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Gionee A1 Lite Review - Great Selfies, Dated Internals

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Arguably, the most competitive price category in the Philippines today is the sub PHP 13K space. Gionee's A1 Lite is in that segment in terms of pricing.
Gionee A1 Lite Review - Great Selfies, Dated Internals
Gionee A1 Lite full review!

Can it compete against them in specs and actual usage? Here's our full review!


Display Quality

Gionee equipped the A1 Lite with a decent Gorilla Glass protected IPS panel with HD 1280 x 720 resolution at 277 pixels per inch.

Resolution is alright, but not that sharp. Colors are accurate though. Viewing angles and sunlight legibility are alright as well. Adaptive brightness works too. It would have been better if it has an FHD panel instead though.

In the display settings, you may adjust the font size, style, and color temparature. It has 10 points of touch.


Audio Quality

The not that loud speaker behind
The not that loud speaker behind

At the back, the A1 Lite has a single "loud" speaker. It sounds quite fine overall. Bass is almost non-existent as expected, but vocals and details are decent. I wished Gionee added a louder sounding speaker though. It'll sound tinny compared with other smartphones at this price point.

Audio from the speaker is tinny, headphone sound output is acceptable.

Fortunately, the audio output through its 3.5 mm female headphone slot is acceptable. It sounded quite clean with enough layering of details. It won't just make your HiFi headphones or earphones sing though. But, it is decent. I wished that its driving power is a bit louder though.

Mic for calls are fine and very usable. For audio video recordings, it recorded audio in stereo quality. We also enjoyed that it doesn't sound that noisy. But, it isn't that loud again.

Battery Life

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One of the highlights of the Gionee A1 Lite is its big 4,000mAh battery. In real life, battery performance is actually excellent. In our PC Mark work battery life test, it was able to record 12 hours and 42 minutes of usage.

Excellent battery performance!

Thanks to its lower-res HD resolution, it was able to clock a better score than the 11 hours and 31 minutes of the ZenFone Max Plus M1.

Real life usage is great too! On a single full charge, it can last up to 1.5 days of usage.

It even has several power saving modes in the system manager app and reverse charging also known as the power bank mode.

Charging time using the 2A charger is just a bit more than 2 hours. Not bad!

Camera

13MP snapper at the back
13MP snapper at the back

At the back, the A1 Lite highlights a 13MP single snapper with f/2.0 aperture size. It's coupled with PDAF focus and a dual tone LED flash.
Camera interface
Camera interface

It also has many modes to choose from. You'll find the HDR, panorama, night mode, several filters, face beauty, and the smart scene. The smart scene auto detects if the scenario if it needs HDR or night mode and more.

The best part of its camera features is its ability to shoot in manual or pro mode. This handset is capable of adjusting EV, ISO, WB, S, and focus. It even has up to 12 seconds shutter for night shots and light trails. It also has grids for guides and nice type of exposure metering.

Quality of shots are mostly acceptable, but I expected it to be better than this considering its price. Shooting speed and focus speed is decent, however it'll struggle with some close-up shots.

In daylight, details are mosty sharp. Exposure is not that consistent. Sometimes you shots are bright enough, but there are occasions where it'll auto dim or underexpose the subject. The HDR mode will slightly make your shots brighter with a bit more grain. Colors are pretty balanced most of the time. 

Indoor shots are acceptable as long as that location is well-lit. Lowlight performance is pretty bad. Loss of details, colors, and dynamic range are evident.

Fortunately, it has a pro mode which can help you take brighter and sharper images if you know how to use it. The flash is usable when needed as well.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight
Daylight
Decent close-up shot
Decent close-up shot
Grainy indoor
Grainy indoor
Lowlight
Lowlight
Settings: EV -3 (ISO 100, 6s)
Settings: EV -3 (ISO 100, 6s)
Flash
Flash

In front, the phone has a 20MP f/2.0 selfie shooter with softlight LED flash. Most of the features found at the back are also available here including the feature-rich face beauty and the smart scene.
Selfie cam UI
Selfie cam UI

I personally like its decent shooting speed and face detection even if it has no tap to focus mode. But, there are still times where you need to steady your hands to avoid out of focus shots.

Most of the time images taken with the selfie cam are crisp and well-detailed too. Even indoor shots are quite fine. The face beauty mode is not that unnatural looking.

There are just times where exposure could be a bit too bright. Colors could either be pale or too vibrant in some conditions.

Lowlight shooting performance using the selfie snapper is a bit better than expected. There will be grain, but shots will still be detailed at times. In addition, you may always use the softlight LED flash.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight auto
Daylight auto
Indoor with face beauty
Indoor with face beauty
Lowlight
Lowlight

For videos, this device can shoot up to 1080p at 30 fps at the back and in front. It has OIS or EIS, but stabilization is kinda acceptable for me. It is shaky, but not that shaky. It was even able to capture colors in a decent way.

In front, the video we took is a bit shakier than what the main camera got. Colors are great in front though.

You may even use the face beauty mode and flash while taking videos at the back or in front.

Video Samples


Performance

Benchmark scores
Benchmark scores

Sadly, Gionee equipped the A1 Lite with a very old processor for a "2017" smartphone. It is still using the 64-bit MT6753 octa-core processor with Mali-T720 GPU from 2017. That's so old and will lag compared with the more powerful Helio P-series chips and Snapdragon 430 and above chips from competing brands.

The phone is noticably slower than the competition!

Fortunately, it has ample 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. But, in real life performance it is very slow for the price. Multitasking is not that great either even if it has enough 3GB RAM due to its slow processor.

How about gaming? It struggled. Yes, it was able to play some light Android games like Subway Surfers, but it lagged on most demanding games. It has heating when playing games while on 4G LTE data mode as well.
AMIGO UI 4.0 skin
AMIGO UI 4.0 skin

In terms of UI, it runs with Android 7.0 Nougat with Amigo UI 4.0 skin on top. Amigo UI 4.0 reminds us of the newer Color OS skin from OPPO which is iOS inspired. It has no app drawer and comes with slide up for shortcuts.
Settings and features
Settings and features

It is actually quite good. There are bloats, but that not much, most of them are even removable. It even has a system manager to optimize your device, child mode, and split screen mode.

The fingerprint scanner is a bit sluggish though. It works, but it isn't that accuarte. It will fail 2 out of 5 times.

Fortunately, the A1 Lite has decent signal reception and connectivity options. It even has LTE, nice type of GPS, and Bluetooth. It also has OTG and gyroscope.

Pros - Decent build, great ergonomics, big battery capacity, robust pro camera mode, good selfie camera
Cons - Ageing processor, quite sluggish in performance for the price

Verdict

For PHP 12,999, the Gionee A1 Lite has a pretty good looking design, can shoot really good selfies, and has long battery life.

However, the processor that Gionee used is already dated. In addition, its actual performance is isn't that great. It has overheating issues at times too. The software is quite sluggish as well.

Overall handset will clearly struggle against most similarly priced mid-range smartphones. Sadly, most lower-end smartphones below the PHP 10K price tag has better specs and performance than this handset as well.

We hope that Gionee will comeback stronger with a much better product after this shortcoming soon.

Build / Design - 4
Display - 3.75
Audio - 3.75
Battery - 4.25
Camera - 4
Performance - 3
Average - 3.79 / 5
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