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Elephone U Pro Review - Edgeless Smartphone from China

by 10. October 2018

At the beginning of February, Elephone introduced the Elephone U & U Pro, two smartphones in edgeless design, which are otherwise only known from Samsung Galaxy mobile devices of current generations. The Elephone U Pro, which I already had with the publication for a test, I have now been able to take a closer look. How Smartphones Beat Qualcomm's Snapdragon 660 System-on-Chip is explained in the following review!

overview
Manufacturer/Model

Elephone

Product

Elephone U Pro / (U)

Specifications

Processor and memory
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 / (MediaTek Helio P23)
GPU: Adreno 512 / (Mali-G71 MP2)
RAM: 4GB / 6GB (LPDDR4X)
Internal memory: 64GB / 128GB (eMMC5.1)
Memory extension: Yes

Display
Display Type: AMOLED
Display diagonal: 5.99 inches
Display resolution: 2160 x 1080 pixels
Screen Protector: Corning Gorilla Glass 5

cameras
Main Camera: 2x 13 Megapixel
* PDAF
* Dual LED flash
Front camera: 8 megapixel

Network
Dual SIM: Yes
SIM size: Nano SIM

2G: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900MHz CDMA BC0
3G: WCDMA 900 / 2100MHz TD-SCDMA B34 / B39
4G: FDD-LTE B1/B3/B7/B20 TDD-LTE B38/B39/B40/B41

wireless
WiFi: 802.11 b / g / n / ac MU-MIMO / (802.11 b / g / n / ac /)
Bluetooth: 5.0 / (4.0)
GPS: Yes

sensors
* Ambient light sensor
* Accelerometer
* Proximity Sensor
* E-Compass
* Hall sensor
*Gyroscope
* Fingerprint Sensor
* NFC

Accumulator
Battery: 3550 mAh / (3620 mAh)
Quick charge function: QC 3.0 / (PE +)
Connection: USB-C

Other
Operating system: Android 8
Size: 154 72.5 x x 8.4 mm
Weight: 166g

Foreword: Elephone U Pro

Smartphone manufacturers from China, which mainly produce for the export market, are known for publishing new smartphones. Also Elephone is one of these manufacturers, which regularly brings new models on the market. The last one we tested Elephone S8 Although could convince, but also had numerous criticisms.

Smartphone sideways from above

On the 8. February of this year, Elephone has been part of a Press conference in Madrid presented two new models. With the Elephone U and the Elephone U Pro The manufacturer tries to break away from the numerous other China smartphone producers. At least it works in the Pro model of the Elephone U, rather unusual for Chinese exporters. Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 Processor.

Design, workmanship and delivery

Away from the "tri-bezel-less" design, to the "edgeless" look. The main focus of the new model line is again on the appearance. In contrast to the recently published "tri-bezel-less" smartphones, which have a barely visible edge above the display, the Elephone U Pro has a top and bottom edge, but shines instead with a curved displayThat really blends in with the case changes of the smartphone. The design of the two Elephone U models is certainly not new. If you know the design of the Samsung Galaxy S8, you will immediately notice the similarity! Despite the comparatively large 5.99 inch display, the smartphone is with Dimensions of 154 x 72.5 x 8.4 mm no bigger than a traditional 5.5 inch handheld. The Weight is easy 166g.

Smartphone front lying

The smartphone is set up as follows:

The front is very simple. Physical control buttons are in vain. The mobile device is operated purely via virtual display keys and gestures. Above the display are typically the handset, the front camera and additional sensors. A RGB notification LED is located on the right above the display.

The housing frame is made of metal and is color matched to the rest of the housing. The smartphone is first published in the Colors blue and black, As further color variants will soon be Red and gray added. The frame base forms one USB-C socket with OTG support, Behind the left and right adjacent openings hiding the speaker and the microphone. On the right hand side, Elephone has placed a classic power button and a volume rocker. Of the Hybrid SIM slot is surprisingly not on the opposite side, but within the frame top. On a 3.5 mm headphone jack is omitted.

