gionee launched the A1 back in India in March 2017, it was the A1 Plus which made into the Indian market yesterday. Recently, the brand also announced the Gionee A1 Lite smartphone in China, but the Indian launch seems to be uncertain at the moment.
Gionee has priced the A1 Plus aggressively at Rs. 26,999. Nevertheless, the smartphone has features, at least on paper to justify the asking price. What separates the Gionee A1 from A1 Plus is the dual rear camera, better selfie camera, bigger battery, faster processor, and of course the obvious larger display.
For the asking price, the A1 Plus goes against the successful smartphones such as OnePlus 3T, Motorola Moto Z2 Play. Then we have the selfie centric smartphones such as the Oppo F3 Plus and Vivo V5 Plus from its counterparts, selling at the same price range.
So, will the Gionee A1 Plus outsmart the smartphones mentioned above and become the new leader in the sub Rs. 30,000 price bracket? Read on to know more.
Design and Display
Gionee hasn't changed the design of the A1 Plus when compared to the Gionee A1. The smartphone is entirely made up of metal, which has become a norm in smartphones releasing these days. Sadly, the A1 Plus takes a lot of design cues from the Gionee S6 series of phones launched last year.
The Gionee branding is present at the rear bottom, while the vertical dual camera rests at the top, followed by the Gionee logo placed in a circle. The front of the phone has a 6-inch display, capacitive hardware buttons, a home button integrated with a fingerprint scanner, front-facing speaker, and a 20MP front-facing camera with an LED flash support.
The design of the phone doesn't turn any heads but gets the job done. I really wish Gionee to place the fingerprint scanner at the back, by replacing the Gionee logo below the camera module because it's probably the best place to reach for a massive device like the A1 Plus.
As I mentioned, the A1 Plus looks like just another mid-range smartphone with metal chassis, what really annoyed me is the weight of the smartphone. The A1 Plus weighs in at an insane 226 grams, which is largely due to the massive 4550mAh battery present inside. Nonetheless, one has to accept the fact that the phone has a 6-inch display. Clearly, Gionee engineering team hasn't done a great job in designing the A1 Plus. With its massive display and heavy weight, the A1 Plus doesn't come into account for a single handed usage whatsoever. But you'll get used to it once after start using the device.
Coming to the display, the A1 Plus flaunts a 6-inch Full HD screen, as opposed to the 5.5-inch unit seen on the Gionee A1. There's downside from Gionee here. The A1 Plus uses an IPS LCD panel, instead of the AMOLED one seen on the Gionee A1. While the IPS panel on the A1 Plus offers decent colour reproduction and viewing angles, the presence of AMOLED panel would have been much better. The outdoor visibility of the screen is decent as well.
Things get rather interesting in the hardware segment of the phone because the phone uses an octa-core MediaTek Helio P25 chipset, which works in tandem with 4GB of RAM and Mali T880 GPU. The chipset seems to be a powerful one on paper, but the real life results will disappoint you.
Paired with Gionee's Amigo 4.0 OS on top of Android 7.0 Nougat, the A1 Plus has held up really well with basic tasks in my two weeks of use. However, when I started using the device intensively, the A1 Plus started misbehaving. And if you have more than 20 apps opened in the background, then the A1 Plus will show even more lags and becomes unusable for a moment. Thanks to the poor RAM management from Gionee here. However, these issues can be fixed with a quick software update, but Gionee hasn't rolled out any update since I started using the phone. The MediaTek Helio P25 is seen on several smartphones, which offered decent performance in the past.
The A1 Plus has a fingerprint scanner embedded into the home button, which is accurate and unlocks the device instantly. The phone has 4G LTE & VoLTE support, meaning you can use a Reliance Jio 4G SIM card on the phone. Call quality with the Jio 4G SIM card is fine; even data speeds were reliable as well.
The USP of the Gionee A1 Plus is its cameras. Incidentally, the A1 Plus is also the company's first smartphone with dual rear cameras to launch in India, and even globally. The device comes with twin cameras at the back of 13MP and 5Mp, while there's a powerful 20MP front-facing camera. And yes, it's a Selfistan from Gionee.
Let's get the dual rear camera part done up first. The 13MP+5MP sensors have an aperture of f/2.0 and have a special HDR mode. The 13MP sensor captures standard coloured images, whereas the 5MP sensor is used to capture additional depth in the images. Gionee also added a portrait mode for bokeh images, like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.
In real life scenarios, the A1 Plus shoots decent images in good lighting condition, and the performance goes downhill with the decrease in light. Images captured with A1 Plus in night time popped out with noticeable noise. Also, for the portrait mode, you have to manually adjust the aperture size to blur the background, which needs to be a lot of time consumption factor.
Nonetheless, the rear camera performance will be brushed off by the 20MP front-facing camera because it is one of the best selfie smartphone, if not the best selfie smartphone I have ever seen. Pictures captured with the front camera had enough details and colours are accurate as well.
Well, the section where the Gionee A1 Plus outsmarts the competition with ease. With its humongous 4550mAh battery, the A1 Plus delivers a two-day worth battery life with moderate use. Even if you push the device for heavy use, it will easily last you for one day and even more. In my review period, the phone continually offered me a screen-on time of more than six hours for five continuous days with heavy use, whereas it offered an incredible 9-day standby time.
Another highlight of the A1 Plus is the charging time. You might think that the large battery with take more time to charge fully, but with the help of its 18W charger, the phone charges from zero to 100 percent in less than two hours. Sadly, Gionee has gone with a micro USB port, instead of a USB Type-C port.
The Best Loud Speakers in Any Smartphone!
As I have mentioned in my first impressions article of the A1 Plus, it's main prowess is the dual stereo speakers. The A1 Plus has one downward facing loudspeaker, and the other one is integrated into the primary microphone. Both the speakers combinedly delivers an insane sound and fills a small room with ease. The stereo speakers on the Gionee A1 Plus are the best ones I have ever heard in a smartphone.
The Gionee A1 Plus heads against the smartphones such as OnePlus 3T, Motorola Moto Z2 Play, Oppo F3 Plus, and Vivo V5 Plus. None of the smartphone mentioned above has dual rear cameras, so the A1 Plus has an advantage over the four. However, the Oppo F3 Plus and Vivo V5 Plus are strong contenders for the best selfie centric phone amongst the three, but the A1 Plus outsells the both in this department.
When it comes to innards, all the four phones uses a Snapdragon chip, while the A1 Plus has a MediaTek chip. That said, the A1 Plus loses this segment to the competition. A software update in future will fix all the issues in the Gionee A1 Plus, especially the aggressive RAM management.
In terms of the multimedia, the A1 Plus is a clear winner because of the dual stereo speakers, and decent 1080p display. Concluding the review, the A1 Plus is a smartphone aimed at users looking for the best multimedia device which also lasts for longer durations.