While we knew Gionee was all set to launch the Elife E7 just before Christmas, the mini variant of the device came as a big surprise. Unlike Samsung and HTC, who have introduced toned down cheaper mini versions of their flagship devices, Gionee takes a different route. Priced at Rs 18,999, mini variant of the Elife E7 is power-packed just like its elder sibling but comes with a smaller display. Let’s take a closer look at its specifications.

OS – Android 4.2 with Amigo 2.0
The Elife E7 mini runs on Android 4.2 and also gets a layer of the Amigo 2.0. The custom Amigo layer ensures that the UI is just like its elder sibling. We won't blame you for thinking the UI has an iOS7-like look and feel. Some interesting tweaks include the ability to group together  messages from the default SMS and other messaging apps. One will also find some interesting camera enhancements. Overall, one won’t find much difference in the UI look compared to the E6, but there are certainly a lot more new features. This time around, we hope the UI isn’t as laggy as it was on the E6.

Elife E7 mini is powered by the MediaTek MT6592 octa-core SoC

Elife E7 mini is powered by the MediaTek MT6592 octa-core SoC

Cellular connectivity – Dual SIM and 3G
Unlike its elder sibling, Gionee’s Elife E7 mini comes with dual-SIM support. It also comes with support for 3G connectivity. There is no word on a possible 4G variant of the device yet.

Display – 4.7 inch, 720p resolution
The Elife E7 mini comes with a solid specs sheet, and the only reason it’s probably called a mini is because of the smaller 4.7-inch screen compared to the gigantic 5.5-inch display seen on the Elife E7. The mini comes with a 720p display, with pixel density that goes up all the way up to 312 ppi. This is similar to the Nexus 4, so you are not getting shortchanged by any means. There is no word on any kind of screen protection for the display, nor about any special manufacturing techniques used.

Wi-Fi – The usual
The Elife E7 mini supports Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, but it doesn’t get support for the “ac” draft. Like most Android phones, it also supports Wi-Fi hotspot.

Chipset – True octa-core
It is nice to se a sub-Rs 20,000 smartphone come with an octa-core processor. Its chipset is the latest MediaTek MTK6592. Unlike octa-core solutions in the market that can only activate half of their CPU cores at once, MediaTek true octa-core claims that all eight of its cores run simultaneously. Each core is clocked at 1.7GHz. Gionee claims this gives much better performance when gaming and also longer battery life. The company has also said that all eight cores can function well without the fear of overheating. The smartphone also includes 1GB of RAM, which seems a bit lacking, but is standard these days.

Internal storage – 8GB, non-expandable
The company has currently announced just one 8GB variant of the Elife E7 mini. We aren’t sure if the device will have models with higher storage capacities. The smartphone doesn’t support external memory card slot either.

Camera – 13-megapixel swivel camera
The Elife E7 gets a 16-megapixel camera, and despite the Mini being priced far lower, it does have the cool factor in the camera department. The E7 mini takes cues from the Oppo N1. It comes with a similar 13-megapixel that can be rotated to be used as rear or front-facing camera. The camera supports LED Flash and auto focus. We are not sure how much Gionee's rotating camera has been tested, but if it's anything as extensive as Oppo's tests, we expect a good experience.

With the camera swivelled on the rear side

With the camera swivelled on the rear side

GPS – with A-GPS
Just like most smartphones these days, the E7 mini supports GPS along with Assisted GPS. It has given GLONASS a miss, which has become a standard even in mid-range phones now.

Battery – 2,100mAh
The Elife E7 packs in a 2,100mAh battery, just like the Canvas Turbo that is available at a similar pricing. Though the company hasn’t yet revealed any talk time or standby numbers for the device, it should roughly be able to offer around 7-8 hours of talk time, based on our experience with similarly-specced phone.

The bottom line
On paper, the Elife E7 mini undoubtedly comes as a solid device, especially at a price point of Rs 18,999. It’s the first sub-Rs 20,000 smartphone to feature an octa-core processor and a 13-megapixel swivel camera. In fact, we suspect that a lot of users will like Gionee's rotating camera solution, because it uses the same camera for the front and back, thus making sure quality is not sacrificed. On the other hand, the biggest sore point could be the missing microSD card slot, which is a must-have spec for most phones in this range. It also feels like Gionee was a bit premature in announcing the phone as we still don't know a lot about it such as its dimensions, the display protection, and which of the software features it will get from the more-powerful E7.

Gionee E7 Elife mini has made competition fiercer for Indian companies like Micromax and Xolo, and also for the likes of Samsung and Sony. The Elife E7 mini will be competing against Micromax Canvas Turbo and the latest entrant in the Indian market – the Galaxy Grand 2.

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