Elephone C1 Max Review: Dual Cameras For The Cheap, Real or Gimmick?

by Joel 8

Elephone C1 Max is the latest phablet from the local Chinese manufacturer, Elephone. The phone has been in the news for the past few weeks mainly because of its dual camera setup at the back, making it one of the few phones to actually feature two rear camera sensors at a budget price tag. Apart from the camera setup, another big reason why you should check out the C1 Max is because of its huge 6-inch display up front. I got to play around with the device for the past few days, which means it’s time for a detailed Elephone C1 Max Review.

Elephone C1 Max front


Elephone C1 Max Review: In the BOX

The phone comes with all the usual things that you get inside a smartphone box — the phone itself, charger, manual, and SIM ejector tool. Note that the box also contains a silicone case for the phone, which I think is a nice addition. The phone also has a scratch guard installed right out of the box, so no need to go hunting for that.

Elephone C1 Max Box


Elephone C1 Max Review: Design

The Elephone C1 Max is extremely well built. But that’s not surprising since the built quality of local Chinese phones have improved tremendously in the past couple of years.

Elephone C1 Max back

The phone feels good to hold, even in one hand. But one hand operation won’t be easy given its large 6-inch display. The C1 Max is made out of a premium metal body with a smooth texture at the back. I personally got the mocha gold color variant, which I feel, looks very beautiful. It’s a different shade of gold, which is refreshing from the usual champagne gold and rose gold color shades. The overall built quality and looks of the phone are excellent and I am sure you will be happy with the design.

Elephone C1 Max front

The dimensions of 164*83*8.5mm are pretty decent for a 6-inch phablet. In comparison, the Bluboo Maya Max, which is a close competitor comes with 162.2 x 81.8 x 9mm dimensions. So, the C1 Max is a tad wider and longer than the Maya Max, but its thinner too. Also, it’s nowhere as heavy as the Maya Max, weighing 158 grams as compared to Maya’s 211 grams. Of course, the major difference in weight is because of its battery capacity difference, which is significant, but if you are looking for a relatively lightweight 6-inch phablet, the C1 Max is a pretty good candidate.



The back texture is smooth and does not easily attract fingerprint or dirt. On the top left corner, you have the dual camera setup (13MP + 5MP) along with LED flash. There’s a fingerprint sensor in the middle, which is actually pretty good. Then there’s the Elephone logo along with the usual stuff written — Designed by Elephone, Assembled in China.

On the right side, you have the volume and power buttons. The buttons feel good and clicky, so no issues here. The placement of the buttons are also pretty good, I could reach out my thumb to power on or off the display with ease. But for users with small hands, accessing the power button might not be too easy. Coming to the bottom, there are MicroUSB port and dual speakers. On the left, there’s dual SIM card slot. Finally, on top, you just have a 3.5mm headphone jack.


Elephone C1 Max Review: Display

The Elephone C1 Max has a large 6-inch display. The bezels on the sides are thin, so the display looks quite good. But the bezels on top and below the display are still pretty thick. I feel, keeping these areas thinner would have made the phone even more compact, but then the phone comes with capacitive buttons instead of on-screen ones, so the thickness of the bottom bezel is kind of justified.

Elephone C1 Max display

As for the display quality, don’t expect too much from the large screen, since the resolution is limited to 720p. Despite the resolution being just HD, the display manages to do a decent job in bringing out the right colors. Most of the colors pop out nicely on the screen, which makes it a great device for watching videos. I compared the C1 Max with the Redmi 4A since they both fall nearly in the same price class and despite the larger display with the same 720p resolution, the C1 Max did manage to maintain a decent level of clarity and color reproduction. Note that both phones were set at 50% brightness.

Elephone C1 Max bezel display

Sunlight visibility of the Elephone C1 Max is fairly decent. Under direct sunlight, at 50% brightness, I was still able to read what was on the screen with a little bit of effort. I compared it with the OnePlus 3T under similar conditions and things were not too different.

c1 max vs redmi 4a display
Elephone c1 max (top) vs Redmi 4a display

So, for a $120 ($109 on Gearbest now) device, the C1 Max has a pretty decent 6-inch screen.


Elephone C1 Max Review: Hardware

The C1 Max has nothing great to boast about in this category. The processor inside is the entry level MTK MT6737 quad-core chip. There’s 2GB of RAM on board and 32GB of internal storage expandable via MicroSD. The ARM Mali-T720 is also an entry level GPU, so expect the graphics performance to be basic as well.

