Elephone S7 Limited Edition Review

8 March 2017, 08:21:14

Elephone S7 Limited Edition ReviewElephone S7 was announced back in August 2016 and was launched in November the same year. Soon after that - in December, its Limited Edition was announced. The only difference between the classic and Limited Edition model is the chipset. The S7 packs a 2.1GHz Helio X20 SoC, while the Limited Edition is equipped with a 2.5GHz Helio X25 chipset. In this review we will put to the test the Elephone S7 Limited Edition.
The review unit has been provided by GearBest.com

Specifications

Elephone S7 Limited Edition sports a 5.5-inch in-cell IPS display from JDI (Japan Display Inc.). The "bezelless", fully laminated screen has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Under the display, there's a fingerprint sensor embedded in the home button. Featuring the latest E-Touch 2.0 technology, it allows the home button to act as a physical and capacitive key with a multitude of functions. The limited edition of the model is based on a MediaTek Helio X25 (MT6797T) chipset, which features MediaTek's signature tri-cluster architecture for improved performance and power efficiency. The system-on-chip packs two 2.5GHz Cortex-A72 cores (cluster 1), four 2GHz Cortex-A53 cores (cluster 2) and another quadruplet of those, but clocked at 1.55GHz (cluster 3). Graphics are handled by a quad-core Mali-T880 MP4 clocked at 850MHz. The RAM measures either 3GB, or 4GB. It is double-channel, LPDDR3, and clocked at 800MHz. The on-board storage is of the eMMC 5.1 type and can be either 32GB, or 64GB. In both cases the memory can be expanded with up to 128GB. The device is equipped with a proximity, light, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and Hall sensor. It also features a 13-megapixel primary camera with an OmniVision OV13850 PureCel sensor with an f/2.2 lens and EIS. The front-facing shooter packs a 1.3MP OmniVision OV9762 sensor, interpolated to 5MP, and an f/2.4 lens. The advanced chipset provides advanced connectivity options, including 4G LTE Cat. 4 networks with VoLTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Cast display, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and GLONASS. There's a micro-USB 2.0 port on board with OTG support along with a 3.5 mm jack. The smartphone is powered by a 3000 mAh Li-Pol non-removable battery with a 5V/2A fast charger supporting MediaTek's PE+ Quick charge technology. The smartphone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is bound to be updated to Android 7.0 Nougat. Here are the full Elephone S7 Limited Edition specifications.

What's in the box

Elephone S7 Limited Edition is packed in a large beige cardboard box. On the lid, the company logo, model name and Helio X25 are imprinted. On the back of the box, there's information about some of the highlights of the model and certifications. The smartphone is placed in the top level compartment, carefully packaged and covered with thick protectors for the display and the back. Below it, in separate boxes, you will find a matte silicon case for the model, a 5V/2A AC power charger adapter (100~240V/EU plug), a USB cable, SIM tray pin, and a user manual in English.

Design, build and controls

Elephone S7 is the first smartphone of the company that features a special PVC back cover with a lumia wave effect. This type of back cover has been used on the S7 Limited Edition and other following Elephone models. The effect is truly beautiful and elegant. It looks like the back plate is covered with glass that reflects light in various of ways. This effect has been achieved by combining 15 different processes. However, all good things come at a price. The texture of the rear panel seems to be quite prone to scratches from everyday objects, so you might consider using a case, if you intend to buy this device. We did use it with a mobile stand in a car, placed in it pockets with keys and on rough surfaces. To be honest, it did not get scratched, but the surface does feel somewhat tender. The chassis and frame are made of metal and for their making special sandblasting process has been employed to achieve a delicate matte finish. The matte frame and shiny back create a visually pleasing combination, nicely complemented by the 3D glass on the display. It creates the frameless effect of the screen and meets the frame tightly. There's also an interesting effect to the touch as the metal frame feels much colder than the PVC back plate. The overall build is excellent. It looks like the manufacturer has put an extra effort into this model. The device is not only stylish and appealing to look at, but also feels great to the touch and is quite solid. One of the model's greatest assets is its compact form. It is only 73.2 mm wide. Except for the nubia Z11 and the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Elephone S7 Limited Edition is one of the most compact smartphones with a 5.5-inch display. In this size class a width of 76-77 mm is more typical. The smartphone is 150.3 mm tall, which is also well below average, without being an exception. The average height of smartphones in this size class is 154 mm. In terms of depth, Elephone S7 Limited Edition is 7.6 mm thin. Though it might not be the thinnest smartphone around, it is below the average thickness of devices with a 5.5-inch display and a 3000 mAh battery. Its weight of 148 grams makes it also one of the lightest smartphones in its class. Without doubt, this device is made for comfortable one-hand operation. In addition to its compact form, it features slightly curved rear sides and a 3D curved front glass, which positively enhance the handling experience.
Elephone S7 and its Limited Edition have one and the same body in terms of dimensions and weight as well as one and the same layout. On the front above the display the earpiece, LED notification light and front-facing camera are positioned. Below the display there is a single button - the home one, which can be used both as a capacitive and a physical key. It also has an embedded fingerprint sensor and is powered by the E-Touch 2.0 tech. A single tap on the button serves as a back function. Tapping twice, leads you to the home screen. The same happens if you press the home key once. Pressing twice opens the app you have pre-selected from the Shortcut menu in the settings. A long press opens the Task Manager. In case you prefer on-screen buttons, you can choose so from the corresponding menu in the Settings. The on-screen navigation bar can be hidden. On the back of the device, in the top left corner you will see the primary camera with a single LED light to its right. Towards the lower end of the rear the Elephone logo is imprinted. The volume and power buttons are placed on the right hand side, while on the left hand side of the device the hybrid dual-SIM tray is positioned. On the top frame the 3.5 mm jack sits, while at the bottom the micro-USB 2.0 port is located. On both sides of it there are speaker grilles, but only the right one actually covers a speaker. The other one is made simply for symmetry. Elephone S7 Limited Edition is available in black and dark blue. Upon announcement, it was said that the model will also have the gold and green colors, in which the classic variant arrives, but to date, these colors have not been available for the Limited Edition model. We are reviewing a black unit.

