Chinese handset-maker Gionee seems all geared up for a bigger bite of the Indian smartphone apple as it speeds up launches in the second half of 2015 along with confirming a $50 million investment to contract manufacture phones with electronics manufacturing services provider Foxconn and Dixon. The company released the new F103 smartphone on Sep 1 priced at Rs.10,399. Here is our analysis:
What is good?
The phone has a simple yet a very eye-pleasing design and is extremely light. The two-tone metal-plastic body gives the phone a fresh look. The protruding shiny metal edge of the phone is the difference maker.
The five-inch HD display with a 320 ppi pixel density is quite bright and produces sharp images with no problems in viewing angles. The rear eight-megapixel camera with LED flash performs fairly well. The five-megapixel front camera performs excellently under well-lit conditions.
The system-on-a-chip (SoC) of a 64-bit 1.3 GHz quad-core processor and a 2GB RAM unit is a good performer. No lags were experienced while switching between apps or two or more casual games.
The phone comes with some good pre-loaded apps and tools which can take care of day-to- day normal usage. Gionee has added a user feedback app that will work out well for its loyal fans. It runs Amigo OS on top of Android Lollipop.
The phone also comes with dual-SIM 4G LTE support, which means users can enjoy 4G experience from two service providers. The F103 also has an impressive battery backup from a 2,400 mAH battery which many would scoff at.
In terms of storage, the phone comes with 9.18 GB available internal memory which is expandable to 32 GB. Another advantage is that it supports USB on-the-go (OTG) so users can plug-in their memory devices to share or enjoy content on the phone.
Gionee also provides the OTG cable, a plastic cover and screen guard for the phone in the box. This is a positive for Gionee as most brands have reduced their size of phone boxes drastically and also aren’t providing headphones for their devices.
What doesn’t work for the phone?
In terms of the camera, the rear unit loses out on quality in dark or semi-dark conditions. The front camera could have been accompanied with a flash but the price would creep up a little bit as well.
With the option of a 2GB RAM, the phone is incapable of handling heavy games without getting heated up. It lags after exiting a heavy game. The Mali720 GPU is an entry-level processor in its family and is not good for high-ram, battery-consuming games.
Interestingly or unfortunately, the phone consumes nearly 58 percent of its RAM while just running the operating system (OS) which means Gionee has to focus on its Amigo OS, which still has a long way to go in terms of usage by Indian consumers. There is no particular filtered content for Indians. In terms of pre-loaded games, users might feel that all of them are bloatware as they are all demo versions.
Verdict: The specifications of the device are so similar to that of the numerous phones from rivals that consumers are bound to be confused. In our opinion, the phone is a good an option as any other brand to own in the same price segment.
(Anirban Ghoshal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)