Elephone C1 Max About

In the AnTuTu benchmark test, the Elephone C1 Max managed to score 32,301 points. Now, that’s very low in a market where the mid-rangers easily score near 70K on the same test. But real life performance is not as bad as this score suggests. If you are looking for a device with great multi-tasking skills or heavy app crunching power, then the C1 Max isn’t the right one for you. But if you restrict the total apps in the background and use the phone moderately, the phone shouldn’t disappoint.



So, hows the gaming performance?

It’s decent. I mean, you can play games like asphalt without a lot of hiccups. Of course, the graphics don’t look anywhere as good as the Asphalt 8 on the OnePlus 3T, but the overall experience playing on the 6-inch phone is pretty good. If you can get used to some skipped frames while playing, then most of the games should work fine on the phone. I even tried out Subway Surfer and I didn’t see any lag during gameplay. In fact, the colors popped out pretty well on the 6-inch screen. You can check out the gaming screen video in the drive folder added below.


What about the fingerprint sensor?

The fingerprint sensor is one of the highlights of the phone. The sensor was very quick to recognize and unlock the phone, right from the screen off mode. In fact, it’s one of the most accurate sensors I have seen on a $100 smartphone. I never had any fingerprint misreads, which means the display unlocked in less than a second every single time. The placement of the sensor at the back could be an issue if you are like me who places the phone on the desk. But that’s just a personal inconvenience and if I had to judge only the sensor, I would give it 10/10.


Elephone C1 Max Review: Dual Cameras

The camera is naturally one of the most important components that consumers check before buying a smartphone, but with the Elephone C1 Max, cameras have even more importance. The company has used a dual camera setup at the back, which means this is one of the cheapest phones with two cameras at the back. The setup is a rather simple one, a 13MP primary camera sensor supported by a secondary 5MP sensor. This setup is more focused on taking depth of field photos, rather than improving the overall image quality, and I must say that the C1 Max manages to do a decent job in this regard.

Elephone C1 Max Camera Bokeh UI
Controls for background blur

Before I talk about the bokeh effect produced by the phone, it’s important to note that the basic images captured by the C1 Max are nothing out of the ordinary. It gives you images with a decent level of clarity and colors, but you do find some noise, especially when the natural lighting goes down. This makes the phone just like any other low-cost local Chinese budget smartphone. But if I had to comment about the bokeh effect produced by the phone, it’s pretty interesting.

Elephone C1 Max cameras

So, you have control over the amount of background blur produced in the image. It takes some time getting used to the controls, but once you are familiar with the feature, you will be able to get some good photos out of this device.

I have added a few samples down below. As you can see, the quality of images aren’t exceptional, but the bokeh feature works well.

Check out all the samples from here.

As for the video quality, it’s going to be grainy and shaky — so not good enough for your viral video needs.


Elephone C1 Max Review: Battery

All the above departments have been fairly good so far. For a $120 smartphone, the C1 Max gives you good value. But one area where it disappoints is the battery inside.

The charging takes quite a lot of time, especially considering the battery is smaller than 3000mAh. My unit personally took nearly 2 hours to get to 100%. Even the draining is quick. With continuous usage, the battery drains very quickly and you are left with no juice even before the end of the day. That’s expected because of its large 6-inch display gulping a lot of battery. But if your usage is fairly moderate, then the C1 Max could last an entire day. But I don’t think with its large screen, your entertainment needs would be limited to just a couple of hours a day.

So, the battery is a bit of a disappointment on this phone. Something like a 3500mAh capacity battery inside would have been better suited for its 6-inch display. Make sure to carry its charger or a powerbank if you are planning to use this phone as your daily driver.


Elephone C1 Max Review: UI

There are some good looking wallpapers on the phone pre-installed, hence I didn’t have to download from the internet. The icons are quite big, making full use of its large 6-inch display. The app icon graphics isn’t something that I personally like, but I don’t think you would have a problem with them.

With Android 7 Nougat on board, things were pretty smooth on the C1 Max. I did experience minor lag sometimes, but nothing significant.

Elephone C1 Max Review: Conclusion

For $120, the Elephone C1 Max is quite a decent smartphone. The large 6-inch display and dual cameras — the two big attractions of the phone — gives this phone an edge over the numerous $100 competitors in the market today.

Elephone C1 Max hero

The battery is definitely its biggest drawbacks but it kind of help in keeping the phone’s weight low, something that other 6-inch smartphones fail to restrict. For example, the popular Xiaomi Mi Max phablet weighs a good 203 grams. Dual cameras are good for occasional bokeh pics and the display is good to serve your entertainment needs as well. Super fast and efficient fingerprint sensor was indeed a pleasant addition. Finally, with Android 7 on board, there are definitely some good reasons to consider buying this budget smartphone.