On paper, the Gionee Pioneer P4 is decent, yet unremarkable. It features a budget quad core processor paired with an undersized screen, and a bunch of underwhelming specs. However, after spending some time with the Pioneer P4, it has proven to be worth more than the sum of its parts. Curious? Read on for my full Gionee Pioneer P4 review.
What’s in the Box
First off, let’s start with what you get with every purchase. The Pioneer P4 comes in a trademark orange box along with all the standard accessories you would expect with a typical smartphone.
- USB transfer cable
- quick start guide
Build Quality and Design
The Gionee Pioneer P4 may be small, but it features a solid build with a bit of heft to it. It feels like the phone is heavier than it should be, but it’s not too bad. In fact, it’s a bit refreshing compared to the light and flimsy feel that some smartphones give off.
As for the design, it’s about as generic as it gets. You can check out my first impressions of the Pioneer P4’s build quality and design here, but suffice to say, it looks like your run-of-the-mill entry-level smartphone.
The Pioneer P4 features a 4.5 inch FWVGA screen. It’s not an IPS panel so the viewing angles aren’t that good. However, the pixel density is still quite decent at 218ppi. You’ll get a reasonably good image as long as you’re looking at the screen head on.
Under the hood runs a 1.3GHz MT6582 quad core processor by MediaTek. It’s paired with a Mali 400 MP2 GPU, which is still quite impressive at this price point. The MT6582 may be a low cost chip, but it’s performance is hardly compromised. In fact, the MT6582 is a bit of overkill on the Pioneer P4 because it was designed to go with qHD to HD screens. The MT6582 and Mali 400 MP2 GPU have no problems at all with the FWVGA screen and the Pioneer P4 runs quite snappily just to prove it.
What about the benchmarks? The Pioneer P4 performs similarly to the Samsung Galaxy S3 in Antutu while in Quadrant, it completely blows away the HTC One X.
Software and UI
While most budget OEMs prefer to take a mostly vanilla approach to the look and feel of the UI, Gionee likes to apply their Amigo OS UI layer to all of their phones. The Pioneer P4 is no different and the differences can be seen from the lockscreen all the way to the settings menus.
The UI is colorful and cute, and the icons are squarish with rounded edges, giving them a cartoonish look. There’s quite a bit of extra functionality that has been baked into the Pioneer P4 too. You can add apps, shortcuts, and widgets from the homescreen, and even tinker with transition animation effects. Heck, there’s even a simple theme chooser that lets you change the look of the Pioneer P4’s UI in a flash.
The command center has been reworked as well. Similar to Jelly Bean 4.2 and beyond, you can bring down the notification area, then tap an onscreen button to access the command center. Well, on the P4’s Amigo OS, you can simply swipe sideways between the notification area and command center, which, if you ask me, is much more intuitive.
The Settings menu has also been reworked to give users quick access to the most commonly tweaked settings. Of course, if you want to access all the settings, simply swipe sideways, just like with the command center.
RAM and Storage
To help facilitate smooth multitasking, the Pioneer P4 comes equipped with 1GB RAM, 973MB of which is usable. It’s also coupled with 8GB of storage, but keep in mind that due to how Android is partitioned, actual usable storage is much less than that.
In the case of the Pioneer P4, you get 1.79GB of system storage, which is where apps are installed, and 3.68GB of internal storage, which acts as your typical file storage space. Where did the remaining 2.53GB go? That’s eaten up by the Android OS itself.
Thankfully, it’s expandable up to 32GB via microSD card. The onboard storage is actually pretty generous considering most entry-level phones only come with 4GB, which is typically subdivided into about 1GB for system storage and 1.5GB for file storage. So unless you like to install HD games or have a media library you want to take with you, you won’t have to buy a microSD card right away.
Telephony and Wireless Connectivity
As a phone, the Pioneer P4 is serviceable as any smartphone should be. The screen is just large enough for comfortable thumb-typing in QWERTY mode and text is readable enough whether you’re reading messages. The size of the P4 is also ideal because the microphone pinhole comes up right near the mouth when making calls.
As for wireless connectivity, you get a full suite of options. The Pioneer P4 supports up HSPA+ data speeds and there’s WiFi for when you source your internet connection from a hotspot. There’s also Bluetooth for pairing the phone with accessories like Bluetooth speakers, not to mention GPS for navigation. The only thing that’s missing is LTE, but that’s to be expected for a budget phone.
The Pioneer P4 comes equipped with a 5mp rear-facing autofocus shooter paired with an LED flash. At this price point, there are already phones that come with 8mp cameras, so this might come as a disappointment to some. Still, the proof is in the pudding, so it’s best to run a quick camera test to determine if the Pioneer P4’s camera can go against the competition imaging-wise. Here are a few samples.
If there’s anything the Pioneer P4 excels at, it’s at gaming. The combination of a relatively powerful chipset with a lower resolution screen means that the GPU is rarely taxed. Take for example the Kata i3, which runs on the same chip but was paired with an HD screen. While the i3 was a gorgeous phone that performed well across most casual games, it slowed down when playing games like Angry Birds Go and Real Racing 3.
The Pioneer P4 doesn’t have that problem. The P4 can run just about any game smoothly, whether it be Real Racing 3, Dead Trigger 2 or even the infamously heavy Minion Rush. The games might not appear to be crisp because of the comparatively low resolution screen, but it makes up for it with frame rates.
Of course, the P4 performs well as a media player too. Again, it’s not the best for videos because of the FWVGA screen resolution, but it’s good enough for just about anything else.
The Pioneer P4 is equipped with a 1,800mAh battery, which is just about right for a phone that only has a 4.5 inch screen. I won’t bother to post my usage rate here since I’m not exactly a heavy caller/texter, but in a straight gaming scenario, the phone can last for about 3 1/4 hours. What’s surprising though is that the P4 has monstrous standby time, lasting for 3 or 4 days without hooking up to a charger. I would even use it as an FM radio and hook it up to my PC speakers and it still lasted for a couple of days!
So Should You Buy the Gionee Pioneer P4?
For what’s considered to be an entry-level device, the Pioneer P4 delivers unparalleled gaming performance. It may be diminutive in size, but it’s capable of playing games that other phones in its price point would struggle with. If there’s a drawback, it would have to be its FWVGA screen, which isn’t the best for images and video. It would have been nice if it were at least an IPS panel so colors would have been more accurate and the overall image a bit more pleasant, but I guess you can’t have everything.
The Gionee Pioneer P4 has an SRP of Php6,999, which is a little on the pricier side for an entry level phone. However, there are two things that I feel give it an edge over other phones in its price range: gaming performance and storage. HD phones in this price range typically struggle in high end games like Real Racing 3 and Minion Rush whereas the Pioneer P4 takes it in stride. You also won’t find it as difficult to install at least one HD game because of the extra storage that the P4 comes with. I can’t recommend it to everyone, but if you’re a gamer on a budget, I would absolutely go for the Gionee Pioneer P4.
Gionee Pioneer P4 Specs
- 4.5″ FWVGA TFT display (480 x 854 resolution, 218ppi)
- 1.3GHz quad core MediaTek MT6582 processor
- Mali 400 GPU
- Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB ROM
- 5mp rear-facing autofocus camera with LED flash
- 2mp front camera
- WiFi b/g/n
- Bluetooth 4.0
- GPS with A-GPS
- Dual SIM/dual standby
- 1,800mAH battery
- Price: Php6,999
Leave a Reply