After Gigaset introduced two smartphones for the masses last October with the GS3 and the GS4, a new edition for a special target group followed this February. With the GX290 Plus, Gigaset has revised the GX290, which is supposed to withstand particularly high loads and is thus aimed at outdoor and construction site users.
The changes compared to the one-and-a-half year old predecessor are quite minor; according to the spec sheet, only the memory expansion has been revised. As a result, the GX290 Plus comes with 4 GB of RAM instead of 3 GB, and the model’s internal storage grows from 32 to 64 GB. There are apparently no changes in other aspects like the SoC, the camera or the battery, and the IP68 certification has also been taken over from the GX290.
Whether the slightly revised GX290 Plus can still hold its own in 2021 with the technology offered, and for whom the smartphone with its price of € 289.00 * [review date: €330] is suitable, we will clarify in the following review.
|Operating system:||Android 10|
|Display:||1560 x 720 pixels, 6.1″, 580 cd/m², Gorilla Glass 3|
|Camera (rear):||Main camera: 13 MP F2.0
Auxiliary camera: 2 MP
|Camera (front):||8 MP|
|Interfaces:||USB-C 2.0, 3.5mm jack, WLAN 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, FM, ANT+|
|Sensors:||Fingerprint sensor, position sensor, proximity sensor, brightness sensor, e-compass, gyroscope|
|SoC:||Mediatek MT6763V Helio P23|
|CPU:||4x 2.00 GHz Cortex-A53 + 4x 1.50 GHz Cortex-A53|
|Battery:||6,200 mAh, wireless charging|
|Dimensions:||162.4 x 79 x 15.3 mm|
|Protection certification:||IP68 (protection against dust and submersion up to 1.2m depth)|
|Inserts:||2x nano-SIM or 1x nano-SIM + 1x microSD|
|Price:||€ 289.00 *|
Scope of delivery
Gigaset limits the scope of delivery of the GX290 Plus to fairly standard features. Besides the smartphone itself, the company also includes a user manual, a key for the card slot, and a USB power adapter along with the matching charging cable. The charging cable is around 0.5 meters long and the power adapter supports either 5 volts at 3 amps or up to 12 volts at 1.5 amps.
Design & Workmanship
When it comes to the design of the GX290 Plus, very little has changed compared to its predecessor: the new model comes in black/gray instead of black/orange, but the case shape seems to be identical based on the product images. However, Gigaset has allegedly slightly raised the smartphone’s display edge to prevent damage if the device is dropped. This should actually work on flat surfaces like concrete floors with the existing gap. In addition, as in the predecessor, other critical elements like the rear cameras or the fingerprint sensor are embedded in the case so that they are protected during impact.
Apart from the aforementioned minor change, the build of the GX290 Plus is identical to that of the GX290. The smartphone once again relies on comparatively resistant TPU plastic and is reinforced by metal elements on the sides that are supposed to support the case during an impact. Unfortunately, we cannot quantify how well this works in practice because we lack comparison devices and additional smartphones for multiple tests. However, if the construction is as stable on the inside as it is on the outside, the GX290 Plus should withstand much more than most other smartphones.
However, we can at least confirm the point of water compatibility: The smartphone can withstand longer operating times under water, but the touchscreen cannot be operated completely submerged. Apart from that, the smartphone can be used again immediately after longer dives. However, the solution with the silicone flap to protect the USB and jack sockets will probably not only find friends, because it requires an additional handle for every recharge. Thus, those who want to save this will have to rely on a wireless charging station.
Haptically, you can clearly feel the objective of the GX290 Plus: The smartphone is big and relatively heavy, small hands might have problems here. On the other hand, this is of course due to the build and the large battery, and could hardly be solved otherwise.
With regards to build quality, there is little to criticize: The case itself is visually flawless and very stable. Only the inscription under the Gigaset logo on the back is not evenly printed – this could have been solved better.
Software, performance & battery life
As usual for Gigaset, the GX290 Plus also comes with a clean Android. Version 10 is used, which was already available for the GX290 via update and currently still gets up-to-date security patches. It is not yet known whether an update to Android 11 or the completely new Android 12 will be released.
