We’ve already reviewed a ton of variations of the Allview X3 series, including a Lite, Pro and Mini model, so now it’s time for the Plus, arguably the best of the series. It’s a locally integrated version of the Gionee S6 Pro, that debuted in June this year and it’s priced at around $300. It stands out through the fact it has an USB Type C port, a fingerprint scanner and blinding gold color.

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It comes with the motto “no boundaries” and it sports a 97% metallic design. It looks and feels a bit like a Galaxy A model, not that it’s a bad thing or anything. Allview X3 Soul Plus measures 7.6 mm in thickness, weighs 175 grams, Meanwhile, it’s also slightly thicker and heavier than the Galaxy A7 (2016) – 172 grams/ 7.3 mm. Seeing how small the difference is, the two are virtually the same size.

We’ve got a 2.5D glass panel upfront and this model comes with a great and premium build. There’s an interesting color band around the edges, which we totally liked when we reviewed the phone, but then we found it was detachable. Boo-hoo! This one is an angular, but comfy phone, that’s both long and wide, so one hand usage is pretty modest.

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We’ve got comfy buttons and a 5.5 inch unibody metal case, with narrow edges for the screen. It remains a well built and elegant device. The display is an IPS LCD unit, with a Full HD resolution and a 5.5 inch diagonal, plus 2.5D panel and In Cell Touch tech. Bezels are narrow and protection is offered by Gorilla Glass 3. We played video using the preinstalled solution, that comes with a Pop Up Play feature, as well as DTS tech.

There’s also an aspect ratio setup mechanism and luckily we don’t have any big black edges around the image, as I’ve seen on many phones lately. The device offers wide view angles, a modest contrast in the sun, well calibrated colors and good brightness. Pixels have an RGB Stripes setup here and the luxmeter test we did showed a value of 382 LUX units, which is not too high. Over 400 would have worked much better, in my view.

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At least we surpassed the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium by 1 LUX and also the HTC One M9 and LG G5. It’s good for indoor watching of content and it also placed us below the X3 Soul Style and X3 Soul Mini. Settings include Adaptive Brightness, Economical Backlight, font style and size, as well as multitasking style. There’s no color setup here or special screen features, sadly. Not an impressive panel in the end.

Moving on to the other hardware, we’re being treated to a MediaTek Helio P10 processor, an octa core unit at 1.8 GHz, with Cortex A53 cores and a Mali T860 GPU. 4 GB of RAM are here, plus 32 GB of storage and a microSD card slot with support for up to 128 GB of extra storage. The apps load fast and there’s no lag here, plus the UI is fluid, even with many apps open at the same time.

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Our usual benchmark game, Riptide GP2 runs like a champ, while moving on to benchmarks reveals that in Quadrant we scored less than the X3 Soul Style handset, while in AnTuTu we scored 1000 points above the Moto G4 and 5k above the Galaxy A5 (2016), but also below the X3 Soul Pro. GeekBench 3 placed us below the HTC One A9 and Moto G4, but somehow above the LG G4.

I expected a tad more here, especially since the specs are very good. The temperature test brought us a good 35.8 degrees Celsius after running GFXBench, but it jumped to 42.8 degrees Celsius after running Riptide GP 2, which is a bit hot, even by gaming standards.

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The web browser on board is a bit on the slow side and it also generates poor benchmarks. The battery integrated on the Allview X3 Soul Plus has a 3130 mAh capacity and the charger that’s bundled with the phone offers 5V/2A charging. On paper we are promised 225 hours of standby, or 890 minutes of talk time. Our HD video playback in a loop test showed us a value of 9 hours and 44 minutes, which is good especially for the smartphone’s thickness.

We surpassed the LG V10 and HTC 10 on this occasion, but scored below the HTC One M8 and Allview X3 Soul Pro somehow. The PCMark test was the real endurance test, with us reaching 7 hours and 18 minutes, a solid result, that had us above the Nexus 6P and Huawei P9 Lite, but also below the Allview V2 Viper X and Allview X3 Soul Pro. Charging requires 2 hours and 22 minutes, an OK result, seeing how we did better than the Lenovo Vibe X3 and Allview X3 Soul Pro.

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Settings offer the usual Power Manager, with modes like Normal, Power Save (with a Dark Theme option) and Extreme Power Save (black and white, minimal options). There’s also Smart Power Saving at Night, Doze and I have to say I’m pretty happy with these battery results. On the acoustics front, there’s DTS on offer here, plus the typical Allview music player, with an EQ that offers DTS functions for headphones.

There are also genre presets and 5 sliders for various frequencies. The custom bit for headphones includes DTS Focus, DTS Trubass, Center and Definition. When we proceeded to actually listen to some music, the speaker met us with loud and clean sound, no distortion, good guitar rendering and nice high notes. The bass was also prety solid and there was no muffling on a flat surface.

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We’ve got 2 speaker grilles at the bottom, but only the right one is actually associated to a speaker. The decibelmeter test we did afterwards revealed a result of 85.8 dBA at the front and back, solid and surpassing both the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S7. It’s still below the offering of an LG G5 or LG AKA. Headphones bundled with the handset are comfy, the provide good isolation, solid bass and they’re also loud and clear.

We also get FM radio here, with a recording feature and I’m pretty happy with the acoustics overall. Now it’s time to analyze the camera. Allview X3 Soul Plus opts for a 13 megapixel back shooter, with Sony IMX258 sensor, the same one from the OnePlus X and Xperia XA, as well as the Allview X3 Soul Style. It has PDAF, F/2.0 aperture, 5 lenses and moving to the front, the selfies are taken with an 8 MP shooter with F/2.2 aperture and flash screen feature.

