It’s not everyday that you can expect Bangladeshi brands to import device that can really be on par with the big guys. Well, thanks to the big guys in China who have been stepping up in the game in the recent years, powerful hardware now does not have to come at a big cost.
Take Gionee for example, the Chinese company that has been making noise for a long time now by making devices and distributing/marketing them by their own brand. Especially the Elife series of Gionee has become so popular that it’s become the company’s flagship phone. When Gionee Elife E7 was announced, the company confirmed that a mini version of the flagship would also hit the streets, just the big guys like Samsung do with their flagship device. And then Gionee Elife E7 Mini was announced.
In Bangladesh, there are multiple not so legitimate ways to get hands on those Gionee devices. There are individuals who import devices straight from China and sell them. This is not their profession; they do it to make some extra cash. However, it almost always has risk and it does not obviously give a warranty. If you’re unlucky and are left with a faulty piece of device, you’re out of luck.
Thanks to Symphony, those who have been drooling to get their hands on a Gionee Elife E7 Mini can now really get excited. The local brand has imported Gionee Elife E7 Mini and is now selling this as Symphony ZIII, the current flagship device of the brand. Without further ado, let’s dive into what’s in this device and why you should get excited.
It’s important to note that this is not a hands-on review Android Kothon is famous for. In Hands-on reviews, we take a device, test it to our will and then we write our honest personal opinion on the device. This is just a basic informative post of the new Symphony ZIII. Look for “Hands-on” in the title of the review. Also, because Symphony is not cooperative with us in this regard, we cannot assure whether or not there’ll be a hands-on review of this device at all. But we’ll keep trying.
Let’s start with the display, because that’s what you’ll be interacting with most of the time. Symphony ZIII has a 4.7-inch with a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels and 320 pixel per inch (ppi). The phone has a 1.7 GHz octa-core processor that the company proudly says in its tagline, “The Awesome Eightsome”, though we’re not quite happy with the last word. The device uses Mediatek MT6592 processor and a Mali-450MP4 Graphics Processing Unit. It has 1 GB of RAM and a whooping 16 GB of ROM (internal storage). But if you’re crazy like me who uses no less than 32 GB memory card on his phone, you’ll be out of luck because the phone does not feature any microSD memory card slot.
The phone runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean (the latest operating system version is 4.4.3 KitKat) and the possibility of the latest update coming to this phone is very thin. It has NFC, 3G wireless capability, GPS, OTG cable support, all the sensors that you need, and it does support dual-SIM, which is a considerable advantage because most mainstream smartphones do not have this feature.
Most-talked feature: Camera
Every phone and tablet has that one feature that is supposed to set that aside from its competitors. Most of them don’t really succeed at doing so, but what Symphony ZIII has will definitely make you interested and want to take a look. It’s the camera.
First, let’s talk about what it doesn’t have. It doesn’t have a front-camera. Yup, we know it sounds like a smartphone made terribly. What all those selfie-crazies are now going to do if front cam isn’t there? But don’t worry, with a little labor, you can bring the back camera towards you without flipping the phone.
You read that part right. You can bring the camera to front, because the most attractive feature of Symphony ZIII (and Gionee Elife E7 Mini as well, not to mention) is its rotating camera. Take a second look at the pictures attached with this post. You’ll see the camera is half-rotated.
Now, is this feature intuitive? I guess so. Is this feature user-friendly? I guess that depends. For me, I wouldn’t go to all the trouble to rotate that camera towards me whenever I want to take a selfie (your laziness may vary from mine). I’d rather want to press a button or touch an app icon to launch the camera app and shoot away. But if you consider the fact that the camera on Symphony ZIII’s back is 13 megapixel, you might want to think again. How many phones let you take a selfie at 13 megapixel without having to flip the phone?? Yes, that’s something worth the extra effort of rotating the phone.
We got the basic covered. You know almost all technical details there is to know. We can only tell how it really felt to hold at hand because we had a brief moment with Symphony ZIII at Dhaka Smartphone & Tab Expo 2014.
The phone does feel comfortable at hand but the rotating camera isn’t too comfortable to rotate. At least the unit that was put on show was not giving out a good impression. Also some noticeable lag in the phone’s performance (while scrolling through the app drawer and from homescreen to homescreen) didn’t avoid our attention. Should an octa-core phone have lag in user-interface? No. Why does Symphony ZIII has lag? Our guess is the software isn’t optimized well. We know that Symphony makes quite a lot of changes to the every firmware that it puts on its Android phones. We believe the device at the show’s stall didn’t have a stable firmware and thus the laggy and shaky performance.
Camera sample and benchmark scores? Did we say something about Symphony’s cooperativeness with us (and possibly other review sites as well)?
The thing is, this is Gionee Elife E7 Mini. You can safely check up the reviews of Gionee Elife E7 Mini in most review websites. Because the hardware is coming from Gionee, most reviews apply, but not a hundred percent. That’s because Symphony puts its own version of Android firmware.
So, if you buy a Symphony ZIII at BDT 19,990 and face laggy performance, it might not be Gionee’s fault.
Like we already wrote, this isn’t a hands-on review and therefore it’s not complete. We are looking forward to reviewing this phone. In the meantime, if you had a chance to check out Symphony ZIII in person, do let us know in the comments what you think about it.
If you ask me, for the processor and performance, I think I’ll pass.