The Gionee A1 was love at first sight for us. It is such a beautiful phone and has such respectable specs that we fell in love immediately. And when we got an opportunity to get our hands on one, we jumped at it. We have used it extensively for over a month now and have our review ready.
Gionee A1 Review: Quick Pros And Cons
Gionee markets it as a super selfie and super battery smartphone. As such, it is understandable if it is judged by how well its selfie camera and battery perform. The A1 has a front-facing camera that has superior specs to its rear camera. Before we dive into the review proper, let’s kick off with a concise list of the major pros and cons of the device.
|Beautiful design and solid, premium build||Sometimes heats up a lot while charging.|
|Selfie camera is quite good|
|It lets you peg network mode any way you like it|
|Solid battery life with 18W quick charge|
Gionee A1 Review: Hardware/Design
The black unit of the Gionee A1 is eye candy. Pictures of the white version suggest that the black is the cooler looking of the two, but then we just might be wrong. The screen has the same 2.5D curved glass and smoothness too, and the rounded edges give it a very nice look too. The front-facing camera at the top of the display is a 16 megapixel snapper with LED flash. Gionee is betting on it seeing as the phone is being marketed as a selfie king.
A 3.5 mm audio jack port sits at the top edge of the phone.
At the back of the Gionee A1 is a 13 megapixel camera with LED flash. On the left hand side is the eject-able dual-SIM compartment. One of the slots can also take a microSD card. On the right side we have the volume rockers and the nicely accented power/lock button in red.
On the bottom edge of the Gionee A1 is a centrally-placed regular USB port that has two grills sitting astride it. The USB port supports USB-on-the-go and work well with flash drives and other USB products.
Gionee A1 Review: Software
The Gionee A1 runs a customised version of Android 7 Nougat named Amigo OS. It is light and breezy and includes all sorts of nifty tools. Some include the ability to block numbers for calls and SMS. Gionee has customised the drop-down menu differently. Swipe down from the top of the display to see notifications, as well as a daily mobile data counter. Swipe up from the bottom edge of the display to get quick access to features like: hotspot, location, and extreme power mode, among others.
The user interface is nicely done. To access apps, just swipe right or left from the home screen. The traditional Android app drawer does not exist here. The customised OS allows you to download and use themes, so you can pimp the look and feel to your taste.
As is the case with most Android 7 smartphones, you get intrusive pop-up notifications when a message comes in. Those pesky heads-up notifications cannot be turned off without turning off all other alerts – audio and vibration. It is insane. One wonders what Google was thinking when implementing this. You can use a 3rd party app to disable the pop-ups though, but be warned that it isn’t without issues.
Gionee A1 Review: Network, Telephony
Telephony on the Gionee A1 is of very good quality. Callers at the other end also notice the superb quality too.
The A1 works with 4G LTE networks from MTN, Etisalat, Smile, Ntel, Swift and Spectranet, but not Glo. Sorry, Glo 4G users. The tweaked OS lets you peg network mode to 4G only and 3G only along with all the other auto modes.
Gionee A1 Review: Display and Multimedia
The A1 has a 5.5-inch 2.5D curved display with Gorilla Glass 3. And it makes a difference in the feel of the glass when you touch it. Good one.
The quality of audio from the loudspeaker is very good – one of the better ones out there. And it is sufficiently loud too. In all, the A1 provides a very solid multimedia experience.
Gionee A1 Review: Photography
How good are the Gionee A1’s cameras? Very good, it turns out. Both front and rear cameras produce good photographs. As a matter of fact, everywhere we used the phone to take pictures, people ended up wowed and often drooled over how good the pictures came out. Then they were shocked when they found out this was a Gionee smartphone.
The selfie camera of the Gionee A1 is superb! When I show people photos taken with it, the response is usually that it the photos look like they were taken with a rear camera (because selfie cameras are not known to produce the levels of clarity and details that the A1’s front-facing camera produces). Here is an example:
Of course, the Gionee A1 camera is no match for the levels of details that the Lumia 950’s camera produces. The difference is clear. Here is a photo of a motion scene and the A1 appears to do a good job capturing it:
The two cameras of the Gionee A1 are good and stand out against the competition. Note though that while the 16 megapixel selfie camera does well, it still does not produce photographs as good as the 13 megapixel rear camera.
Gionee A1 Review: Multitasking/Performance
With a Mediatek Helio P10 processor and 4 GB of RAM, switching between apps is a smooth experience.
In the benchmark tests we ran, the A1 came up with an AnTuTu score of 49,369. That is not a striking score by any stretch but Gionee put in the one year old Helio P10 processor, which is great for the phone’s battery life but means the A1 is not a speed demon. You can see the rest of our benchmark test results HERE.
Gionee A1 Review: Battery life
With a 4,010 mAh battery, the Gionee A1 has impressive battery life. And with really fast 18W quick charge available, it charging up and power consumption is not a nightmare. We regularly got a full working day out of it with an always-on 4G connection.
During charging, it mostly gives no issues, but occasionally it would get really hot so much that we had to unplug it and let it cool off. This doesn’t happen regularly. It has happened twice in a little over a month of use. We have no idea why this happens. Perhaps a rogue app running in the background or a software glitch from Amigo OS?
Gionee A1 Review: Final Words
Gionee A1 has two good cameras, solid battery life, looks and feels good, and runs Android 7 Nougat. Everyone we have showed it to and let play with it have loved it. Everyone. Gionee appears to have hit it right with the A1. It is a very respectable smartphone that scores well in both its marketing features and more.
If you have not seen them already, you should have a look at some of the informative articles we already have published on the Gionee A1: