Gionee Elife S5.5 review: Genie in a bottle
UC Browser comes pre-installed, you should download Chrome
The Gionee Elife S5.5 comes with the third-party UC Browser pre-installed. It is as fast as Google Chrome, supports themes, night mode, full screen, reading mode, stand-alone brightness setting, and data usage monitoring.
Just like Chrome, the UC Browser allows multiple tabs, incognito included. It can sync tabs between your UC Browsers installed on different devices.
Even though the UC Browser is feature rich, it is slow. As we saw in our dedicated browser benchmarks it performs really poor. In real life it suffers from the occasional freezes, crashes and general lagging.
We installed Chrome off the Google Play Store and things got better. Not perfect, because we found few sites still had problems, but still the performance was a lot better and there is the great sync between all of your Chrome browsers too.
Apps and more
The Gionee Elife S5.5 comes with Kingsoft Office, which handles document editing with ease. It supports Word, Excel and PowerPoint docs (both the 2003 and 2007 versions), it also opens PDF files and it doubles as a file explorer.
You do get a proper file explorer, too - it has two tabs that divide your content between categories and a file explorer for internal and external storage. The app also handles ZIP and supports batch operations.
There are also the standard sound recorder, flashlight, calculator, calendar, clock, and weather apps, among others, that are a given in any self-respecting Android package nowadays.
When it comes to getting around, the Elife S5.5 comes with Google Maps and Navigation. The app offers much of the same functionality as its web-based counterpart, although you will need a data connection to take full advantage of the navigation features. Street view mode with digital compass enabled is an especially cool trick.
The best part of owning a smartphone is getting new apps, and when it comes to Android, Google Play Store is the best source for getting your fill. From recommendations to top apps, it features a plethora of ways you can find new apps, and installing an app usually only takes a couple of taps.
Android comes with another great support tool built right in - the Android Device Manager. It's available for all Android devices linked to your Google account. It can help you find your misplaced device by ringing it and if it's not at the house, by finding it on the map. If it's stolen, you also have the option to lock the device and delete all data. You have to enable the remote locking initially via the pre-installed Google Settings app on your smartphone.
Finally, Google Now integrates with your Google account and can access your daily routine, internet searches, email, etc. and give you information relevant to your interests and daily needs. There is no easy way to access it, you have to launch it from its app icon on the homescreen.
It provides traffic information to your work or home, knows the scores of sports teams you follow and gives you the weather forecast for your location. It's great for at-a-glance info, but can handle voice input as well.