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We dig this slim smartphone from China, but it won't be cheap

Richard Lai, @richardlai
March 2, 2015
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This wouldn't be the first time that Gionee's released a slim, 5.5mm-thick phone. Following the aptly named Elife S5.5, the Chinese company is back with an LTE refresh model that's confusingly dubbed the Elife S7, which manages to retain the same slimness (read: not 7mm thick), the standard headphone jack and a lighter weight of just 126.5g, while packing some nice upgrades. First of all, you get a slightly bigger 5.2-inch 1080p AMOLED screen, along with a similar 1.7GHz octa-core MediaTek chipset with 2GB of RAM, but enhanced with 64-bit computing, multi-mode LTE radio and dual micro-SIM slots. And yes, the phone runs on Android Lollipop with Gionee's customized UI. There's also a more generous 2,750mAh battery -- a notable jump from the S5.5's 2,300mAh cell that had us frustrated.

Gallery: Gionee Elife S7 | 8 Photos

As with many flagship Chinese smartphones these days, the Elife S7 comes with a pair of seemingly nice cameras: 13 megapixels on the back and eight megapixels on the front, both of which support the usual beautification tricks. Similarly, Gionee has joined the local crowd to emphasize its phone's HiFi audio experience that's provided by an unspecified audio chip (192kHz sampling rate, 24-bit processing, 105dB signal-to-noise ratio, 90dB total harmonic distortion), along with the bundled "professional" earphones. Material-wise, you still get glass on the back of the phone along with an aluminum alloy frame, but the latter's been given a groove all the way round to provide a better grip.

The only letdown is perhaps the price: €399 or about $450. That's relatively steep, especially when you're stuck with just 16GB of internal storage. Just to compare, the even slimmer Vivo X5Max only costs an extra $40 and lets you add a microSD card, so hopefully Gionee will consider larger capacity options without bumping the price by too much. The S7 is already up for pre-order in China ahead of its March 18th launch, with availability in India to follow on April 3rd.

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