The Mini power-horse : Gionee M3 Mini Review

After a long series of leaks, the Gionee M3 mini was finally launched into the Nigerian market. This phone is the mini version of the not so successful Gionee M3. From what we’ve seen, the phone has attracted many followers, but we heavily suspect it’s because of the affordable price. So what’s special with the Gionee M3 mini? Why should I shell out cash to buy this device? These and more we hope to explore in coming paragraphs.

Gionee M3 Mini Review (4)

First, let’s access its key features:

  • 4.5 – inch IPS display, with 480 × 854 pixels (240 PPI).
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop.
  • MediaTek MT6735M chipset with quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A7 processor, Mali – T720 GPU and 1 GB of RAM.
  • 5 MP Autofocus camera with LED flash, pixel count 2560 x 1920 pixels and Video recording of 720p.
  • 2MP front-facing camera, with pixel count 1200 x 1600 pixels and 720p video recording.
  • 8 GB internal storage ( 3.89 GB usable), USB OTG supported.
  • Dual SIM support, Both Micro-SIM, 4G/3G switchable.
  • 4000mAh battery.

Main Disadvantages

  • Poor multitasking.
  • No fast charging.

Read the full detailed specifications HERE , as well as our Hands on experience and Unboxing review HERE.

Hardware/Design:
The Gionee M3 mini is made of plastic all round. The review unit was gold in color, same gold was laced all around it. At the very top you find just the 3.5 mm earphone jack while at the bottom is the USB v 2.0 charging port with the microphone just beside it.

Gionee-M3-mini (5)

On the front, we have the sensors, and front camera at the top. On the lower side is the navigation buttons with no back light. The bezels on the front are so huge. Gionee didn’t do a good design job here. The back side has an extra swell – blame the thick battery. At the back you find the image sensor with the LED flash just below it. Then there’s the speaker grill on the lower back side.

Gionee-M3-mini (2)-horz

The left side is blank, but on the right hand side lies the volume rockers and the power button. This phone is solidly built and doesn’t make any plasticky sounds while holding it. The 4.5 inch screen warmed well into my hands. This has always been the sweet spot for me. The only turn off are those big bezels.

Display and User Interface:

The Gionee M3 mini isn’t a boss in the display department. But that doesn’t mean it’s awful. It has a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. Viewing angles are really good, but sunlight legibility is very poor. This is the case with phones in this price segment.

Gionee-M3-mini UI

This phone has a customized user inter face. Swipe down to see notifications and swipe up to see quick actions menu. It runs on Amigo UI, hence the launcher. There’s no app drawer, just scroll left and right to find your apps.  The user interface has interchangeable themes and wallpaper all for customizing the phone.

Software:
This is one aspect where this device is richly endowed. This phone comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop skinned with Amigo UI.  Gionee packed a whole lot of software features on this phone – some useful and some others useless. There’s one interesting app here called Chameleon. With it you can capture any color in your surroundings and make it your wallpaper and background theme. Interesting right?

Gionee-M3-mini-software

This phone has gesture controls – I was also glad to find Double-Tap-to-Wake feature working here. There are other apps like System Manager, WPS Office and Xender all pre-installed. The Gionee M3 mini also features Hot Knot (MediaTek’s form of NFC), Wifi Direct, and you can change fonts without having to root.

Camera:

The camera is 5 MP at the back and 2 MP for the front. The back camera takes good shots both in well lit areas and in dark places. The lens doesn’t take in much of details, a little zooming and you find noise littered all over. The front camera takes good selfies and covers a reasonably wide angle. Overall, colors are reproduced well and images come out sharp and clear.

Multimedia:

The Gionee M3 mini has average sounding speakers. Nothing spectacular. The surprise comes when you use earphones, headphones or any external sound hub. Audio playback becomes incredibly sweet. This phone has a DTS audio technology that fine tunes your music experience once you play through any external speakers.

Gionee-M3-mini-multimedia

It also has Bluetooth play for connecting supported external music boxes. The default video player bundled with this phone is superb – handling every video format we threw at it. Its as good as, if not better than MX Player. You can minimize and watch your videos while performing other tasks. Cool 😎

Multitasking /Performance:

This is one of the weaknesses of this device. It actually performs well. Apps run smoothly here. Problems arise when you try to multitask – minimize an app, open another app,  try reopening the former, and it loads all over again. We have come to conclude that Android Lollipop doesn’t bode well performance-wise on phones with 1 GB RAM. Below are screen shots of its Antuntu Benchmark and Quadrant tests.

Gionee-M3-mini performance

Battery life:
This phone is a battery beast. The 4000 mAh battery lasts and lasts and lasts. I can assure you, after full charge, it’s impossible to totally run down this phone within a 24 hour period. It took me 1 day and 10 hours of constant usage to totally run this phone down (subtract 6 hours of sleep). The phone also comes with power management solutions to help you further extend the battery life.

Gionee-M3-mini-battery

Sad thing, despite the good battery there’s no fast charging. This phone (while switched off ) took about 3 hours 30 minutes to charge up to 100%.

Miscellaneous:
The Gionee M3 mini supports USB OTG (see screen shot below) both for charging other devices and using external drives. The navigation buttons have no back light. Call quality and Clarity is OK. The phone doesn’t heat up at all during use.

Gionee-M3-mini-USB-OTG

Both SIM slots and memory card slots are hot swapable. This means, you don’t have to reboot anytime you remove and reinsert a SIM. Out of of available 8 GB memory, only 3.98 GB is usable. 4G/3G is supported on both SIM slots which is a good thing.

In Conclusion

The Gionee M3 Mini is a nice phone to have despite it’s glaring shortcomings. If you held unto a feature phone before now, ditching it for this would be a very good choice. The phone itself is robust, packing many great features added with solid battery life. It can serve as your daily driver, though you’ll eventually have to deal with the poor multitasking. Overall, it’s already difficult finding a phone within this price range with better features. This phone is bang for buck & totally worth your N17,000.

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4 comments

  1. Im actually fascinated by your review of the phone’s DTS technology and Chameleon display.

    Only hoping that Gionee will learn how to produce phones that doesn’t weigh like pestle when you pocket it

  2. The apps closing isn’t really lollipop but the system manager n it’s echo mode n so on.. Put apps in whitelist n voila no reloading.. Note it then puts more load on ram

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