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 until 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?

Unboxing the Gionee Elife S5.1

The Gionee Elife S5.1's retail package is virtually identical to that of the Gionee Elife S5.5. The box is generously filled with extra accessories - well above the average smartphone bundle.

So, the retail box of the Gionee Elife S5.1 contains the mandatory charger and a microUSB cable, as well as a nice-looking in-ear headset. A SIM ejector is provided as well.

But you also get a microUSB to USB adapter enabling USB OTG and USB Host, and four screen protectors - two pairs for the front and rear.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The rich retail package of the Gionee Elife S5.1

Finally, our retail package also surprised us with a nice leather-like flip case. The downside is it gets attached using a strip of double-sided adhesive so it's not something you'd be putting on and off your phone that frequently.

Oh, beside that we also found a nice custom-fit rubber back case - true, with the case on, the phone isn't as slim but that all-glass body is worth looking after.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1 with the case

The contents of the retail package may vary by market, but even so, this is one of the most generous bundles we've seen.

Gionee Elife S5.1 360-degree view

The 4.8" Gionee Elife S5.1 is incredibly good looking with dual white glass design, a gold-painted metal frame around a super slim and lightweight shell. It stands at 139.8 x 67.4 x 5.1mm and weighs a mere 97g. That's an amazing 35g lighter than the preceding Elife S5.5, which featured a 5" screen.

Design and build quality

The two do look very much alike with dual sheets of glass, each covered by Gorilla Glass 3, front and rear, a metal frame holding the whole thing together.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1 sized up next to the Gionee Elife S5.5

The gold and white color combination works great for the Gionee Elife S5.1, but it's not just the successful mixture that's making it a memorable, beautiful phone. Certainly an attention grabber, the Gionee Elife S5.1 has a near unique feel in hand too.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1

The phone is of solid build and its golden frame successfully hides all signs of the assembly process. Of course, the glass design means you'll have to handle the Elife S5.1 with extra care - just one drop may cost you a lot and we don't mean just money.

The Gionee Elife S5.1 is a pleasure to handle, perfectly fitting in both hand and pocket. The glass panels may become slippery and compromise the handling, but the sturdy metal frame with tapered edges will compensate for this inconvenience. Solid, light, and beautiful - it's a design that stands out.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Handling the Gionee Elife S5.1

Controls

Above the 4.8" Super AMOLED screen we find the usual combination of an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor and a wide-angle 5MP front-facing camera, either side of the earpiece.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

A peek above and below the display

The control deck of three capacitive keys is below the display using the old-school layout - Menu, Home, Back.

As for the hardware controls, they are all on the right side of the phone - you get a Power/Lock key and a volume rocker - both made out of metal.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The hardware controls on the right

The microSIM compartment is the only thing of interest on the left and you'll need the pin to eject it.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The microSIM compartment

The top of the Gionee Elife S5.1 is completely bare. The microUSB port, the 3.5mm audio jack and the primary microphone are all at the bottom of the Elife S5.1.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The top and the bottom of the Elife S5.1

The connectivity port supports USB On-the-go and USB Host, which means you will be able to connect various peripherals such as keyboards and mice, as well as USB memory sticks. Gionee even provides a proper USB OTG adapter in the retail box.

The 8 megapixel camera lens and the single LED flash are placed in the top left corner of the phone's back. This time around they are not bulging out as on the Elife S5.5. The secondary microphone is also around, carved out of the rear Gorilla Glass 3 near the top, the loudspeaker grille near the bottom.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The 8MP camera on the back • the loudspeaker is around too

Display

The Gionee Elife S5.1 has a 4.8" Super AMOLED screen of 720p resolution and 306ppi. It's bright, with even backlighting, low reflectivity and great contrast.

Gionee Elife S5.1

The 4.8" 1080p SuperAMOLED display

The display relies on a PenTile matrix with a diamond arrangement. The diamond layout will make sure there are no visible artifacts and, with pixel density close to Retina level, you can't take away points for sharpness either.

Gionee Elife S5.1

The color rendering is great, with punchy colors typical of AMOLED screens. There are no dedicated color presets like on the Galaxy flagships.

The Elife S5.1 screen proved slightly brighter than the Elife S5.5 screen, on par with the Galaxy S5 mini and Galaxy Alpha display performances. Outdoors in the summer sun, the brightness comes a bit short though.

Display test 50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black, cd/m2 White, cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Gionee Elife S5.5 178 330
Gionee Elife S5.1 210 417
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact - - - 0.34 626 1819
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact - - - 0.77 725 942
Apple iPhone 5s 0.14 163 1145 0.49 596 1219
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 226 432
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 228 456
Alcatel Idol X+ 0.38 309 805 0.67 601 895


Since it's a Super AMOLED display, the stellar contrast should hardly surprise. The sunlight legibility is great too, helped by the non-reflective screen, but as we said, it isn't as impressive as the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy S5 mini.

Sunlight contrast ratio

  • Nokia 808 PureView
    4.698
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 4
    4.033
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 5
    3.997
  • Apple iPhone 6
    3.838
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
    3.799
  • Samsung Galaxy K zoom
    3.675
  • Nokia Lumia 930
    3.567
  • Apple iPhone 5s
    3.565
  • Samsung Galaxy S5
    3.549
  • Nokia Lumia 735
    3.547
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    3.527
  • Apple iPhone 5c
    3.512
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3.509
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Neo
    3.487
  • Motorola RAZR MAXX
    3.42
  • Samsung I9300 Galaxy S III
    3.419
  • Nokia Lumia 925
    3.402
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    3.386
  • Samsung I9505 Galaxy S4
    3.352
  • Samsung Omnia W
    3.301
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini
    3.174
  • Samsung I9000 Galaxy S
    3.155
  • Samsung Ativ S
    3.129
  • Samsung I9190 Galaxy S4 mini
    3.127
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 zoom
    3.118
  • Nokia N9
    3.069
  • Apple iPhone 6 Plus
    3.023
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
    2.97
  • Samsung Galaxy Premier
    2.958
  • Sony Xperia Z1
    2.95
  • HTC One S
    2.901
  • Samsung I8730 Galaxy Express
    2.861
  • BlackBerry Q10
    2.856
  • Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II
    2.832
  • HTC Desire Eye
    2.815
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2.812
  • Samsung Galaxy S II Plus
    2.801
  • BlackBerry Z30
    2.79
  • Sony Xperia ZR
    2.672
  • Huawei Ascend P1
    2.655
  • Sony Xperia Z3
    2.618
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Compact
    2.616
  • Sony Xperia T3
    2.609
  • BlackBerry Passport
    2.595
  • Nokia Lumia 900
    2.562
  • Motorola Moto G 4G
    2.546
  • HTC One Max
    2.537
  • Nokia Lumia 720
    2.512
  • HTC One
    2.504
  • Motorola Moto G
    2.477
  • Sony Xperia Z
    2.462
  • Xiaomi Mi 4
    2.424
  • Samsung Galaxy S III mini
    2.422
  • Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro
    2.416
  • LG G Flex
    2.407
  • HTC One (M8)
    2.371
  • Meizu MX4
    2.366
  • Motorola RAZR i
    2.366
  • Sony Xperia ZL
    2.352
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
    2.307
  • HTC One (M8) for Windows
    2.291
  • Oppo Find 7a
    2.279
  • Alcatel One Touch Hero
    2.272
  • Apple iPhone 4S
    2.269
  • HTC Desire 600 dual sim
    2.262
  • Nokia Asha 311
    2.25
  • LG Nexus 5
    2.228
  • Nokia Lumia 820
    2.193
  • HTC One (E8)
    2.185
  • Nokia Lumia 920
    2.17
  • HTC One X
    2.158
  • Nokia N8
    2.144
  • Nokia Lumia 620
    2.142
  • Nokia 515
    2.134
  • HTC Desire 500
    2.129
  • Sony Xperia acro S
    2.119
  • Xiaomi Redmi Note
    2.119
  • Nokia Lumia 1020
    2.103
  • Oppo Find 5
    2.088
  • Sony Xperia SL
    2.078
  • Nokia Lumia 630
    2.056
  • BlackBerry Z10
    2.051
  • Huawei Ascend Mate7
    2.024
  • Samsung I9295 Galaxy S4 Active
    2.022
  • Apple iPhone 4
    2.016
  • HTC One mini
    2.003
  • Xiaomi Mi 3
    2.001
  • Huawei Ascend P7
    1.992
  • LG G2
    1.976
  • OnePlus One
    1.961
  • Oppo R819
    1.957
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia ray
    1.955
  • Sony Xperia Z2
    1.944
  • Sony Xperia E3
    1.943
  • Nokia Lumia 1320
    1.941
  • HTC One mini 2
    1.94
  • Samsung Galaxy Camera
    1.938
  • Sony Xperia J
    1.932
  • Acer CloudMobile S500
    1.931
  • LG Nexus 4
    1.926
  • LG G Pro 2
    1.922
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3
    1.913
  • Nokia Asha 308
    1.911
  • HTC Butterfly 2
    1.905
  • Sony Xperia T
    1.894
  • Nokia Lumia 830
    1.887
  • HTC Desire X
    1.878
  • HTC Windows phone 8X
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly
    1.873
  • HTC Butterfly S
    1.867
  • Huawei Ascend P6
    1.865
  • Huawei Ascend Mate
    1.845
  • LG G2 mini
    1.838
  • LG G3
    1.82
  • Nokia Lumia 1520
    1.813
  • HTC Desire 616 dual sim
    1.797
  • Sony Xperia V
    1.792
  • HTC Desire 816
    1.783
  • Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
    1.772
  • HTC Desire 700 dual sim
    1.769
  • Sony Xperia U
    1.758
  • Meizu MX3
    1.754
  • LG Optimus G
    1.753
  • Sony Xperia T2 Ultra
    1.74
  • Sony Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact
    1.735
  • Sony Xperia SP
    1.733
  • LG Optimus 4X HD
    1.691
  • Oppo Find 7
    1.691
  • HTC One V
    1.685
  • BlackBerry Q5
    1.682
  • LG Optimus Vu
    1.68
  • Xiaomi Mi Pad 7.9
    1.672
  • LG Optimus GJ
    1.666
  • LG Optimus 3D Max
    1.658
  • HTC Desire V
    1.646
  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2
    1.632
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 3
    1.622
  • Jolla Jolla
    1.605
  • Sony Xperia Z Ultra
    1.578
  • Sony Xperia go
    1.577
  • Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 I8160
    1.566
  • Samsung Galaxy Core
    1.563
  • LG Optimus G Pro
    1.552
  • Motorola Moto E
    1.545
  • LG Optimus 3D
    1.542
  • Nokia Asha 302
    1.537
  • BlackBerry Curve 9320
    1.488
  • Sony Xperia M
    1.473
  • Oppo N1
    1.47
  • Meizu MX 4-core
    1.462
  • Nokia Lumia 610
    1.432
  • Samsung Galaxy S Duos
    1.4
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand Neo
    1.393
  • Sony Xperia M2
    1.393
  • Samsung Galaxy Grand 2
    1.38
  • Sony Xperia E1
    1.372
  • Nokia Lumia 625
    1.371
  • Gigabyte GSmart G1355
    1.361
  • Sony Xperia L
    1.351
  • Xiaomi Redmi 1S
    1.35
  • Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8
    1.35
  • HTC Desire 510
    1.34
  • Sony Xperia M2 Aqua
    1.331
  • Sony Xperia miro
    1.324
  • Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand
    1.321
  • Samsung I8530 Galaxy Beam
    1.315
  • HTC Desire C
    1.3
  • Nokia X
    1.291
  • Sony Xperia C
    1.283
  • Nokia Asha 503
    1.281
  • Nokia Asha 501
    1.27
  • LG Optimus L7
    1.269
  • Nokia Lumia 510
    1.268
  • Samsung Galaxy Fame
    1.245
  • LG Optimus L9
    1.227
  • Meizu MX
    1.221
  • Samsung Galaxy Young
    1.22
  • Sony Xperia E
    1.215
  • Nokia XL
    1.204
  • Sony Xperia E dual
    1.203
  • Asus Memo Pad 7 ME176C
    1.198
  • Samsung Galaxy Pocket
    1.18
  • Nokia Asha 305
    1.178
  • Nokia Asha 306
    1.175
  • Sony Xperia neo L
    1.169
  • Sony Xperia tipo
    1.166
  • Nokia Lumia 520
    1.161
  • Samsung S6802 Galaxy Ace Duos
    1.148
  • Samsung Galaxy mini 2
    1.114

