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Gionee S6s camera review: a capable shooter

|September 5, 2016 |Android Phones, Reviews, 4G, 4G LTE, Gionee, Camera Review

“The Gionee S6s is a selfie-focussed smartphone with Face Beauty 2.0 tech”

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Cameras on smartphones have improved quite a bit, and the fight for supremacy in this segment has gotten really aggressive, especially in recent times. Our recent shooting partner has been the all new Gionee S6s (unboxing and first impressions), which is a selfie-focussed smartphone and uses an 8MP front-facing sensor, along with a front LED flash. The phone uses Face Beauty 2.0 tech to beautify your selfies. As its primary snapper, it gets a 16-megapixel Sony IMX258 sensor with f2.0 aperture, and that also comes complemented by an LED flash module.

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The default camera app is fairly loaded with features, yet the UI looks clean and minimal. There are as many as nine live filters which can be applied to pictures in real time. You can choose from 14 different shooting modes. Apart from a few usual ones like Night, HDR, Panorama, Professional and Macro, which are pretty self explanatory, the camera app on the Gionee S6s offers some interesting shooting modes like Text Recognition, which can read text in any image you click; Pic Note, which allows you to crop any text containing image to make quick notes; GIF, and Mood Photo, wherein the app allows you to take a picture and doodle on it, before saving it.

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You’ll also find the usual toggles which allow you to switch to the front camera, turn on the flash, and access the camera settings on the top of the viewfinder. The Face Beauty mode is what utilises Gionee’s Face Beauty 2.0 tech. The feature allows you to control the smoothening and whitening of skin, slimming of the face, and eye enlargement on a scale of zero to 100. You can also compare the results in real time and tweak the settings as per requirement, to click the perfect selfie. The application is easy to use, and you need a maxium of two taps to access any control or feature. The autofocus on the primary camera works pretty swiftly, and the shutter speed is impressive as well. We tested the cameras in different lighting conditions and here’s an in-depth look at the shooting prowess of the new Gionee S6s.

Long Shot

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It was a cloudy afternoon in Gurgaon, when we took the liberty of clicking a landscape shot from the Gionee S6s. While the scene looked gloomy to the naked eyes, it was captured with impressive colours on the smartphone. The colour reproduction was close to natural, and the image didn’t look dull. When viewed on the smartphone’s screen, the image looked sharp enough, even after zooming in. However, going a little further and opening it in its full resolution, the image gave up and we encountered some murky textures, and blurred seams. But we’ll say that the primary shooter on the Gionee S6s captures enough detail.

Macro Shot

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Most smartphone cameras do well at macro photography, and hence it takes some really outstanding results for a shooter to stand out in the crowd, and the Gionee S6s manages to do that. While the overall colour reproduction felt slightly on the warmer side, the details captured were good. The camera also captures depth beautifully, and these were the results when we didn’t specifically use the Macro mode on the phone to click the above picture. The image on its own beautifully shows slight glossy leaves surrounding the pearl-white petals. How much of this detail remains intact once we zoom in? Read on to find out.

Macro Shot (Zoomed In)

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The zoomed image only solidifies what we said in the preceding section. We found no blurred lines whatsoever. The edges of leaves appear crisp, and so do the petals. For what it’s worth, you can now see the veins in the petals as well, which is impressive.

HDR Off

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A while later on the same gloomy afternoon that we clicked the long shot on, the cloud cover intensified, and Gurgaon was ready to get hit by the rains, water logging, and bad traffic. That didn’t stop us from testing the HDR mode on the Gionee S6s. You will find pretty much the same results as in landscape photography, when the HDR mode is off. However, due to a more cloudy weather, we noticed that the camera did not capture colours as well as it did earlier. That is why the above image looks slightly washed out.

HDR On

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The HDR mode on the smartphone made up for the washed out colours more than it needed to. While the image does have more dimension, with the lights and shadows now more defined, the contrast in the image is a bit too much, making the overall picture look a tad underexposed. That said, the image looks relatively better than how it looked when the HDR mode was switched off.

Low Light Shot

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The Gionee S6s performs average in low light situations. While it captures the colours, and you’ll be able to make out the object easily, the overall image turns out pretty grainy. 

Low Light (with flash)

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The flash on the Gionee S6s does its job perfectly. You won’t find any over-exposure, or burned out images, and the scene looks evenly lit. However, in a situation where you must use the flash because of scarce lighting, you will have to compromise on detail, since our images didn’t turn out as sharp as we would have liked.

Night Shot

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Having looked at the low light shots, we didn’t expect much from the primary shooter of the Gionee S6s in case of night time photography. Much to our surprise, the smartphone clicks decent images during the night. While the image had quite some noise, the overall picture quality was above average, with a fair amount of detail having been captured. The leaves and bushes in the direct vicinity of light did not appear murky, and on the device’s screen, we could see almost every object clearly, with sharp edges.

Front Shot

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The front camera of the Gionee S6s captures immense details in broad daylight. The colour reproduction was perfect. You will be able to see things you might not want to see on your face... like we encountered some fine lines. But then, there’s the Face Beauty mode to take of such things. However, might we just say that the company went a bit too extreme with it.

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Selfies in Face Beauty Mode set to 1, 50, and 100 [L to R]

As we mentioned earlier, the “beautification” can be controlled on the scale of one to 100. While we’ll just let you laugh at what the 100 setting made us look like, even when set to 1, the mode smoothes the skin a bit too much, devoiding your face of some contours, and making the pigmentation look blotchy and ashy. We liked our natural selfies better.

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The selfies clicked indoors were not as detailed, but still looked sharp enough. The Gionee S6s has front-facing flash, so we tried clicking some selfies in dim lighting as well. The phone gives you three options - use the LED flash, turn it on for steady lighting, or use the screen flash.The screen flash felt a little weak with the overall tones of the image tending to cyan, the steady light delivers more close to natural colours with the subject being evenly lit, and the regular flash options makes the image look slightly warmer, with a little harsh lighting on the subject. The low light selfies clicked without using any flash turned out grainy, yet usable.

The Gionee S6 is a capable shooter for the most part, and delivers decent results in most shooting conditions. At its price, which is Rs 17,999, the smartphone directly competes with the likes of the ASUS ZenFone 3 Laser (first impressions) and OPPO F1s (review), both of which are camera-centric phones. If cameras are your only deciding factors, the Moto G4 Plus (review) is another great shooter which comes for a significantly lesser price. If you need more analysis to help you decide whether or not to go for the Gionee S6s, don’t fret as our full review will be out in no time.



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