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Gionee P7 Review: Reminiscent of Nokias, this is an excellent second phone

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 2 February 2017, 20:50 IST

Gionee, a brand you've probably never heard of. Except for the Gionee S6s selfie flash because of that insufferable ad featuring the ever-popular actress Alia Bhatt. Now this isn't a review of that phone. Instead, it's of the Gionee P7. It costs just Rs 9,049 (being sub-10k is crucial for this phone) putting it squarely in the budget segment.

The P7 is not a phone that will excite you. It's a phone that will not blow you away with its speed. It's a phone that will not make the person sitting next to you on the metro envious. In fact, there is nothing special about this phone. In fact, there are plenty of reasons not to even give this phone a second look. However, there is one reason, and strictly one reason, why you would want to buy this smartphone - Nokia. How? We'll get to in a minute, but first, the specs.

The specs

The P7 comes with a 5-inch 720p screen, powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM (with no apps downloaded it gives your just 1GB of RAM to use!) and 16GB of internal storage (it has a microSD card slot that can expand memory up to 128GB or as some have pointed out, 256GB). It has a 8MP rear shooter and a 5MP front-facing camera. It has a 2,300 mAh battery and outdated Android 6.0 software.

It's got dual SIM slots and is 4G-LTE compatible for you to pop in that Reliance Jio SIM for its free data. It's got no fingerprint sensor (something seen on competing smartphones such as Xiaomi's Redmi Note 4 and Redmi 3S Prime) and it's built with a plastic body that has a glossy back.

Before I move on, let me just mention one thing of importance - the phone, besides selling online, retails offline. That's a huge plus point for Gionee and an edge in tier-II cities.

Gionee at first sight

On first touch, the phone feels solid. Its plastic body gives the consumer a nice firm body of a smartphone to hold (no worries about dropping this phone). It may not feel premium, but it squarely fits the bill of a budget phone and its curved edges are a nice touch. Whether you have tiny hands or not, the phone can be used with one finger with absolute ease.

It's once you turn on the screen, however, that you are greeted with disappointment. It's 5-inch display is up to no good. The P7 is definitely inferior to the competition. In direct sunlight the phones low-resolution wilts and you'd be running for shade to check your WhatsApp messages.

The Daily Grind

While daily tasks such as calling and texting breezily go by, having the phone as a daily driver is something you wouldn't wish on anyone. At least Once you get into the territory of videos, games (it doesn't play Need For Speed at all, just in case you were wondering) and music.

The P7 runs a custom version of Android 6.0 (who knows if it'll ever be upgraded to 7.0) with the Amigo (who ever named it that?!) interface. It may look similar to the likes of Huawei smartphones but the ease of functionality is there. The notification panel and the quick settings are separate, for some reason. The default 'live' wallpapers on the lockscreen are a letdown. It may be colourful, but it lacks any zest.

One can just forget about using this phone as a camera. Those social media enthusiasts can forgo their video chats and photo uploads. Stick to text instead, if you happen to be using this phone. Forget about comparing this to the likes of the OnePlus 3, the phone's camera falls flat even when compared to the old Moto E series. Selfies are completely washed out and rear-camera photos lack detail.

On a day-to-day basis, the battery didn't even last a whole day with 4G turned on and apps running in the background. What's most frustrating, though, are the software updates. It took such a long time to update that I finished a whole Star Wars movie in the meantime.

Dumbness & durability

Now that the phone has been trashed, let's get on to something no other review in the world will talk about. Nokia and the art of the second phone. Nokia, the iconic brand, was the king of the dumb phones that would last days without charge. That is what the Gionee is. A good second phone to throw in the backpack for those long camping trips. Or to throw in the glove compartment of the car to pick up as and when your primary phone dies out.

Using the Gionee as a second phone, I was able to extract every last bit of goodness the phone had to offer. It lasted long (a couple of days, yes) while I was using the phone with barely any GPS and mostly for just calling and texting. I've also purposely let the phone slip a few times and there has been barely any damage on it. Don't go throwing the P7 at a wall in frustration - it ain't as good as those Nokias were - but don't fret about it falling off your bed.

Its call quality was almost faultless. Whether I was talking from headphones or straight from the handset, there was no disturbance when in full network range. Texting on WhatsApp or regular SMS is real easy with the keyboard of your choice (it has Android, so go download whatever you like from the Play Store).

To sum it up: It's no good as your primary phone. As a secondary phone it might be a tad bit expensive, compared to the competition - Lenovo K6 Note and Xiaomi Redmi 3S - but buy it on sale and keep it in your backpack for when an emergency comes around. That, my friend, is the only way one would ever dare recommend this phone.

First published: 2 February 2017, 20:50 IST
 
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a correspondent at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.

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