Battery life

The Gionee Elife S5.1 features a 2,050mAh battery, which is 9.5% less than the unit powering the previous Elife S5.5. The Gionee Elife S5.1 couldn't match the performance of its predecessor when it comes on 3G calls, but it did better on the web browsing test and the same on the looped video playback.

The Elife S5.1 standby endurance is outstanding though, even without any battery saving enhancements turned on. It could last you nearly a month on a single charge, which is amazing. This surely helped for a better endurance rating.

Gionee Elife S5.1

The Gionee Elife S5.1 had average or below average performance on our battery tests, but a great standby performance, thus scoring a good final endurance rating of 55 hours. This means the Elife S5.1 will last two days and then some if you do an hour of calls, an hour of video watching and an hour of web browsing each day.

Our proprietary score also includes a standby battery draw test, which is not featured in our battery test scorecard but is calculated in the total endurance rating.

Our battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you want to learn more about it. If you are interested how these results compare to other tested devices, check out our battery life test result table.

Connectivity

The Gionee Elife S5.1 supports quad-band GSM and dual-band 3G with up to 42Mbps of download speed. There is no LTE connectivity, nor is there a dual-SIM version of the phone.

The rest of the connectivity features include dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, plus an FM radio with RDS.

NFC isn't available on the Gionee Elife S5.1.

There is a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data connections. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone's built-in memory via a USB connection. The microUSB 2.0 port can also be used in USB On-the-go mode for connecting USB peripherals such as pen drives, keyboards or real USB hard drives.

Finally, reverse tethering is available too. This means you can share your PC's internet connection with your phone via the microUSB cable. This is feature is supported natively by Android 4.4 KitKat, but only few manufacturers (like HTC) let you actually use it.

User Interface powered by Amigo OS 2.0

Gionee Elife S5.1 runs on the proprietary Amigo OS 2.0, which is another name for Gionee's heavily skinned version of Android 4.4.2 KitKat. The Gionee's launcher customizations run very deep. It keeps the Google apps and services intact and even bring quite a few features of its own - themes support, new lockscreen, homescreen, and a new settings menu, among others. The result is a very simple interface. As has become common for Chinese manufacturers, there is no app drawer and all apps are on the home screen (think Apple iOS style).

Here's a quick Amigo OS 2.0 rundown video to get you started:

The default lockscreen has two non-customizable panes - the first one shows the time and an upward swipe unlocks the screen. The second pane has a widget with four shortcuts - camera, voice recorder, torch and fake call. The widget has a viewfinder you can use that for quick snaps. If you tap on the REC shortcut your Elife S5.1 starts recording immediately, the Torch icon turns on/off the LED flash, while the Fake Call will initiate a fake call in 15s.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The default lockscreen and the second widget-enabled pane

Beyond the lockscreen we find a fairly standard Android homescreen with four customizable shortcuts, which are docked at the bottom and are visible on all homescreens. Each homescreen pane supports widgets and app shortcuts. Unlike before, Gionee's Amigo OS offers a plethora of configurable and resizable widgets. Other widgets aren't supported, nor is there an app drawer.

