A while ago we shared our review of GSmart Classic – an extremely budget solution that has been beaten, in terms of price, of course, by the 4.5-inch GSmart Essence.
The biggest pride of the device, as you’ve probably guessed, is its price. However, the phone also has compact dimensions, IPS panel, and quad-core SoC, making it a great choice for an entry-level solution. We suspect, though, that the price isn’t the only thing to consider here, so let’s see what’s up with this absurdly cheap handset.
If you’re interested in the price and availability of GSmart Essence you can check the following link: Amazon.com.
Design and construction
Just like most budget devices, GSmart Essence won’t impress you with unique design and appearance. The phone has a plastic back cover attracting nasty fingerprints and smudges. There’s also the rear camera, located at near the top. Below it, we see the LED flash and GSmart’s logo. The only loudspeaker of the phone is positioned at the bottom part.
There’s nothing surprising on the front as well – right below the 4.5-inch screen, we find the usual physical Android navigation buttons. The earpiece, front-facing camera, proximity and ambient light sensors are located at the top with the only thing missing – the LED notification light. And despite having slightly thicker screen bezels, the phone is comfortable to hold and use with one hand, due to the 4.5-inch screen and relatively thin body (8.8 mm).
The volume rocker and power button layout is also pleasant. They are located at right and left sides respectively and are easily distinguished by their chrome color. Moreover, they are slightly protruding and offer long key travel, making them easy and comfortable to use. On the top side of the phone we see the headphone jack and microUSB charging port, while at the bottom – only the microphone hole.
Under the hood
A small gap near the bottom left corner is used to remove the rear cover. Once you’ve taken it down you’ll get access to all the available slots and the battery. At the upper right corner we see a microSD memory card slot and once the battery is removed you’ll have both of the SIM slots available as well. One supports (mini) SIM card, while the other microSIM standard.
Display and sound
GSmart Essence has a capacitative, multi-touch IPS display with a 4.5-inch (11.43 cm) diagonal, 16:9 aspect ratio, and 480 x 854 pixels resolution. The pixel pitch is 0.116 x 0.116 mm with a pixel density of 218 PPI. The screen can be considered “Retina” (the eye can’t distinguish separate pixels) when viewed from a distance equal or greater than 30 cm. You can see the subpixels alignment in the microscopic photo below.
On the graph below you can see the sRGB color gamut coverage (a standard, when it comes to Web and HDTV related work) of GSmart Essence’s screen. We display the range of colors, that the human eye can see on the “CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram”, through which you can get a general idea of the Color Gamut coverage and color accuracy of your device. Inside the black triangle are the standard colors, used in digital TV and internet – rec. 709/sRGB and the wider Adobe RGB color gamut, which is important for professional photography and image printing, is the gray triangle. The colors within the black triangle are used basically everywhere by millions of users and their correct representation is often of key importance to the quality of the display. The yellow triangle represents the capabilities of GSmart Essence’s display. In numbers – 90% sRGB coverage – enough to deliver images with vivid colors.
The graph below is basically the same, but it has measurements concerning color accuracy at 140 cd/m2 brightness. The colorful circles are the targeted colors, that GSmart Essence must reproduce while the white ones are the results. Both, the main and secondary colors, are shown with 100% and 50% saturation inside the sRGB color gamut.
We measured high maximum brightness – 450 cd/m2. The color temperature under the same conditions on a white screen is 9000K – a bit cold (blue-ish colors) daylight type. The optimal is 6500K. The contrast ratio isn’t that high, but is still acceptable – 700:1.
Below you can view the input-output Gamma Curve illustrating the correct distribution of the brightness levels and as you can see it aligns relatively well.
We tested the display using 24 sample colors commonly found in everyday life such as dark and light human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. This test is important for video playback and photo viewing.
GSmart Essence’s display doesn’t harm the eyesight, since the emmited light isn’t pulse-width modulated. We detected some slight pulsations at very high frequencies.
The display of GSmart Essence has high brightness, decent color accuracy, close to none PWM pulsations, comfortable viewing angles and 90% sRGB color gamut coverage. We can say resolution and contrast ratio as average.
|OS||Android 4.4 KitKat|
|SoC||Spreadtrum SC7731G (4-core, 1.30GHz, Cortex-A7)|
|Display||4.5-inch IPS capacitive multi-touch screen with 480 x 854 pixels resolution|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, 802.11 b/g/n, GPS, AGPS|
|Cameras||5MP with LED flash (rear), 2MP (front)|
|Dimensions||67 x 134 x 8.8 mm|
Sadly, the model we reviewed was an engineering sample and the results we got in our battery tests aren’t realistic, but we will update the review as soon as we test and end unit.
GSmart Essence runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with the overall classic appearance of the OS and menus. However, GSmart has made some small changes to the standard icons as well as adding a couple of pre-installed apps and features.
Clean Master allows you to see how much RAM you’re currently using, as well as how much free storage you have left, and you’re also presented with the option to clean some of the junk files on your device. It also protects you from viruses and spyware and shows you information about the SoC load.
CM Security is another app, which both optimizes your device and protects it from harmful software. It also cleans junk files and closes background apps.
File manager shows you all the files you have on your phone. Everything is grouped into folders so you can find a specific file faster and easier.
WPS office is a popular and easy to use app for creating, reading and editing Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. It also supports PDF and other text documents.
You’ll also find application manager, notes, radio, and flashlight.
