24-30 July 2015 #768

Livin’ the Elife 7

An egregious and enjoyable phone

One of the newer phones out from Chinese-based phone manufacturer Gionee is the Elife 7. The only thing holding this gadget back is its blindingly frustrating willingness to be what it is in it’s essence: a phone.

Almost everything about it is exceptional, beginning with the camera. At 13 megapixels with a well-tuned autofocus, this is a member of the generation of smartphones that can make scenes look almost more beautiful than they do to the naked eye.

The appreciation for this appendage goes hand-in-hand with the exquisite screen. At a whopping 5.2 inches of high-quality AMOLED technology, you can do a lot more than appreciate your generous allotment of megapixels. This phone allows you to really welcome some of the functions that are so great about a smart phone, such as watching TV, devouring multimedia content, and even reading novels. The Internet processing is lightning fast and the speakers are loud to aid in those tasks.

Its battery life keeps track with those ambitions as well. On one full charge I was able to go two full days of hooking up to various Wi-Fi networks to watch videos, read news, download apps, and take and send pictures. The only things I didn’t do was any long phone calls or gaming, which are known to drain the battery more quickly.

Users get the chance to customise their phone to the extent of choosing among six different themes. Unfortunately, four of them are an impressive combination of basic and ugly, and the other two are both beautiful and extremely difficult to use because of bad organisation of apps and other functions. After a while you’ll get used to it, or just replace their ugly wallpaper options of Chinese megacities with ones of your dog, or maybe even your mother. That would be an improvement.

This really is a beautiful piece of hardware, and my conclusion is to recommend it to those who are already familiar with the Android operating system and like to wear loose trousers. The first is so you aren’t driven to jump into the Bagmati every time you miss a call or can’t read a message. The second because this would never fit into a pocket of any reasonable pair of pants below 6 ft.

Lastly, the phone really failed me at a fundamental level. Even after I put in my contacts, I could not for the life of me figure out how to access my calling and messaging records. I would receive alerts when messages were sent to me but found no intuitive way to access them, no matter what theme I was using (and some are worse than others). It’s quite possible that a more tech-savvy individual wouldn’t have the same difficulties. Even when receiving calls it would take me several tries to figure out how to answer without hanging up.

That was egregious, but you know what? I really did enjoy the phone anyway.