You can have up to nine homescreen panes at most. In the absence of an app drawer, anything you install pops up on the homescreen. This means that you don't have to bother creating shortcuts to your apps on the homescreens. If you need to hide any of your installed apps you can put them in a dedicated folder.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The homescreen • opening a folder • homescreen settings

As we mentioned, there is themes support, allowing you to change the feel and looks of the UI. A theme will change your homescreen wallpaper and system icons. You can also adjust things like homescreen transition effects, and even change your wallpapers at specific time intervals.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Themes

The notification area has two tabs - the first one holds all notifications, while the second is a 3x4 grid of various toggles. You can add, remove and rearrange toggles. A two-finger swipe will take you straight to the Settings page. The settings tab also contains a well-animated RAM manager with a handy shortcut for quick cleanup.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The notification area with toggles

The Gionee Elife S5.1 features a task switcher that lets you swipe away unwanted app. You can bring it up any time with a double tap on the Home button or with an upward swipe from the Home key. The UI is iOS-like with only three app cards visible at a time. The docked shortcuts and the weather widget are visible in the task switcher too.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The task switcher

There is a proprietary app called System Manager, which combines a few useful functionalities, previously provided by separate apps - Memory Clean, Rubbish Clean, Power Optimizer, Traffic Monitor, App Manager and Permission Manager.

In Memory Clean section you can find all of your background apps there and kill them. You can also potentially shorten your boot times by disabling some unnecessary apps which start with the phone. Finally, you can clean the system cache for each app via the Rubbish Clean.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

System Manager

The Power Optimizer provides complete customization the behavior of the Power Saving Mode and Night Power Saving Mode and its activation condition. You can track you battery usage as well. Another tracker is the (Data) Traffic Monitor, which is pretty much self-explanatory.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Power Optimizer

The App Manager allows you to uninstall, move them to and from the system partition, control their permissions or change the default apps for important actions (SMS, emails, office docs). The Permission Manager lets you control the permission of each app.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Permission Manager

Finally, Gionee Elife S5.1 offers Guest mode, which can be enabled/disabled either from its dedicated toggle in the Quick Settings page or the Security settings. It hides your call log, messages, photos and disables the homescreen editing options. You can protect the Guest mode with a password this time around.

Performance

Gionee Elife S5.1 is powered by the mid-range MediaTek MT6592 chipset, which translates into an octa-core Cortex-A7 processor at 1.7GHz, Mali-450MP4 GPU and 1GB of RAM. We've already seen the same chip ticking inside the bigger Elife S5.5 and it offered quite uninspiring performance in the graphics department, mostly because of the higher resolution display.

Now that the Gionee Elife S5.1 uses a lower-res 720p display (as opposed to 1080p), we hope things will be fine this time around. The 1GB RAM is still a concern and we'll explore thoroughly if this is a problem or not.

Now, our first test is GeekBench 3, which gauges the overall processor performance. Even with eight cores inside, the Cortex-A7 isn't a powerful CPU core, so we didn't expect much. The Elife S5.1 did better than the HTC Desire 816, which also runs on MT6592, but its score is behind the rest of the MT6592 gang.

GeekBench 3

Higher is better

  • Meizu MX4
    3556
  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    3214
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    2842
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    2581
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    2410
  • HTC Desire 616
    2125
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1171

The AnTuTu 5 also takes in consideration GPU and memory performance. The Gionee Elife S5.1 posted a good score by the AnTuTu charts, but it's once again uninspiring when compared to other smartphones powered by the same MT6592 chip.

AnTuTu 5

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    51905
  • Meizu MX4
    46922
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    31452
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    18245

Next comes the compound BaseMark OS II benchmark. It tests the processor, memory, graphics, web and OS performance. The Gionee Elife S5.1 did great here, not that far behind the powerful Meizu MX4 and better than the MT6592-running Gionee Elife S5.5 and HTC Desire 616.

Basemark OS II

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    915
  • Meizu MX4
    695
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    597
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    526
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    492
  • HTC Desire 616
    378

The single-core and multi-core performance of the Cortex-A7 processor in the Elife S5.1 turned out great, beaten only by the Galaxy Alpha. This means you shouldn't have any worries about the raw CPU performance.

Basemark OS II (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    2579
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    1819
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    1781
  • Meizu MX4
    1729
  • HTC Desire 616
    1533
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1123

Basemark OS II (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    15096
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    13634
  • HTC Desire 616
    12986
  • Meizu MX4
    12268
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    8941
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    5001

Now, let's check the graphics department. The Gionee Elife S5.1 uses a quad-core Mali-450MP4 GPU, which has been around for quite a while now and doesn't support OpenGL ES 3.0. That's why we were able to run only the T-Rex test of the GFX Benchmark.

The 1080p offscreen fps output of the Gionee Elife S5.1 is excellent, bettered only by the more expensive Meizu MX4 and Galaxy Alpha.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    31.3
  • Meizu MX4
    22.7
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    12.6
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    10.9
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    10.8
  • HTC Desire 616
    8.7
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    5.8

The 720p onscreen results are pretty much the same, though you have to take in consideration that all the Meizu MX4, the Elife S5.5 and the Alcatel Idol X+ have 1080p native screen resolution.

GFX 2.7 T-Rex (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    48.4
  • Meizu MX4
    21.3
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    16.4
  • HTC Desire 616
    13.4
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    10.8
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    10.6
  • Alcatel Idol X+
    10.6

Finally, it's time to check the web browsing performance of the UC Browser. BrowserMark 2.1 tests HTML 5 performance, while Mozilla's Kraken 1.1 is JavaScript-centric. The Elife S5.1 did well in both benchmarks, though there are better phones. If you don't like the default UC Browser, you can opt for the snappier Google Chrome.

Kraken 1.1

Lower is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    4911
  • Meizu MX4
    9408
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    12201
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    12961
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    15988
  • HTC Desire 616
    16953

BrowserMark 2.1

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy Alpha
    1364
  • Motorola Moto G (2014)
    1085
  • Gionee Elife S5.1
    868
  • Meizu MX4
    720
  • HTC Desire 616
    683
  • Gionee Elife S5.5
    432

Gionee Elife S5.1 isn't doing well in all departments and we guess the insufficient RAM might be an issue at some occasions. The interface experience is smooth in the beginning, but once you start opening apps and using it on a daily basis, the Amigo OS becomes clumsy and there is this really annoying stuttering when scrolling panes or menus.