Smartphone backside with shimmering surface

The curved one Case back is made of plastic and shimmers depending on the light. A special edition with a noble ceramic case is planned. A disadvantage of the shiny back is the Vulnerability to fingerprints, Already after unpacking the smartphone was literally littered with fingerprints. The haptic perception is convincing. Although the Elephone U Pro is a bit slippery in the hand, the sleek design, the smartphone can be kept safe and secure. A cool gimmick is the manufacturer's logo located in the lower third, which lights up white when a call is received. In the upper third of the back is the dual main camera, followed by a fingerprint scanner and an adjacent LED flash.

SIM slot

The quality of workmanship is not to complain about. The curved display and also the curved back are connected without gaps with the housing frame. The control buttons are fixed and have an acceptable pressure point. Of the Scope of delivery includes the smartphone, a charger, a USB-C cable, a 3.5 mm jack audio to USB-C adapter, a curved screen protector, a silicone case, a SIM needle and a user manual.

Scope of delivery

Display

Both the Elephone U, as well as the Pro version are with a 5.99 inches AMOLED display fitted. Displays of the type AMOLED are characterized by particularly strong, as well as lively colors and a very rich black value. A backlight, as you know it from conventional LCD displays, does not exist. Each pixel is controlled individually via an active matrix. The Resolution is 2160 1080 x pixels, which causes a Aspect ratio of 18: 9 results.

Smartphone front overlooking the Edgeless display

Elephone speaks of one Screen-to-body ratio (Display-to-case) of 87%. The value measured using the aspect ratio, resolution, and package dimensions of 154 x 72.5 x 8.4 mm is included after all, 83%, A very acceptable value, considering that many other manufacturers in the screen-to-body ratio indicate completely insane readings. With a Dot density of 403 PPI the presentation is very sharp.

The color temperature the display is by default rather yellowish-warm. Within the display settings, the color temperature can be infinitely adjusted. An existing one "Night Light" mode can be activated at the push of a button or on schedule. This mode filters blue light that is said to affect the sleep-night rhythm.

The special feature of the built-in display are the curved sides, which extend to the frame of the smartphone. Elephone uses that Edge Display but only as pure Design element, There is a Curved Edge Quick Launch bar, but it differs visually from the advertised Quick Launch bar. There are no serious color changes to the edges. Only a very small difference in brightness is recognizable. Overall, the convinced Viewing angles of the installed panel. With a Luminance of 350 cd / m² the panel is not one of the brightest smartphone displays. In strong light or sunshine, the display is only slightly readable by the additionally highly reflective surface.

Calman display test

The Touchscreen supports multitouch with maximally 10 simultaneous inputs. There are no disadvantages in the operation despite the edge display. Although you can get in touch with the Edge display even when holding the smartphone, there were no unwanted inputs during the test. The display is protected by hardened Corning Gorilla Glass 5.

Performance

The essential Difference between the Elephone U and the Elephone U Pro lies with the used System-on-Chip, which consists among other things of the CPU, the GPU and the DSP, in addition, the WiFi and Bluetooth module. The Elephant U Pro relies on the powerful midrange processor Snapdragon 660 from Qualcomm. The Elephone U Standard model has one instead MediaTek Helio P23 Processor installed. Here are the differences in detail:

Elephone U Pro - Qualcomm Snapdragon 660

  • CPU: 8 x Cryo 260 with up to 2.2 GHz clock rate
  • GPU: Adreno 512
  • DSP: Hexagon
  • WiFi: 2 × 2 802.11 ac MU-MIMO
  • BT: V5.0
  • Audio: Qualcomm Aqstic + AptX
  • NFC: Yes
  • Localization: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, SBAS
  • Mobilfunk: 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE: B1/B3/B7/B20/B38/B39/B40/B41)
  • Download: Quick Charge 3.0 (4.0)

Elephone U - MediaTek Helio P23

  • CPU: ARM Cortex-A53 with up to 2.0 GHz clock rate
  • GPU: Mali-G71 MP2
  • DSP: Tensilica
  • WiFi: 802.11 a / b / g / n
  • BT: V4.0
  • Audio: /
  • NFC: Yes
  • Localization: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo
  • Mobilfunk: 2G, 3G, 4G (LTE: B1/B3/B5/B7/B20/B38/B39/B40/B41)
  • Shop: Pump Express Plus

In contrast to the Helio P23 is the Snapdragon 660 a more powerful midrange processor, which is better positioned especially with regard to mobile games and other performance-hungry apps. The processor is in two clusters split that out each 4 Kyro 260 processor cores (8) consist. The cores of the "power cluster" clock up to 2.2 GHz, those of the "energy-saving cluster" with up to 1.8 GHz. The graphics unit is a Adreno GPU 512.

