Ele­phone M2

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS -

If you’re look­ing for a cheap An­droid phone, buy­ing from China can get you much more phone for your money. The Ele­phone M2 is one such ex­am­ple, and at £104.53 from Ele­phone Store it’s un­likely you’d find the same deal on the UK high street. The price in­cludes free world­wide ship­ping, but one thing you have to watch when ship­ping it to the UK is that if your par­cel is picked up at cus­toms you will have to pay im­port duty. Plus there are some other risks in­volved when you buy from abroad, such as the ease with which you can re­turn a hand­set if some­thing goes wrong.

De­sign

For a circa-£100 phone, the Ele­phone looks much bet­ter than what you might get for the same money in the UK. For a start it’s not plas­tic, and this metal-framed phone fea­tures a smart uni­body de­sign that adds rigid­ity. That does mean the 2600mAh bat­tery is non-re­mov­able, but a tray on the phone’s right edge lets you add a mi­croSD card or a se­cond SIM.

The build is en­tirely metal, save for the glass dis­play and two black plas­tic pan­els that sit top and bot­tom at the rear. Th­ese tend to be used to im­prove the cel­lu­lar sig­nal with metal smart­phones, and we didn’t find they de­tracted from the de­sign. How­ever, on our re­view sam­ple the bot­tom panel doesn’t run quite flush to the metal, which re­sults in a slightly less pre­mium feel than Ele­phone pre­sum­ably wanted to achieve.

In other re­spects the build qual­ity is good. Our ‘black’ model is more a gun­metal grey, and a gold ver­sion is also avail­able. De­spite be­ing a ph­ablet, the M2 isn’t overly large or un­wieldy, mea­sur­ing 75x155x7.35mm (pretty thin for a bud­get phone) and weigh­ing in at 165g. We also like the 2.5D curved glass used on the phone’s front, which makes the tran­si­tion be­tween the metal frame and glass screen feel less no­tice­able in the hand.

In our tests the 5.5in ful­lHD IPS dis­play was suf­fi­ciently bright and clear, with a pixel pitch of 400ppi. View­ing an­gles are ex­cel­lent and colours are good. If you’re look­ing for a mo­bile dis­play on which to watch video, this one won’t dis­ap­point.

The bezels to the left- and right edges of the screen are rea­son­ably slim, though a fair amount of space is found top and bot­tom. This is partly used to house the cam­era, speaker and sen­sors at the top, and back and re­cents touch but­tons at the bot­tom, which sit ei­ther side of a phys­i­cal home but­ton with a fin­ger­print scan­ner built-in.

Now that’s some­thing you won’t find in a £100 UK phone. This type of bio­met­ric se­cu­rity is still only as se­cure as your pass­word or PIN, since ei­ther can be used to by­pass the fin­ger­print scan­ner, but when it works well it can be a con­ve­nient way to quickly un­lock your hand­set with­out hav­ing to tap in a code.

Pleas­ingly, the fin­ger­print scan­ner works with a touch- rather than swipe-style in­put method, al­though you do need to en­sure you cover the en­tire home but­ton with your thumb- or fin­ger­tip. Ele­phone says it works in half a se­cond, and in our tests we found no rea­son to ques­tion this.

So many of the Chi­nese phones we re­view re­verse the Mi­cro-USB charg­ing slot and head­phone jack, with the for­mer at the top and the lat­ter at the bot­tom. Ele­phone doesn’t do this, which

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