GSmart Classic packs a decent number of neat pre-installed apps and it seems that the smartphone also supports gestures. You can find them under the “Smart Gestures” submenu located in settings. You can lock and unlock the phone by double tapping on the display, as well as set up to up to 9 shortcuts to various apps directly from locked screen. You can launch them by drawing the letter you’ve assigned. However, the apps are limited to flashlight, calculator, phonebook, camera, web browser, gallery, music, messages, and video.
Anyway, GSmart Essence’s settings menu has the classic Android 4.4 KitKat appearance. You can see all the available submenus on the image below.
Keeping in mind the price of GSmart Essence, we can’t expect it to offer exceptionally high performance. However, the Spreadtrum SC7731G SoC manages to keep up with the competetion. The 32-bit mobile chip has 28nm manufacturing process and has four Cortex-A7 cores clocked at 1.3GHz. It also integrates the Mali-400 GPU, as well as 512MB. And, of course, 8GB of internal storage that can be expanded with a microSD card (max. 32GB).
So here are our benchmark results compared to other competitive SoC’s on the market.
Geekbench 3.0 is Primate Labs cross-platform processor benchmark which simulates real-world scenarios and gives a combined score, based on the results of integer, floating point and memory performance.
|GSmart Essence Spreadtrum SC7731G (4-core, Cortex-A7, 0.5GB RAM||995||0 %||Check price|
|Prestigio Wize C3 GSmart Essence review – a tempting price for a compact-sized smartphone with IPS display and quad-core SoC 0.5GB RAM||1068||7.34 %||Check price|
|Samsung Galaxy J1 Spreadtrum SC7727S (2-core, Cortex-A7, 1.2 GHz), 0.5GB RAM||572||- 42.51 %||Check price|
|Lenovo A536 Mediatek MT6582M (4-core, Harvard, 1.3 GHz), 1GB RAM||1181||18.69 %||Check price|
|GSmart Classic Spreadtrum SC7731G (4-core, Cortex-A7, 1GB RAM||1102||10.75 %||Check price|
Metal 3 is the latest version of Vellamo’s CPU benchmark.
|GSmart Essence Spreadtrum SC7731G (4-core, Cortex-A7, 0.5GB RAM||572||0 %||Check price|
|Prestigio Wize C3 GSmart Essence review – a tempting price for a compact-sized smartphone with IPS display and quad-core SoC 0.5GB RAM||701||22.55 %||Check price|
|Samsung Galaxy J1 Spreadtrum SC7727S (2-core, Cortex-A7, 1.2 GHz), 0.5GB RAM||632||10.49 %||Check price|
|Lenovo A536 Mediatek MT6582M (4-core, Harvard, 1.3 GHz), 1GB RAM||776||35.66 %||Check price|
|GSmart Classic Spreadtrum SC7731G (4-core, Cortex-A7, 1GB RAM||647||13.11 %||Check price|
Vellamo 2 Metal measures the CPU subsystem performance of mobile processors.
|GSmart Essence Spreadtrum SC7731G (4-core, Cortex-A7, 0.5GB RAM||444||0 %||Check price|
|Prestigio Wize C3 GSmart Essence review – a tempting price for a compact-sized smartphone with IPS display and quad-core SoC 0.5GB RAM||533||20.05 %||Check price|
|Samsung Galaxy J1 Spreadtrum SC7727S (2-core, Cortex-A7, 1.2 GHz), 0.5GB RAM||485||9.23 %||Check price|
|Lenovo A536 Mediatek MT6582M (4-core, Harvard, 1.3 GHz), 1GB RAM||590||32.88 %||Check price|
|GSmart Classic Spreadtrum SC7731G (4-core, Cortex-A7, 1GB RAM||501||12.84 %||Check price|
Temperatures and comfort
Now that we’ve checked the performance of the phone, is time to see how hot it gets after extended periods of heavy usage. For the purposes of this test we simulate 3D gaming with the Epic Citadel App for about an hour, after which we measure the temperatures at three points on the back of the device. The hottest area was around the camera – 46.9 degrees Celsius. Even though it appears to be above the normal range, you shouldn’t consider it as a huge drawback. The reason for this is that only a small area around the camera got this hot, while the rest of the phone remained cool. In the middle, the highest temperature measured was 33.8 degrees, while at the bottom (near the loudspeaker) – only 31.5 degrees.
GSmart Essence has a 5MP rear camera that is capable of capturing pretty decent shots despite the price range of the device. Moreover, there’s a rich camera menu, full of manual settings, which you can use to make your photos even better.
GSmart Essence supports Full HD recording and slow motion as well.
GSmart Essence is a perfect choice for users looking for a budget device with decent specs and capabilities. Despite the absence of any unique features, the phone still has its good sides, such as compact sizes, IPS panel, accurate colors and close to none PWM across all brightness levels. GSmart has also provided a couple of neat pre-installed apps, along with some gesture controls support. The performance of SoC isn’t great, but it’s fine considering the price point. As for the camera, with only 5MP it’s capable of taking decent photos, record videos in Full HD resolution and in slow motion. Moreover, the phone offers a big camera menu with a lot of manual settings for you to play with. Perhaps one of the drawbacks of the device is the low amount of RAM (512MB) and it would’ve definitely been nice to see HD resolution on the screen, but the IPS panel kind of makes up for that by providing good viewing angles.
If you’re interested in the price and availability of GSmart Essence you can check the following link: Amazon.com.
- Compact sizes and pleasant design with a thin profile
- IPS display with 90% sRGB color gamut coverage and lack of PWM
- A lot of pre-installed apps
- Gestures control
- Rich camera menu with a lot of manual settings, including slow motion video recording
- Relatively low resolution – 480 х 854
- Only 512MB RAM