The Gionee A1 was a decent phone, offering a very good display, acceptable performance, and a very competent camera. Four months later, Gionee is back with the bigger more powerful A1 Plus, which tries to overcome the shortcoming of its smaller cousin. The 6-inch smartphone is bigger, bulkier and packs in more hardware than the A1. We had the chance to spend some time with the device. The phone is yet to make its official debut in India and we don’t know the launch price yet, but since the A1 was a well priced device, we are assuming that the price of the Gionee A1 Plus won't put a hole in your pocket.
Let’s start with the design of the phone, which is strikingly similar to its smaller sibling, albeit in a larger form factor. The large size makes it somewhat un-ergonomic and the extra heavy weight of 226 grams doesn't help either. The smooth sand-blasted back, while looks good is rather slippery and may require you to put the phone in a case. Thankfully, Gionee provides one in the box. Overall, the phone feels and looks well built. The quality of materials used feels premium and definitely a notch above any other sub-20K smartphone.
The display is yet another good thing about the phone. Although unlike the Gionee A1 which has an AMOLED panel, the A1 Plus makes do with an IPS LCD panel. Now, we have seen both phones side by side and we can tell you that the IPS LCD on the Gionee A1 Plus certainly looks better. The colors look vibrant and the touch response seems swift and accurate. The fingerprint scanner still lies under the physical home button below the display and unlocks the phone quickly.
Powering the device is a MediaTek MT6757CD SoC, which is otherwise known as the Helio P25. The Helio P25 is supposed to be a big upgrade over the Gionee A1’s P10 SoC. In the little time we have spent with the device, we were left fairly impressed by the quick response of the phone, whether one is navigating through apps or using the camera. The phone felt fast even while playing smaller games such as Card Thief, but even in that game the graphics looked impressive on the A1 Plus. The device can run videos in 1080p without any hiccups. The audio output is also quite loud and the phone’s earpiece doubles up as a secondary speaker, adding a stereo flavour.
The best part however is the rear camera. The phone uses a 13MP + 5MP camera setup. It takes good pictures in daylight conditions and we find the low light quality to be acceptable as well. There are a tons of settings, filters and even a dedicated ‘Portrait’ mode with selective aperture. All of this seems quite good, although, we are still testing the phone and will give you thorough verdict in a few days.
The large 4550mAh battery would also be something worth checking out and we can expect to run more than a day quite easily. The front facing camera also seems nice, and it ought to be as the phone uses a 20MP unit.
All in all, Gionee seems to be playing the right cards here. The performance seems reliable, the camera looks good, the display is better than the A1 and the build quality and battery life seems dependable. Now it all depends on how Gionee prices the phone and if they price it right, we might have a winner at our hands.