“The M2017 is a loaded offering in all aspects”

Chinese brand Gionee plays in various different segments when it comes to smartphones, but hasn’t had a true flagship to offer in a while. However, towards the end of last year, it introduced a device that can put any flagship to shame. Dubbed Gionee M2017, the phone is loaded in all aspects and falls in the luxury category. While it might not come to India, it certainly deserves a closer look, and that’s why we’re bringing you out hands-on experience based on our brief usage.

The Gionee M2017’s design language is quite distinct and unlike anything we’ve seen on smartphones. With its large 5.7-inch display, it falls smack-dab in the phablet segment. The fascia is mainly covered by the display panel which also curves towards the edges, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge (review). Above it, you’ll find the earpiece, a secondary snapper and a row of sensors, whereas below the screen, there’s a physical home button sandwiched between capacitive navigation buttons. The home button also doubles up as a fingerprint reader.

Flip to the back, and you are greeted by leather, and mind you, not pleather deployed by most devices, but real calf-skin leather. The texture makes it easy to hold along with adding character to the M2017. The camera module juts out slightly and sports dual sensor along with an LED flash, and Gionee’s logo below. While our demo unit was in gold, the device is also available in classy black.

With its large screen size and loaded features, the device is quite heavy as it tips the scales at 238g. It’s also quite thick with its frame measuring 10.7mm. This means that you’d need to use the device with two hands more often than not. When it comes to the placement of buttons and ports, you would find that the Gionee M2017 sticks to the norms.

Gionee M2017 design gallery

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The 5.7-inch display on the M2017 is a 2K affair. With a pixel density of 515ppi, the Super AMOLED panel delivers crisp text and punchy colours. The brightness and viewing angles also seemed to be fine in indoor conditions. The display is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4.

Ticking inside is Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 653 CPU, which offers four high-power cores tuned at 1.95GHz, while the low-power cores run at 1.44GHz. The powerful chipset is complemented by 6 gigs of RAM, and with such a combination, the device flies with any tasks given to it. Gaming should also be a smooth experience thanks to Adreno 510 graphics, though we couldn’t test it out during our brief time with the phone. For storage, the Gionee M2017 comes with 128GB memory on board.

The Gionee M2017 boasts a dual-camera setup at the rear, with the primary sensor rated at 13-megapixels and the secondary shooter rocking 12MP resolution. The dual-camera setup brings zooming capabilities to the phablet, just like the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. Using the zoom is quite simple and you simply have to pinch the screen in the Super Zoom mode. The camera interface also makes it easier to use digital zoom up to 8x. To capture images in poorly-lit environments, the device gets a dual-LED flash. For selfies, the smartphone offers a 8MP snapper at the front.

As far as the software is concerned, the M2017 ships with the latest iteration of Android, i.e., 7.0 Nougat, which is customised with the brand’s proprietary Amigo UI. The interface brings several useful features on top of Google’s OS, but also spoils the Material Design ethos with its custom icons and homescreens.

The Gionee M2017 is loaded across all departments, and that continues with the battery as well. The device is juiced up by a super-beefy 7,000mAh battery, which should easily ensure a day and a half to two days of backup for moderate to heavy usage. With the Quick Charge 3.0 support, the phone can be charged quickly, which is paramount considering its battery capacity.

As we’ve mentioned earlier, it’s highly doubtful that the Gionee M2017 will ever make its way to India. The main reason for that is its premium pricing of RMB 6,999 (roughly translating to Rs 70,000). However, some of the features and innovations available on the phablet can expected to make way to Gionee’s other offerings, and that would be a great proposition. At MWC for instance, the company took the covers off the Gionee A1 and A1 Plus (first impressions), with the latter boasting a pair of camera sensors at the back.