Even though the software version is not completely up-to-date, it is refreshing to have a clean Android installation without annoying additional apps. Apart from the usual Google apps and basic functions like the camera or timer app, the GX290 Plus has no pre-installed programs.
While there are hardly any points of criticism in the software in our eyes, the installed SoC is unfortunately a small construction site. Gigaset has not changed anything compared to the predecessor and thus once again relies on the Mediatek MT6763V Helio P23, which was introduced in 2017 and offers four Cortex-A53 cores with 2.00 GHz and 1.50 GHz, respectively, and combines them with a Mali-G71 MP2.
Due to the rather old SoC, which was not a high-end model even then, the GX290 Plus has some limits in terms of performance. Comparable performance is offered by “normal” smartphones for considerably less money, but the claim as an outdoor device naturally comes into play here: Games are not the focus.
Fortunately, the SoC’s performance is sufficient for the usual multimedia applications. The UI responds smoothly and apps do not start super fast, but quite quickly. The usual note-taking, browsing, and video viewing applications are thus easy to master.
|Geekbench 5: Singlecore||158|
|Geekbench 5: Multicore||832|
|Geekbench 5: OpenCL||728|
|Geekbench 5: Vulkan||741|
|3DMark: Wild Life||336|
|3DMark: Slingshot Extreme||568|
|PCMark: Work Performance||7216|
Again, the GX290 Plus scores very positively when it comes to the battery. Gigaset usually sets a charge limit of 90% in the device to increase the battery life – but this is factored out by our benchmark. Thus, the smartphone achieves a runtime of 13:44 h in PC Mark Work Performance with maximum brightness (580 cd/m²). At 50% brightness it is 16:45 h and at minimum brightness even 26:26 h. Thus, the GX290 Plus should withstand every conceivable form of use, and even with the recommended limited charging capacity, a full day. In many cases, two or more days without recharging should also be possible.
Display, camera & multimedia
With regard to the audiovisual features, the GX290 Plus presents itself from different sides. We liked the display, which can probably still be used outdoors in summer on the highest brightness setting and covers the usual demands in terms of color quality and viewing angle stability.
However, we were disappointed by the rear speakers, which do not produce a pleasant sound but rather tend to distort and clatter. This is okay as an emergency solution, but not suitable for use as a mini radio or party sound system.
The sound output via the built-in jack socket does much better: There is nothing to complain about here. And the built-in microphone is a bit muffled, but sufficient for conversations.
The camera quality of the GX290 Plus is mediocre. As can be seen in our sample pictures, the built-in rear camera is sufficient for snapshots and the front camera can also be used for quick selfies – but an overly high picture quality is not to be expected. This is especially true for shots in low light or at night – we could hardly take the latter without visible blurring.
For a price of currently € 289.00 * [test time: €330], the Gigaset GX290 Plus wants to succeed the GX290. The small updates that Gigaset has given the GX290 Plus actually make the device more attractive.
Most users will probably welcome the 64 GB of storage, and the increased working memory of 4 GB does not hurt either. The smartphone also presents itself well with the bright display, the build, and the excellent battery life, which is, however, bought by the expansive dimensions.
In view of the GX290’s age, we would have liked to see a few more changes, since the mediocre speakers and the installed SoC could have used an update. The chip installed in the GX290 Plus is sufficient for the usual everyday applications, but most smartphones in the targeted price range offer significantly faster processing units, which is noticeable when launching apps, for example.
As so often, it thus depends on the price and the target group whether the GX290 Plus is worth it for oneself. Due to its size and construction, the smartphone is recommended for those users who will use the smartphone in adverse conditions – after all, you pay a good portion of the price for this design.
With regard to the still available GX290, the situation of the GX290 Plus is currently still difficult, because the predecessor model is considerably cheaper and was even available for around 200 Euros on several occasions. The price of the GX290 Plus does not have to drop quite that far, but at least a few offers below 300 Euros would be nice for the device so that the niche surcharge is not too high.
Gigaset GX290 Plus price comparison
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