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Review: The GTel Android device that will change your perception

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GTel A707 Infinity

GTel A707 InfinitySeveral weeks ago (now months actually) we received the GTel A707 Infinity smartphone from GTel, a local mobile devices company. I was at their Harare HQ for some other business when the CEO of the company, Chamunorwa Shumba, offered that I take the phone with me, use it for a while, and possibly write our opinion.

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As you may know, the company rebranded from its old G-Tide name, which 3 or so years ago was associated with low cost cheap quality Chinese imitation feature phones. Imitation that is of devices from established brands like BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia, Samsung and the like. Having succeeded pushing volumes of the imitations (and in many ways having popularized this type of business locally) the company basically took a decision to reposition itself as a ‘genuine phone’ brand. They had to. The cheap imitations were flooding the market with all kinds of names such as Nokla, Samsang and ifone. G-Tide had to differentiate their business and deliver more value to stand out.

Given this background, it is easy after getting a GTel device to jump and point out the glaring similarities to the Samsung Galaxy S2 (It is similar). But that would prevent you from seeing something else happening here; this is not some cheap imitation. It’s not a Nokla or Samsang. It is in more ways than before, its own device. This is no fly by night imitation stuff. GTel is establishing itself as a solid independent brand thanks to open source mobile operating systems like Android.

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Now onto the phone itself:

The specs:

The phone comes with 512MB RAM and 2GB internal storage, which we imagine can be extended to about 32GB. The processor is ARM based and runs at 1GHz which makes for decent midrange performance.

The phone’s display is slightly smaller than the Galaxy S2 that it’s modeled after, with 480×728 pixels, but a higher pixel density of 240ppi makes for resolution that’s quite remarkably pleasing to the eye. The super display is the one of the most visible and impressive feature of the A707 Infinity and probably the reason some people will fall in love with it.

Software wise the phone runs Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) which is still fairly new as most Android phones globally are still stuck in previous versions of the operating system.

On battery time, or experience was that it takes a day of regular usage to exhaust it, which is about what every smartphone out there will give.

The A707, like every G-Tide/GTel out there is dual sim, something we also really like about it.

Camera

The camera, the 8 mega pixel rear one, is good too. Nothing exceptional but good enough for casual Instagram point and shoot. Here are a few photos taken with it. You can click the images for the original higher resolution version.

IMG_20130207_134909-small

Click for original higher res

And here is a photo taken using the front facing camera:

gtel-sample-front2

Video quality too is quite ok. Unfortunately we can’t show you how it looks coz it would just take us an eternity uploading it from our connection.

So, the good:

  • If nothing else, the utility of dual SIM on the phone is a major winning factor for this smartphone. It would be reason enough for us to buy it were it not going for the steep $380.
  • Very good display; colours look really defined, fine and lively.
  • Performance is good. Except for applications that need lots of brain power (action games and such) most applications load and operate fairly smoothly.

The not so good

  • At $380 cash and $480 credit terms we think the phone is too pricey. Maybe knocked down a hundred or so, we’d consider.
  • The internal storage is not much so best to think of the total device cost as; price tag plus extra microSD storage, because you will almost immediately need to buy additional memory.
  • GTel’s Android upgrade history is not proven yet, so you’ll probably be stuck with Android 4.0 This may not be an issue for most people though.

Conclusion

In the period of about 2 months that it was here, the A707 Infinity was used by 3 people (all regular smartphone users) and the reaction and general verdict from all was, first, surprise that this GTel device was actually as great an Android phone as any other midrange Samsung, HTC or Motorola out there, and then how, even with all that goodness, the price somehow still wasn’t right. It’s too expensive for where the GTel brand stands in terms of perception. There are phones with similar capacity from established brands like Huawei, ZTE, Samsung and HTC at about the same price or even lower. Or, if a prospective smartphone buyer just added another $100 or so, they could really buy a much better spec’d smartphone from an established brand.

As for the company itself, its founding may be muddied in cheap, loud and brazen imitations but ahead, if the company pushes more for a higher standard of devices, copies less blatantly designs by leading device manufacturers, invest some money in original designs, GTel has a high chance of emerging one of the few tech companies on the continent to register significant success in the sector.

Here are a few more pictures we took of the phone:

Have you used this device? We’d love to know what your experience has been. Please comment below.


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38 thoughts on “Review: The GTel Android device that will change your perception

  1. Gtel should spend less of its budget sponsoring beauty pageants and spend more money on developing their apps and bettering their technology

  2. Pricing is going to be their biggest headache. To provide a good product like this costs money but Samsung has smartphones for less than that. Most people will just blink and look puzzled when you say,” it runs 4.0!” and then proceed to buy a cheaper Galaxy Ace or Duos or Y Pro or Y Pro Duos or Young etc etc etc

  3. Is GTel Zim or Chinese or what company is it. Where are these devices manufactured and/or assembled. I really need to understand the roots of this organization, because from the couple of ads i have come across it seems they have zim customizations to their devices they talk about.

