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Elephone P9000 review



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Our Score:



  • Android 6.0
  • Great screen
  • Fast and wireless charging


  • Fingerprint scanner isn't reliable
  • Camera app needs work

What is the Elephone P9000?

The P9000 is the latest Android-based smartphone from Chinese manufacturer Elephone, which is gaining a solid reputation for its cheap yet cheerful mobile tech.

It sports a 5.5-inch LG-made LCD screen, a true Octa-core MediaTek chipset, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, fast charging, wireless charging, NFC, a Sony-made 13-megapixel camera and a fingerprint scanner on the rear.

The Elephone also runs Android 6.0, the latest version of Google's operating system. Despite these incredible specs, it costs less than £200.

Elephone P9000 – Design and Build

Elephone's previous efforts have been a little inconsistent when it comes to general build and design.

The Elephone M2 looked and felt like a premium phone but offered middle-of-the-road performance, while the more recent Vowney had power to spare – as well as 4GB of RAM – but was saddled with a mostly plastic casing that felt a little cheap. With the P9000, however, the company finally seems to have struck the perfect balance between power and design.

Related: Best Budget Phones

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The P9000 follows the current trend in the Android arena for metal-bodied handsets, boasting a metal chassis that's backed by a plastic panel.

Around the edges of the phone you'll discover a subtle chamfered effect, as well as the usual buttons and inputs. On the right-hand side sit the power key and volume rocker, while on the opposite side there's a button that can be configured to be a one-press shortcut to open pretty much any application you desire. Handily, a long-press of this button also puts the handset into silent mode, not entirely unlike the "mute" switch found on iPhone models.

On the top of the handset you'll find the ubiquitous 3.5mm headphone jack, while on the bottom resides the reversible USB Type-C data and charging socket – a future-proof element that even the recently released Samsung Galaxy S7 doesn't include. Flanking this port are two grilles, one housing a speaker, the other the in-call microphone.

Spinning the P9000 around reveals a plastic rear panel, which has a texture that takes some getting used to. It's a matte-effect surface, which at first glance looks like it should be soft – but it isn't; to describe it as very fine-grain sandpaper wouldn't be a million miles from the truth. I actually quite like it since it increases grip, but it also picks up marks and scratches a little too easily.

On the back you'll find the Sony-made 21-megapixel camera – complete with LED flash and laser auto-focus – and the fingerprint scanner.

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Strange choice of back panel texture aside, the P9000 looks and feels like a phone that should cost much more than £200, and it arguably gives the likes of HTC, Samsung and LG a run for their money in terms of overall design.

Dual-SIM functionality is a mainstay of the Chinese mobile market, and the P9000 offers support for two micro-SIM cards.

However, if you'd rather expand your available storage you can use one of those SIM slots for a microSD card, neatly augmenting the amount of space available for photos, music and other data.

Fingerprint scanners are becoming fairly commonplace on budget Android devices – the Elephone Vowney and Elephone M2 each had one – but it's clear that companies such as Elephone are perhaps struggling to implement the tech as effectively as their larger rivals.

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The scanner on the P9000 often requires a second or even third tap to register your fingerprint and unlock the device, but at least it can be used to wake the phone even when the screen is off. You can also use it to verify payments on the Google Play Store, thanks to the fact that the phone has Android 6.0 installed; when Android Pay hits the UK, you'll be able to team it up with the NFC chip to make contactless payments in shops.

Buy Now: Elephone P9000 at Amazon.com from $209.99

Elephone P9000 – Display

Elephone proudly states that the P9000 has a 5.5-inch Full HD, LG LTPS LCD on the device's Apple-like plastic packaging, and it has good reason to to shout about it – this screen is absolutely superb, even by upper-tier standards.

Colours are incredibly punchy, contrast is excellent and viewing angles are rock-solid. When the adaptive brightness setting is enabled, things can get a little dim, but at mid-to-full brightness this display positively sings. It's easy to view in directly sunlight, too.

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The manufacturer is also keen to point out that the phone has incredibly slim bezels – 1.6mm, in fact – on the left and right sides of the screen, which ensure that it isn't too wide, even for a phablet-class handset. It's still pretty sizeable in the hand, but it certainly feels easier to handle than some of its big-screen rivals. In fact, placed alongside the Galaxy S7 – which has a 5.1-inch screen – the P9000 is only marginally taller.

Like previous Elephone handsets, the P9000 comes with touchscreen gesture commands that allow you to open apps while the display is off.

For example, tracing a "C" shape on the sleeping screen will automatically boot up the camera. These shortcuts are simple enough to memorise and have the potential to be incredibly useful – provided you don't use any kind of screen-lock security. Doing so means that even when you input the gesture, you have to unlock your device to get to the app, which kind of defeats the purpose. Still, it's neat all the same.

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Elephone P9000 – Software

Unusually for such a low-cost handset, the P9000 ships with Android 6.0. The presence of Marshmallow means you get features such as Google Now On Tap and the battery-saving Doze mode. However, Elephone has confused matters somewhat by including its own granular app permissions system from its Android 5.1 phones, and this clashes with the built-in version that ships with 6.0 as standard. Thankfully, you can switch off Elephone's manager to avoid any conflicts.

