Chinese device maker Gionee has made a lot of buzz in the Indian
smartphone market with its latest offerings in the premium as well as
budget segment. This Chinese brand not only seems to be targeting brands
like LG, Samsung, Sony, HTC with its premium offerings like Elife E7,
Elife E6, but also it looks to be taking on Indian device makers like
Micromax, Karbonn and Xolo with its budget smartphones.
Gionee is a
known brand when it concerns the Chinese smartphone market. Here in
India, it is trying to make a mark with its offerings for different
price segments, offering decent hardware specifications offering at an
Gionee Pioneer P3 is the company's latest
smartphone in the less than Rs. 10,000 segment. The quad-core offering
by Gionee is priced at Rs. 7,499, and runs on Android 4.2.
Is the Gionee Pioneer P3 worth its asking price? We find out in our detailed review.
Design / Build
The Gionee Pioneer P3 is available in Black and White colour variants, and we had a chance to review the White variant.
Pioneer P3 with its candy bar form factor with rounded corners looks
very similar to most of the smartphones available at this price.
combination of the white and silver is something we see in almost all
other smartphones these days. The Gionee Pioneer P3's body is completely
plastic with the matte-silver metal finish on the rounded edges.
plastic back of the Pioneer P3 is glossy and is prone to fingerprints.
Since we only had the White variant with us, we are not sure about if
the Black variant has the same glossy back panel, or a matte-finish one.
The 5-megapixel AF camera with LED flash is located at the upper
half of the back panel, near the centre. The loudspeaker grill is at
the bottom-left corner of the back panel, while the Gionee branding is
at the bottom. You will not find the branding anywhere else on the phone
The front of the Gionee Pioneer P3 features a
4.3-inch display, with the sensor array near the earpiece grill
alongside a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The three capacitive
touch buttons, namely the menu, home and back key, are located below the
The volume rocker key and the Power/Screen lock key are
located at the right side of the Pioneer P3. The 3.5mm headset jack is
located on the top edge, and the Micro-USB port for computer
connectivity/charging is located on the bottom edge.
Gionee Pioneer P3 features a 4.3-inch WVGA 480x800 pixels resolution
display. The display and supports 16 million colours, but company
doesn't specify the pixel density it offers, though a rough estimate
puts it at 217 ppi.
The LCD display is very decent to look at,
with a high contrast and decent brightness. Text is clean and sharp, so
there is no problem there. The display reproduces colour well and had
good deep black levels.
However, when it comes to watching videos,
you can clearly see the pixilation, due to the low resolution. The
viewing angles are not great either, but the sunlight legibility is good
for the segment. The screen is not reflective, and on full brightness,
it is quite sufficient.
Overall, the Gionee Pioneer P3 has an average display to offer, one that's not too bad at the price.
Pioneer P3 sports a 5-megapixel rear autofocus camera with LED flash
and also includes a 0.3-megapixel front-facing camera. You can customise
the volume keys for shooting pictures or for zooming purpose.
phone comes with a customised camera app, which lets you play around
different settings. The Pioneer P3's camera app also supports continuous
shots, taking up to 99 shots in that mode, apart from supporting
self-timer, gesture recognition, geo tagging and face detection. It lets
you to capture photos in HDR and various other modes like eraser, best
face, face beauty, best shot and EV bracket shot.
It also comes
with a 'Phone Booth' setting that lets you superimpose fancy picture
frames with photos. In addition to this, the Pioneer P3's camera app
also features various white balancing preset and colour filters.
Gionee Pioneer P3's camera takes decent quality images in daylight for a
5-megapixel camera. However, the pictures taken in low-light conditions
did not come out well and remain grainy.
Pictures taken indoors
with the Gionee Pionee P3's camera with less light were also grainy.
Colour reproduction was little oversaturated. Pictures clicked with LED
flash in dark, somehow manages to click an average picture.
Pioneer P3's camera doesn't record HD videos, but lets you customise
video quality with various colour and white balance presets.
The quality of the captured video was average for the daylight condition, and it picked up ambient sound pretty well.
The 0.3-megapixel front camera on the Pioneer P3 is not something that should be used for selfies, but is okay for video calls.
So while the camera of the Gionee Pioneer P3 is not the USP of the device, it is an average offering overall.
Gionee Pioneer P3 runs on Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The phone's
interface remains pretty similar to the stock Jelly Bean UI, with
minimal changes done by the company.
