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GTeL X7 Pro Review

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This is the second piece of the X7 trio and the naming is not really as conventional as we are used to. When a device is labeled as pro, it usually means it comes suited and booted to the max. The GTeL X7 in terms of features is placed between the X7s and the X7 Plus. In my own opinion it should have been called the X7 and left at that.

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Rants aside, the GTeL X7 Pro is a looker. The choice of materials as well as the fit and finish is unmistakably premium. Join me on this journey of GTeL X7 Pro discovery. Oh and you can watch the review here too.

The following is a detailed review with a tonne of geeky & nerdy details of this gadget. If you are not interested in the details just scroll down to the “In A Nutshell” section at the end of this post.

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The X7 Pro is the smallest of the trio of X7’s but with a 5.8 inch display it does hit the sweet spot when it comes to handling. You genuinely feel confident even without putting a case on it.

Unboxing

The contents of the box are what you can still expect from GTeL

  • 1x GTeL X7 Pro smartphone
  • 1x Tempered glass screen protector
  • 1x Clear silicon pouch
  • 1x Sim ejector tool
  • 1x 16GB memory card
  • 1x MicroUSB cable
  • 1x 10W charger brick
  • 1x Pair of earphones
  • 1x Manual and warranty

GTeL gives a complete starter pack here with virtually everything you need to get going. Also because they know you can never find their accessories anywhere else. Either way if you get it new you really can’t complain.

Exterior

The GTeL X7 Pro is a compact device by today’s standards and I cannot emphasize enough how good this phone feels in the hand. The size makes it quite comfortable to handle and doesn’t remove any confidence in one handed use.

The front is dominated by a 5.8 inch IPS LCD of HD resolution (720×1528). The resolution does not sound like much but because it’s smaller than the other 2, it is just a bit sharper than the X7s.
On the notch is a 16MP selfie camera, some sensors and the selfie flash.

To the right is the power and volume buttons and to the left is the hybrid SIM tray for your dual sim or single sim and microSD card combo. The sides frame is metal with a matching paint job to the rest of the phone and it is the glossy polished kind. It adds a lot to the premium feel of the X7 Pro.

The top edge is home to the 3.5mm headphone jack. Pleasure to still see that around. What’s not much of a pleasure to see is a microUSB port on the bottom of the phone. It would have helped with the premium theme if the port was type-C. The microUSB port is flanked by the microphone and the loudspeaker.

The back is a glass slab with a pattern that shifts with the angle of the light. At the top corner is the 16MP main camera and the 5MP secondary camera followed by an LED flash in a vertical fashion.
In the upper-mid section is where the fingerprint scanner is located.

User Interface

The GTeL X7 Pro is running Android 8.1 Oreo with a light skin on top. Everything is where it should be. The notification and shortcut shade swipes from the top down.

The UI has no app drawer and we could not find any toggle to enable the app drawer. If you are the sort of person that loves a clean homescreen you can add apps to folders or download a custom launcher.

Thanks to Android 8.1 Oreo, the GTeL X7 Pro supports multi window. This allows you to open 2 apps at the same time in split screen mode with each app occupying part of the screen.

Unfortunately no single GTeL app is supported. Only Google apps can make use of this feature. It ruins the multi window experience but at least Chrome allows you to open 2 tabs in split screen mode. Perfect for making comparisons.

Also thanks to Android 8.1, the X7 Pro supports gesture navigation. If you feel the navigation buttons are eating into your precious display area you can replace them with gestures.

To enable gesture navigation you go to the settings, select navigation keys and got to “Use New Navigation Method”. Once done you can swipe from the bottom left to go back a window, swipe from the bottom center to go to the home screen and swipe from the bottom right to open recent apps.

Camera

Here we see some improvements from the X7s. The X7 Pro features a 16MP selfie camera and dual rear camera setup of a combination of 16MP + 5MP.

The higher resolution means sharper and more detailed shots. In good lighting the images are very pleasing. The amount of detail leaves very little to the imagination.

In challenging outdoor scenery however, the dynamic range was a bit poor. the GTeL did tend to blow out highlights and resolve little details in the shadows. It wasn’t too much of a train smash though unless if you are an enthusiastic smartphone photographer.