Elsewhere, Elephone has taken the same approach that it did with the M2 and Vowney, by presenting an almost stock version of Google's mobile OS.

There's a one-tap option in the Recent Apps menu that shuts down all running processes, and the Settings menu has a few new entries such as gestures and button shortcut customisation, but on the whole this is similar to the software that ships on the Nexus 5X and 6P.

Elephone has even been quite restrained with the apps it preinstalls; you get a flashlight, FM Radio, backup program, pedometer, sound recorder and Elephone Service app – and that's about it. In fact, the phone itself is somewhat barebones the first time you switch it on – a blank canvas ready for your own personal preferences.

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Elephone's Turbo Download feature is an interesting addition to Android – it allows you to combine your network and Wi-Fi signals to boost the speed of downloads. If you're in an area where the 4G signal is strong and you have access to a wireless hotspot it really makes a difference, but I forgot to switch if off on a few occasions and my data allowance took a bit of a beating.

The way the P9000 handles the usual Android commands of back, home and multi-tasking is worth a mention, too. By default, these icons don't appear on-screen – instead, the single capacitive button found below the screen covers the three main commands.

A single tap on this button will take you back, while double-tapping brings you back to the home menu. A long press, on the other hand, opens the multi-tasking menu. It's an elegant solution, but one that feels a little pointless – after all, there is space either side of this button for the back and multi-tasking commands, so why not include them?

Also, it's impossible to activate Google Now (usually done with a longpress on the home button) via this interface. Thankfully, you can switch to the traditional on-screen icon bar that sits at the bottom of the display, just like on the Nexus 5X and 6P. This can be collapsed if you so wish, and reinstated with an upwards swipe from the bottom of the screen.

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Despite the phone's Chinese origins, I had absolutely no issues in setting up the P9000 in the UK. It connected to my provider's network without any problems and, for all intents and purposes, behaved exactly like a phone purchased from a British high-street store. Given that rival Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi's phones often require additional legwork to get them operating correctly here in the UK, that's a pleasant surprise.


March 28, 2016, 9:27 am

You were sent this for review by Elephone? So presumably they are interested in the UK market. Do they support this with any UK presence and aftersales, or is it a case of buy it from China direct, kiss goodbye to any UK/EU statutory consumer protection and warranty, caveat emptor, etc?

Dead Words

March 28, 2016, 6:05 pm

I have a few questions:
1) How well would this device work in the USA? Is it GSM compatible, and will it play nice with AT&T's network?
2) Has Elephone made any statements about pending or future updates such as Android 7.0? How reliable has Elephone been in the past with providing updates?
3) Are there any other phones that compare to the deal this phone provides in a similar price range with similar availability? OnePlus X, Moto X Play, Nexus 5x?
4) Is the back removable? I do not remember reading that in the review so I assume not.
5) Is the bloatware (as little as is present) able to be removed or uninstalled?

Thank you in advance for answers.

Marcos Gali

March 29, 2016, 9:25 am

bought this phone and goes directly back to the manufacturer ... (sometimes i wonder how the stars are given to the phones).

- you can't change the lock screen picture or customize the lock screen
- if NFC is enabled you will get a notification message which you can't remove in your lock screen
- Wifi keeps disconnecting even if you set it to remain alive when in sleep mode, also even is not in sleep mode the wifi keeps disconnecting.
- fingerprint sometimes doesn't work, others work, others doesn't at all.
- memory cards get corrupted as soon as you remove them or restart the phone.
- camera slow, the white balance is completely broken and the highlights completely blow up, sharpness is made by software, not the lens (chip could be ok, but lens is crap) so the pictures feels oversharped even in normal setting. (not to say the noise if low light ... and that is if you manage to take a pic of what you want because when you press and when it takes the pic 3 seconds have passed by).
- you can customize the battery icon
- it is a P10 so it is medium type of phone power range, putting it this way, oneplusone gives more performance than this phone, but... lack of some of the features, even so most of the features on this phone doesn't work as they should anyway.

This phone only has good the screen and design... the rest not very good. they should needed to work a bit more in the hardware quality and the software.

to me it is a 2 starts, it has the features but they don't work.

Marcos Gali

March 29, 2016, 9:27 am

you by china, but they have where to fix it in UK. but my advise is keep away from the phone (unless you care more about the money than what the phone will work and perform well, you will need lots of patience with this phone).


March 29, 2016, 9:41 am

Thanks for the review. How did you get an Eliphone 9000 so early? According to the website it is still on pre-sale, so I did not realise there were any units delivered already, other than review samples.

What has been your experience trying to return yours?

Dead Words

March 29, 2016, 4:33 pm

He might be talking about the P8000. I don't see how he could get a P9000 so early and then have time to use it, tell he doesn't like it, and send it back. I may be wrong but I thought this phone hadn't been officially released yet, you can only pre-order it.