Display

The display of Elephone S7 Limited Edition is also one of the model's center-points. It sports an in-cell IPS panel made by Japan Display Inc. (JDI) and protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The unit is covered with a 3D glass, which coupled with the minimal bezels create the impression of a bezelless display. Indeed, the frame-to-frame screen does make a good impression from first sight, especially having a black frame for a background. If we have to compare it to the Elephone S3's display, which was the first bezelless model of the manufacturer, we must say that it looks much better with less distortions on the sides. It has a 75.7% screen-to-body ratio and the 1080p resolution on a 5.5-inch diagonal size, means the pixel density is 401 ppi. The in-cell technology allows the touch controller and the LCD layer to be merged into one, which ends up in creating display panels that are much thinner than traditional ones. In theory, this also leads to increased brightness and better color reproduction. The full lamination or the non-air-gap technology means that the different display layers don't have an air gap between them and they are glued together instead. This leads to decreased light reflection, improved transmittance and sunlight readability. The display of Elephone S7 Limited Edition arrives with a bunch of advanced software features including ClearMotion for fluent video reproduction and MiraVision for tweaking the image. Unlike many other smartphones with MiraVision support, the Elephone S7 Limited Edition utilizes all the features of this software suite. For starters, it includes what the manufacturer calls "sun screen'. This is a software feature found in Settings > Display > MiraVision > SmartScreen. Under this option, all you have to do is turn on the Light-Adaptive Brightness option. It gives a brightness boost to your display, allowing it to be comfortably read under direct sunlight. You can also adjust the Picture Mode (Standard, Vivid, User Mode), the basic color parameters (contrast, saturation, picture brightness), along with some advanced color tuning such as sharpness and color temperature. The traditional dynamic contrast and eye care options are activated as well. The peak brightness of the display of the Elephone S7 Limited Edition sample we're reviewing is 433.436 cd/m2. This is a very good level for a display of a mid-range smartphone and by using the SmartScreen option for boosting the brightness, it can also be easily read under direct sunlight. The black values are quite proportional to the white values at all brightness levels, which leads to an even static contrast ratio of around 990:1. The temperature of the white point is around 11000 K, which means that the colors on the screen look colder. You do have the option to make them warmer from the MiraVision settings though.
Brightness White luminance Black luminance Contrast Color temperature
100 % 433.436 cd/m2 0.439 cd/m2 987 : 1 11360 K
75 % 331.518 cd/m2 0.332 cd/m2 999 : 1 11104 K
50 % 230.759 cd/m2 0.233 cd/m2 990 : 1 11038 K
25 % 128.770 cd/m2 0.130 cd/m2 991 : 1 10870 K
0 % 18.269 cd/m2 0.019 cd/m2 962 : 1 10635 K
The display of Elephone S7 Limited Edition covers a slightly smaller color space than the sRGB one. There are certain deviations in all three main areas - blue, red, and green, but there's nothing abnormal about it. The screen has a traditional striped sub-pixel architecture. The viewing angles are good in terms of color preservation, but not good in terms of brightness as there is a significant loss in brightness in lateral views. All in all, this is a good display unit. The 3D cover glass provides excellent tactile experience. Visual aesthetics with this frame-to-frame screen are great, too. Its brightness and contrast are good as well. The only drawbacks are the high temperature of the white point, which can be corrected with the available software, and the loss in brightness when the device is looked at from aside.

