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Gigabyte GSmart Guru Review


Posted: , posted by Victor H.



Interface and Functionality

Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean is on board with very slight modifications made by Gigabyte, so we’re looking at an almost pure version of Google’s idea of what Android should look like. The only slight modifications we found are the G logo that appears when you unlock the device, some custom widgets, a licensed TouchPal keyboard and a few toggles here and there. Nothing too heavy to slow down performance, no bloatware, and that’s a good thing.

Basic functionality is still well covered and there is nothing here out of the Android ordinary. The phonebook features a dialer, call log and contacts panels that you can conveniently swipe between. The TouchPal keyboard is a nice addition with very large keys that are easy to press and with support for swipe gesture word recognition a la Swype.

Processor and Memory

Quad-core processors can be very different, but most devices released in 2013 feature either a Qualcomm Snapdragon or a MediaTek chip. Qualcomm is a name we usually associate with top-shelf devices, while MediaTek used to denote a slower but cheaper processor, but the difference between the two has gone smaller with time.

The GSmart Guru uses a MediaTek chip of that new kind that approaches Snapdragon chips closer than before. It’s the quad-core Cortex A7-based MT6589T with the T standing for turbo, paired with 2GB of RAM. This chip indeed is an overclocked modification of the wildly popular MT6589 quad-core chip. Still, in daily use, there is a bit of an occasional stutter just navigating around the menus and it is noticeable, but it’s not terrible.

Each core on the Guru can run at up to 1.5GHz. Now this might seem a bit too low compared to current cream of the crop 2.3GHz processor smartphones with chips like the Snapdragon 800, but we would not count on clock speed alone to understand the performance of a chip. That same 2.3GHz on Qualcomm’s chip for instance throttles down to 1.2GHz in just a minute in most games, so it indicates a peak rather than the regular processor running speed. In reality, the MT6589T behaves itself just differently than the Snapdragon chip. In contrast, the MediaTek chip in the GSmart Guru tends to run for much longer periods of time at its absolute peak 1.5GHz frequency under heavy loads, with much less variance.

The GSmart Guru is not a bad device for gaming as it easily runs casual games and can run even more intense games like Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 4, but it is out of the league of the top performers. It features a PowerVR SGX544 graphical chip running at up to 357MHz, and it’s a GPU that starts to struggle when it has to push all the pixels in a 1080p display like the one in the Guru. The slowdown is especially noticeable in 3D games where newer graphics chips can easily score triple the performance.

It’s worth mentioning that - quite admirably - Gigabyte does not cheat on the benchmarks like others (cough, Samsung, cough, LG, cough, HTC!) and the scores you see below happen with no artificial boost of clock speeds.

Internal storage comes in at the very generous 32GB, but that greater out of the box allowance has translated into a lack of microSD card. It’s a trade-off we are willing to make for Gigabyte to achieve the slim profile and sleek design of the Guru, but it’s a limitation worth noting. Out of the 32 gigs, around 27GB are available to the end user.

Gigabyte GSmart Guru Review
Internet and Connectivity

The GSmart Guru features 4G connectivity with HSPA+ support (up to 42 Mbps), but there is no LTE on board. Given the fact that it’s a phone destined to markets where 4G LTE infrastructure is not yet widely spread (or existing at all), this is not a huge a drawback.

To browse the web, the Guru comes with a pre-installed custom browser and mobile Chrome. We like Chrome for its cross-platform syncing capabilities, and we were impressed with the zippy speeds it opens with and rendering pages is also very quick. Scrolling around and zooming in and out happens almost without a stutter, but there is a very annoying tremble when you zoom in. That seems to be a software issue as we have not seen it in other Android phones, and we hope Gigabyte fixes this with an update.

Other connectivity options include single-channel 2.4GHz Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0. NFC and MHL are not supported.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display5.0 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (441 ppi) IPS LCD
Camera13 megapixels
MediaTek, Quad-core, 1500 MHz, ARM Cortex-A7 processor
Size5.79 x 2.84 x 0.28 inches
(147 x 72.1 x 7.2 mm)
5.57 oz  (158 g)
Battery2500 mAh, 10.5 hours talk time

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