DNA Test: Elephone Pioneer P7000 raises bar on lower price-point
By Keith Liu July 14, 2015
Sure, you’ve probably never heard of the company, but these days, new smartphone brands from China are popping up like mushrooms after the rain.
Just have a look at this list of brands from an online store below and see how many you can identify:
All that, for just under US$160 (excluding shipping).
The full retail price is US$230, but for a short period of time, the company’s pre-order ‘flash sale’ online promotion slashed the price by a whopping US$70, prompting buyers from around the world to send it to their shopping carts.
Unfortunately, our unit failed to arrive on time, and an official Elephone retailer confirmed to Digital News Asia (DNA) in an e-mail that demand had outstripped supply, forcing the manufacturer to delay some shipments.
Hardware and design
This coating is one of the best we’ve encountered and better than the one used by Asus for the ZenFone 2.
Beneath the cover you’ll find a beefy 3450 mAh battery, slots for a standard SIM and a micro SIM, as well as the microSD for expandable storage.
Unlike some of its Chinese rivals, Elephone opted to place the power button on the right side of the device and the volume rocker on the left, though we wish they’re positioned a little lower.
In a market where manufacturers are gunning towards thinner bezels and higher screen-to-body ratios, Elephone still has some catching up to do.
Elephone included three capacitive keys below the display and while the centre ‘home’ key is backlit and doubles as a notification light with customisable LED colours, the symbols are missing from both sides of the ‘home’ key.
This is a curious design decision and possibly the only phone with invisible capacitive buttons. And by the way, the one on the left is a ‘menu’ key and the one on the right activates the ‘back’ function.
We can confidently say, after having used it extensively, it’s not perfect but it works conveniently well.
Unlike the iPhone, where the sensor is placed at the front, the Pioneer’s fingerprint sensor is found behind the device. We found this position to be convenient enough for our index and middle fingers to reach, but clearly our thumbs won’t be the primary key to unlock the device.
The bonus here is that you can use the fingerprint reader to unlock apps as well, rather than just the phone.
However, when it comes to accuracy in detecting our paw marks, eight times out of the 10, the sensor correctly detected our fingerprint the first time we tapped on it. For the two failed tries, it worked with a second tap.
Display and cameras
Our unit also had a tiny spot on the display which is brighter than the rest of the panel, and which brings the quality into question.
Thankfully it’s not perceptible unless you are looking at a completely white image.
Performance and software
Elephone’s Pioneer is powered by MediaTek’s MT6752 chipset, one of the best-performing mid-tier processors in the market today, going by CPU benchmark tests.
Clocking at 1.7GHz, and supported by a generous 3GB of RAM, this octa-core 64-bit chipset brings more than enough firepower to run any app or game we tested.
In our browsing and multi-tasking tests, we were able to comfortably open up 20 browser tabs as well as 30 different apps at the same time, without facing any lag. The integrated Mali T760 graphics processing unit is also highly capable of running resource-intensive games like Hearthstone Heroes of Warcraft and Ridge Racer Slipstream.
In other words, the base hardware is a proven piece of kit. The 16GB storage provided around 12.4GB of usable space, with support for more storage through a microSD card.
That’s really great news for ‘pure Android’ fans who often complain about UI customisations to the operating system, be it Samsung’s TouchWiz or HTC’s Sense.
The only issue here is some early customers couldn’t update the phone’s software unless they downloaded the image from the Web and used a special PC-based ‘flash tool’ to perform the upgrade.
In terms of call quality, it was expectedly functional but nothing out of the ordinary. The speaker however initially sounded too soft but a recent software update improved the situation.
Battery life is commendable and indicative of the relatively large battery supplied, but believe it or not, Elephone already has a P8000 model in the works with an even larger 4165mAh battery.
Regardless, the Pioneer lasted about a day and a half for us on average use and about one working day if we included long bouts of gaming on the device.
Availability and price
Don’t expect this device to sell for US$160 in the short term, unless it’s during a special ‘panic buying’ sales promotion which China and Hong Kong-based online retailers are so keen to organise these days.
The biggest competition for this phone is probably the upcoming P8000 (US$210), which has a larger battery but a slightly slower processor, or the Ulefone Be Touch 2 (US$230) which positions the one-touch fingerprint reader on the front of the device. The Ecoo E04 (US$190), meanwhile, features a front-facing ‘swipe’ type biometric reader.
Whatever the choice, it’s clear that sub-US$250 devices now offer more tech than premium flagships last year costing double the price, and that’s always a good thing.
Author Name :
By commenting below, you agree to abide by our ground rules.