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Elephone P3000S review: The affordable 4G LTE phone with fingerprint sensor

by Frank Tu 4

Elephone recently unveiled a number of affordable smartphones in the market. Today, we look at one of these phones, the new Elephone 3000S which supports the latest FDD 4G LTE network. It comes with a great design, powerful specs and some unique features such as a fingerprint sensor and software gestures usually not found on phones in its price range.

If you have been following the releases from this HongKong based company, you would immediately realize that this is the elder brother of the Elephone P3000 that was released a few months back. The new P3000s retains most of the features from the older generation, yet brings some necessary addition in terms of power to make it one of the best value for money devices currently in the market.

So, lets take a look at what this phone has to offer.

DESIGN

 

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5.0 inch display with thin bezels

Elephone P3000S retains the same design as the P3000 which is not a bad thing given that the older variant was well designed and solidly built. Although the phone comes with thin bezels, there’s a lot of room, both above and below the screen increasing its length unnecessarily.

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3 Capacitive buttons – Home, Menu & Back

On top of the 5 inch display, there is an earpiece along with a front camera. On the top right corner of the phone lies the 4G connectivity logo. Below the screen there are three capacitive keys – Home, Menu and Back. But these keys are not back lit, which makes it harder to use them, especially in the dark.

The phone is relatively thick (we have seen many slim phones from Elephone but this is not one of them), measuring nearly 9mm. The volume keys and power button are on the opposite sides, with the power button on the right and the volume keys on the left. Interestingly, the USB port is on top of the phone alongside the 3.5mm headphone jack. As a result, you don’t have anything at the bottom side, except for the microphone opening.

Coming to the back, the camera sensor, LED flash as well as the fingerprint sensor lies inside a premium looking circular housing. The said circular part comes with metallic finish, which gives it a premium look. Moreover, the housing makes the viewers feel that the device was built with utmost care, assigning a place for each and every sensor. Apart from the circular part, everything is made of plastic, but it still doesn’t look cheap. Below the housing lies the Elephone brand logo, and near the bottom lies the company’s motto, “Keep expecting and be surprised”.

The overall dimensions of the phone come to 145*72*8.9mm which although not very compact for a 5incher, its still acceptable. We call it big for its size because other phones with a 5 inch display like the Xiaomi Mi4 or even the Elephone G6 is much more smaller than the P3000S.

But it doesn’t make much of a difference while handling the device and hence, its not something we should be worrying about. As for the weight, its exactly the same as Xiaomi Mi4 i.e. 149 grams, which is again acceptable.

DISPLAY

 

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5.0 inch 720p Display

If you have used Elephone smartphones in the past with an HD display, then you would know exactly how it’s screen looks. The P3000S comes with a 5 inch HD IPS panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels. The screen is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3, which is both dust proof and scratch proof. As a result, you don’t have to worry about spoiling it with scratches.

The display looked quite clear, viewing angles were decent and colors came out good. While we would have loved a 1080p screen, this HD display looks good too. So, we are sure, you would be happy with the display for your everyday use.

HARDWARE & PERFORMANCE

While the P3000S came with exactly the same design and display as the P3000, hardware is one area where the newer model shines. It comes with a Mediatek MT6592 + 6290 CPU based on a 28nm Octa Core Cortex A7 architecture with the frequency 1.7GHz. The powerful processor along with the 2GB RAM onboard and  Mali-450 MP4 GPU will make sure that the device will run anything that we put it through.

This was a much needed upgrade as the older model had some trouble while playing graphic intensive games and opening up heavy apps. It came with just a Quad Core processor, which should have been enough if it had a bigger RAM module. However, the 1GB onboard RAM struggled to keep up when users tried to multi-task, which was really disappointing.  Also, the GPU was weaker since it came with only Mali-400 MP4

But with the new Octa Core processor, things are much smoother and faster than before. Games run fine with no visible lag, apps launch instantly and the overall device feels quick and responsive. As a result, unlike the P3000 which scored around 17,000 in the AnTuTu benchmark results, the newer model got well above 25,000 in the test every time.

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Gaming performance is good

There is 16GB memory on board the P3000S which is further expandable via a MicroSD card slot up to 128GB. So, you should have no problems storing images and videos on the device.

Coming to battery, the phone comes with a large 3,150 mAh capacity battery which should be more than enough for a whole day’s usage. We were impressed with the phone particularly because of its large battery. One area where usually affordable phones slack is battery life. This is because manufacturers are more concerned about the on paper tech specs as well as the slimness of the device when it comes to such cheap feature phones.

As a result, phones in this class come with a small battery capacity, sometimes as small as ‘2,150 mAh’ which drastically affects the usability of the device. What’s the use of a powerful phone if it doesn’t last a day? So, when we saw that Elephone retained the 3,150 mAh battery, we were happy.

This large battery gives up to 8 hours of video, 6 hours of browsing and 4 hours of talktime, which should be enough for your every day use.

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3,150 mAh battery

CAMERA 

Elephone P3000S Camera
Elephone P3000S Camera

Unless you are looking at a flagship device, or atleast a very top end phone, don’t expect extra ordinary results with a Chinese smartphone camera. Most affordable smartphones come with the same Sony sensor, which means performance should be more or less similar. Even the software features just minimal changes from one manufacturer to another. So, if you have ever used a 13MP Chinese smartphone camera, chances are, the results from that camera and this 13MP Sony sensor on the P3000S will be almost similar.

You get the same 13MP Sony sensor on the P3000S as the older model along with LED flash. However, the company has upgraded the front camera from 5MP to 8MP. So, selfie addicts have something to cheer about.

