The Elephone P9000 is a sleek smartphone with a rough sandpaper-like rear cover and what we thought was an Alert Slider on the left side of the phone. Actually it’s much cleverer than that, and ties in with some of the many excellent software customizations made by Elephone in the P9000.
Elephone is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer based in Shenzhen which started in 2006. They have their own factory which employs over 300 people with an additional 100 people working in the design center, distribution and sourcing. Last year they were able to release 12 new Elephone has a few different series of Smartphones the P, M and S series. The P9000 is their flagship device, M Series devices are primarily aimed at business users with their full metal body and high specification. The S Series is more fashion forward, the upcoming S3 is bezelless.
Design – Sleek & Well Balanced
Thin bezels, a decent display and a substantial feeling 7.3mm metal frame gives the Elephone P9000 a polished and sleek look, in hand the slightly rough texture on the back with an edgy substantial metal frame. The display is neatly places on the frame with unapologetic straight lines, in an ecosystem where everyone is boasting 2.5D arc display’s it’s nice to see clean straight lines for a change. The Elephone logo is shiny on the back below the plastic looking fingerprint reader and a 13MP camera with laser auto focus and a two tone flash. On top we have a 3.5mm headphone jack and the bottom a USB Type C connector with two speaker grills. On the left hand side we have an action button which you can program to launch a specific app, we like it for the camera.
Hardware – Spec Nerds Are Impressed
When it comes to specifications, we can’t help but be impressed, on paper it checks almost every box, a MediaTek Helio P10 running Android M phone with a massive 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage 26 of which are available but have no fear you’ve got a microSD card. The 3000mAh battery supports both wireless charging and Quick Charge. The reversible USB-C makes this Octa-core Smartphone futureproof. We find it difficult to believe the Elephone costs just $230.
A tough metal frame that’s just 7.3mm thick and houses a beautiful 5.5 inch Full HD display has slim bezel.
The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner is fast and responsive, and can be used to wake up the screen. Five finger prints can be registered and if Android Pay is available in your region you’ll be happy to know that it’s got NFC.
Display: 5.5″ OGS
Processor: MediaTek Helio P10 (MT6577)
CPU: ARM Cortex A53 2000MHz – 8 Cores
GPU: ARM Mali T860 MP2 700Mhz – 2 Cores
RAM: 4GB 933Mhz
Storage: 32GB (26GB Available)
Rear camera: Sony IMX258 13MP, F/2.0, Double color temperature flashes, Laser focusFront
Front facing camera: OV8858 8MP, 84° wide angle
Network and Wireless Connectivity:
2G/3G/4G(FDD,TDD) Up to 150Mbps
4G: FDD-LTE:band 1/3/7/8/20
3G: WCDMA:Band 1/2/5/8
WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n, 2.4G/5G
USB: 2.0 type C
Battery: 3000mAh-3080mAh (Li-POL battery)
Quick charge: PE+ 2.5A/1.67A(5V/7V/9V) 1.25A(12V)
Weight 145 grams
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Display – Vivid, Bright & Stunning
This 5.5-inch OGS screen has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 and an 85% color saturation. The display is bright and vivid and does a good job at not looking greasy with fingerprints. Viewing angles are wide and the colors are punchy even though reasonably good at repelling fingerprints that offers decent viewing angles it’s perfectly suited to enjoying media such as watching movies and playing games.
The bezel are only 1.6mm which gives the P9000 a high end polished look.
The Elephone P9000’s Octa-core Helio P10 processor with 4GB of RAM offers capable performance and the UI is buttery smooth, menus are quick to navigate, apps speedy to launch and the camera quick to snap photos.
In the case of the Elephone the benchmarks don’t really reflect just how good the real world performance is. AnTuTu comes through at 44661 which is 1/3 of the Snapdragon 820.
Geekbench 3 single core 838, Multicore 2653
GFX Bench Manhattan offscreen: 4.7fps
GFX TRex Offscren: 9.2fps
Vellamo Browser: 3426
Software – Not Your Average Navigation
Running Android M we’re impressed with the snappiness of the UI, Elephone has done a good job at implementing Android, though before we dive in, we’d like to say that we do think that this device with Stock Android would be way better! There is something about the hardware that screams give me a clean native experience. We don’t mind the software changes that Elephone has made to Android, the most significant is the way you navigate. The Elephone’s default navigation bar isn’t the three button hardware or software set up, it’s a single touch button dubbed the ‘E-touch’. It’s pretty easy to get used to, a single-tap takes you back, a double-tap takes you home, and a long-press opens the multitasking menu. If you just can’t deal with this, it is possible to turn on a traditional three-button navigation bar in the settings.
It’s impossible to activate Google Now (usually done with a long press on the home button) via this interface. Thankfully, you can switch to the traditional on-screen icon bar that sits at the bottom of the display, just like on the Nexus 5X and 6P.
The Elephone P9000 supports several gestures, for example allowing you to for double-tap to wake the screen, and from screen-off draw a C to wake the camera, a V to launch the calculator, and use a series of swipes to control audio playback. You can also flip to mute, wake the screen with the volume button, and use a three-finger action to take a screenshot or open the recent apps menu.
On the left hand side we have an action button which you can program to launch a specific app, we like it for the camera. It’s quite interesting that they’ve included a dedicated hardware button to launch an app. On first glance it seems like it would be an action slider like on an iOS device or the OnePlus series which it does look a lot like.
Elephone’s Turbo Download feature is an interesting addition to Android – it allows you to combine your network and Wi-Fi signals to boost the speed of downloads. If you’re in an area where the 4G signal is strong and you have access to a wireless hotspot it really makes a difference. What you need to know about this feature is that if you don’t have unlimited data it can add up really quick, so be aware that unless you have unlimited data it should be turned on and off and not left on.
Though the We ran the Elephone P9000 through the Geekbench 3 battery test and it did very well, nearly 7 hours. In real world usage I was getting between 4-4.5 hours of screen on time plus 1 hour of streaming music (which should count towards screen on time). The 3000mAh battery was lasting me the whole day with very little spare at the end of the day, it made it…just. However, I do have to say during the review period I used a lot of maps, the GPS seems pretty accurate though I did often jump a few blocks when looking for an address. It did also notice a higher drain rate when using the GPS.
Quick Charge is a great premium feature, you can go from 0-100% in about an hour and half. Wireless charging is slower than quick charge and will take about 3 hours.
Camera – Where you see this phone is only $230
The Elephone P9000 doesn’t disappoint on the camera front when there is ample lighting, but when it’s not quite perfect the noise and grain in the photos can’t be overlooked. Low light shots are especially bad, to the point where some have so much digital noise they are unusable. . The 13MP laser focus and two-tone flash supporting the Sony sensor with an apeture of f/2.0, did an acceptable job. The main camera is also capable of 4K video recording, and can output to RAW.
Sound – Average and Could be Louder
When you pump the volume right up it tends to sound a little distorted, if you keep it at around 75% it sounds clear and decent for sharing. If you’re in a loud environment and want to share a YouTube video with a friend you both will have to lean in a little, it could be a little louder.