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Elephone S7 review: affordability has its drawbacks

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NewsHubThe Elephone S7 is another affordable device from a Chinese manufacturer, packing decent internal components and looking to become the next flagship killer. If other devices vying for that title are generally in the $400 price range, like the OnePlus 3T , the Elephone S7 is firmly undercutting that being priced much lower.
The device goes head-to-head with the likes of Huawei’s Honor 5c and the Moto G4 Plus, being set around the $200 mark. However, with those low prices come some important drawbacks and limitations, as well as some pleasant surprises. So, does the Elephone S7 hold up? Read on to find out.
Ever since it was originally announced, the Elephone S7 seemed to be very much a clone of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 edge. The company’s renders and marketing material seemed to deliberately accentuate the device’s curved screen and lack of bezels on its sides so that it resembled Samsung’s design.
For better or worse, though personally I think it’s definitely for the better, it turns out this device is in fact not a clone of the S7 edge at all. Yes, it does have a flat, curved design with a single button under the screen, but that’s where the similarities end. The form-factor itself is a bit bulkier than Samsung’s phones and the edges are thicker with a dark metal band surrounding the device. The top and bottom of the phone are somehow less sleek and more squarish while the screen is only slightly bent at its edges; a very far cry from Samsung’s edge design.
The metal band mentioned above also gives the phone quite a bit of weight, though it does so in a manner which I find very satisfying. It reminds me of a good, well-built watch that only benefits from having an adequately solid feeling on your wrist. Similarly, the Elephone S7 feels solid and reliable – though I wouldn’t actually drop test it. Its plastic back cover along with the all-glass front might suffer irreparable damage if you let gravity handle that weighty metallic frame.
Still on the back, you’ll find a single LED flash alongside the 16-megapixel world-facing camera. The back plate also has a metallic tinge to its paint job, evident when holding the device in certain light. It’s a nice little touch which adds a tiny bit of flair where otherwise you’d only find a bland cover.
Coming back to the front you’ll find the single home button under the screen. This has so many functions baked into it that it can be quite unnerving for those uninitiated. Like a number of other Asian manufacturers, Elephone opted for the single-button-does-everything approach, with the home button doubling as a fingerprint reader, a capacitive button, a regular analog button, and also having the Back and App Switcher functions built into it. This can take a while to get used to if you’re coming from a “regular” type of phone, but once you do it’s fairly easy to use.
On the side of the device, you’ll find the volume keys, power button, SIM tray which can hold either a dual nano-SIM configuration or a single SIM together with a microSD memory card. Above the screen, there’s an LED and a speaker grill, as well as the front-facing camera. Next to these you’ll find the 3.5mm headphone port.
On the bottom of the phone, there’s a charging port and speaker grills. Seeing as this is a budget device Elephone opted for the standard Micro USB jack instead of the USB Type-C model that’s showing up more and more today.
Overall I think the phone looks fine and feels very good in the hand. As already mentioned, the sturdy nature of the build lends a lot of class to what can be considered a low or mid-range device.
I won’t insist too much on this section, but I wanted to make a special note of it. As I mentioned above important limitations and drawbacks come with choosing a budget device, especially when it comes to Android handsets. Oftentimes manufacturers opt for cheaper displays or lower-quality panels to cut down on costs, leaving consumers with a subpar experience when looking at their phones.
But I’m very happy to say Elephone did no such thing. The S7’s display is bright, beautiful and a boon to the handset. Though it’s “only” a 1080p screen and relies on IPS LCD and not AMOLED as many of today’s flagships, the S7’s screen does an excellent job.
There are a few minor issues with viewing angles, which aren’t as large as on other devices, and a couple of small problems with light bleed thanks to the curved screen, but overall I found the S7’s very pleasant to look at, even in direct sunlight. The colors are quite vibrant most of the time, and everything fares nicely even when watching 60fps video.
Given it’s one of the primary ways you interact with your device I’m really happy Elephone decided not compromise quality or user experience by opting for a cheaper display.
Specs oftentimes go hand-in-hand with performance so to give you a better idea of what the Elephone S7 is capable of and what its limitations are, not to mention what your money is actually buying, check out the spec table below.
You’ll notice that some of the device’s internals are a bit more impressive than perhaps you’d expect, such as the “10-core processor” or the 3,000mAh battery, while others may be a bit on the low-end. This is very much in line with other mid to low-end devices, that have a mix of powerful and affordable components.
Bluetooth: V4.0
Quick-Charge: PE+ 2.5A/1.67A(5V/7V/9V) 1.25A(12V)
Dual SIM with Dual standby
Micro USB
Of course, specs aren’t everything and real-life performance is much more important than raw power. To that end, I used the Elephone S7 as my daily driver for a couple of weeks to put it through its paces and see how well it fared. Overall the results are positive, though I did encounter issues here and there.

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