Elephone has one unique device – the S3. The main selling points of this phone are its bezel-less design and affordable price. This is Linus, find out if this phone is any good in our full review.
Elephone S3 Review: VIDEO REVIEW
Elephone S3 Review: UNBOXING
The phone ships in quite a premium hard plastic box and the contents of the packaging include some paperwork, SIM ejector pin, a charging brick and a nice tangle-free USB cable.
Elephone S3 Review: SPECS
5.2″ 1080p (Full-HD)
Mediatek MTK6753, 64-bit, octa-core (up to 1.3GHz)
5MP Front/13MP Back
Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, GPS, WIFI, GSM,EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, dual-SIM.
2.100 mAh (non-removable)
142 x 70.5 x 8.3mm / 145g
16GB (expandable via microSD card slot up to 256GB)
Elephone S3 Review: DESIGN and DISPLAY
Elephone S3 stands out from the crowd of affordable devices due to its bezel-less display. I have to tell you that it indeed looks great. However, the view on the very edges of the display is distorted quite a bit to make that bezel-less look but I’m okay with that.
The 5.2” 1080p LCD panel itself is great. It is sharp and crisp, and color reproduction is good.
We have a 5MP selfie shooter along with the non-customisable LED flash on the top and on-screen navigation buttons instead of capacitive ones.
Also, the phone sports all-metal design and superb flagship-grade build quality. The buttons are nice and tactile and the phone feels very nice in the hand.
We have a 13MP Sony camera coupled with a single LED flash. Right below the camera, there is a fingerprint scanner, which is accurate and recognizes a fingerprint from the standby mode. However, I found the display to respond slower than usual if you unlock the phone very quickly several times in a row.
The loudspeaker sits on the bottom and the sound quality is okay but as usual to the budget phones, the sound lacks depth.
Overall, I really love the top-notch build quality of the phone and the device looks great due to its bezel-less design.
Elephone S3 Review: HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE
When it comes to hardware, it is obvious that Elephone S3 is a budget device after all. It sports an octa-core MTK6753 chip (1.3GHz), 3GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage.
These specs will let you enjoy 3D games only if you play them on medium graphics. Still, you should expect occasional stutter and quite a few skipped frames. Also, the phone tends to get warm pretty quickly but does not overheat.
Elephone S3 Review: BENCHMARKS
Elephone S3 Review: USER INTERFACE
When it comes to the UI, we have a few options out of the box. You can either go with ELE launcher, which removed the app tray and has some redesigned icons or you can select a stock Android launcher for a more conventional look.
Either way, the phone runs on Android 6.0. We have some customization options like a baked-in theming engine, the ability to change the transition effects and so on.
Also, we have plenty of gesture controls that work fine. As usual, I just use a couple of them e.g. double tap to wake gesture.
Overall, the UI runs fast and fluid, and I just had a few minor hiccups over the time but you don’t need to worry about that.
Elephone S3 Review: IMAGE QUALITY
The image quality is kind of a disappointment. The main issues are with soft and uneven focus throughout the image. That means that most of the images will not look good.
Some decent looking macro shots are possible but again, they could look better.
The low-light camera performance does not impress and the images look darker than in reality, there is quite a bit of noise and low amount of detail.
A 5MP selfie shooter will do the trick will social media but again, there is a lack of detail in most of the shots.
The video quality is okay in general but the main issue here is aggressive auto color shifting once you move the camera. See a video review for a video sample.
Elephone S3 Review: CONNECTIVITY
As for connectivity, I don’t have any complaints as everything has been working fine. However, the GPS lock speeds could be slightly faster.
Elephone S3 Review: BATTERY LIFE
The phone ships with just 2100mAh battery and it is one of the weakest points of this device. I could get just over 2 hours of screen-on time on a mixed use. Also, the phone tends to drain quite a bit of power on standby. Hopefully, Elephone improves the power management in the future software updates.
Elephone S3 Review: CONCLUSIONS
Elephone S3 tries to stand out from the crowd of the budget smartphones and it delivers in certain ways.
Its bezel-less design, sharp display and top-notch (or even flagship-grade) build quality are the best aspects of this phone.
Also, we have the UI, which has some nice customization options and it runs fast most of the times.
However, the gaming performance could be better, the camera does not impress and the battery life is disappointing.
All in all, we should applaud Elephone’s effort trying to stand out from the crowd but we also have to say that this phone delivers in some ways but falls short in quite a few departments.
Elephone's S3 is a great looking bezel-less smartphone but it has a few shortcomings that have to be considered before making a purchase.