OS, UI and software

Elephone S7 and its Limited Edition, which we review, run an almost stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow and are bound to be updated to Android 7.0 Nougat. The user interface (UI) is only very slightly tweaked, with no bloatware, but lots of additional software features that should enhance the way you interact with the smartphone and provide further customization options. But first things first. As already mentioned, the UI is quite clean with slight alterations only. The lock screen contains shortcuts to the Dialer and the Camera app. By default the Notifications and Quick Settings appear on it. A simple swipe unlocks the device, unless you choose any other type of unlocking, including a fingerprint one, from the security settings. The home screen has the typical row of docked apps - Dialer, Contacts, App Tray, Messenger, and default Browser. On top, there is another row of most used apps, which you can edit. By default, it contains the Camera, Gallery, Play Store, and Elephone Service. Swiping to the left or right gives you access to a second screen of apps, which contains the Clock, but you can remove it from there or add other apps, if you find this way of accessing them more convenient. The Task Manager is accessed by a long press on the home button. Though this is not Android 7.0 Nougat, you still get a split-screen mode! From the Task Manager simply click on the icon that appears to the left of the X one. Voilà! You're already in split-screen mode and will be able to multitask more efficiently. The Notifications and Quick Settings are typical for Android M. Under the Quick Settings the cog icon does not activate the System UI Tuner, but only gives access to the list of Settings. The User icon is present, but its function is disabled. The Widgets menu is accessed by pressing longer on the home screen. You get a list of wallpapers for the home screen, a separate one for the lock screen (similar to Android N), and a list of traditional widgets. The Volume and Power Off shades are classic as well. All in all, the UI runs like a breeze and its familiar looks means you won't lose time finding your way around the device.
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The list of Settings is typical for Android M, but it does contain of multitude of additional features and functions developed by Elephone. All is fine with them and some turn out to be quite useful, however we'd recommend the usage of better wording in the description of the various functions, so it is clearer what one can do with the device. The Wireless & networks group of options is tweaked the least. It contains all familiar wireless connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, VPN, tethering & hotspot. The Turbo download function is present as well along with settings for the networks, SIM cards and data usage monitoring and control. Device is the second group of options and starts off with the Display settings. It contains the traditional brightness level, adaptive brightness toggle, wallpaper options, screen sleep, screen saver, font size and cast display settings. In addition, you can toggle on/off the Hall sensor and choose the S View window. There are also toggles for switching on the display from the volume button and a toggle for displaying real-time speed. Unlike other Chinese manufacturers Elephone has gone a step further in providing various ways of tweaking the display and getting the most out of it as experience in different environments. For starters, you get a ClearMotion feature, which enhances video fluidity, so you can enjoy stutter free videos. Second comes MediaTek's MiraVision suite of display features, which is one of the most extensive ones we've seen on a MediaTek device.
We've explained a large portion of these features in the Display section of this review, so here's just a compact list of the options you get: SmartScreen for an additional brightness boost when needed (in broad daylight, for example), picture mode, contrast, saturation, picture brightness, color temperature, sharpness. The Display settings are followed by those for the LED notification light, which offer a number of customizations. Then the Sound & notifications settings follow. They are classic and include the traditional sound profiles, notifications and DND settings, sound enhancement and a toggle for vibration upon touching the keyboard. The rest of the menus offer the typical Android 6.0 features for Apps, Storage & USB, and Memory. The Battery menu offers some extended functions, but this will be discussed in the Battery section of this review. The third group of settings is the Personal one and it contains the usual Location, Accounts, Google, Language & input, Backup & reset options. The security settings are also part of this group, but are named Fingerprint and password. Setting up a type of screen lock and a fingerprint ID is easy and works fine. The only glitch we stumbled upon is when we open the list of stored IDs and try to access the additional settings, which according to the description should allow authorization of purchases and secure app access. However, this function did not work. Of course, the SmartLock function, screen pinning and other traditional security settings are present as well.
Along with the advanced Display and LED notification settings Elephone has added a whole new Settings group called Accessibility. It contains the majority of additional features and functions we referred to above. The first feature is the Shortcut button. You can toggle it on and off, and if it is on you can choose, which app should be associated to it. The Shortcut button is actually pressing twice on the home button, which opens the app you have associated to it. The second feature contains a toggle for Screenon gestures. You turn on/off multi-finger camera start in any interface, three-finger screenshot, two-finger volume adjustment, long touch on the home button for screenshot. The Navigation bar management is also under Accessibility. You can choose to switch it on and off. When it is off, then the home button and the various types of taps and presses on it serve as a navigation. When it is on, you get an on-screen navigation bar with an option to hide it. The fourth feature is called Clear background App, from where you can toggle on/off a white list of apps, which will not be cleared. You can select/deselect separate apps from the list. Finally, there's a Task Manager feature, which is also created as an app. It serves as a monitor of apps that are running at the moment, installed apps and RAM monitor (total, used, available). The last major group of Settings is the System one and it contains the typical Date & time, Schedule power on & off, Accessibility (the classic Android one), Printing, and About phone. The latter contains a Wireless update feature. Upon configuring our review unit, it received a large update dated to February 18th, 2017, so this review is based on the latest software available for Elephone S7 Limited Edition.
Applications on Elephone S7 and the Limited Edition model are accessed in two ways. The first one is directly from the home screen - either swiping to the left or right. The second one is from the App Tray on the home screen. The apps are listed in alphabetical order in successive screens. You can uninstall an app from this list only. The model arrives with Play Store pre-installed and no excessive bloatware. You get the traditional Dialer, which with the latest update has been optimized and is not laggy, Contacts, Messenger, and default Browser. The Clock, Calculator, Calendar, and Flashlight are the ones you have used to, so are the Downloads, Email, File Manager, Gallery, and Maps. There's a Search app, which allows you to search among the applications installed on the device, an Elephone Service app for direct communication with support and forums, an FM radio, and a Screen Recorder. The latter has been added with the latest software update. Elephone S7 also arrives with an App Locker app, a classic Sound Recorder, and a Task Manager app, which duplicates the functions of this feature found in the Settings menu.