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Camera UI

The images captured were quite good in broad daylight. The colors were decent, noise was acceptable and the device managed to focus on the object pretty fast. There was very less shutter delay which means you could capture back to back shots in a few seconds. We got used to the camera UI in a very short time, as its quite similar to the Elephone models that we have used earlier.

 

As you can see in the image above, the colors are a bit dull. The real world colors were much brighter than what was portrayed in the picture. This was the case most of the time. However, when there was enough sunlight, images came out to be surprisingly good. For example, look at the red/orange flower. That image turned out to be quite good.

But as soon as the light reduced, we could clear difference in the quality. Noise increased, clarity reduced and colors too looked washed out.

So, in short, if you are planning to take pictures with the new P3000S, you better look for a well lit area, because low light performance sucks.

CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS

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FDD 4G LTE support

You get all the standard connectivity features that you would expect from a phone of this price with the new P3000S. So, you have dual sim card (SIM + Micro Sim) dual standby, Wi-Fi 802.11n standard, Bluetooth 4.0, Micro USB 2.0, GPS, AGPS, OTG, FM Radio etc. In addition to these features, the phone supports the ultra-fast FDD 4G LTE network which makes it one of the most affordable 4G supported phones in the market today. The full supported network bands are – GSM: 850/ 900/ 1800/ 1900, WCDMA: 850/ 900/ 1900/ 2100 (HSDPA), FDD-LTE: 800/ 1800/ 2100/ 2600.

Interestingly, Elephone had added NFC connectivity option on the device. However, at present, even with the number of supported apps, the practical application of this feature is limited, especially when only a few Chinese handsets support NFC. You also get a number of sensors on board like Gravity, Proximity, Light, Accelerometer, Compass and Gyroscope.

 

 SOFTWARE & SPECIAL FEATURES 

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Android 4.4.2 Kitkat + MIUI

Elephone P3000S comes with Android 4.4 Kitkat OS right out of the box. While this isn’t the latest nor the most advanced Android OS till date (thanks to the new and revolutionary Android 5.0 Lollipop), it is still a very smooth and refined operating system. On top of Android, you have the optional MIUI, which frankly is one of the best ROMs available for Android today. With MIUI, you get a lot of new apps as well as the promise of regular updates which add new functionality or fixes existing bugs.

You also get a number of special features, some exclusive to this model, while some found on most Elephone models these days.

To start with, you have a fingerprint sensor. Yes, Elephone P3000S is one of the cheapest models to feature a fingerprint sensor which actually works. The sensor is located at the rear, just below the camera inside the metallic housing that we showed earlier.

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The fingerprint sensor can not only unlock your device in the most safest way but it can also secure apps inside your phone. The phone has a special menu where you can safeguard important apps with your fingerprint so that no one else can access it even when they have the phone. What’s more, even you gallery can be secured, making sure that all of your pictures and videos are always safe.

You also have the standard Elephone gesture features. For example, you can just double tap to unlock your device, so no need to press the power button. You can even draw characters on the screen when it is off to directly launch an app which is assigned for the character. So, if you have assigned the letter ‘M’ for the music player, just draw it on the screen and your music player will open. Similarly, letter ‘O’ will open up the camera directly from the lock screen.

Gallery Gesture

You also have a special gesture sensing feature which allows you to change pictures while browsing the gallery without using your fingers. All you have to do is hover your hand above the front camera when you are seeing a picture in the gallery and the phone will automatically change it to the next picture in the list. Pretty cool right?

Elephone P3000S supports over 50 Asian and European languages, so you don’t have to worry about using the device if you are not very familiar with English. Some of the supported languages include French, Italian, Spanish, Filipino, Deutsch, Bahasa Indonesia, Russian etc.

OUR VERDICT

If you are looking for an affordable 4G LTE smartphone, the new Elephone P3000S is a very good option. We like the design, which is quite different than usual smartphones in the price range, especially the big round metal housing on the back. We also like the fact that Elephone has smartly incorporated a 3,150 mAh capacity battery in the device, which is a must especially considering the powerful Octa Core MTK6592 processor and the 4G LTE modem that it comes with. Most smartphones slack in the battery department, which we feel is not fair to the customers. So, this large battery is a major plus.

What we don’t like is the 13MP camera, but that’s not surprising since Elephone models are never really known for their camera performance.

Coming to the best part, the Elephone P3000S is currently available for sale for just $190, which is a great price considering the features that you get. But you can get the phone for even less! Just for $175 on everbuying.net using a coupon from discountion.

Head over to the website to order the device.

 

 

 

 

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  • MexiDroid

    why only 4hrs of talking? another phones with less mAh gives 10 or 12 hrs, why? 2g talk-time? 3talk-time?

    • because it is a 4g smartphone, 🙂

  • Stefan Bruce Souza Rodrigues

    muito top eu tenho 1 e recomendo

  • Mina Shikonda

    I bought a Elephone p3000s and it is a gud fone yes.
    -battery disappointing
    -white fone gets stained fast and u cant wipe the stain away
    -8mp back camera NOT 13mp…
    -5mp frnt camera NOT 8mp…

    HOWEVER A MONTH AND A HALF LATER I’M LISTING TO MUSIC AND IT FREEZES.. ITS BEEN 3 DAYS NOW… ALL IT DOES IS RESTART 2 MINUTES AFTER SWITCHING IT ON.

    =/

    HARD RESETTING DIDN’T FIX IT…..

    MAYBE I GT A BAD ONE… ='(