    1. gtel is a zimbabwean company that buys cellphones from china rebranded as gtel including software customisation. anyone can get this as long as you buy in bulk in china

  4. Had a feel of it today I own an HTC EVO 3D,running ICS but to confest i was taken by the AMOLED display ppi of 240 is a great improvement. not as fast as my HTC buy i would buy it in a heartbeat if they dropped $100 or if they accepted a 12 month long installments from SSB deduction i may just market for them. atleast now people can all access whatsapp.

  5. If u want something more or less exactly the same go see Microstar. I paid 300 for a totally similar phone “non-branded” and got an 8Gb card and a bluetooth earpiece included. No problems whatsoever during 3 months of use. Did I mention 2 batteries?

  6. I have the GTel A704 Inspire X, oohh my word this phone is doing wonders in my gaming life. its fast, running on android 4 ice cream plus 3D games are really fast on this phone. Way better than other established brands out there which are in the range of $400 – $600 yet it’s only going for $190. Well done GTel. I could have bought the A707 but the price was just too steep for me. P/S – We need accessories for your phones eg pouches!

    1. Farie you say it runs way better than established brands.. Which ones if I may ask? an S1 is way faster than this, however when you compare it to the likes of ZTE maybe but I still doubt, their biggest strength is that it runs 4.0 but with the specs it carries it might be their weekness. I could hardly finish a download on the A704. and at a price of 380 my guy at XIMEX can get me a fairly bruised S3 on a good day..

      1. there is a difference between A704 & A707 infinity. Its more like comparing a BMW 3 series with a BMW 7 series

  7. oh my thats a ridiclious price 1st thing, for phone that is only 2g an 3g made by an OEM, they can’t tell you the frequency e.g. 1800mhz cos it downloads very slowly is unupgradable an since no paitents struggles to get certain applications if you want a really gd phone go for a nokia lumia 920 they r not 2 expensive!

  8. i think $380 is too much for such a phone. taking into consideration that it is an imaging brand and there hasnt been after support services from Gtel so far. it will be risky to spend such an amount when you could wake up one with ur phone bricked and nowhere to find a new firmware unlike the samsung, nokia, htc brands.

    the A704 would be better, considering its price

  9. I am a nokia fanatic, but to tell you the truth Gtel A707 infinity, is just perfect. it competes,with an Galaxy S’s and even bit most of the top range phone with big names. i had a nokia Lumia 710. 707 infinity is much better than those windows fons. only the memory, but also has an option of external memory, and an option of 2 sim cards which makes it more distinctive.

    Lets support our Local guys such that Zimbabwe move along with technology. Thumps up to you Gtel.

  10. i own that A707 infinity & all i can say is i am speechless…this phone is awsome

  11. it good for you Gtel Zimbabwe to give manuals for the Gtel A708 infinity Plus to your customers,How do you expect customers to operate the phone correctly, such an expensive phone is sold with no operational manual. Please be serious we do not need witch doctors to help us.

  12. Very few phones in the world are as good as Gtel A707Infinity. Its awesome loaded with almost all features required in today’s technology. All you need to improve is: 1> selling the phone with manual. 2> A good phone like Gtel must have a PC SUITE either on disc or downloadable from internet. 3> a good supply of accessories eg batteries, data cables, chargers etc.

  13. GTel is tryin to keep up,wth e Bigdogs,,their weekness is leck of accessories,,,e.g batteries,,,..and put a dual core like sum phone…

  14. GTel is tryin to keep up,wth e Bigdogs,,their weekness is leck of accessories,,,e.g batteries,,,..and put a dual core like sum phone…l cant play FIFA14.NOVA,,plz upgrade ur software

  15. I use A703 Andy plus.as my first smart phone iam impressed and I hope to up grade soon. Many pple are lost because they think that having dial sim means its zhing zhong. If given warranty of more than a year means a lot.keep it uup gtel

  16. I am quite impressed with my GTel A 704 Inspire X nine months down the line since i purchased it but you Gtel guys should do something on porches!

  17. I went to your Beverly court workshop seeking assistance on my A707 which does not display and all you guys could tell me was “the phone was phased out and the spares cannot be found.You guys are not serious at all.is that what you do to us,sell us junk and phase it out without notifying us.I bought this phone last year and its already phased out?Most guys from my workplace took some handsets on credit from you guys,think I am just going to convince them to return them all coz you guys are so unreliable!!!!!!!!

  18. lookin for a 707infinity lcd but am told it has bn fazed out
    is that fair….does that mean i have to get another fone seriously

  19. hie. where do i buy my Andy 702 battery. hev bn thru even to yo headquaters to find nothing. it really needs replacement. ndorasawo here phone nekushaya battery. i trust yo brand . plz do smthing

  20. I have the gtrel A706, it fell down and cracked screen and cover. I went to gtel and they told me to wait 3 weeks. In town other technicians have parts all other phones but they dont have gtel. So why brag about it being in my country when infact i struggle to repair it.. also they dont even have batteties in stock even the screen guard ahhhh

  21. help help y cant i connect to wifi after restoring factory on my GtelA703 smart phone can u help pliz i have the wifi password but still it just tels me that its obtaining Ip adress but its taking a long tym so wat can i do

  22. gtel sucks they dnt have much customer care and their apps and every gtel pgone will die in 6 months they are too expensive the company must close

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