The smartphone did well as far as handling apps is concerned - it packed enough processing power to do properly in running office apps, cloud services and popular games. 3D games run OK too, but some more demanding eventually eat all the resources and the result is good ol' lag.

Overall, the Gionee Elife S5.1 is good enough for its class but either because insufficient RAM or because of improper optimizations, the performance isn't on par with the competition.

Contact management and telephony

The phonebook uses a tabbed interface - it offers groups, then there's the contact list and favorites. The UI is pretty standard Android affair, save for the custom paintjob.

A tap on a contact's photo brings out Quick contacts - shortcuts for calling, texting, emailing a contact.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Phonebook

Contact info is displayed as a three-tabbed list. The middle tab with the contact's details is the default one. Swiping left will take you to the call log with this contact, while swiping right opens the SMS log. Custom ringtones can be selected for each contact and duplicate contacts can be merged into a single entry. You can even block a contact from calling and texting you.

Contact syncing tools are very powerful - contacts can be moved or copied between phone storage and a Google account, they can be synced with an Exchange server or Facebook, and you can send / import contacts over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Direct.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Viewing and editing a contact

The dialer supports Smart dialing, but it looks up numbers only.

Native video calls are available, you can configure them via the Call Settings menu.

From the call settings you can tweak a number of things. One is Minute reminder - the phone can vibrate at the 50th second of every minute. Other options include shake to answer, volume up key for answer, noise reduction, flip to mute call. You can also build a list of texts to send when you decline a call.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Dialer

The Gionee Elife S5.1 scored a Below Average mark on our loudspeaker test. It is indeed a really quiet device, no matter the equalizer or speaker booster you've activated from the settings. This means missed calls or notifications are very likely to occur.

Speakerphone test Voice, dB Pink noise/ Music, dB Ringing phone, dB Overall score
Sony Xperia Z1 Compact 60.9 66.6 58.7 Below Average
Gionee Elife S5.1 64.5 64.7 66.9 Below Average
Samsung Galaxy Alpha 66.6 61.7 75.7 Average
Apple iPhone 5s 68.7 66.3 69.2 Average
Gionee Elife S5.5 66.6 66.3 75.7 Good
HTC One mini 2 69.3 66.6 75.9 Good
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini 73.5 67.7 78.7 Very Good
Motorola Moto G 4G 77.1 76 83.3 Excellent


Messaging and email

The messaging department is pretty standard - there's a list of all bubble-styled conversations organized into threads, with New Message and Search keys at the bottom and a settings button next to it.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Messaging

Attaching multimedia to a message will turn it into an MMS. You can add everything from photos, videos, audio to general files. There's even a full blown slide editor if you want to make full use of the MMS standard. The Attach location option is pretty nice too.

Hangouts is also included and supports SMS.

Moving on to email, the Gmail app has handy shortcuts at the bottom of the screen and supports batch operations, which allow multiple emails to be archived, labeled or deleted. The default app supports multiple Gmail accounts, but there's no unified inbox.

A cool feature in Gmail is that you can swipe left or right to move between messages in your inbox.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gmail • Email

There is also a generic email app for all your other email accounts and it can handle multiple POP or IMAP inboxes. You have access to the messages in the original folders that are created online, side by side with the standard local ones such as inbox, drafts and sent items.

Gionee Elife S5.1 offers great Swype-like keyboard, courtesy of TouchPal. It has quite-identical features with the recently paid-gone-free SwiftKey keyboard. It has big keys, the swype-like input works great, you can choose between different layouts, themes are supported too. It can even predict the words as you type and they popup above the keys, just like on the BlackBerry OS 10.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

TouchPal Keyboard

A custom gallery app

The Gionee Elife S5.1 comes with a custom Gallery app. It defaults to a pre-defined folder view of Albums, Wallpapers, Screenshots, Videos and Others. You can't change this view, nor can you customize the default folders.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gallery • Others • Albums • People

The available features when viewing a single image are pretty standard - set image as wallpaper/contact image, share it, delete it or get a menu with more functions.

The image editor offers various effects, frames, tools (crop, mirror, straighten, rotate) plus light adjustments that let you bring out the shadows or the highlights or even create a tiny "planet photo".

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Editing options

Oppo-like music player

The Gionee Elife S5.1's player has a simple interface and is very easy to use and navigate. It supports customizable DTS audio customizations.

The DTS audio enhancements apply on all music-related apps and games no matter whether you are using headphones or the loudspeaker. There are a few DTS presets you can use, but you can also customize one preset by yourself. Loudspeaker booster mode is also available.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

DTS settings • Audio filter size

The music player UI is pretty straightforward - your music library is organized into a local list of all music, favorites, artists, albums and folders. There isn't an option to add a playlist.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Music player • Now playing screen

The Now playing is pretty much a standard affair. One interesting feature you get is the Sleep Timer. There is also a DTS on/off switch for easy control over the equalizer.

While the player is on, the notification area lets you control the playback via an expandable notification. There are music controls on the lockscreen, too.

