Gionee Elife S5.5 review: Genie in a bottle
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.
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.
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 50s 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.
The Gionee Elife S5.5 scored a Good mark on our loudspeaker test. This means you shouldn't miss any call ringing or notifications with this one. We chose to enable the loudspeaker booster from the equalizer settings in the music player. The difference in the Man Speaking and Noise tests is insignificant, but it increased the loudness on the Nostalgia ringtone by 5dB.
|Speakerphone test||Voice, dB||Ringing ||Overall score|
|Alcatel Idol X+||64.8||62.7||69.7|
|Huawei Ascend P7||63.9||66.1||70.9<|
|Apple iPhone 5s||68.7||66.3||69.2||Average|
|Samsung Galaxy S4||70.6||66.2||77.3|
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.
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.
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 S5.5 offers great Swype-enabled keyboard courtesy of TouchPal. It has quite-identical features with the recently paid-gone-free SwiftKey keyboard. It has big keys, the swype-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.