With every new addition to its smartphone portfolio, Gionee seems to improve and up its game, especially in the selfie department. Launched back in September 2016, the S6 Pro comes with powerful internals adding on to the selfie-focused camera performance as seen on the S6 and S6s. Initially, the device was priced at Rs 23,999, however, one can easily grab it for a price of around Rs 21,000. I used the device as my daily driver for over a week and here is my review of the Gionee S6 Pro.
The packaging of the Gionee S6 Pro is pretty standard. Opening up the box, we find the device itself and as we dig more we get more stuff. The box comes with usual device literature (warranty card and user manuals), a silicon back cover, a screen protector, a SIM ejector tool, a power brick, a USB Type-C to USB cable and, a pair of earphones with an in-line microphone and controls to end and receive calls.
As soon as you hold the device in your hands, you will notice only one thing i.e. How a well constructed piece of art is this device. For the comparison, the smartphone looks a lot similar to HTC’s One M7 with the slightly less curved back. Crafted out of aluminium, the device comes with a unibody design and shouts for appreciation. The side bezels and top and bottom chins are impressively thin making the device much easier to hold despite it having a 5.5-inch display. Also, just below the screen lies a physical home button sandwiched by two touch sensitive buttons which are not back-lit. The physical Home button comes with a fingerprint scanner embedded in it. So to unlock the device with fingerprint you just touch the Home button while if you want to jump to home screen from any menu, you need to press the button which in my opinion is not much tactile. At the front top, we find the call receiver with the proximity sensor and front camera lens. The edges on both front and back of the device have a turquoise blue coating to it. At the back of the device lies the camera lens with LED flash and secondary noise cancellation microphone below which we find Gionee’s logo with more Gionee branding at the bottom. Apart from that, the antenna bands for signal reception are located at the top and bottom. Moving to the bottom, there is a USB Type-C port for charging and data syncing along with two speaker grills of which the left one is the primary microphone while the right one is the speaker grill. The only thing at the top of the device is the 3.5 mm headphone jack. On the right is where both volume rockers and power button are placed. While on the left lies the SIM tray which can take in a Micro + Nano or Micro + micro-SD card.
Display and Audio
Moving on to the display, the Gionee S6 Pro sports a 5.5 inch Full HD IPS LCD display. At first instance, the display looks decent, however, the colour temperature is more on the warmer side so this is definitely not for those who like pure whites and true colour on their display. Apart from that, the display gets bright enough to be easily visible outdoors and adaptive brightness works pretty well. Watching videos was a decent experience as well, Thanks to the single bottom firing speaker grill which gets really loud. However, the quality is average and gets worse as we increase the volume. The sound from the headphones was much better, but, the included pair of headsets are average and buying separate good quality headsets recommended especially for music lovers.
As for the performance, the Gionee S6 Pro sports some decent internals. The device is powered by an Octa-Core 1.8 GHz Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10 chipset with Mali-T860MP2 GPU. It comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB internal storage which is further expandable up to 256GB via microSD card.
During the time of our testing, the device flew through daily operations such as browsing, messaging, watching videos etc. We didn’t notice any lags or hiccups in our day-to-day usage. Even when used aggressively, the device handled multi-tasking pretty well, holding most of the apps in memory.
Gaming performance was also on par with the specifications. Games like Dead Trigger 2, Nova 3, Sniper 3D ran smoothly without any frame drops or lags. Post about 15-20 minutes of gaming, the device does tend to get a bit warm but that’s acceptable as it comes with a metal shell. One thing I absolutely hated was the vibration on this device. Its sad to see Gionee cutting costs pouring in a below average vibration motor.
Jumping on to the camera, Gionee S6 Pro features a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture, PDAF and LED flash. At the front, there is an 8-megapixel fixed focus camera. We took a lot of photos from the Gionee S6 Pro and to sum up, in short, the rear-camera is average at best while the selfie camera is decent. The images from the rear-camera come out decent when clicked carefully because it does tend to overexpose and underexpose depending on the lighting. Though the colours look natural, but the pictures taken from the rear camera are not much pleasing to the eye. Further, the average HDR (High Dynamic Range) functionality is really exposed in some situations as the camera tends to struggle to settle in the dynamic range. Moving on to low-light conditions, while the device does capture a decent amount of lighting, however, it lags behind when it comes to sharpness and detail as most of the images come out noisy in the low light situations. Apart from HDR, you get a bunch of other features such as Slow Motion, Panorama mode, Text-Recognition, Professional mode,Time-Lapse etc.
Moving on to the front-camera, things get much better as the 8-megapixel on the front does a good job of clicking decent selfies. Though the front camera also tends to over expose and under expose in certain situation but the degree of it doing so is much lesser than the rear camera. Also, the front-facing screen flash is useless as images turn out artificial and unnatural.
Gionee’s S6 Pro runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow with Amigo 3.2 UI on top. The UI on the S6 Pro comes with an iOS-like interface with no app drawer. All the apps have to be lined up page by page. Further, the notification panel only shows notification and the all the Quick-Settings control are located just a swipe up from the bottom. In our testing, Amigo 3.2 didn’t pose any issue and was snappy in most of the operations. I am not personally a fan of this kind of interface but Amigo 3.2 seems to have grown on me eventually. Apart from the usual Android Marshmallow features, Amigo comes with features like Quick Note, Split-Screen, Extreme Power Saving Mode. Another nifty feature which I personally liked was Cache Cleaner reminder. As soon as the amount of cache on your G6 Pro reaches 100 MB, the device will remind you to clean it for better performance. Moreover, one can also add quick actions which can be accessed by just swiping right and left on the Home key. Coming to the Home Key, the fingerprint scanner embedded in it is impressive. However, you need to power on the device and land on the lock screen in order to unlock the device with the fingerprint scanner. Moving to the touch-sensitive buttons located on the either side, Amigo 3.2 enables one to swap between the functions (Back and Recent) these buttons perform. However, one has to be precise as the touch-enabled area on these buttons in competitively less.
Other than this, the device comes with a lot of bloatware (pre-loaded apps) but thankfully you can uninstall it. Moreover, it also comes with VR support and comes with a Gionee VR app from which you can download a bunch of VR content.
Battery and Connectivity
Gionee’s S6 Pro is backed by a 3130 mAh Lithium-Polymer battery which will easily last you a full day’s usage. I got a screen on time (SOT) of about 5 hours and 30 minutes with my normal usage on 2G/3G or Wi-Fi. While with the Reliance Jio’s 4G VoLTE I got a SOT of about 4 hours and 40 minutes which is decent considering Jio’s reception at my place was relatively poor. In other words, the device lasted me 1.5 days on normal usage and almost a day with aggressive use.
On the Connectivity front, the S6 Pro comes with 2G/3G/4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 etc. The signal reception on the device was decent if not the best. Further, call quality was impressive and the performance of the microphone as mentioned by the person on the other side of the call was more than sufficient.