General Mobile was founded in USA in the year 2005 with the notion of creating an international brand by following universal technology closely.
General Mobile. Remember that name. Because after you finish reading this review, you will sure to remember it. This is not a paid review or whatsoever. So what I’ve wrote in this review is 100% honest to what I actually think of the new General Mobile GM5 Plus.
If this is the first time you’ve heard of General Mobile, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. Especially if you’re not into technology updates or a geek like me. I only knew about it when I received the press release about the launch sometime in July. You can read all about it here. And a few weeks later, I received the review unit sent to my office.
My first impression when I opened the box was, Wow. It felt solid, sturdy and premium. It has textured back that made for a good grip. It doesn’t slip off my hand. The phone itself is, like I said, solid. I wouldn’t say that it’s too heavy and neither it’s too light. The weight is how a titanium + aluminum alloy would normally feel like. About the same weight as the ZTE Axon 7.
In the box you will get the normal stuffs. A USB type-C red cable and plug, bright red earphone with gold coating and a small standard Micro USB to USB type-C adapter so that you can use with your old USB cable. Also the other usual stuffs like the user’s manual and warranty card are included.
If you want to know the specifications of the phone, just turn the box around to the back to see it. They’ve listed everything you need to know about the GM5 Plus.
Here are the specs if you’re having trouble reading it from the picture.
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 Octa-Core 64-bit|
|Display||5.5″ IPS LTPS Full HD 1920×1080 at 401ppi|
|Screen||Corning Gorilla Glass 4 curved 2.5D screen|
|ROM||32GB + MicroSD up to 128GB|
|Network||4.5G LTE Cat7, 300 Mbps download + 100 Mbps upload|
|Camera||Rear 13MP AF + dual LED flash
Front 13MP AF + single LED flash.
|Battery||3100mAh Li-Po with GM Turbo Charge|
|OS||Android Nougat 7.1.1, upgrade to Oreo 8.0 coming soon|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 4.1 A2DP, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 500 Mbps|
In my opinion, the specification that we get from the GM5 Plus is good. The Snapdragon 617 is mainly focused on most of the mid-range smartphones nowadays. With that, it placed the GM5 Plus well in the mid-range segment but it felt more premium than that.
3GB of RAM is normally a standard for mid-range phones these days. Having a 2GB of RAM is more focused towards the entry level. I don’t see any other entry level phones that comes with only 1GB of RAM anymore. Which is good. But guess what, I saw an entry level phone released recently that comes with 512MB of RAM. MB as in, MegaByte! *facepalm*
Let’s have a closer look on the phone shall we?
As I kept mentioning earlier, the GM5 Plus feels premium. This is because of it’s solid build and the frame was manufactured from titanium + aluminum alloy that is used in the aircraft industry. Back of the phone is textured to give a good grip. The display is bright and colours are vibrant. I look at it being similar to an AMOLED display because of the deep black in dark areas with bright punchy colours.
As for the camera module, it sits right in the upper center in the rear with obvious protruding metal ring that protects the glass. I don’t quite fancy it being too obvious like this but at least the metal ring provide some protection around it. The dual tone LED flash is located right below the camera, with a large General Mobile logo below it. In the picture below you can see the textured surface of the back of the phone. There’s also a tiny microphone hole above the camera module.
The front camera is nested on the right of the earpiece and the single tone LED flash next to it. And on the left of the earpiece is the light sensor. Now remember, the front camera is also 13MP similar to the rear main camera. And a plus point with the GM5 Plus is that the front camera comes with auto-focus.
Around the phones we have the power and volume buttons on the right, the SIM card slot on the left side, earphone jack at the top and the USB type-C together with speaker and microphone at the bottom.
Let’s have a look at the OS.
Now what I love most about the GM5 Plus is the OS. It is pure Android powered by AndroidOne. General Mobile is Google’s official partner for AndroidOne devices which means, it has the same privilege as the old Nexus line. From the time I started using the GM5 Plus until the time I returned it, it updated 5 times. Started with Nougat 7.1, followed by the monthly release such as May update, June update, all the way up to the latest which is the August update. And it has been made official by Google themselves that General Mobile AndroiOne phones will be among the first to receive the new Android 8.0 Oreo update by end of this year. Awesome news.
