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GTeL X7s Review

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GTeL released a trio of their high end smartphones and each one of them comes with it’s own personality and price point. The GTeL X7s is on the low end of the X7 lineup but has a couple of fancy tricks regardless of it’s price.

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Now without wasting any time at all, lets dive into the review of the GTeL X7s. You can enjoy the video version of the review below.

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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Unboxing

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

  • 1x GTeL X7s 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

Healthy list of stuff we have there. And necessary too as GTeL accessories are not readily available. It’s nice to see that GTeL takes care of it’s customers straight out of the box. No one offers a memory card out of the box so it’s a nice touch from GTeL here.

Exterior

The build of the GTeL X7s looks and feels like it is lower in the X7 food chain. You feel this courtesy of the plastic frame and some plastic elements on the rear top and bottom.

The front of the phone has a 6.19 inch IPS LCD display of HD+ resolution (720×1500) in a 19.9:9 aspect ratio. It also has a notch at the top set aside for the 5MP selfie camera, earpiece, sensors and selfie flash.

To the right edge we have the volume buttons and the power button while to the right edge is the hybrid sim tray. This allows you to either have a combination of multiple sims or a single sim plus a memory card.

At the bottom we have the microUSB port as well as the microphone and at the top is the 3.5mm headphone jack.

Behind the phone you find a dual camera setup comprising of a 13MP main shooter and a 2MP secondary camera. Below these is the LED flash and a fingerprint sensor tucked conveniently in the upper, mid section of the back of the phone.

At the bottom you see cutouts for the loudspeaker and a little bump that raises the phone a bit so that if it’s placed on a flat surface, the speaker is not completely muffled.

While it may not feel premium to the touch it definitely is a solid device. The components are very well put together.

User Interface

The X7s is running Android 8.1 Oreo as well as a very light GTeL skin. The overall look is a clean and smooth android experience. All your apps are on the home screen and there is no option to hide them in an app drawer.

What you can do though is group apps into folders if you prefer less clutter on your home screen. If you really need that app drawer then you can consider throwing on a launcher.

The GTeL also supports split screen natively thanks to Oreo but I have to say I was dissapointed to see how almost all GTeL apps do not support this feature. Only Google apps looked like they were supported which ruins the usability of the split screen feature.

Gesture navigation is also available on the X7s but it is not enabled by default. To enable it you go to the settings, select navigation keys and got to “Use New Navigation Method”

This will replace the navigation keys with gestures where swiping from the bottom center does the home button functions, swiping from the bottom right opens the list of recent apps and a swipe from the bottom left goes back a screen or back a window.

This allows for some extra bit of screen estate dedicated to more useful stuff for a more fullscreen experience.

Camera

The camera set up is a 5MP selfie unit plus a selfie flash and the back is a 13MP primary unit and a 2MP secondary Unit.

The secondary camera does not take any photos but assists the main camera to provide bokeh effects as well as a 2X telephoto zoom.

The image quality is generally good in well lit environments. The 13MP unit provides reasonable detail and colors are on the realistic side. The 2X telephoto zoom is better than I expected as far as zoom quality is concerned.

The zoom looks lossless and from the normal field of view the level of detail is maintained. The camera also comes with a night mode to help out with taking photos in low light conditions.

While the cameras perform respectably in well lit environments it definitely struggles when the light is not enough. Once you go indoors or when the light fades, you start seeing the water color effect on pictures.

The dynamic range is also on the weak side. When taking photos of scenes with bright highlights and shadows, the highlights are often blown out while the shadows lack enough detail.

Videos are shot at 1080p and face the same pros and cons of photos in terms of light in the scene, dynamic range and low light performance.

Also the level of focus hunting in videos is so much and it can get so bad that the camera refuses to focus on what you want it to focus on. The lack of stabilization also doesn’t work in favor of the camera.

Audio

The X7s comes with Dolby audio enhancement which adds depth to both the loudspeaker audio and the wired audio.

The output is very decent and the bundled headset is pretty good as well. The Dolby enhancement is also available in videos and apart from making the sound richer it also provides a bit more volume to what will be playing

Connectivity

The X7s covers all the basics. You have support for dual sim and dual standby with 4G LTE. The GTeL also supports GSM networks but there is no mention of CDMA though.

Battery

GTeL is well known for it’s endurance and the X7s is no exception. It comes with a 4000mAh battery and this is mated to a relatively low res 720p display and a Mediatek Octa Core chip.

The GTel performed very well in our endurance test facing a 39% hit on battery life after an hour each of video recording, video streaming and gaming.

This places the X7s on 3rd place on the longest lasting smartphones we have ever tested as well as the longest lasting GTeL device we have ever tested.

This is a whole day battery phone even for a heavy user. Only one big drawback. No fast charging exists. At 4000mAh charging is a true test of patience.
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 whole GTeL X7 series is a Mediatek processor clocked at 2GHz doing all the number crunching computations. Flanking the chipset is 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage all creating some working area for Android 8.1 Oreo.

The X7s was pretty fluid in it’s operation. Multitasking was hitch free on the device regardless of support for this feature only being reserved for Google apps. Gesture navigation was working as advertised and even the gaming experience was stutter free.

Performance on this device was really great, the average user will in no way be held back by it in terms of speed and efficiency of handling tasks. One issue we had was the whole trio of GTeL devices were not running the 3D test on the Antutu synthetic benchmark so unfortunately no reference point on performance.

Lack of benchmarks doesn’t mean we skip the detailed spec sheet though.

OSAndroid 8.1 Oreo
CPUMediatek Octa Core 2GHz
GPUMali
Display and Protection6.2 Inch 720 x 1500 pixels HD IPS LCD
Main CameraDual 13MP + 2MP
Autofocus
2x Telephoto
HDR
Night Mode
LED Flash
1080p Video @30fps
Secondary Camera5MP
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
Battery4000mAh
Endurance39% power drain after 1 hour each of:
Continuous video streaming
Continuous video recording
Continuous gaming
Antutu 6 Scoren/a
Price USD199

In A Nutshell

Pros

  • Fantastic display with nice rich colors
  • Clean and clutter free user interface
  • Respectable performance
  • Battery life is class leading
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • It takes an eternity to charge
  • The plastic inlays remove the premium feel
  • Camera could be better
  • Split screen only supports Google apps meaning it won’t be used much

GTeL has followed the trends but also stayed true and faithful to it’s market. Providing a good enough smartphone for the average Zimbabwean. The X7s is all about the battery. The display is big and one of the best GTeL has put in their smartphone. It has it’s fair share of shortcomings but at USD199 you can bet there will be some sacrifice. Overall a compelling offering from the GTeL X7 family.


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