Elephone M1 review: The Elephone M1 is impressive on paper. Coming in at under $150, the smartphone packs in a 5.5 inch 720p display, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage and an integrated fingerprint sensor. Its quadcore MediaTek MTK6735A SoC powers the whole unit.
I want to say thanks to GeekBuying for providing me a sample to review.View the Latest Price
What’s Inside the Box?
Elephone have given you everything you need:
- 1x Elephone M1 Smartphone
- 1x USB charger
- 1x micro USB cable
- 1x Sim Eject Tool
- 1x Screen Protector
- 1x Instruction Manual
Elephone M1 Review: Design
The Elephone M1 is a great looking unit. Borrowing liberally from Apple’s latest designs, the M1 is a rectangular smartphone with rounded edges. There’s two color variants available, gold and silver. The Elephone M1’s gold is fairly “vibrant” and not quite my taste but the silver version is far more subdued.
The phone is dominated by the 720p 5.5 inch touchscreen. Bezels are not particularly large which is nice. Elephone M1 opted to use a 720p panel rather than the 1080p panel seen on more pricey models to keep costs down. That being said, the panel here looks great. You can tell it’s not 1080p but it still looks sharp and has good viewing angles. The touchscreen’s also responsive and I didn’t experience any missed taps or swipes.
The 2.5D screen gently meets the metal frame, leading to a great looking transition.
There’s a set of capacitive buttons along the bottom, with menu, home and back buttons making an appearance.
In terms of ports, the fleet side houses the sim card slot that sits flush with the surface, requiring the included ejector tool to remove.
The right side features the volume rocker and power button. I found the centered power button a little odd having been familiar with Samsung devices for so long, but after a couple of days, it felt natural. It’s just a question of familiarity.
The top features the 3.5mm headphone jack whilst the bottom has a speaker grill and the micro USB connector.
The back proudly shows off Elephone’s logo, a centered fingerprint sensor and the 13MP f2.0 Sony camera and LED flash.
The Elephone M1’s rear-mounted fingerprint sensor is great. I was originally skeptical, having become used to the iPhone’s TouchID sensor on the home button, but the central local makes sense as your index finger has a tendency to rest on the sensor when holding the phone naturally. After a brief setup to register my fingerprint, it successfully unlocked the phone with impressive accuracy. I rarely had an issue.
Elephone M1 Review: Audio
The built in speaker is functional but basic. Despite there being two grills, there’s only a single driver there. It’s loud enough and perfectly suited for making calls but it suffers from “little speaker syndrome “, sounding hollow and lacking bass.
Thankfully, plugging in a set of headphones is a whole different story, with audio quality via the 3.5mm port being far better.
Elephone M1 Review: Camera
I was impressed by the quality of the images produced by the 13mp camera. Although not as good as the iPhone (not surprising given that it’s a fifth of the price), images look better than most budget smartphone cameras. Photos were a little grainy and particularly struggled in situations with high dynamic range but the f2.0 lens helps with those low light shots.
Elephone M1 Review: Battery Life
Battery life on the Elephone M1 was great. Connected to LTE still saw a day of typical usage, with some spare for the next morning.
Elephone M1 Review: Software
Elephone’s ROM features a few tweaks. The first is the launcher that supports full theming . There’s a pre install theme store that you can browse. Applying one will change the wallpaper and icons designs. The ROM felt stable and I didn’t experience any crashes during testing.
The MTK6735A isn’t the fastest processor in the smartphone world at the moment but it handles Android 5.1 well. During my testing, Android animated smoothly and games such as Asphalt 8 played well (although I suspect that’s also partly due to the 720p resolution).
Running the Elephone M1 through Antutu saw it score 26040.
Should I Get One?
The Elephone M1 is an attractive proposition. For under $160, it looks great and performs better. Whilst it’s not going to set the world on fire in terms of benchmarks, performance during actual use was awesome. Combine that with a nice screen and a fingerprint sensor and you’ve got a bargain smartphone that competes with those that are much more expensive.
The Elephone M1 is available from GeekBuying for just under $160.View the Latest Price
Alternatively, it’s available from GearBest and Amazon.