FM radio with recording

The Gionee Elife S5.1 also features an FM Radio aboard, but there is no RDS support or at least our unit didn't have that. The app offers stereo FM recording in the .OGG file format and the recorded files can be accessed via the Sound Recorder app.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

FM radio and FM recording

Video player

Besides the Gallery, there is a separate Video app that lists all of your videos. The video player does play 1080p files but only as long as those are XviD or DivX AVI files or MP4 and MKV's. However DTS and AC3 audio tracks are not supported, which makes the MKV compatibility rather questionable.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The video player

There are no advanced options and no subtitle support.

Interestingly, pop-up play is available, so you can watch a video while doing something else on the phone.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Pop-up play

Mediocre audio output

The Gionee Elife S5.1 started out very promising in our audio quality test. When plugged in an active external amplifier, the smartphone posted great scores top to bottom and demonstrated very high volume levels to round up one of the better performances for the day.

Plug in a pair of headphones however and things quickly go south. Volume levels plummet, stereo crosstalk spikes and a notable amount of intermodulation distortion creeps in. Noise levels and dynamic range are affected too although they still remain very good. Still, the overall result is rather disappointing, which is made worse by the fact that this is the more important test scenario.

And here go the detailed results so you can check them out for yourselves.

Test Frequency response Noise level Dynamic range THD IMD + Noise Stereo crosstalk
Gionee Elife S5.1 +0.03, -0.23 -91.2 91.2 0.0099 0.014 -82.7
Gionee Elife S5.1 (headphones attached) +0.57, -0.90 -83.8 88.7 0.019 0.476 -43.8
Motorola Moto G (2014) +0.01, -0.06 -91.6 92.4 0.0089 0.014 -91.7
Motorola Moto G (2014)(headphones attached) +0.02, -0.09 -91.6 92.4 0.011 0.017 -45.7
Motorola Moto G +0.08, -0.85 -92.1 91.9 0.0059 0.082 -91.4
Motorola Moto G (headphones attached) +0.10, -1.03 -92.0 91.8 0.010 0.117 -50.4
Oppo R819 +0.04, -0.09 -92.4 92.3 0.017 0.045 -87.9
Oppo R819(headphones attached) +0.58, -0.13 -91.0 90.9 0.015 0.438 -48.7
Nokia Lumia 625 +0.13, -0.10 -90.3 90.3 0.013 0.355 -82.5
Nokia Lumia 625 (headphones attached) +0.24, -0.00 -90.2 90.2 0.014 0.460 -83.8
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini +0.03, -0.04 -92.6 90.7 0.016 0.018 -94.0
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini (headphones attached) +0.23, -0.05 -86.7 86.2 0.052 0.167 -55.7

Gionee Elife S5.1 frequency response

Gionee Elife S5.1 frequency response

You can learn more about the whole testing process here.

8MP camera does OK

The Gionee Elife S5.1 camera uses an 8MP camera that shoots in a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. There is also a LED flash to help you with some low-light photos.

The camera interface is pretty much standard - you get four shortcuts on the left (settings, front camera switch, Charm camera, flash) and three controls on the right (switch to video, camera shutter, gallery).

The settings menu can be accessed either via its dedicated shortcut or with a swipe from the top of the screen. It gives you access to HDR mode, Auto scene, geo-tagging, resolution settings, anti-banding, among others.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Camera UI and settings • Professional and Normal settings view

Gionee has included some nifty camera features in the Elife S5.1 via the Charm Camera app. It supports Beauty Face, Live filters, Stamps and PPT (for presentations). It could have been better of all those modes were included in the standard camera app though.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Charm Camera

The Gionee Elife S5.1 camera samples have an average level of resolved detail when viewed at 1:1 magnification - the noise reduction algorithm has taken its toll on the fine detail. The dynamic range is low, which is really annoying in those sunny pictures. The exposure, contrast and colors are good, which makes for nice looking photos when you view them fitted on HD or Full HD monitor.

Here are the 8MP shots we've snapped:

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1 camera samples

The HDR mode is conservative and rescues both the highlights and shadows without going to extremes, though the resolved detail is a bit lower.

Here are two test HDR shots:

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

HDR off • HDR on • HDR off • HDR on

The 360-degree panoramas on the Elife S5.1 turn out pretty nice but you have to pan around really slowly for the stitching to be successful and to avoid artifacts. You can snap pano shots in both landscape and portrait modes, but the latter comes with higher field view and resolution.

Gionee Elife S5.1

Vertical panorama

Finally, here is a 5MP shot snapped with the wide-angle front-facing camera.

Gionee Elife S5.1

5MP front camera sample

Still camera comparison

We uploaded full resolution 8MP samples to our photo quality comparison database to compare against other high-resolution smartphones. The resolved detail is unimpressive, while the noise, colors and contrast - are OK.

Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool
Photo Compare Tool

Gionee Elife S5.1 in our photo quality comparison tool

Video recording done in 1080p at 30 fps

The Gionee Elife S5.1 is capable of capturing 1080p video at 30fps. The camcorder UI is similar to the still camera's.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Camcorder UI

The Elife S5.1's 1080p samples offer smooth framerate, good contrast and colors, but the quality is the same as the still images - low dynamic range and unimpressive resolved detail.

Here's a 1080p sample, which we've uploaded on YouTube.

And here is an untouched 1080p@30fps video sample for you to download.

Video camera comparison

The Gionee Elife S5.1 captures poor 1080p videos. It manages to resolve good detail in good light conditions, but fails to do so in the low light.

Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool
Video Compare Tool

Gionee Elife S5.1 in our video quality comparison tool

UC Browser comes pre-installed, you should download Chrome

The Gionee Elife S5.1 comes with the third-party UC Browser pre-installed. It is as fast as Google Chrome, supports themes, night mode, full screen, reading mode, stand-alone brightness setting, and data usage monitoring.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The UC Browser

Just like Chrome, the UC Browser allows multiple tabs, incognito included. It can sync tabs between your UC Browsers installed on different devices.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Tab sync • UC Browser options

Even though the UC Browser is feature rich, it is slow. As we saw in our dedicated browser benchmarks it performs really poor. In real life it suffers from the occasional freezes, crashes and general lagging.

We installed Chrome off the Google Play Store and things got better. Not perfect, because we found few sites still had problems, but still the performance was a lot better and there is the great sync between all of your Chrome browsers too.

Apps and more

The Gionee Elife S5.1 comes with Kingsoft Office, which handles document editing with ease. It supports Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs (both the 2003 and 2007 versions), it also opens PDF files and it doubles as a file explorer.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Kingsoft Office

You do get a proper file explorer, too - it has two tabs that divide your content between categories and a file explorer for internal and external storage. The app also handles ZIP and supports batch operations.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The File Manager

There are also the standard sound recorder, flashlight, calculator, calendar, clock, and weather apps, among others, that are a given in any self-respecting Android package nowadays.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Calendar • Clock • Weather

When it comes to getting around, the Elife S5.1 comes with Google Maps and Navigation. The app offers much of the same functionality as its web-based counterpart, although you will need a data connection to take full advantage of the navigation features. Street view mode with digital compass enabled is an especially cool trick.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Google Maps

The best part of owning a smartphone is getting new apps, and when it comes to Android, Google Play Store is the best source for getting your fill. From recommendations to top apps, it features a plethora of ways you can find new apps, and installing an app usually only takes a couple of taps.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The Google Play Store

Android comes with another great support tool built right in - the Android Device Manager. It's available for all Android devices linked to your Google account. It can help you find your misplaced device by ringing it and if it's not at the house, by finding it on the map. If it's stolen, you also have the option to lock the device and delete all data. You have to enable the remote locking initially via the pre-installed Google Settings app on your smartphone.

Finally, Google Now integrates with your Google account and can access your daily routine, internet searches, email, etc. and give you information relevant to your interests and daily needs. There is no easy way to access it, you have to launch it from its app icon on the homescreen.

It provides traffic information to your work or home, knows the scores of sports teams you follow and gives you the weather forecast for your location. It's great for at-a-glance info, but can handle voice input as well.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Google Now

Conclusion

The Gionee Elife S5.1 is a phone you'll want to pick up as soon as you lay eyes on it. Once you've had it in your hand, we think you'll want to keep it. The thing is you're not very likely to see it on a store shelf in Europe - and Gionee cannot quite count on impulse buys on the internet.

Long story short, the Elife S5.1 hot looks and unique hand feel can make even semi-geeks forget about performance and software package and otherwise sensible buyers may take the plunge not thinking for once about after-market support and resale value. Gionee has come up with a smartpohone, which looks more premium than most flagships today.

Speaking of, the Gionee Elife S5.1 isn't a flagship, far from it, but it doesn't cost a fortune either. And, for the most part, it sounds pretty good on paper: an octa-core processor that's known to behave, a Super AMOLED screen, a high-res selfie camera, and Android KitKat right out of the box. A solid checklist for a midrange device.

Gionee Elife S5.1

The Elife S5.1 performance as we measured it turned out acceptable but hardly a match for the looks. We soon found a single gig of RAM was doing the MediaTek MT6592 chipset and its octa-core processor no favor, even with all the management tools and Kit Kat optimizations available. The graphics chip isn't doing any better either.

Our initial excitement took another hit with the quiet loudspeaker and disappointing camera performance. On a positive note, the smartphone offers a pretty good quality screen, decent battery life and comes bundled with a rich set of accessories.

Key test findings:

  • Design and build quality are superb
  • The 720p Super AMOLED display looks great
  • The battery life is very good, but web browsing is a power hog
  • The Amigo 2.0 launcher scores points for the eye-candy and customization options, the powerful system management tools are welcome too
  • The benchmark performance is behind the curve, the GPU is old generation
  • The speaker loudness is Below average
  • Audio output quality is mediocre
  • The still camera is average
  • The video camera seems OK, but the oscillation is quite annoying
  • The video player plays all sorts of files, but lacks AC3 and DTS sound decoders, or subtitles

The Gionee Elife S5.1 just didn't turn out as convincing as it looked, but it sure had its memorable moments. Its design and build are its biggest assets - the phone is as good-looking as a Samsung Galaxy Alpha and an iPhone 5S, if not better, for a fraction of the price. True, it cannot match their specs but it's not even pretending to be in the same league, performance-wise.

Apple iPhone 5s
Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Apple iPhone 5s • Samsung Galaxy Alpha

The Lenovo Vibe X2 is a more likely competitor - another smartphone of unique build and compelling design. It packs a 5" 1080p display and runs on a more powerful chip with faster octa-core processor and much better graphics. The rear camera is 13MP, the battery is better and there is LTE support and more built-in storage. The best part is the Vibe X2 isn't much more expensive.

Lenovo Vibe X2

Lenovo Vibe X2

The Alcatel Idol X+ bets on the same MediaTek MT6592 chip as the Gionee Elife S5.1, but comes with slightly bigger and higher-res 1080p display. Its rear camera and battery capacity are bigger too, but the higher resolution takes its toll on the performance. The phone is already running on Android KitKat and costs a little less than the Elife S5.1. Its design though is nowhere near the Elife S5.1's style and quality.