The lockscreen on the
Pioneer P3 is the basic Jelly Bean lockscreen, from where you can
directly access the camera. Also the phone's lockscreen has five widget
pages in total, out of which four are customisable and one is by default
featuring the camera widget. You can set these screens according to
what you need more often.
The Pioneer P3's operating system has
very few customisations done by Gionee. It offers the traditional
Android home screen and app launcher structure.
Few changes done
to the Pioneer P3's interface by the company are first noticed with the
dialler and the home screen customisations. The dialler is not stock
Android. You can also add widgets, applications and shortcuts to the
five home screens by touching any home screen for a little longer.
music app on the Gionee Pioneer P3 is very colourful. The app comes
with little settings like a sleep timer and shake function for changing
the music, but misses the basic equaliser feature.
Along with the
Play Store where you can download all apps, movies, books and games,
there is an additional GameZone on the Gionee Pioneer P3, just like the
Play Store, but only for games. You can choose from different categories
like action sports shooting etc. or from the Top, featured, new and
free games. A few games come pre-installed on the phone, such as Texas
Poker, Wonder Zoo, Uno and Friends, and Little Big City, to name a few.
Few other apps, like WhatsApp, WeChat, Truecaller, and Saavn also come pre-installed with the Gionee Pioneer P3.
Performance/ Battery Life
Gionee Pioneer P3 is powered by a quad-core 1.3GHz Cortex A7 chipset,
along with 512MB of RAM. The quad-core offering at this price point
makes the phone stand out. Scrolling through the screens was quite quick
and smooth. Applications loaded quickly as well.
Internet on the Pioneer P3's native web browser was pretty decent and
pages rendered quickly too. At times however, YouTube videos took a
little longer to load, and froze more often than normal due to screen
Games like Temple Run 2, Subway Surfer played out very
nicely expect sometimes the game minimised on its own, leaving you
wondering what happened. In these cases, the game did not crash, but was
only relegated to the background.
A constant complaint we had
during our usage was multi-tasking, the meagre 512MB of RAM was quite
definitely the bottleneck here, for the Pioneer P3's quad-core
The Pioneer P3 includes 4GB of inbuilt storage,
out of which only less than 2GB is user-available, although it supports
expandable storage up to 32GB via microSD card.
The phone supports
dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) functionality. Call quality and headset speaker
volume on the Pioneer P3 was decent both indoors and outdoors.
packs in a 1700mAh battery that according to the company will provide
'exceptionally lasting usage'. Although the Pioneer P3's battery did not
perform that well when it came to heavy usage and gaming, but it did
last for a day with average usage.
To be more specific, heavy
usage entailed constant 3G connection, one and a half hours of gaming,
full brightness, Wi-Fi running in the background, with push
notifications from WhatsApp and Facebook. From a full charge, the
Gionee's battery discharged to 10 percent in about five hours - not too
bad. You could achieve better battery life if you varied your usage,
such as auto-brightness, and constant 3G.
Another point worth
mentioning, is that the Gionee Pioneer P3 heats up quite a bit during
heavy usage/gaming, but it doesn't become uncomfortably hot.
quality of audio on the Pioneer P3's headphones is decent, and the
output via loudspeakers is not that bad either, but could have been a
little better though.
The Gionee Pioneer P3 is a
budget smartphone with a quad-core processor to flaunt. The phone is
certainly capable of handling average routine multitasking and doesn't
trouble you for that. With its decent plastic build and finish, it
doesn't feel cheap, unlike many other products in the segment. Also with
the average screen size, the phone will fit in most pockets.
that the phone is less than Rs. 8,000, the Gionee Pioneer P3 is quick
and smooth. While the camera is quite mediocre, it's not too bad an
offering in this segment. We had our share of complaints over the
average video playback quality. This is something that needs to be
ignored if you are looking to purchase this phone.
its minimalistic user interface customisation and a decent processor for
multitasking, the device is something worth considering for a price of
Rs. 7,499. If you are willing to extend your budget slightly however,
you could look at the Zen Ultrafone 701HD, which is priced at roughly
Rs. 8,500 in the market, and offers better overall performance.
you are looking for a capable smartphone in the same price range, and
don't mind the Windows Phone 8 platform, the Nokia Lumia 520 is a great
offering at a similar price, offering better build quality, overall user
experience, and camera.