As the light falls short, so does the image quality. In poor lighting images start to develop the water-color effect with little resolved detail and quite a decent amount of noise. Making use of the flash did give the camera a bit of some help but not much.

The GTeL also comes with a 2x telephoto zoom which does retain as much detail as the 1X zoom. Still would have opted for a wide angle lens as it has more practical uses than a telephoto.

All the cameras lack any form of stabilization which really adds salt to the wound in low light photography.

Video taps out at FHD 1920×1080 at 30 fps. Videos come out well in good lighting though they are a bit shaky attributed to the lack of video stabilization. Focus hunting is also an issue especially if your subject is moving. In a number of times the camera could not focus on what I wanted it to focus on.

Audio

The X7 Pro makes use of Dolby audio enhancement for wired headphones as well as the loudspeaker. Turning Dolby on adds some richness to the audio. The lows and mids are a bit more pronounced and generally volume levels get a bump without much distortion.

Connectivity

Connectivity covered by the X7 Pro includes dual sim with dual standby. The X7 Pro is 4G LTE capable on GSM networks but no mention of support for CDMA.

Battery

The battery in the GTeL X7 Pro is a 3000mAh unit. Pair it with a compact HD panel and you get some really respectable battery life. After an hour each of video recording, gaming and video streaming the X7 Pro endured a 46% drain in battery life.

Not the best of battery life here. That goes to the X7s but also not bad at all. The battery is enough to last most of the day with normal usage. Unfortunately GTeL skipped the fast charging here as well so a refill won’t be snappy.
This is a completely artificial test which allows us to provide a uniform test environment for all of our devices for purposes of comparison.

Performance

At the heart of the X7 Pro is the same chipset as the one in the X7s. An octa core Mediatek CPU mated with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage expandable to 128GB via microSD.

The device doesn’t struggle at all with the HD display and keeps it running as smooth as can be. Multitasking and split screening was not an issue for the hardware and gaming performance was quite pleasant. Really there was not task the GTeL couldn’t perform and it most certainly is capable of handling any task you throw at it.

An odd thing however was how the 3D part of our synthetic benchmark always crashed stopping us from getting any benchmark scores for comparison. Let’s dive into the spec sheet.

OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
CPUMediatek Octa Core 2GHz
GPUMali
Display and Protection5.8 Inch 720 x 1528 pixels HD IPS LCD
Main CameraDual 16MP + 5MP
Autofocus
2x Telephoto
HDR
Night Mode
LED Flash
1080p Video @30fps
Secondary Camera16MP
Face detection
Facemoji
Selfie Flash
HDR
Face Beautify
Storage3GB RAM
32GB Internal
Up to 128GB MicroSD card
Connectivity2G, 3G, 4G
Bluetooth 4.2
SensorsFingerprint sensor
Acceleration
Gravity
Gyroscope
Ambient light sensor
Magnetic field
Proximity
Battery3000mAh
Endurance46% power drain after 1 hour each of:
Continuous video streaming
Continuous video recording
Continuous gaming
Antutu 6 Scoren/a
Price USD250

In A Nutshell

Pros

  • Premium looking and feeling design
  • Display is great with rich and punchy colors
  • Decent battery life
  • Decent cameras

Cons

  • No fast charging
  • Split screen mode only supports Google apps
  • Lack of image stabilization for photos and video

I said it once and i’ll say it again. The GTeL X7 Pro feels excellent in the hand. The metal and glass approach was done the flagship way and it feels as good to hold as any other premium metal and glass smartphone out there. I dare to say it’s one of the best-to-hold phones I have ever held. Perfectly balanced both in dimensions and weight. The hardware and software work in harmony to provide a fluid user experience. For the everyday user performance will not disappoint.

The combination of elements works and makes it a capable device for everyday routine tasks. That’s not to say everything is perfect with it. You still get a very decent camera held back by stabilization and battery top ups that will take longer than desired. Also I still feel the ‘Pro’ in the branding was not the way to go. It has less features than the X7 Plus, is smaller than both the X7s and the X7 Plus and has a lower res display than the X7 Plus. Just GTeL X7 was good enough.

Rants aside, the GTeL X7 Pro is a pretty solid device. It makes it a bit harder not to recommend a GTeL.


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