The latest Gionee’s Marathon M4 is part of the Chinese company’s lineup of phones that come with large capacity batteries. While the phone packs in decent hardware specifications at a price slightly higher than some popular budget smartphones, the USP is its 5000mAh battery. Gionee claims the phone offers up to 440 hours of standby time and up to 50 hours of talktime. Is it a good buy at Rs 15,499? Here’s our review…
Build and Design
The Marathon M4 sports a very utilitarian design and won’t win any design awards with its thick profile and bulky build. However, the metal frame that sports a matte grey finish and chamfered edges help in offsetting the bland design to some extent. The metallic volume and power key at the right edge offer decent tactile feedback, the 3.5mm headset jack is at the top while the micro-USB port is at the bottom. The slightly curved back has a removable panel that hides the power packed battery (non removable), two micro-sim card slots and a microSD card slot. The camera, flash and speaker grill are also at the back. The front also features three capacitive touch navigation keys that are not backlit.
Gionee Marathon M4 has a 5-inch HD (1280x720p) AMOLED display and is good to look at. Despite not being a full HD display, graphics and text appear sharp and viewing angles pretty good. Colours do look slightly oversaturated. Touch response was good and sunlight legibility was decent.
Gionee Marathon M4 runs Amigo 3.0 based on Android 5.0 Lollipop.
The company has subtly incorporated elements from Android 5.0 including Material design for its native apps, used a lot of pastel colours and retained the Lollipop app switcher with different browser tabs appearing as different apps.
However, the notification drawer is slightly different and the settings shortcut toggles are placed in an iOS Control Center-like pull-up tray. This menu is a bit unintuitive as there are no visual cues to highlight the feature.
Just like most Chinese phones with custom software, Amigo 3.0 doesn’t have a separate app launcher by default. The home screen and app launcher are one though this can be changed by using a different theme or third party launcher.
The latest version of the OS also adds widget support, which is a welcome change though the process is slightly cumbersome.
The phone also offers sensor-controlled smart gestures that let you unlock the phone, browse through home screens and images and control video, with a wave of the hand. It also supports double tap to unlock and alphabet gestures to launch apps when one draws a particular letter on the lock screen. These features are not new but worked without any problems.
The software still has its quirks but Gionee has done a good job of optimizimg it for the hardware and the overall experience was much better than older Gionee phones.
Gionee Marathon M4 comes with an 8MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. The camera app offers a number of shooting modes including HDR, night and Panorama but doesn’t feature controls for granular settings for attributes like brightness, ISO and others.
In terms of image quality, we found the phone does a decent job while shooting pictures in day light but we had a hard time focusing on objects especially while trying to shoot macro photos. Selfies shot with the front camera turned out good but colours appeared a little washed out.
Video recording quality was just average.
Powered by 1.3GHz Mediatek MT6735 quad-core processor, the Gionee Marathon M4 has 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. It can also hold microSD cards of up to 32GB. The phone supports 3G, 4G, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, microUSB and GPS as connectivity options.
In terms of performance, we didn’t notice any lag while navigating through the UI and switching between apps. We were able to play games like Asphalt 8 and Leo’s Fortune without encountering frame drops or freezes.
The phone packs a jumbo 5000mAh battery and will last you two days if you use 4G data all the time. You’ll be able to make a few hours of phone calls, play some casual games and browse the web in this time period.
At Rs 15,499, the phone is a little expensive if you discount the big battery and just compare hardware specifications with similarly priced rivals. Having said that, it’s one of the few battery-focused phones that look good and offer smooth performance.
If you’re a road warrior and want a phone that gives you a great battery backup without compromising with features, the Gionee Marathon M4 is a good option.