A few days ago, we unboxed and gave our first impressions on Gionee’s new entry level smartphone, the Gionee P5W. In this article, we give you a full review plus a mini tour of Android 5.1 with Gionee’s custom skin on top, Amigo OS 2.0.
To recap, here are the specs of the Gionee P5W.
- 1.3GHz Quad-Core Mediatek MT6735 Processor
- Mali T720MP2 Graphics
- 1GB RAM
- 16GB Internal Storage expandable via MicroSD up to 32GB
- 5-inch HD IPS LCD display (1280 x 720 pixels)
- 5-megapixel rear facing camera with autofocus and LED flash
- 2-megapixel front camera Dual SIM Dual Standby
- 3G/HSPA+, WiFi, Bluetooth GPS, A-GPS
- 2,000 mAh battery
- Android 5.1 Lollipop
- SRP: P4,999
HARDWARE & DESIGN
We’ve covered pretty much everything about the Gionee P5W’s design in our unboxing and first impressions article, but after our review period, we’re adding a few points. Yes, the Gionee P5W looks like a generic smartphone with design almost absent all throughout, but the minimalism grows on you. One could get used to its really smooth back casing that curves just right to fit and sit comfortable in one’s hand during extended use. Not to mention, the unit comes is a bunch of other fun colors that really add character to the phone. We’ve pointed out that it actually reminds us of the iPhone 5c, and first impressions from most people who saw our unit validated that. However, it’s prone to scratching, fingerprints, grime and grease, at least on our black unit.
DISPLAY & SOUND
In a world where quad-HD displays rule, 720p doesn’t seem enough anymore. But if your colors are done right and the phone is still legible under direct sunlight, the “720p-ness” fades into the background. The P5W’s 5-inch size makes the 720p display look crisp and enjoyable enough for viewing. There’s a little paleness especially with the blacks, but that’s totally understandable since this is a panel for a budget phone. That’s not to say its bad, though. Colors are bright and accurate and not oversaturated. Turn up the brightness all the way in direct sunlight and you’ve got yourself a useable display. The glass covering the display isn’t as reflective as we were expecting it to be, so there’s no need to tilt the phone in a certain way under sunlight to properly view what’s on it.
Sound is similarly good. The speaker grilles are located at the back of the phone. Not the best location, but it surprisingly produces a decent, loud sound. This is largely thanks to the DTS 3D Surround Sound technology that’s on-board. We tried playing music through it to test the speakers and it generally sounds okay. Tinny, as you would expect from a budget smartphone, but loud. Really loud. You also can’t miss a notification because you’ll hear it even across the room. It’s actually pretty decent if you just want t a quick fix of your current LSS. The earphones that come with the phone is a different story. Its cheaply made and makes any song sound bad. We recommend that you purchase another pair of earphones.
SOFTWARE & PERFORMANCE
This is where everything gets exciting. As a long-time Apple user, I’m still amazed at how Android can pretty much be customized. I definitely got excited about the Gionee P5W’s Amigo OS skin because it beautifully complements the clean, minimalistic design of the phone. There are a few animations here and there that I don’t like because it makes the phone feel slower, but overall, icons, color palette, font and added features enrich the user experience.
Gionee borrow’s iOS’s Control Center, which can be easily accessed with an easy swipe from the top. It’s similar to the default drop down shortcuts you get from other Android skins, only better. It’s compressed so it doesn’t take up the entire screen, and it has really useful shortcuts like Data and Location toggles, which I wish Apple’s version had. On it, you can also access the Extreme Mode, Gionee’s own version of Samsung’s Super Power Saving Mode. It turns the display black and white and turns off a bunch of other functions. You can, of course, customize what apps you can use when the mode is turned on. In the Control Center, you can also access what Gionee calls Super Screenshot. It’s very useful when you want to take a screenshot of a really long webpage or text conversation.
My least favorite thing about Amigo OS is how everything is arranged in the Settings menu. It’s been compressed to put some settings under other settings, but it’s confusing and I often find myself lost (get it?) in it. There’s no search within the Settings app so you’d really have to dig deep to find exactly what you’re looking for. Overall, the skin leaves me wanting for more functionality, but it kinda works as is for now.
This budget phone isn’t exactly what you should get if you live life on-the-go. With only 1GB of RAM, apps as well as browser tabs need to reload whenever you exit them, which for someone who counts every millisecond, is truly a pain. Its Mediatek processor does the job, but the phone heats up especially when handling heavier tasks like gaming and using it as a personal hotspot. Speaking of gaming, it’s definitely not for the graphic-intensive ones but it sure runs more basic ones pretty well.
The P5W’s 2,000 mAh battery sounds small, and in real life use, it really isn’t enough. It helps that the screen is only 720p, so that kind of helps extend the battery life. Plus turning on Extreme Mode actually adds significant number of hours. The phone also only supports 3G so that’s kind of a plus factor in terms of battery life. So yes, one could go through an entire day with one full charge, but you definitely have to bring a power bank or a charger with you to prevent your phone from dying.
As we’ve mentioned, the P5W only supports 3G connectivity, so don’t expect stellar data speeds. At our usual spots in Ortigas and Makati, the highest 3G speed we got was 3.77 Mbps with the phone getting a little hot after 3 attempts to measure the speeds.
Yes, it could definitely load your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat feeds, or even allow you to play games that require connectivity like COC, but your YouTube streaming won’t be pleasant. Video will automatically switch to the lowest resolution available, and when changed to a higher one will make you wait. This, of course, is not entirely the phone’s fault, but I’ve reviewed other 3G only phones in these areas, and data speeds weren’t this erratic.
Left: HDR Off | Right: HDR On
I’m not a big fan of the P5W’s cameras. Well, first, it’s weird that the 2-megapixel front camera sometimes takes better photos than the 5-megapixel rear one. Second, the phone processes colors in a unnatural way. Photos seem to have a bluish, greenish tint that makes them look a little undesirable and non-Instagram ready. But, yes, of course a little VSCO and Snapseed magic will do the trick. We appreciate, though, that the actual photo taking process on the phone’s default camera app is quite fast. You’ll miss a couple moments, but you’re also sure to capture some of them well. The phone has a single white tone flash that does a decent job at illuminating subjects.
So, does the Gionee P5W deserve your P5,000? Yes and no. As I’d always like to say, different people of different budgets look for different phones. We think that the Gionee P5W is perfect for the customer on a smaller budget that appreciates simplicity, swiftness an decent functionality on a smartphone. Definitely not for mobile photography enthusiasts and speed beasts. This phone is targeted for more of the everyday, basic use – texting, calling, a little bit of social media and gaming. We like it because of the design and the interface, but we also don’t because of speed and connectivity issues. You can maybe say that we have a love-hate relationship with the phone, but that’s because we’re torn. What do you think? Would you buy the Gionee P5W? Sound off in the comments below!