With regard to the storage facilities Both models do not differ. Both the standard model and the Pro version are available with one optional 4GB or 6GB (LPDDR4X) memory, connected with one 64GB or 128GB (eMMC5.1) flash memory available. A memory expansion using MicroSD memory card is possible on both models.

In everyday life, the Elephone U Pro is quite powerful. Apps open quickly and the smartphone also cuts a fine figure in multitasking. Performance slumps under heavy load or impairing thermal throttling does not occur. The memory speeds are acceptable. The 6GB LPDDR4X module achieves a speed of 6889.50 MB / s. The 128GB eMMC 5.1 memory module achieves a read speed of 205.58 MB / s and a write speed of 186.59 MB / s. Compared to a similarly equipped Xiaomi Note 3 Although there is still some room for improvement, in everyday life this small difference in performance is not noticeable. Particularly good results reached the Elephone U Pro in the benchmark tests. Also at Gaming gives the smartphone a good figure. Games such as Asphalt 8 are fluently playable and image collapses are a rarity. An excessive heat development does not occur.

User Interface

The smartphone is already delivered with Android 8, Visually, the UI was through Custom icons and custom wallpapers customized. Within a Theme Launcher let 4 choose different themes, different ringtones and wallpapers. intrusive bloatware is not present. The typical Google apps including the Play services are already preinstalled. Surprisingly, Elephone also has the Google Assistant and Google Now integrated into the system.

The user interface can be operated via virtual control buttons as well as via gestures. The virtual control buttons let optically and adapt to their arrangement within the settings. Activate the Operation by gestures, the control buttons are hidden. In place of the control buttons now swipe gestures occur. For example, a swipe over the bottom, left third of the display replaces the back button, a middle swipe closes apps, and a swipe over the right third opens the overview of the most recently opened apps. Installed apps are put on pages, as well as an app drawer exists. Improvement is the Animation speed of the user interface, Depending on the interaction, the animations are less fluid. Little bugs are still there. Crashes were missing.

Update 10. October 2018

Meanwhile, Elephone still has one Update in later. Improved the stability of the system, especially the camera. Users get the update with the Version number 20180917-213619 OTA on the smartphone.

Update 16. September 2018

The Elephone U Pro has been on the market for a bit longer. The promised ones Updates Elephone has not submitted later. Instead, a lot has happened within the community that diligently works Development of the user interface drives.

At the beginning of September, a new milestone was reached. The ROM was published "Eragon_Pie"which, as the name implies, open Android 9 builds. Despite its early stage, the ROM is already functional and can be used as a daily driver. You can find all further information here: link

Camera

Following the trend, the Elephone U model series is also based on a dual main camera consisting of two 13 megapixel image sensors, The exact name of the sensors is not known, but it is a true dual camera without fake sensor. In addition to the main RGB sensor, the second sensor is a pure auxiliary sensor, which provides a better depth effect. What makes this possible is the so-called bokeh effect, which impressively highlights the main motif. ArcSoft algorithms should provide for improved recording quality. In addition, the particularly good recording quality at night is advertised. Videos takes the Elephone U Pro in 4K maximum. The Elephone U standard model is limited to a maximum 1080p resolution. Supportive are the main camera Dual tone LED flash and an PDAF (autofocus) to the side. The front camera solve with 8 Megapixel.

Practical test of the main camera

The recording quality of the main camera can be described in a few words as very mixed. The Elephone U Pro is quite capable of making good shots, but at the same time disappointing in many ways. Successful recordings convince by a high degree of detail and a good color rendering. In many cases, the main camera but disappointed by one miserable dynamic range, Recordings of high-contrast scenes are therefore virtually useless. Also the available HDR (High Dynamic Range) Modus does not convince. Images recorded in HDR mode are displayed completely distorted in color. The advertised by Elephone Night suitability of the main camera is anything but true. Image recordings in low light conditions are visibly noisy, out of focus and washed out in color.

