Gionee M7 Power detailed review
Different people tend to have different preferences when it comes to a mid ranged phone. Some might require a good front-facing camera, other may need two-day battery life, so on and so forth. Smooth performance is the most basic requirement a phone should offer, but what qualifies as acceptable performance on a budget varies from user to user.
The Gionee M7 Power is the company’s latest addition in the sub-20K segment. From our first impressions of the device, we have already established that it is a good looking phone, offering a large battery, but does not have the performance to match the price it comes at. Can it take on the current heavyweight champions in the sub 20k segment? Let’s find out.
Build and Design
Amongst the wide range of, yet similar looking budget smartphones, the Gionee M7 Power seems like a fresh take on how the phone in this segment should look. The centerpiece of the design is the large 18:9 aspect ratio display. The plastic sides of the phone are chamfered and hide the rigid metal chassis. However, instead of using the sides themselves as antennas, Gionee has done things the old-fashioned way. Hence, there are plastic strips along the top and bottom of the phone which hide the various connectivity antennas. The back itself is metal and textured. It feels nice to touch but does not add to the ergonomics of the device as it is just as slippery as a smooth metal back. That said, the thicker design along with the partially rounded sides does make it easier to hold.
Display and UI
As for the display, it is adequately bright and vibrant. It has good touch response and even with a lower 720p resolution manages to look just as good as any other phone display in the same price. That said, I do feel that the display would have looked better with thinner bezels around the side. The sunlight legibility of the device is decent and I didn’t have any issue viewing the phones outdoors.
If you are coming from an older Gionee phone, the UI on the device with the Amigo OS layered on top of Android Nougat will look familiar. However, things have changed considerably from the Gionee A1 Plus days. The quick toggle is now available in a drop-down format instead of the regular command center format. The notification panel still classifies incoming notifications by default into important and unimportant and hides both of them by default. The settings menu is still customised (different from stock Android) and swiping to the right settings menu takes you to the features shortcuts.
In addition, apart from the regular set of bloatware apps, some apps from Gionee’s Amigo launcher require some critical access, which raises some privacy concerns. For example, why would the Clock or the Calendar app require access to call capabilities? The Calendar app also requires access to record audio or read SMS, and somehow has no functionality to add events to the calendar via SMS or to create an event via audio. All of which seems quite alarming to me.
Apart from the intrusive UI, the other thing which I feel is unsatisfactory is the phone’s performance. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 which is a tried and tested SoC, on the M7 Power, however, seems rather underpowered. While the phone feels stutter-free for the most part, it feels slow compared to many other devices in the same price bracket. There is a definite lag while switching between apps and heavier games take their sweet time to load. In addition, heavier games such as Injustice 2 just won’t run sometimes unless you clear all running apps from the multitasking menu. That said, in-game performance is usable and only users with a keen eye will catch the occasional fps drop.
While the Performance of the device is rather weak compared to most phones available at the price, the M7 Power tries to balance things out with its battery life. Featuring a 5000mAh battery, the M7 Power can easily last you more than a day, even if you are a heavy user. You can easily stream more than 10 hours of content on the phone on a single charge and still make it through the rest of the day. The phone can also be used to reverse charge other devices such as your other phone, tablet or an MP3 Player and more.
At the back of the phone, you get a 13MP camera, which takes decent images but lacks details and colour accuracy you might get from the Xiaomi Mi A1 or the Moto G5 Plus. The camera on the M7 Power works best in ample lighting conditions, but the image quality quickly deteriorates as one move to low light settings. While the colour accuracy is good, the main issue here is the noise which is apparent even in some normal lighting conditions and is distinctly visible in low light images. The camera also has a 2X digital zoom, which is not as good as an optical zoom that some other phones offer. The 1080p video capture is average at best and lacks any sort of stabilization and seems to have a sluggish focus.
Similarly, the front-facing 8MP camera on the phone is also average at best. You get the regular set of beautify modes, which whitens skin, removes blemishes, etc, but then lose on details. You also get a software blur effect in one of the modes, but there is a wide inconsistency in images taken.
Like the UI, the camera app is also littered with features, like filters, modes and more. One main feature available on the rear camera is a 3D image capture feature. This allows the user to take an image of an object or person, by taking a panorama image of the subject. The camera algorithm then stitches it together and makes it interactive. It is a neat trick, but apps like this are available in the Google play store by many third-party developers.
Overall, the Gionee M7 Power is a phone for the niche. For someone who requires a phone with a taller (18:9 aspect ratio) display and a bigger battery, but can work with average performance. To me, the phone does look good and even though the screen resolution is just 720p, it seems to fit in. However, the performance of the device is rather unsatisfactory compared to other offerings at the same price. Hence, it loses out to devices such as the Xiaomi Mi A1, Moto G5 Plus or the Honor 9i.