Elephone S8 hands-on: A solid, no-nonsense phone for business use

elephone-s8-view-eileen-brown-zdnet.png
  • Editors' rating
    8.2 Excellent
  • $239.99

Pros

  • Tri bezel-less 6-inch display
  • 3D curved glass back
  • ClearMotion video enhancement

Cons

  • 4GB RAM lags behind other current phones
  • Heavy compared with slimline devices

I was unaware of the Chinese hardware manufacturer Elephone, but I hope that I get to see more of its devices. The sub-$240 Elephone S8 phablet has impressed me right out of the box. It is a nice-looking, aluminium body phone with a large screen and a great look and feel.

Elephone S8 hands on A solid no-nonsense phone for business use ZDNet
(Image: Elephone)

The screen is a 6-inch 2560 x 1440p 2K Corning Gorilla Glass display boasting a 92.4 percent of screen-to-body ratio. I like the look of the screen real estate.

The back of the phone is beautiful. It has a 3D curved glass back, which fits nicely in the curves of my hand. Even though this is a large phone, it does not feel unwieldy.

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Its external dimensions are 158 x 80 x 8mm and it weighs 195g (5.47 ounces) -- slightly heavier than the Meizu Pro 6 plus with its 5.7-inch screen.

Elephone S8 hands on A solid no-nonsense phone for business use ZDNet
(Image: Elephone)

Its curved back reflects the phone body colour so that it looks like the back is made of iridescent glass. Elephone has thoughtfully included a clear soft plastic case so the luminosity of the back is not hidden by the cover.

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Inside the device, there is a Helio x25 deca core processor running at up to 2.5GHz. Two cores are A-72s running at 2.5GHz, four cores are A53s running at 2.0GHz, and four A53 cores run at 1.4GHz.

The GPU is an ARM Mali T880, and it has 4GB RAM, which is not as much as the Meizu Pro 7 Plus, Doogee Mix, Ulefone T1, or Doogee S60, all of which have 6GB RAM.

The rear camera is a 21-megapixel with a flash. The front camera is an 8-megapixel camera. Both are from Sony. Due to the size of the screen real estate, the front camera is at the bottom of the screen, so you need to turn the phone upside down to take a selfie. The camera lens is at the top left-hand corner.

There is a light that can be turned on and off to brighten the shot and simulate the flash This is the first time I have seen this feature for taking selfies. It really works well to lighten the image without resorting to image manipulation after the photo has been taken.

There is also a setting to turn on zero shutter delay, which is very useful when taking photos of restless animals. The camera also has a nice Picture-in-Picture mode that takes an image using both front and rear cameras.

The resulting image has a Polaroid-style insert. This looks quirky and gives a new look and feel to the standard selfie. Video mode has a noise-reduction feature and the ability to turn the sound on and off.

Aside from the standard installed apps on this Android 7.1 device, Elephone has included a feedback app. Here you can submit suggestions about the device, write product evaluations, and comment about the dealer that sold you the phone.

Like the Doogee S60, the S8 has DuraSpeed, touch-based gesture controls you can turn on to take screenshots and invoke the camera. There are also other shortcuts that jump to the camera, start music, and answer a call.

You can also customise whether you want to use the soft navigation bar or use the fingerprint sensor to invoke the back, home key, and recent tasks. I like the fact that I can configure this feature to suit my way of working.

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The S8 also has settings to optimise images. Videos can be enhanced by configuring ClearMotion -- a video fluency enhancer that stops video judder. MiraVision is a set of engines to adjust the image quality.

All in all, I love the look of this phone. It might not be as fast as the 6GB phones I mentioned earlier, or have as many extra features as the Doogee range of phones, but for everyday business use, this phone has everything you need, including a USB-C connection and a 4,000mAh battery with quick-charging capability.

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Specifications

Cellular
Type SmartPhone
Operating System Android 7.1 Nougat
Miscellaneous
Color Blue
Processor
Clock Speed 2.5 GHz
Manufacturer Helio
Processor Core Qty Deca-core
Display
Diagonal Size 5.7 in
Dimensions & Weight
Width 3.15 in
Depth 0.31 in
Height 6.22 in
Weight 6.34 oz

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