A feature of the main camera is the Bokeh modewhich is realized by means of the second image sensor. People and lenses should be using this photographic sharpness effect to be brought to the fore. The background should blur unfocused. Unfortunately Elephone has messed up this feature as well. During the entire test phase it was not possible to make a usable bokeh shot, regardless of persons or objects. In order for the Bokeh mode of the Elephone U Pro to "start" at all, really excellent lighting conditions are required. And even then, the main camera of the smartphone is not able to implement a clean and differentiated blur. Whether it is one Defect of the assistant sensor will act, or if the error disappears with future updates will have to show!

The Autofocus gives satisfactory results. The focus is precise and fast. The trip time is in turn to criticize in good, as well as in low light conditions. So it takes 2 regularly to 5 seconds until a photo is taken. Of the LED flash provides sufficient illumination.

More full-resolution test shots can be found at this one link

Videos takes the main camera maximum 4K resolution (4096 x 2160 pixels) on. Other resolutions include 4K UHD, 1080p, 720p, VGA, CIF and QVGA. Depending on the selected resolution, a refresh rate up to 120 pictures-per-second be set. So the main camera takes videos up 720p with maximum 120 FPS on. With a resolution of 1080p are maximum 60 FPS possible and up 4K will be with up to 30 FPS added. A electronic image stabilization can be added up to a resolution of 1080p.

What sounds good in theory, in practice, proves to be unconvincing. The refresh rate is very much dependent on the lighting conditions. On 4K it was hardly possible to achieve solid 30 pictures per second. For fast camera pans, the refresh rate breaks partially under 10 FPS. The electronic image stabilization (EIS) is faulty and leads to heavy image hangers. The recording quality is acceptable.

Practical test of the front camera

Für die 8 megapixel front camera no good words are left. Even in good light conditions it is hardly possible to take sharp photos. In general, photos and videos taken with the front camera (1080p) appear lifeless, heavily blurred and low in detail.

Connectivity and others

Telephony

Im Mobile gives the Elephone U Pro a good figure. The usual in this country 2G, 3G and 4G mobile radio frequencies or bands are supported. Only the newly used by Telekom LTE 900 (volume 8) is not available. The voice quality convinced and telephone calls ran during the test phase without dropouts.

Using Dual-SIM is possible in the form of a hybrid slot. Here, the either-or-principle applies. If one decides for the dual SIM use, no memory extension is possible by means of MicroSD memory card.

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

The Elephone U Pro works well in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WLAN (dual band). Support will be the WiFi protocols 802.11 / b / g / n / ac, as well as the smartphone can be operated by a MU-MIMO enabled router. The achieved in the WLAN data throughput convinced. Connection range and connection stability are above average and not objectionable. Bluetooth will with version 5.0 supported. Again, the smartphone shows a convincing connection and transmission quality.

GPS and sensors

The handheld also performs very well with its navigation capabilities. On GPS fix is quickly found outdoors as well as indoors. The position determination is accurate to within a few meters and is maintained constant by a good signal strength. A precise working E-Compass is available.

The sensory equipment amounts to a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, a gyroscope, an acceleration sensor and a Hall sensor. The entire sensor system works as it should. NFC is available. HCE (Host Card Emulation) does not work.

Audio

The Mono speaker reaches a decent volume. A voluminous, powerful sound is not expected due to the lack of bass fundamentals. Rather, make themselves through the speaker during playback exaggerated heights noticeable. The playback quality over the jack on USB-C adapter leaves nothing to be desired.

Face unlock and fingerprint scanner

Elephone has a secure unlock "Face unlock" feature introduced. With the help of the front camera, the face is scanned within seconds and stored for unlocking. In the test convinced the Face Unlock feature of Elephone U Pro by a very good recognition rate, Even with and without glasses, as well as in low light conditions a fast and accurate unlocking of the smartphone is possible. A simple one Photo trick does not deceive the device. With closed eyes, the smartphone is also unlocked.

The back Fingerprint scanner has a high recognition rate, but requires a longer than average to unlock the smartphone. The position of the fingerprint scanner is chosen unfavorably. This is located directly under the main camera, which can quickly lead to contamination on the camera glass.