Networks, calls and connectivity

Elephone S7 Limited Edition is provided with a hybrid dual SIM card tray. Both trays can house a nano-SIM card, the second can be used with a microSD card, too, in case you need more storage. According to the specifications, the model supports quad-band 2G GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), dual-band 3G WCDMA (900, 2100 MHz), 4G LTE-FDD (800, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz), and 4G LTE-TDD (2300, 2600 MHz) networks. MTK Engineering shows that our review unit supports 850, 900, 1700, 1900, and 2000 MHz WCDMA bands. 4G LTE bands are 15. LTE speeds are Cat. 4 ones. VoLTE support is present as well. Call quality with our review unit has been excellent at all times. As long as it concerns wireless connectivity, the device supports dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, Cast display, Bluetooth 4.1. All of these features work fine. We've noticed that in areas where Wi-Fi signal is generally very weak, the device struggled to maintain a stable connection. This wouldn't be a problem, if it didn't change constantly its MAC address. The model provides a Turbo download feature, which can be switched on if you plan to download files larger than 20MB. This functions combines Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections at one and the same time to boost download speeds. The smartphone is equipped with a micro USB 2.0 port with OTG support and works with GPS and GLONASS. Upon initiation it took quite some time to detect satellites, but once it did, the accuracy was acceptable - up to 5 meters.