March 31, 2016, 11:33 pm

Marcos Gali says "keep away from the phone" ? This advice from someone who most likely hasn't even seen one let alone tried one? . . . well Damien McFerran has and he has given us his thoughts which as he has actually had one to try I will listen to.


April 2, 2016, 11:05 am

Or he could have been talking through his hat (that's the polite expression).


April 2, 2016, 11:12 am

It's hard to know what to believe. I've not managed to find much good said about Elephone in user reviews, but the quality of those reviews themselves is not good either. And I would not put it passed Elephone to cherrypick the samples sent out for press reviews.
It would be good if TR themselves could come back on these comments, but strangely they seem the least interested of all in their own articles - it's just fire and forget.


April 2, 2016, 11:14 am

I believe your thanks were premature. Sadly TR show little interest in their own website.

Dead Words

April 2, 2016, 9:49 pm

Apparently so.

Allan Blom

April 17, 2016, 3:58 pm

Yes. I have one. And it looks ok. But it is faulty. Even fully charged in the evening at 9 o'clock it will be down to 9% after 9 hours of standby!!! And apps crash. I'm sending it back or I will be trying to get a full refund. Even tryed this. Phone had about 60% battery left. Put the phone in the pocket. 20-25min later when I took the phone out of the pocket. It was dead!! It would not turn on. I did not think it would have been battery gone flat. Because first it didn't charge. And when it did, it had zero % battery left!!!

Javier Fenech

April 20, 2016, 8:01 pm

It is not the phone the problem. It is ELEPHONE the company, there is no real guarantee. You will have to contact customer care a hundred times to get some sort of reply and if you had to return the phone as they say you will get nothing back. Chinese manufacturers may sell all over the world but their attitude is Chinese!!

Buraot Ako

April 22, 2016, 9:56 am

Trusted review please mention other cons like :

Battery life is worse than anything you have ever seen. It won't last a day.
Heating problem is worse than you can imagine.
Finger print scan do not work when charging.
Camera takes forever to focus
Wifi intermittently disconnects.

Cheap phones comes with a price. Save your money for the rainy days ahead.


April 24, 2016, 12:09 pm

why the heck do you need the finger print scan while charging? Stay with your Apple iShit (that it doesn't even charge wirelessly without an adaptor, although it costs as much as 3 to 4 P9000), and let the others look forward. It's not your money..


April 25, 2016, 6:53 am

don't forget the terrible speakers

Gez Matthews

April 27, 2016, 2:38 pm

It seems to me that many peeps who "pre-ordered" this via Elephone recommended stores have kinda ordered way back beginning of March and STILL haven't received their handset. Then you get others who ordered from the other "popular" chinese online stores within last 2 weeks and have theirs already?? Seems to me Elephone's Pre-Ordering system doesn't give you any loyalty by shopping direct. Complete waste of time

Buraot Ako

May 11, 2016, 12:26 pm

Are you stupid Αλκιβιάδης? Your argument is way below my dogs brain.
What the f...k do you know when one person needs finger print scan or not? I never buy Apple btw it is too overpriced.
Kiddo my opinion and review is my own, if you can't take it go somewhere else.
Are you an employee of Elephone ? hahaha.
Why the hate on my honest review?


May 23, 2016, 10:09 am

"when Android Pay hits the UK, you'll be able to team it up with the NFC chip to make contactless payments in shops"

Important to note that this is currently broken as the ROM image has not been verified by google. No idea if this will ever be fixed so don't buy expecting android pay to work.

Сергей Латухин

June 22, 2016, 8:33 pm

Blackview R7 - the same feature set but cheaper + iron case!

Bandario Sanchez

June 26, 2016, 3:06 am

Does not support WCDMA band 5. Useless.

Сергей Латухин

July 6, 2016, 8:37 pm

blackview R7 - analjg - 170$

Harry Eaton

July 17, 2016, 3:35 am

The battery life was not great when I first bought this phone but since the latest OTA updates it's been very good. I don't experience any of the problems attributed to this phone in the earlier comments below. It's now a really well sorted device, an excellent buy at the price and much nicer to use than my old iphone. Tip, if you have trouble running the OTA update, temporarily remove the SD card and it works fine.


August 9, 2016, 11:36 am

??? analjg ???

Evelin Jauhari

August 10, 2016, 4:48 am

This Elephone company is a SCAM. I repeat, A SCAM.
I bought my P8000 last year, about October last year. It work ok until 6 months later, it just went die. Nothing on the screen, just blank. So I contacted them through email and it took 2 days to get a reply. I told them what happened and ask about the warranty. They told me not to worry since they give 1 year warranty. They asked me to send the phone back to their company in China.

I went to post office but they rejected it because they cannot send phones with batteries, and of course this Elephone has non-removable battery. I told them what happened and they suggested me to go to DHL.

I did as they suggested and DHL said it will cost me USD 78. I'm not paying that much!

So I told Elephone about and they refused to pay. They DID NOT give me any solution. They could've told me to get a local repairment and reimburse the service cost, but they DID NOT!!!

They totally FAILED their warranty promise. Just avoid this company. They have the most terrible customer service.

I never made any bad review on any company, but this one is just too horrible. What a SCAM!

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