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The camera app starts up fast, has fluid zoom, OK focus speed and takes pics fast. Typical camera options include geotagging, anti banding, as well as resolution setting to 13 megapixel in 4:3 and 10 MP in 16:9. Modes include Super photo (5 X 13 MP shots via interpolation), Pic Note, Mood Photo, GIF, Smart Scan, Panorama, Slow Motion, Macro, Night, Time Lapse, Text Recognition, HDR, Pro and Smart Scene.

The Pro mode offers access to functions like exposure, ISO, white balance, shutter and focus. There’s also a section for effect, face beauty, white balance, scene and exposure. The gallery of shots we took was done in the mountains on a sunny day of September and we registered some overly bright shots to start with. There are also some nice closeups here, some burn happens every once in a while and it kind of makes sense, since the weather was extremely hot, over 35 degrees Celsius even.

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The HDR felt a bit burnt, but we were happy with the colors, well calibrated to be frank. Closeups are great, especially with that detailed bee on top of the orange flower. Zooming in also produced great details, which the landscape shots also had. Clarity was good, there was no blur and we actually ended up using HDR to make too bright pics darker, if you can believe it.

Having tested the Allview X3 Soul Style around the same time as this mode and with them sharing the same camera sensor, I have to say that this one has less problems with the dynamic range than the X3 Soul Style. Some are still present though… I also found it a bit hard to focus in closeups and when the light is placed behind the objects, there’s a bit of a halo effect going about.

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Panorama looked nice, but its resolution of 6848 x 1760 pixels is nothing to write home about. I was also happy with the selfies and overall I’d place this cam on par with the LG Nexus 5X and about 5% inferior to the Galaxy A5 (2016). When it comes to low light capture, this model produces shots with big street light halos, also a bit dark, but reasonably clear.

There’s some blur and grain here and there, but nothing major. The flash is quite good and sadly details aren’t very impressive here. It’s clearly below the LG Nexus 5X for example and that model is cheaper, that’s for sure. Indoor capture also didn’t quite impress us, because I’ve seen many phones handle food better than that.

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As far as video goes, this device shoots Full HD clips in MP4 format, at 30 FPS and with a 17 Mbps bitrate. The clips taken during the day are burnt, but the microphone capture is OK. We’ve got a poor zoom in quality, but also OK clarity. I also noticed a few sudden exposure changes I didn’t quite dig. The videos are shaky, colors are a bit on the artificial side and clarity was rather good.

I’d put this on par with a Huawei Honor previous gen phone, a ZenFone (previous gen too) and a bit below the Galaxy A series. Low light videos are neglectable, with an underwhelming 16 FPS frame rate and 10 Mbps bitrate. There are also big street light halos to worry about, yellow hues and a foggy aspect. Colors are rather OK, though.

It’s certainly not a phone tailored for filming and feels even below the Allview X3 soul Style, which is actually related to it, sharing the same camera sensor. We move further to connectivity and we deal here with LTE Category 6, with theoretical download speeds of up to 300 Mbps. There’s support for FDD and TDD LTE here, dual SIM slots (micro SIM and nano SIM), as well as Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi b/g/n and WiFi Direct.

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Then we’ve got an USB Type C port in the mix and you should know that the phone comes with a bundled USB OTG cable. The dialer features a Black List feature, Speed Dial and the calls are loud and clear, with good microphone and good signal also in the mix. The Speedtest revealed a WiFi download speed of 79 Mbps and upload of 25 Mbps, both OK values.

In the 4G test we got to 42/23 Mbps and I’ve seen better than this to be honest. Allview X3 Soul Plus runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, in a custom flavour from Allview. It comes with a lockscreen filled with inspirational messages, plus a dropdown portion with notifications only. A swipe up lets you access the Control Center, with connectivity toggles, Super Screenshot function and Fake Call.

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Keep the screen pressed and you’ll access the widgets area (stock and some 3D weather ones), effects and more. Swiping up on the homescreen triggers options for launcher, theme, desktop edit, search, wallpaper and more. Settings include a Do Not Disturb feature, as well as Security and Guest Mode. The fingerprint scanner has a long setup, but authentication is fast and accurate. However it’s not available straight from standby, so you have to activate the screen first.

There’s also encryption here, Smart Gestures (smart dial, flip back, double tap etc), as well as a Suspend button and an “Edge Bar”. It mimics what the S7 Edge is offering, but without the curved glass edge, being basically a vertical list of shortcuts. The gallery app on this device has a trash feature, a Private Space to hide content and info and Allview promises a special Immersion Haptic, that makes games feel more special thanks to vibrations.

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The preinstalled apps list includes 55 names, basically bloatware. We get the useful traveling app Abroad Service, plus Bitdefender Mobile Security, Chameleon and Child Mode, as well as Facebook, Excel and Word, kype, Notes, Outlook, System Manager and a barebones video editor. And now it’s time for the verdict!

Here are the Pros:

  • elegant
  • solid build
  • no lag
  • OK performance
  • good battery
  • nice acoustics
  • good pictures
  • OK connectivity
  • bundled Office apps
  • nice gaming abilities

And the Cons:

  • screen could be brighter
  • gets a bit hot
  • benchmarks aren’t very big
  • some lightning problems for pictures
  • videos aren’t impressive
  • bloatware

This is a next level phone, compared to the Allview X3 Soul Style, launched at the same time with it. It’s great for its battery and selfies, plus performance and pictures, has no lag and it’s elegant. It combines both gaming and Office tasks, with a good battery, so basically it’s a Galaxy A rival with a lesser camera and with a totally different UI concept.