Performance

Elephone S7 Limited Edition is equipped with a MediaTek Helio X25 (MT6797T) chipset and this is the main difference with the standard version of the model, which packs a Helio X20 SoC with a 2.1GHz deca-core CPU. The Helio X25 system on-chip is 64-bit and is manufactured after the 20nm process. It features a tri-cluster architecture with ten CPU cores allotted in three groups with three different clock rates for more intelligent allocation of tasks and improved power efficiency. The first group contains two Cortex-A72 cores clocked at 2.5GHz, which are used by demanding processes. The second cluster includes four 2GHz Cortex-A53 and the third packs four 1.55GHz Cortex-A53 cores. MediaTek's CorePilot technology for heterogeneous multi-processing actually does the job of allotting tasks between the clusters. A 850MHz quad-core Mali-T880 MP4 handles the graphics. The same chipset powers the Vernee Apollo and the Meizu Pro 6, which have scored 92769 and 101157 points in AnTuTu, respectively. Our review unit of Elephone S7 Limited Edition scored 96575 points in AnTuTu, thus slightly over-performing the Apollo, but yielding to the Pro 6. There are smartphones equipped with the Helio X20 SoC, which have shown similar AnTuTu results. Check, for example, the Vernee Apollo Lite (93030 points), LeEco Le 2 (X620) (92374 points) and the Zopo Speed 8 (92644 points). Elephone S7 Limited Edition outperforms them all as long as it concerns all benchmark tests that we have run and been able to compare. Except for AnTuTu, it shows even better results than the Meizu Pro 6 in Basemark OS II and Basemark X, Geekbench 4, and Vellamo.
As long as it concerns graphics-focused tests such as Sling Shot, GFX, and Epic Citadel, Elephone S7 Limited Edition scores better than the Vernee Apollo in all, but the differences in most cases are marginal. In the Ice Storm tests our review unit shows better results than both the Apollo and the Meizu Pro 6. The picture changes if you have a look at the PCMark tests. The Work performance one shows that the Apollo and Pro 6 have better results than the S7 LE, but the latter has a better Computer Vision score. In reality, our sample of the model handled the most popular games (even those with heavy graphics) very well without noticeable lag or stutter.
Elephone S7 Limited Edition has a 3/32GB of RAM/storage variant and a 4/64GB of RAM/storage version. We are reviewing a unit with 4GB of dual-channel LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 800 MHz. The smartphone works like a breeze and there are never too many apps open that can make it lag or stutter. In addition, Elephone has provided several software tools for managing apps in terms of freeing RAM and power efficiency, but we don't think you'll have to actually use them on a regular basis. The built-in memory is of the eMMC 5.1 type and its capacity is 64GB. Of those, 54GB are available to the user. In case you need more storage, you can use a microSD card of up to 128GB. The latest Androbench test couldn't run on our review unit, so for storage scores we rely only on the PCMark Storage test. Our review unit does score less than the Vernee Apollo, which has the same memory type and configuration. Both devices are outperformed by the Meizu Pro 6, which shows a staggering result for an eMMC 5.1 memory. MediaTek has equipped the Helio X25 with the so called Tiny Sensor Hub, which includes a proximity, light, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope, and a Hall sensor. There's a fingerprint sensor as well, embedded in the home button with a built-in independent chip that supports high definition fingerprint image matching technology. It also employs a self-learning algorithm to allow faster fingerprint unlocking. Identification rate is up to 99.7% and response speed can be as fast as 0.1 seconds, according to the specifications. Indeed, the sensor works fast in both creating fingerprint IDs and unlocking the device. Currently no other functions, except unlocking, are available.

Cameras

Elephone S7 Limited Edition has a standard Camera app for Android. On the home screen of the application you can toggle the various flash modes, switch between the two cameras, turn on/off gesture shot, choose the shooting mode (standard, panorama, picture-in-picture), choose a filter by swiping to the right and open the camera settings by tapping on the cog icon. The settings are one and the same for both cameras and include options for the image and video resolution/quality, EIS, exposure, ISO, white balance, etc. An unusual feature is the option to shoot in RAW (.DNG). The Camera app also provides the standard options for photo editing such as applying filters and effects, adjusting the contrast, saturation, sharpness, etc., cropping, rotating, mirroring the image, and so on. During our test the phone restarted several times while using the camera. However, after an update "Elephone_S7_97_20170313", this issue has been fixed.

Primary camera

For the primary camera of S7 Limited Edition Elephone has opted for a 13-megapixel OmniVision OV13850 PureCel sensor. This sensor is also used in the primary cameras of the Oukitel K6000 Pro and the THL T7. It has a 1/3.06" size and supports 4K video resolution at 30 fps along with FHD videos at 60 fps with EIS. Photos are with a resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels. In Elephone S7 Limited Edition this sensor is coupled with an f/2.2 lens.
HDR Off
HDR On

Secondary camera

According to the specifications, the secondary camera of Elephone S7 Limited Edition packs a 5-megapixel sensor, but this is not the case. The sensor for this shooter is the 1.3-megapixel OmniVision OV9762 one, which supports a 1376 x 960 pixels image size. It has been interpolated to 5 megapixels and is coupled with an f/2.4 lens and can shoot HD videos at 30 fps.

Audio

Elephone S7 Limited Edition has a standard Android Music app pre-installed. It provides all basic functions you'd need and several ways of organizing audio files. There's an equalizer feature as part of the application that offers various pre-set effects and audio profiles. Under the Sound & notifications menu from the Settings you will find the Sound enhancement options. By default it has three toggles with the one for boosting the speaker turned on, and the other two are turned off.
For our audio tests we use the TASCAM US-2x2 audio interface and the RightMark Audio Analyzer software. All audio enhancement features are disabled. Our review unit of Elephone S7 Limited Edition did not show flattering audio results. On the contrary. It scored Very poor in stereo crosstalk. We ran the test several times and the results were the same each time. In addition, THD + Noise is assessed as Average and the THD % is rated as Good. Only the Frequency response is Excellent. With the rest of the parameters being Very good, the overall result of the audio test is Good. This is the lowest score on a device from all smartphones we have tested. These results do not take into regard the speaker. The latter is located behind the right speaker grill at the bottom frame of the smartphone. Our subjective opinion on its sound quality is that it is an average speaker, found on most affordable mobile devices. It actually sounds better with the sound enhancement feature turned off. With this feature on, the sound is louder, but lacks definition and gains lots of noise.
Test Value RMAA rating
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB +0.02, -0.10 Excellent
Noise level, dB (A) -94.2 Very good
Dynamic range, dB (A) 94.2 Very good
THD, % 0.011 Good
THD + Noise, dB (A) -76.4 Average
IMD + Noise, % 0.013 Very good
Stereo crosstalk, dB -6.4 Very poor
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.020 Very good
General performance   Good
Frequency response
Noise level
Dynamic range
THD + Noise (at -3 dB FS)
Intermodulation distortion
Stereo crosstalk

