Gionee Elife S5.5 Review: More than Slim

Gionee Elife S5.5 was launched back in March, 2014. It was the slimmest smartphone in the world and guess what, it still remains the same even after 6 months. We would like to thank Gionee India for sending us (very young tech blog) a review unit. This will be our very first smartphone review, so lets roll. If you wish to buy it, click here.

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Gionee, primarily a Chinese company has done quite well in the Indian smartphone market over the last couple of years. They were one of the first Chinese companies to do well in India on a large-scale. The company has an exciting line of products ranging from their flagship devices to feature phones. The Elife E series phones are known for their camera quality whereas the S series, rather the S5.5 is more known for its style and finish. So lets not waste any time and start with our review of the Gionee Elife S5.5 smartphone.

Video Review

 Build Quality

The Gionee Elife S5.5 is one of the best smartphones in the world in terms of build quality. First of all, it’s just 5.5 mm thick or rather thin, which is an incredible engineering achievement. The phone is made up of light and durable magnesium alloy frame which is wrapped on both sides by Gorilla Glass 3. The phone looks stunning with an all metal and glass body. The phone is also very light and weighs only 133 grams which makes it easier to hold it with one hand. It feels very classy and would easily make you stand out in a crowd. It is literally a style statement. It actually manages to give iPhones a run for their money, which are supposedly the best in this department.

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The Gionee Elife S5.5 features a 5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) Super AMOLED display with 441 PPI pixel density and is powered by 1.7 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek processor. It has 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of internal storage which cannot be expanded via microSD card. Both front and back is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 for protection. It packs in a 13-megapixel camera with a LED flash at the back and GIONEE branding running down the middle. On the front, above the screen you have the 5-megapixel front facing camera. Both the power/lock button and volume rocker is on the left side of the device which makes it a bit odd considering most devices has it on the right. While the right side has the microSIM card slot and over at the top you will find the microUSB port. The 3.5mm audio jack is located at the bottom of the device. There are three capacitive buttons below the display. It packs in a 2300 mAh non-removable battery under the hood.

Performance & Gaming

The Gionee Elife S5.5 packs a 1.7 GHz Octa-Core MediaTek MT6592 processor with Mali 450 GPU. It has 2 GB of RAM. The performance of the phone is very smooth and snappy although it tends to heat up during CPU or GPU intensive tasks like using the camera, playing high end games or surfing the web. The touch screen is very responsive and there is no lag in the overall performance.
We tested casual games like Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers, etc as well as high graphics intensive games like Asphalt 8, Fifa 14, etc, and we found no lag while gaming or any frame drop. Although, the phone gets heated after moderate usage. The games look stunning on the 5-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display.




The Gionee Elife S5.5 sports a 13-megapixel Auto focus rear camera with LED flash. This is not the best camera in the market but it does a very good job. The default camera app’s interface gives a lot of option to the user with features like exposure, ISO, white balance, a range of capture modes, self timer option as well as dedicated shooting modes. The quality of images taken by the smartphone are quite natural. Although, it misses on detailing of the image due to over aggressive noise reduction. The camera also takes time to correctly focus on macro objects. It shoots at 1080p resolution at 24 frames per second but it does an average job. It loses a lot of details and there are also ocassional frame drops.
It has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera which is very good for your selfies and video calling purposes.

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Display Quality

The Gionee Elife S5.5 features a 5-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) Super AMOLED display. It has a pixel density of 441 PPI. As it has a Super AMOLED display, it has excellent colour reproduction. The blacks are as black it can get and colours are very bright but a bit oversaturated. The display is very bright and vivid and it is also viewable under bright sunlight. The texts look crisp and Full HD videos look stunning on the display. Our media consumption rate increased quite a bit due to the brilliant display. Also, browsing web on that display is bound to keep you hooked for hours.

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The Elife S5.5 comes with Android 4.2.2 JellyBean coupled with Amigo OS 2.0 out of the box but thanks to Gionee, they have given Android KitKat 4.4.2 OTA update a while back. The Amigo UI has a look and feel which is similar to iOS but it’s not fully optimized and has few glitches. It supports multi-touch gestures like double tap to wake which is a positive. The transitions and animations of the UI looks good but at the same point there is a bit of lag in the system which ruins the fluid experience. There are a lot of customisation options which is welcomed. Gionee’s attempt at Amigo OS is appreciable but it needs a lot of work to phase out the lag and we hope the company does so in the next iteration of Amigo OS.

Amigo UI

Battery Life

The world’s slimmest smartphone does pack in a 2,300 mAh battery under the hood which is non-removable. The battery life is not extraordinary. Powering a 5-inch beast with an octa-core processor would take a toll in its battery life. Although, it manages 1 day with moderate usage which involves casual gaming for 30-45 minutes, web browsing for 2-3 hours, listening to music, consuming media, etc. With heavy usage, it would hardly last 10-12 hours. It is acceptable but there are better performers in the market. When on idle mode, with cellular and WiFi switched on, it would stay alive for 3 days.

Final Verdict

The Gionee Elife S5.5 is one of the most stylish smartphone in the market with premium build quality. It packs in a good camera with solid overall performance. Although, it has heating issues when using the camera or playing a high end game or HD videos but isn’t a deal breaker. Amigo OS should get better with the release of it’s 3rd iteration and we would like a lag free experience from it. The phone also comes with a leather flip cover as well as OTG cable for free which is a good addition by Gionee.

It is now available for around Rs 21,000 in the market and we would recommend it to you if you’re looking for a very stylish smartphone with a little trade off.
You can buy the world’s slimmest smartphone here.

We would give Gionee Elife S5.5 – 7 out of 10.

Thanks to Debjeet for clicking all the images.

About the author

Bibek Saha

He is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Techolic. A tech enthusiast who is always found reading or writing on technology. An avid Manchester United fan and a big time foodie. If not writing, he can be found watching the latest movies and TV shows. Interact with him on Twitter and Google+