Alcatel Idol X+

Alcatel Idol X+

The Elife S5.1 is currently available in select South East Asian markets but in Europe you can get the Allview X2 Soul Mini, which is an identical device. It's the exact same phone with different branding.

Allview X2 Soul Mini

Allview X2 Soul Mini

The Gionee Elife S5.5 is still quite an attractive offer - and probably the safer bet, considering you're getting a 5" Super AMOLED screen of 1080p resolution, a much better camera, a bigger battery and pretty much the same build quality and looks.

Gionee Elife S5.5

Gionee Elife S5.5

The water-proof Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and Samsung Galaxy S5 mini are a straightforward choice in this price bracket. Both devices have so much to offer, brand recognition and reliable updates and support an important part of the deal as well. They costs about €30 to €40 more than the Gionee Elife S5.1, but the water-tight shells and better hardware may as well be worth it.

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact
Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

Sony Xperia Z1 Compact • Samsung Galaxy S5 mini

Finally, the one that stole the thinnest smartphone title, which the Gionee Elife S5.1 only enjoyed for a couple of months. The Oppo R5 is the unbelievable 4.9mm slim - the iPhone 6 plus will probably bend at the very thought of it. Having seen it in person, this is one is a real beauty, with better specs and a solid software package.

Oppo R5

Oppo R5

Who knows, perhaps another couple of months of holding on to that world record would've done the Gionee Elife S5.1 a massive favor. Aesthetically, it doesn't need any favors. It's the performance that demands a compromise but many wouldn't look beyond the looks. True, there are better devices out there, with expandable storage, cheap LTE, faster processing and yet this one has this inexplicable allure that you can't help but fall in for.

The Elife S5.1 is definitely not among most practical purchases this season, but it would surely end up on many wishlists for an entirely different kind of reasons.

Unboxing the Gionee Elife S5.1

The Gionee Elife S5.1's retail package is virtually identical to that of the Gionee Elife S5.5. The box is generously filled with extra accessories - well above the average smartphone bundle.

So, the retail box of the Gionee Elife S5.1 contains the mandatory charger and a microUSB cable, as well as a nice-looking in-ear headset. A SIM ejector is provided as well.

But you also get a microUSB to USB adapter enabling USB OTG and USB Host, and four screen protectors - two pairs for the front and rear.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The rich retail package of the Gionee Elife S5.1

Finally, our retail package also surprised us with a nice leather-like flip case. The downside is it gets attached using a strip of double-sided adhesive so it's not something you'd be putting on and off your phone that frequently.

Oh, beside that we also found a nice custom-fit rubber back case - true, with the case on, the phone isn't as slim but that all-glass body is worth looking after.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1 with the case

The contents of the retail package may vary by market, but even so, this is one of the most generous bundles we've seen.

Gionee Elife S5.1 360-degree view

The 4.8" Gionee Elife S5.1 is incredibly good looking with dual white glass design, a gold-painted metal frame around a super slim and lightweight shell. It stands at 139.8 x 67.4 x 5.1mm and weighs a mere 97g. That's an amazing 35g lighter than the preceding Elife S5.5, which featured a 5" screen.

Design and build quality

The two do look very much alike with dual sheets of glass, each covered by Gorilla Glass 3, front and rear, a metal frame holding the whole thing together.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1 sized up next to the Gionee Elife S5.5

The gold and white color combination works great for the Gionee Elife S5.1, but it's not just the successful mixture that's making it a memorable, beautiful phone. Certainly an attention grabber, the Gionee Elife S5.1 has a near unique feel in hand too.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Gionee Elife S5.1

The phone is of solid build and its golden frame successfully hides all signs of the assembly process. Of course, the glass design means you'll have to handle the Elife S5.1 with extra care - just one drop may cost you a lot and we don't mean just money.

The Gionee Elife S5.1 is a pleasure to handle, perfectly fitting in both hand and pocket. The glass panels may become slippery and compromise the handling, but the sturdy metal frame with tapered edges will compensate for this inconvenience. Solid, light, and beautiful - it's a design that stands out.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

Handling the Gionee Elife S5.1

Controls

Above the 4.8" Super AMOLED screen we find the usual combination of an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor and a wide-angle 5MP front-facing camera, either side of the earpiece.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

A peek above and below the display

The control deck of three capacitive keys is below the display using the old-school layout - Menu, Home, Back.

As for the hardware controls, they are all on the right side of the phone - you get a Power/Lock key and a volume rocker - both made out of metal.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The hardware controls on the right

The microSIM compartment is the only thing of interest on the left and you'll need the pin to eject it.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The microSIM compartment

The top of the Gionee Elife S5.1 is completely bare. The microUSB port, the 3.5mm audio jack and the primary microphone are all at the bottom of the Elife S5.1.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The top and the bottom of the Elife S5.1

The connectivity port supports USB On-the-go and USB Host, which means you will be able to connect various peripherals such as keyboards and mice, as well as USB memory sticks. Gionee even provides a proper USB OTG adapter in the retail box.

The 8 megapixel camera lens and the single LED flash are placed in the top left corner of the phone's back. This time around they are not bulging out as on the Elife S5.5. The secondary microphone is also around, carved out of the rear Gorilla Glass 3 near the top, the loudspeaker grille near the bottom.

Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1
Gionee Elife S5.1

The 8MP camera on the back • the loudspeaker is around too

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