Battery

The Battery menu from the Settings is the classic one, but reflects Elephone's effort in providing more options for saving power, if needed. According to the manufacturer, it has integrated a kernel-level power-saving algorithm and conducted a special optimization to tens of thousands of user scenarios, so the three CPU clusters are more intelligently scheduled, which should result in better battery performance, too. In addition to standard features such as the Standby intelligent power saving, the company has added three pre-configured power modes: high performance, balanced, and a low power mode. Moreover, the Battery Saver is locked at switching on automatically, when the battery reaches 15% of its capacity. The battery menu displays the temperature of the accumulator and has a toggle for showing/hiding the capacity percentage. Battery optimization for apps and Schedule power on & off are on board as well.
Elephone S7 Limited Edition is powered by a 3000 mAh Li-Pol non-removable battery. It arrives with a 5V/2A fast charger supporting MediaTek's Pump Express Plus (PE+) quick charge technology, which works with a simple USB cable. Below are the graphs of several custom tests we run on the devices we review. All of them are put at one and the same conditions with their screens calibrated to 200 cd/m2 and all power optimizing features switched off. The charging-temperature graph demonstrates that the battery of our review unit has charged from 0% to 100% in 1 hour and 30 minutes. The process has started slowly with the first 5 minutes, yielding only 1-2% of charge, but then the charging speed has increased and maintained a steady step till the capacity has reached 80% after 1 hour and 10 minutes. The other 20% to 100% have been completed in 25 minutes. The device did not provide information about the battery temperature during the process, that's why the corresponding line in the graph is flat. The browsing test shows a battery life of 4 hours and 21 minutes. It reveals a certain pattern in the discharging process, which starts off slowly and gains speed after the first 10-15 minutes. When the battery reaches 1% of its capacity discharging slows down again and holds this percentage for 10-15 minutes before depleting the accumulator completely. Again, information about the battery temperature was not available. The graph above shows the discharging rate of the battery while looping a 1080p video. The pattern here is not exactly the same as the one of the browsing test. The process takes off with a steady pace and slows down only at the end, when the battery reaches 1% of its capacity and maintains it for almost half an hour before discharging completely. It takes 6 hours and 48 minutes for the battery to deplete completely from 100% to 0%. As long as it concerns battery life with 4K video playing, our sample of the model showed 4 hours and 57 minutes. The discharging pattern is the same as the one of the test with a 1080p video looping. For detecting battery life in 3D graphics/gaming we have used the Epic Citadel's tech demo in its Guided Tour mode. This is a simple demo, which allows you to navigate through and explore a medieval town without the ability to interact with it. Created to showcase developers what the Unreal Engine 3 can do, this app turns out to be ideal for testing battery life in 3D graphics/gaming. During this test, Elephone S7 Limited Edition's battery discharged from 100% to 0% in 3 hours and 59 minutes. The discharging pattern resembles that of the browsing test - starts off slowly gradually gaining speed and slowing down again towards reaching the last 1% of charge.

The PCMark's Work 2.0 battery life test showed a result of 4 hours and 30 minutes and this is not a good result for a 3000 mAh battery. We couldn't help but notice that the battery drained quickly, while we were working with the phone. At the same time, if you decide to use the strongest power saving option, bear in mind that it is too aggressive and does not allow any notifications or messages to go through. This said, when you return to normal mode, you might be flooded with such.

Final thoughts

Elephone S7 Limited Edition does have its good and bad sides. This is a well-made and well-designed smartphone with a nice display. Its back looks like being prone to scratching and the screen offers far from perfect viewing angles, but the rest of its features are fine. Running an almost stock version of Android 6.0 bound to be updated to Android 7.0 is a plus. Moreover, there are additional software features that allow further customization of the smartphone and optimize some of its functions. In terms of connectivity, the smartphone does what it is supposed to do. The camera and audio are its least impressive features and battery life does not seem to be convincing. As long as it concerns performance, the model might not be comparable to the top notch Snapdragon-based smartphones, but does show some impressive performance results and is quite reliable in this regard. You will definitely enjoy lag-free gaming and videos. All in all, this model offers a mixed bag of features and currently retails below USD 250.

