Above the Gionee Elife S5.5's 5" Super AMOLED screen, there is an ambient light sensor, a proximity sensor and a wide-angle 5MP front-facing camera - placed either side of the earpiece.
The familiar control deck of three capacitive keys is below the display. Unfortunately, when the backlighting is off, the keys are virtually invisible. There's no option either to set the backlight to always on. A little inconvenience, although it shouldn't be a big deal to memorize the control layout: it's Apps, Home, Back left to right.
As for the hardware controls, they are all on the left side of the phone - you get a Power/Lock key and a volume rocker.
The microSIM compartment is the only thing on the left and you'll need a pin to eject it.
The microUSB port is alone at the top of the phone. The port supports USB On-the-go and USB Host, which means you will be able to connect various accessories such as keyboards and mice, as well as USB memory sticks. Gionee even provides a proper USB OTG adapter in the retail box.
Finally, the 3.5mm audio jack and the mic pinhole are at the bottom of the Gionee Elife S5.5. If you ask us, usability-wise the swapped location of the audio jack and the USB port isn't the best decision but this may've been Gionee's only option in a body this slim.
The 13 megapixel camera lens, the single LED flash and the secondary microphone are placed in the top left corner of the phone's back. Their surrounding plate is part of the magnesium frame instead of the rear glass and is slightly bulging (less than 2mm). The loudspeaker grille is carved out of the rear Gorilla Glass 3, near the bottom.
The Gionee Elife S5.5 features a 2,300mAh battery with official endurance of 11h on 3G talk time and 490h on stand-by mode. We've managed to confirm the talk-time rating, but the stand-by didn't turn out that great. The Gionee Elife S5.5 showed disappointing performance on our dedicated video playback and web browser tests too.
The Gionee Elife S5.5 had average or below average performance on our battery tests thus scoring a final endurance rating of 48 hours. This means the Elife S5.5 will last exactly two days if you do an hour of calls, an hour of video watching and an hour of web browsing each day.
For a more detailed breakdown of the Gionee Elife S5.5 battery performance check out our blogpost.
Our proprietary score also includes a standby battery draw test, which is not featured in our battery test scorecard but is calculated in the total endurance rating.
Our battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you want to learn more about it.
The Gionee Elife S5.5 supports quad-band GSM and tri-band 3G with up to 42Mbps of download speed. There is no LTE connectivity, nor is there a dual-SIM version of the phone.
The rest of the connectivity features include dual-band Wi-Fi b/g/n and Wi-Fi Direct. There is also support for Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS, plus an FM radio with RDS.
NFC isn't available on the Gionee Elife S5.5.
There is a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data connections. Media transfer mode is supported for accessing the phone's built-in memory via a USB connection. The microUSB 2.0 port can also be used in USB On-the-go mode for connecting USB peripherals such as pen drives, keyboards or real USB hard drives.