India which is currently the second largest smartphone market globally, and for Gionee, a second-tier Chinese handset maker, it is as important as home or the European market. Earlier this year, Gionee confirmed to revamp its strategy last month, saying it will embrace a new business model wherein distributors across India would be entitled to do their own marketing to improve sales.
That said, the affordable smartphone market in India which is witnessing highest growth, but is ruled by Xiaomi that offers mid-range specifications with a premium build at a wallet friendly price. Similarly, Vivo and Oppo have also taken this segment by storm in the past year.
And compared to other Chinese brands, Gionee is still miles away to capture a bigger share in the the Indian market. The company focuses on its strategy of deliveting a good selfie camera and a long-lasting battery life. Its latest smartphone, the Gionee S11 Lite is designed to do just that. Priced at Rs 13,999, the Gionee S11 Lite is available on both online and offline channels.
Design and display
The Gionee S11 Lite is appealing to eyes and owing to a glass back, it’s not very reflective as compared to some phones which are just like mirror. However, with glass back comes the fingerprint smudges. And with notch design smartphones flooding in, it’s good to see that Gionee has adhered to first improvise the basics and gone ahead with an 18:9 aspect ratio wrapped in a 5.7-inch HD+ display with tiny bezels. The speaker grille, headphone jack and the micro-USB port are housed at the bottom and the power/ standby and the volume buttons are located to the right side.
The 5.7-inch HD+ display offers vibrant colours, but there is room for brightness levels. On a bright sunny day, the colours looked washed-out even with brightness levels set to maximum and auto-brightness turned off. Videos on YouTube and Netflix were pleasant to the eyes. However, the choice of HD+ display was disappointing as majority of phones in this price band have shifted to full HD resolution that gives companies like Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo room to breathe.
Running on Amigo UI on top of Android 7.1 Nougat, opening and closing apps and multitasking among them was a breeze. But Amigo UI is still a long way to go to win hearts as its heavy and comes with bloatware apps that cannot be uninstalled. And at times, the phone became sluggish and unresponsive, all because of a heavy skin, but Amigo UI is rich in features.
The lock screen presents you with a list of random news stories in the form of pictorial cards, but one irritating thing that most of Gionee will relate to is feature is that it is difficult to disable this feature. Armed with a Snapdragon 430 octa-core SoC coupled with 4GB of RAM, the performance of Gionee S11 Lite is smooth and apps like Facebook and Instagram ran smoothly. It’s not a gamers paradise, but basic to medium graphic games like Mario Run and Jetpack Joyride ran pleasantly without any hiccups.
For photographers, the Gionee S11 Lite sports dual rear cameras including a 13MP primary camera and a 2MP secondary sensor to provide 2X optical zoom. For selfies, you get a 16MP camera with an aperture of f/2.0. The camera app is easy to use and includes modes such as photo, face beauty, panorama, group selfie and time lapse. There’s also support for HDR mode and Bokeh effect.
The camera clicks decent images in bright lights with appreciable amount of detail and noise, but fails to impress us in low light and struggles with white balance.
The front camera on the other hand is impressive and clicks subtle and well-focused images. Results with both the Beauty and the Bokeh mode were also great.
The 3,300 mAh lasted for a day under moderate use that includes playing gaming, streaming music, surfing social media apps and watching videos.
The Gionee S11 Lite is another addition to the company’s affordable smartphone range with right mix of features, the only disappointment being the cameras. So, if you want a phone with great camera do check other options that will offer both increased experience and specifications.