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Battery: 5100 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Xiaomi Mi 5X Review

Xiaomi Mi 5X Review

Dimensions: 75.8 x 155.4 x 7.3 mm
Weight: 165 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 MSM8953
CPU: ARM Cortex-A53, 2000 MHz, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 506, 650 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 933 MHz
Storage: 32 GB, 64 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3080 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: MIUI V9.0 (Android 7.1.2 Nougat)
Camera: 4000 x 3000 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

nubia Z17 mini Review

nubia Z17 mini Review

Dimensions: 72.5 x 146.65 x 7.45 mm
Weight: 155 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 MSM8976
CPU: 4x 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex-A72, 4x 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 510, 550 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 933 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.2 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 2950 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Elephone P8 Review

Elephone P8 Review

Dimensions: 75.5 x 153.9 x 9.5 mm
Weight: 186 g
SoC: MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757CD)
CPU: 4x 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 900 MHz
RAM: 6 GB, 1600 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.5 in, JDI IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3600 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 5280 x 3968 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Xiaomi Mi A1 Review

Xiaomi Mi A1 Review

Dimensions: 75.8 x 155.4 x 7.3 mm
Weight: 168 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 MSM8953
CPU: ARM Cortex-A53, 2000 MHz, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 506, 650 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 933 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3080 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.1.2 Nougat
Camera: 4000 x 3000 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Doogee S60 Review

Doogee S60 Review

Dimensions: 81 x 164 x 15.5 mm
Weight: 287 g
SoC: MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757CD)
CPU: 4x 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 900 MHz
RAM: 6 GB, 1600 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.2 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 5580 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 5312 x 3984 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Doogee S30 Review

Doogee S30 Review

Dimensions: 77.5 x 156.6 x 14 mm
Weight: 261 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6737V
CPU: ARM Cortex-A53, 1250 MHz, Cores: 4
GPU: ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 600 MHz
RAM: 2 GB, 640 MHz
Storage: 16 GB
Display: 5 in, IPS, 720 x 1280 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 5580 mAh, Li-Ion
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 3264 x 2448 pixels, 1280 x 720 pixels, 30 fps

Blackview BV8000 Pro Review

Blackview BV8000 Pro Review

Dimensions: 79.2 x 156.2 x 13.2 mm
Weight: 243 g
SoC: MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757CD)
CPU: 4x 2.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 900 MHz
RAM: 6 GB, 1600 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 4180 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4608 x 3456 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review

Xiaomi Mi Max 2 Review

Dimensions: 88.7 x 174.1 x 7.6 mm
Weight: 211 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 MSM8953
CPU: ARM Cortex-A53, 2000 MHz, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 506, 650 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 933 MHz
Storage: 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB
Display: 6.44 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 5300 mAh, Li-Ion
OS: MIUI V8.2 (Android 7.1.1 Nougat)
Camera: 4000 x 3000 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Leagoo KIICAA MIX Review

Leagoo KIICAA MIX Review

Dimensions: 75.8 x 141.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight: 153 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6750T
CPU: 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 650 MHz
RAM: 3 GB, 833 MHz
Storage: 32 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3000 mAh, Li-Ion
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 3264 x 2448 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 Review

Xiaomi Mi Note 3 Review

Dimensions: 73.95 x 152.6 x 7.6 mm
Weight: 163 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 MSM8976 Plus
CPU: 4x 2.2 GHz Kryo, 4x 1.84 GHz Kryo, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 512, 650 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 6 GB, 1866 MHz
Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3500 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: MIUI V8.5.11 (Android 7.1.1 Nougat)
Camera: 4032 x 3016 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 Review

Xiaomi Mi MIX 2 Review

Dimensions: 75.5 x 151.8 x 7.7 mm
Weight: 185 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 MSM8998
CPU: 4x 2.45 GHz Kryo, 4x 1.9 GHz Kryo, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 540, 710 MHz
RAM: 6 GB, 1866 MHz
Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
Display: 5.99 in, JDI IPS, 1080 x 2160 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3400 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: MIUI V8.5.4 (Android 7.1.1 Nougat)
Camera: 4000 x 3000 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Oukitel K10000 Max Review

Oukitel K10000 Max Review

Dimensions: 86.5 x 168.8 x 15.9 mm
Weight: 337 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6753
CPU: ARM Cortex-A53, 1300 MHz, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T720 MP3, 450 MHz
RAM: 3 GB, 666 MHz
Storage: 32 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 10000 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Oukitel K3 Review

Oukitel K3 Review

Dimensions: 77.3 x 155.7 x 9.9 mm
Weight: 209 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6750T
CPU: 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 650 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 833 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 6000 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Doogee BL7000 Review

