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The F103 is a significant device for Chinese handset manufacturer Gionee. It is the company’s first ever ‘Made in India’ 4G smartphone, and has begun rolling out from the Foxconn manufacturing facility in Andhra Pradesh. ‘Make in India’ might be a frequently buzzed term but even that catchphrase doesn’t get the same buzz as ‘Deal of the day’, given the frenzy created by India’s online marketing platforms. Suddenly Rs 9,999 is a lot of money for a mobile device and, given these multiple deals, the customer is truly king.
The F series is billed as Gionee’s Fashion line, just like how devices with the ‘S’ prefix belong to their ‘Slim’ line. Agreed, looks are just as important as hard-core performance, especially in a price-sensitive segment teeming with aspiring buyers. The F103 is a decent looking device, certainly not a standout phone like Gionee’s pricier S7; we like the lightweight form factor (136g) though. The tactile volume rocker and power keys are housed on the top right spine while the camera is located on the top half of the overly shiny plastic back. As always, Gionee bundles a plastic back cover along with a screen protector in the box.
The 5-inch HD IPS display (1280×720) at 294 ppi is slightly underwhelming and is clearly not in the same league as other devices in the sub Rs 10,000 price band. The PHICOMM P660 that is priced a tad lower than this device comes with a full HD screen and a 441 ppi pixel density, while the YU Yunique, priced at Rs 4,999, comes with a full HD display. It’s the same with the F103’s primary cam; the 8MP shooter doesn’t quite cut it. We tried the cam in multiple scenarios. Lowlight photography was disappointing while close up shots were quite grainy.
Close up pictures are grainy
A 1.3 GHz (Quad-core) Mediatek processor is at the heart of the Gionee F103 and teams up with 2GB of RAM. The device is certainly not blazing fast and we certainly don’t recommend it for die-hard gamers based on our experience. During our extensive tests, the F103 clocked a decent 27534 on the AnTuTu Benchmark – significantly higher than the YU YUPHORIA, and 3290 on the PC Mark (Work performance) score. There’s 16GB of on-board storage and support for Micro SD cards up to 32GB. Thankfully Gionee opts for a removable back with the extendable memory option, unlike some of its slim phones that come with limited storage. The F103 is a 4G Dual SIM (Dual standby) device with two Micro SIM slots.
There’s a 2400 mAh removable battery under the hood, and battery life is certainly acceptable. We managed about 11 hours with a mix of 4G and Wi-Fi data usage, about 20 minutes of gaming and camera use, WhatsApp and about 20 minutes on YouTube. You certainly won’t be reaching for your power bank during a full day at the office with moderate usage.
The F103 is powered by Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and also sports the newest version of Gionee’s custom UI – Amigo 3.0. It’s clearly a case of love and hate as far as Amigo. We find this interface cluttered and a bit too layered for our liking, the excess bloatware and apps (a lot of these can be uninstalled though) don’t help either. However, if you like to play around with the appearance of your phone, you will enjoy the theme customisation options on the device.
The Gionee F103’s biggest strengths are its lightweight form factor and decent battery life but that doesn’t quite make up for some of the other shortcomings.
Price: Rs 9,999