New Elephone P3000S 64bit 3GB: Discover the true meaning of "Keep expecting and be surprised"!

May 14, 2015

The newest release of Elephone P3000S has potential to be another THL-killer.
Would it meet your expectations?

The earlier P3000S phones were no thread compared to the THL 2015, but for the new version, Elephone refreshed the specification to either equal or exceed its rival, at least on paper:

Look and feel: 
The big logo, the red circle surrounding the camera unit, the shiny 4G stamp on the front, ...nothing contributes to make the P3000S a beauty (this is subjective of course). No nice finishing touch and a weird decision to locate the volume button on the left side which the flap will cover.
The phone feels solid and firm in hand. Strangely it also feels thicker despite being so only by 6mm.
The flip cover feels and look cheap and tends to snap out a little too easily. While I prefer its transparent window makes the touch screen less reactive for answering a call, but gives a more complete protection of the screen where the THL leaves with just an empty hole.

At the opposite of the THL, the 3 soft buttons don't have back light but the notification LED has a color selector for each type of event. The app history (when you keep the Home button pressed) includes an app killer to quickly clean up the memory. A nice addition that THL used to have in some models but not the THL 2015.

No back light for these buttons

Analog and digital clock can be
selected from the S View Cover settings.
Sliding to the right reveals a music player.
What they have in common:

Processor: MT6752 Octacore 64bit, 1.7GHz . The phones are equally snappy and stable.

Dimensions: almost the same, with the Elephone being a bit bulkier and somewhat heavier by 10gr.

THL 2015
Diag. (screen)

Finger print reader: The smaller finger print reader works fine. The secondary unlock method is always a password. It would have been nice to revert to a pattern like the THL allows.
The finger scanner can also be used to restrict access to chosen apps or to scroll up and down within any application. In the security department, the device encryption is available as well as a mobile anti-theft function

Screen gestures: while THL did not advertise it, it also has the same feature. It is located under the Accessibility menu. Using this function on either phone contributes in draining the battery faster.

GPS/Glonass: The compass tends to act a bit crazy (even after calibration, you know... the esoteric flat-8 dance).  It is less than ideal for AR apps like Sky Map or FlightRadar24 but at least this doesn't seem to affect the GPS functionality which is fast and accurate just like the THL.

Wi-Fi/USB/OTG: no bad surprise here, they perform as expected and the Wi-Fi reception is comparable to the THL.

Sound: Speakers and microphone provide a good quality. The speaker is loud enough once the BesLoudness option (volume booster for speaker) is enabled in the Audio Profiles menu.

The Elephone's main camera is a Sony IMX135 and offers 13 mpx so the expectation is once again to retrieve something similar as in the THL 2015.
In broad daylight pictures are comparable to the THL (see here for pictures taken with the THL 2015).
It's a different story indoor where the P3000s struggles to focus and fails to deliver the same sharpness. It looks like the Sony sensor hasn't been combined with the lens it deserves. The resulting pictures are prone to glare and flare. The good news is that we're still light years ahead from an Omnivision camera!
P3000S-64bit - click for full size
THL 2015 - click for full size

The selfie side is 5 mpx. The face-unlock would often fail in poor lighting condition and has a too narrow field of view which is probably down to the firmware settings because, for the rest, this camera performs like the THL 2015.

The differences:

RAM: 3GB (THL: 2GB): 1 extra GB with a fast processor potentially helps unleashing the phone performance. In reality it is not easy to measure but the heaviest games will certainly not complain.

More Battery: 3150 mAh (THL: 2700 mAh): This gives a correct autonomy for a day of mixed use but very similar to the THL really. It has been seen in the past already that the advertised capacity was not always the real one...

Rooted from factory: There's no bloatware within the Android 4.4.4 installed and the phone comes rooted with SuperSU already installed. Great!

Display: 5", 1080 x 1920 px, 440 ppi with DragonTail glass (scratch resistant) and 5 points touch screen which is appropriate for that screen size.
The important difference is in the display quality. No need to use a backlight bleed test app to see the difference. On the left in the picture below: the Elephone and the THL 2015 on the right.
It is crucial to run the Als_ps calibration (proximity sensor) in order to keep the auto-brightness from making it even worse.

The MiraVision options can help but also can make things worse if you push the contrast or select the Vivid mode. In any cases it would never match the THL which has excellent contrast and stunning colors naturally.


This is where I understood the real meaning of Elephone's motto: Keep expecting and be surprised 
See the 2 empty holes up there? That where the NFC antenna contacts should be.

It's a simple trick which works as follow:

Keep expecting...the NFC function...
Be surprised... there's no NFC for the lucky first 100,000 customers!

A discrete notification appeared on their web site once most people had confirmed their pre-order:

Published: 2015-04-13    Views: 1379
Dear customers:
     Don't you think you're paying too much for 3GB RAM smartphones?  Take a look at P3000S 3GB version. It's as powerful as those 3GB RAM flagships on the market. It's powered by 64bit MTK6752 Octa core processor and the most advanced GPU of Mali-T760.
    The phone packs other high performance hardware such as 13MP Sony camera and JDI FHD display. It also supports fingerprint ID, FOTA update.
    The phone ought to support NFC, but considering that NFC don't have popularity in most of the countries and lower the cost by 5 dollars. We have taken NFC out for the first batch of P3000s. 100.000 pieces of P3000S were sent out in April don't support NFC function. However, if you think you probably need NFC function, we have the next batch of P3000S which packs NFC for you.

[Sarcastic mode ON], yes, no big deal, you probably didn't want NFC anyway, and if you did, just buy it once more... [Sarcastic mode OFF]

The same trick was used for the previous Quad-Core release of the P3000S in 2015.
Keep expecting...a Sony camera
Be Surprised...As you know, Elephone P3000s should pack Sony camera sensor. However, we'd like to inform you that some of P3000s use OmniVision sensor instead.

Other thoughts:
On the performance side, the Elephone P3000S-6752 is on par with the THL 2015, as expected since they're both built on the MTK6752. The P3000S is on the right in the pictures below.
Generally the Elephone tends to produce less heat than the THL.

Engineering mode: *#*#3646633#*#*
Test mode: *#*#33#*#*

The P3000s-6752 is a lower cost version of the THL 2015 but fails to qualify as a THL-killer due to its lower quality in most departments: design, ergonomic, compass, display, but also the camera, ...

It does however perform perfectly and delivers the great performance of the solid MTK 6752. So this is not a bad phone as such, and currently for 161€/175$ (vs 220€/240$ for the THL) @, it is good bang for the bucks.

My real concern is about Elephone themselves:  
Elephone is playing a dangerous game with its announcement effects and false promises.
For the second time in a year, they fooled their customers, and not just a few, by changing the advertised specification, in particular during some pre-sale deal!

As a result, it is hard to trust that brand and buy with confidence. So the lesson learned here with Elephone is: never be the first to buy! Don't rush for their latest P7000 yet, wait to see if they won't remove the touch screen or the microphone this time...who knows!?

At time of writing (15/05/2015), there are still many P3000S from batch #1 on sale, so if you need the NFC function, ask the seller to confirm before buying!

Update (June 2015): It also appears from the forum the anounced release of Lollipop for this model was another lie.


  1. Wow! Total style revamp. Nice! And so much faster to load and navigate.
    Good job,

  2. Thanks for your feedback Alastair. Yes, it was time to renew that aging and bulky template. Glad you like it!