Accumulator

In addition to the system-on-chip used, both models of Elephone U smartphone series also differ in the battery. The Elephant U Pro uses one 3550 mAh battery, can be charged wirelessly and supports Quick Charge Quick Charge 3.0. The Elephone U again has a slightly larger, 3620 mAh battery built, offers none wireless charging option and supports as an alternative to Quick Charge MediaTek's quick-charge function Pump Express Plus. Wired is charged via USB-C.

battery test

The measured capacity of the battery is as specified by the manufacturer. The battery life is average. In normal use is the Screen-on-Time at about 6 up to a maximum of 7 hours, That's enough to come with a battery charge throughout the day. With the supplied charger, the smartphone is fully charged within 115 minutes. After a load time of 30 minutes, the battery is charged to 40% after 45 minutes to 60% and after one hour to 75%.

Wireless "Qi" charging works. To start the charging process, however, the smartphone had to be placed extremely meticulously on the Qi charging station. It can also happen that, depending on the charging station, the smartphone slips through the slightly slippery rear of the case and the charging process is completed. With a traditional Qi charging station, charging takes 6 hours.

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Prices last updated on: 7. October 2019 11: 03

Final Words

Positive

►A nice design
►Good build quality
►Beautiful, curved edge display
►Alltagsperformance
►Android 8
►Good mobile communication quality
►Sense WiFi and Bluetooth
►Precise GPS module
►Good battery life

Negative

►Not additional features for Edge display
►Display brightness and reflective display glass
►Not liquid animation
►Recording quality of the main camera
►Recording quality of the front camera
►Locking jack audio jack
►Loudspeakers with pointed heights
►Relax time using a fingerprint scanner

rating
Our rating
user Rating
Rate Here
First impression
9.0
9.0
application
8.5
9.0
Design
9.0
10
Display
8.5
9.0
Performance
8.0
8.5
User Interface
8.0
8.5
Camera
5.0
7.5
Fingerprint scanner
6.0
7.5
connectivity
8.5
9.0
GPS & sensors
8.5
9.0
Audio
6.5
7.5
Accumulator
7.5
8.0
Summary

Elephone is breaking new ground with the Elephone U Pro and has long been presenting a smartphone that does not rely on a MediaTek processor, but on a high-performance Qualcomm Snapdragon midrange chip. In everyday life, the smartphone proves to be extremely high-performance and convinces by a smooth operation, as well as a good gaming capability. In the foreground of the Elephone U model series is of course the AMOLED Edge display, which scores visually by its curved edges and also performance-wise by a good presentation. Unfortunately, the curved display is a pure design element and offers hardly any additional functions.

Probably the biggest criticism is with regard to the camera equipment, which is not at all a smartphone in this price range. Although the main camera is capable of making acceptable shots, it is largely disappointed by unripe software, including miserable bokeh and HDR modes, very low dynamic range, and poor recording quality in low light conditions. With a smartphone that is currently available for just 380 €, you should be able to expect more!

The U Pro earns points with good mobile support, a high-sensitivity and precise GPS as well as good WiFi and Bluetooth reception and transmission quality. The battery life is average.

7.8
Our rating
8.5
user Rating
1 rating
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snake77
guest
snake77

According to Gearbest Homepage, the Elephone U Pro has room for 2 Nano SIM cards and a memory card AT THE SAME TIME !!!!

snake77
guest
snake77

SIM Card: dual SIM dual standby, 2 x Nano SIM card and 1 TF card can be inserted at the same time

Shrin
guest
Shrin

Does the Pro version support Project Treble?

Ralf
guest
Ralf

Thanks for the great review. One more question. Can you still test how long you have to load about Qi?

Markus2017
guest
Markus2017

Do you have a link to the camera photos in full resolution?

Rave
guest
Rave

Hi,

beautifully written article.
Also have an Elephone U Pro. Is it the same with you, if you took a portrait photo, that you can not select the True Portrait while editing?
So if you edit the photo and then click on this male icon to make, for example, retrospectively a bokeh effect. There comes, no matter what I do, the message that no face was recognized.

Regards

Elephobiker
guest
Elephobiker

I also bought such a smartphone. Display errors on the upper display page, how should we describe it, the curves at corners were exactly inverse so inside - Packman has probably bitten 2x, camera underground, display greenish, if you look from the side and not very bright. Test day 'the smartphone has completely quit the service, display dark, it is only a temporary vibration audible when the power button is pressed .... TOT, what an expensive scrap

Frederik
guest
Frederik

Can not describe that. I bought the U Pro two months ago and am completely satisfied with it. Super display, very good mobile connection, liquid operation. You probably just caught a Monday device: /