Doogee BL7000 Review

Dimensions: 76 x 156 x 11 mm
Weight: 220 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6750T
CPU: 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 650 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 833 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 7060 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Cubot X18 Review

Cubot X18 Review

Dimensions: 74 x 159.6 x 8.5 mm
Weight: 175 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6737T
CPU: ARM Cortex-A53, 1500 MHz, Cores: 4
GPU: ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 600 MHz
RAM: 3 GB, 733 MHz
Storage: 32 GB
Display: 5.7 in, IPS, 720 x 1440 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3200 mAh, Li-Ion
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4208 x 3120 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Bluboo S8 Review

Bluboo S8 Review

Dimensions: 70.6 x 149.5 x 8.4 mm
Weight: 192 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6750T
CPU: 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 650 MHz
RAM: 3 GB, 833 MHz
Storage: 32 GB
Display: 5.7 in, IPS, 720 x 1440 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3450 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4096 x 3072 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Elephone S8 Review

Elephone S8 Review

Dimensions: 80.7 x 152 x 8.6 mm
Weight: 195 g
SoC: MediaTek Helio X25 (MT6797T)
CPU: 2x 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A72, 4x 2.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.4 GHz ARM Cortex-A53
GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP4, 850 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 800 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 6 in, IPS, 1440 x 2560 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 4000 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Camera: 5344 x 4008 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 24 fps

Ulefone Armor 2 Review

Ulefone Armor 2 Review

Dimensions: 78.3 x 159 x 14.5 mm
Weight: 270 g
SoC: MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757CD)
CPU: 4x 2.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 900 MHz
RAM: 6 GB, 1600 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 4700 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4608 x 3456 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Ulefone T1 Review

Ulefone T1 Review

Dimensions: 76.9 x 155 x 8.45 mm
Weight: 181 g
SoC: MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757CD)
CPU: 4x 2.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 900 MHz
RAM: 6 GB, 1600 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3680 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4608 x 3456 pixels, 1920 x 1088 pixels, 30 fps

LeEco Le Pro 3 Elite (X722) Review

LeEco Le Pro 3 Elite (X722) Review

Dimensions: 73.9 x 151.4 x 7.5 mm
Weight: 175 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 MSM8996
CPU: 2x 2.15 GHz Kryo, 2x 1.6 GHz Kryo, Cores: 4
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 530, 624 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 1866 MHz
Storage: 32 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 4070 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
Camera: 4608 x 3456 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

OnePlus 5 Review

OnePlus 5 Review

Dimensions: 74.7 x 152.7 x 7.25 mm
Weight: 153 g
SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 MSM8998
CPU: 4x 2.45 GHz Kryo, 4x 1.9 GHz Kryo, Cores: 8
GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 540, 710 MHz
RAM: 6 GB, 8 GB, 1866 MHz
Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB
Display: 5.5 in, Optic AMOLED, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3300 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Oxygen (Android 7.1.1 Nougat)
Camera: 4608 x 3456 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Doogee MIX Review

Doogee MIX Review

Dimensions: 76.2 x 144 x 7.95 mm
Weight: 193 g
SoC: MediaTek Helio P25 (MT6757CD)
CPU: 4x 2.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.6 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T880 MP2, 900 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 6 GB, 1600 MHz
Storage: 64 GB, 128 GB
Display: 5.5 in, Super AMOLED, 720 x 1280 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3380 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4608 x 3456 pixels, 3840 x 2160 pixels, 30 fps

Gretel GT6000 Review

Gretel GT6000 Review

Dimensions: 77.3 x 154.6 x 10.6 mm
Weight: 233 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6737
CPU: ARM Cortex-A53, 1250 MHz, Cores: 4
GPU: ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 600 MHz
RAM: 2 GB, 640 MHz
Storage: 16 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 720 x 1280 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 6000 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 1280 x 720 pixels, 30 fps

Oukitel U11 Plus Review

Oukitel U11 Plus Review

Dimensions: 79.2 x 154.7 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 220 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6750T
CPU: 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 650 MHz
RAM: 4 GB, 833 MHz
Storage: 64 GB
Display: 5.7 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 3700 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps

Oukitel K10000 Pro Review

Oukitel K10000 Pro Review

Dimensions: 77.66 x 161.76 x 14 mm
Weight: 291 g
SoC: MediaTek MT6750T
CPU: 4x 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, 4x 1.0 GHz ARM Cortex-A53, Cores: 8
GPU: ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 650 MHz
RAM: 3 GB, 833 MHz
Storage: 32 GB
Display: 5.5 in, IPS, 1080 x 1920 pixels, 24 bit
Battery: 10000 mAh, Li-Polymer
OS: Android 7.0 Nougat
Camera: 4160 x 3120 pixels, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 30 fps