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The Best Budget Bezel Less Smartphone 2017? Elephone S8 Review!

by Linus 15

If you follow the trend of the budget Chinese phones, you know that manufacturers just love that full-screen design. Honestly, I don’t mind that because phones just look great. The Elephone S8 is one of the most powerful full-screen phones for less than $240. Learn more in the full Elephone S8 review.

VIDEO REVIEW

UNBOXING

The phone ships with all the usual stuff, no extras included.

DESIGN and DISPLAY

The 6” 2k resolution display is just gorgeous and probably the best I’ve seen on a budget all-screen design phone. It’s really sharp and it’s a great panel overall. Obviously, the tradeoff is that the phone is quite huge.

A nice glass back, a sturdy aluminum frame and precise buttons add quite a lot of a premium look and feel, and it’s just nice to hold the phone in the hand despite its huge footprint. One thing that bothers me is a hybrid SIM card tray that rattles just a bit.

There is a beefy 21MP camera and 8MP shooter for selfies that is implemented on the bottom right corner.

Now a few features as quickly as possible: there is no headset jack, which is a shame for a budget phone. The device uses USB C port, there is no LED notification light, the fingerprint scanner is fast and reliable but the display could light up a bit faster.

The loudspeaker quality is not the best but it’s significantly better than on other budget full-screen phones I’ve tested.

HARDWARE and PERFORMANCE

The Elephone S8 stands out from the crowd of budget full-screen phones because it’s a more powerful phone. The device has a deca-core  Helio X25 chipset with the max. clock speeds of 2.5GHz, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is not expandable for some reason.

Even though all the specs sound impressive, I found that the phone stutters in some 3D games on the highest graphics settings. I can’t say that the phone lags but there are quite a few skipped frames. The phone gets quite warm but it does not overheat.

BENCHMARKS

USER INTERFACE

Where the phone does not stutter or lag, is the user interface that is based on Android 7.1. Well, there are some weird translations like a whitelist. Also, the blue light filter is called a night light and you cannot adjust the intensity of it.

Other features like gesture controls work just fine if you plan to use them. My most favorite part is that Elephone preserved that stock Android look and feel and the phone is really fast, no matter what you do with it.

CAMERAS

The camera department is where the Elephone is also better than other full display budget phones I’ve reviewed. Obviously, the pictures are not perfect as some of them lack sharpness, the colors look washed out and so on but in general, the daylight image quality is decent considering the price of the phone.

The night images are not that good but again, the quality is a bit better than I expected.

Selfies could look sharper but I think that will look pretty good on social media.

What is frustrating with all these full-screen phones is that they can shoot videos only in 480p. Still, the videos come out quite usable for social media or video chats. Obviously, you need to hold the phone upside down both when shooting videos or taking selfies.

Another con is that the phone uses HEVC format for videos, meaning that you need to convert it before you can use it. I know that’s easy to do but it is an extra step for a budget phone owner.

The quality of the video is pretty good but the footage could look sharper and have more detail. The sound recording quality is actually pretty good for a budget phone.

Download full resolution camera samples

CONNECTIVITY

The call quality is not bad but it could be better. I didn’t have issues with other connectivity options like wifi, Bluetooth or GPS. The phone has 13 sensors including a gyroscope, so you are all set if you want to use the device with VR headsets.

BATTERY LIFE

The phone rocks a huge 4000mAh battery that allows you to use the phone for an entire day or more. I could get about 6 or even 7 hours of screen on time even with quite a few apps installed and social media accounts that usually sync in the background.

It takes just over 1.5 hours to fully charge the phone with the supplied charger.

CONCLUSIONS

The Elephone S8 is the best budget full-screen phone I’ve tested so far. I just love its sharp 6” display, the overall build quality, the speed and fluidity, a great battery life and surprisingly decent cameras.

Obviously, you should consider the fact that the phone lacks a headset jack, there is no LED notification light, no NFC, no microSD card slot and the front camera shoots video only at 480p resolution.

If you can live with these shortcomings, the Elephone S8 is definitely one of the best full-screen phones on a budget.

4.4

Elephone S8 has a few shortcomings but it certainly has some advantages over other budget full-screen phones in the market.

Design and Build
Display
Hardware
User Interface
Camera
Connectivity
Battery Life
Overall Performance
Value for Money
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  • Jh1

    This is the second good review on this phone (from reviewers whose opinion I respect). I’ve been very critical of elephone in the past, but it sounds like they are actually making some progress. Good work.

    • Thanks a lot! This phone is indeed better than other cheap bezel less devices I’ve tested so far.

      • princetom

        Finally, a usable elephone

    • AtereJr

      But it’s no excuse for a phone that cost nearly $240 to not have a simple and important feature as a “notification LED”. To me, that’s pretty much a joke. Even $100 phones try to implement it these days.

      • Jh1

        Does seem pretty odd that they omitted it. It is still elephone though, so we shouldn’t be surprised 😂

      • Dupcas

        For instance iPhones 🙂

  • Arifullah Baig Mirza

    Hi Linus,

    Kindly give sequence for best camera

    Doogee Mix, Umi Mix , Elephone S8 , Bluboo .,….

    • Elephone S8 is the best. Others fall into pretty much the same league.

  • Ionut Johnny

    Let’s see for how long it will work before it gets to stop like a brick.
    Will see about quality control.

    • princetom

      Was expecting this. Ha ha ha

  • AtereJr

    Well…there goes Elephone. Always so focused on the trendy hardware and designs but always lacking somehow in other important areas of a Smartphone.

  • MST

    How it works on gps navigation?

  • Harry Limby

    Hey Linus, any news on a GPS test. I’m very surprised all reviewers choose to omit this from their reviews. In today’s age of smartphones it’s essential.

  • Seth Alpine

    HEVC format is the future…Having a fullHD H264 recording in 2017, is quite ridiculous
    4k/h265, that’s what we need.

  • Wow videos

    Shit camera, shit phone. What the point buying this shit instead of used flasgship of 2016?

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