Pure Android phones are reliable and fast without any of the bloatwares draining out the memory. I don’t have any problem or even face with any lag while using this phone. Playing games on this phone is very smooth and fluid. Browsing the Internet or watching online video streaming are a joy. But, the phone tends to get a little warm at the top area while on heavy Internet usage especially when I stream videos at high speed. But the warm is not a bother at all. It cools down quickly as soon as the connection stops.
Screenshots of the GM5 Plus Pure AndroiOne interface
Full internal specification screenshot by CPU-X
Time for pictures!
I’ve gone through the camera module. And now we’re going to check out the results and see what the 13MP camera on the GM5 Plus can do.
Let’s have a look at the simple standard type of picture first.
The standard picture was shot around the garden at the apartment where I work. I noticed that the camera software tends to give a slight green hue to the colour. It took a while to correctly “read” the white balance tone when you first launch the camera app. Only when you move around a little bit, it will process the correct tone.
I then shot the same photo at the same location with the HDR turned on. From the result, we can see that the light areas are highlighted better while maintaining a good shade for the shadows. This time we can even see the building in the background. The picture is processed better and we can’t really see the green hue in this one.
Now if I focus on something that is of the same colour (without any other colours present), we can see the obvious green hue. Sharpness and clarity of the picture is above average, just that the green hue annoys me a little bit.
Getting close to a subject is quite good. Details and clarity is there. Colour is not so punchy and the white balance is just okay. Still seeing the green hue a little bit.
Playing with the “bokeh” setting is fun. This is then you get to focus on a subject while the background is blur. A good setting when you’re playing with artistic portrait shots. In this one, the colour balance is good and I’m not seeing the green hue. Details are there, focus is spot on and overall a success.
The front camera has the auto-focus function. This is a big advantage for the GM5 Plus. Most of the time we get blurry selfie photos of ourselves and we had to take a few more shots before we find the suitable one. With the GM5 Plus, all you have to do is tap on the screen to select the focus area and shoot. And best of all, no green hue on the front camera.
Taking an indoor selfie is also good. Colours are well balanced and brightness level is just right. Details are there, all thanks to the auto-focus and I’m definitely happy with the result…except seeing my grey hair. *sigh*
Shooting at night is a little bit difficult. Getting the camera to focus on a subject is a little bit slot. Sometimes it doesn’t focus at all. Photo is very grainy when it’s too dark but when I’m around in lighted area, the noise is lesser. Details for further subject is blurry when shooting at night. I think this is because of the camera app taking too long to get the correct focus point.
Panorama mode is not bad. The photos stitched together really well giving that seamless panoramic view. But, the picture tends to be a little too dark. I don’t know if it’s because of the weather or the image processing. But to me it’s a little dim.
Another available cool function in the camera app is the 360-degrees photo. All you have to do is move around following the on screen dots until you’ve covered all the areas around you. You can then swipe the screen to view the 360-degrees picture. But this function can only be viewed from the phone itself. No sample for you guys.
But what about the video?
I kinda like taking videos with the GM5 Plus. Why? Because I can capture a good stable video just by hand-held. The stabilization worked really well in this phone. Below is the sample video taken with the GM5 Plus.
The video only shoots up to 1080p, which is good enough for a mid-range phone. Clarity is there and basically similar to the other popular mid-range phones out there.
I do have many plus point with the GM5 Plus AndroidOne phone. I love the fact that it is pure Google Android without the bloatwares and OS updates comes in frequently. If you know me well, that is exactly why I would love to have this phone for my daily use. Frequent updates are important to me. That way I know that I have the latest stuffs to play with. And I can’t wait for the Android Oreo update.
What it’s lacking is the fingerprint scanner/sensor to unlock the phone. The fingerprint sensor is becoming a normal function in any smartphones released recently. It does come in handy especially for me when I use the Maybank2u app whereby I can just log in to my account by touching the sensor. Easy peasy. If you want, General Mobile’s GM6 phone comes with the fingerprint sensor.
Overall, I love this phone. It yells premium at a low price. It feels good, it looks good and it performs really well. The battery last me the whole day after full charge in the morning, only plugging it in to recharge around 10pm at night. Apps are responsive without lag or stutter, screen is bright and vibrant, 5.5″ screen is good to watch some movies, speaker sound quality is loud without breaking, it is a good worth of money to get one.
Only downside for me is the occasional green hue that I get from the camera and the difficulties to focus in the dark. Other than that, it’s a solid phone.
The GM5 Plus smartphone is available through KWS Distribution online channels and priced at RM899 only.