Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Le 1s

Another day and another new Chinese company trying to strut it’s muscle in the global market. LeEco (formerly known as LeTv) launched their flagship Le Max and the budget Le 1S. Great specs on paper for both of them, let’s see if the Le 1S will cause a stir in the budget phone market.   


Design, Display & Hardware:


The phone is a great looking device with a premium metal unibody. The display extends all the way up to the edges, very close to an edge-to-edge display. On the front at the top are the sensor and the camera on either side of the speaker. The top edge houses the IR blaster and 3.5mm Audio jack. The bottom of the screen has the 3 capacitive buttons which are backlit. Bottom edge hosts the Type C charging port and speaker grills to either side. Left edge has the dual SIM (4G+3G) tray which takes a Nano and Micro SIM slot while the right edge has the volume rocker and the power button.


At the back you find the camera and the flash next to each other on the left corner while the fingerprint scanner is just below down the middle (very similar to the Yu Yutopia). At this point, there’s only the Gold variant available. The 5.5” FHD IPS display has Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with 403 ppi and is pretty legible even in broad daylight. You’ve got colour mode options like Natural, Vivid & Soft and I always chose the easy on the eyes soft mode. The display is better than it’s competitors, the Lenovo K4 note and Honor 5x.

Hardware wise the phone stands out considering its low price point. Roping in MediaTek’s Helio X10 Octa core processor @2.2Ghz and PowerVR G6200 graphics, it’s a little beast running on 3GB RAM & 32GB ROM (29 GB usable). The X10 is pretty close to the Snapdragon 808. The only drawback is the missing card slot so you have to adjust with only 32GB on board memory. These are the phones where you should give the dual Micro SD/ SIM slot and let users chose what they want. The battery is non removable @3000mAh.

The fingerprint scanner (which is something not easily available at this price point) works pretty smoothly and can register 5 imprints. I had success 90% of the times which is pretty good. A lot of users just register their print in a single direction which is the main reason it fails often. You need to give it 10 different directions / orientations so that no matter how you hold the phone and touch the scanner it’ll register your finger and unlock. It can also be used to click selfies. The last interesting bit is the IR based Remote Control app which can control your TV, AC, Set top box etc. It didn’t support my 40” Micromax LED nor did it link with my Carrier AC at home which was disappointing; maybe a s/w update will solve the issues.

Software:


The phone has Android 5.0 out of the box with a EUI custom skin on top.
It’s got flat icons and is pretty soft. Some customisation features it offers are scheduled power on/off , adjusting the display density of the screen (ppi) , single hand mode where the lock screen can become small enough and come to a corner on the screen so that you can unlock easily. Then there’s the My LeEco app which basically syncs contacts and apps and you have the unique and inspired from iOS Control Centre that can be activated by multi-tasking/ recent apps key and let’s you chose from a range of toggles like Data, Flight mode, GPS etc. which you’d otherwise find in the notification centre.

Camera:


The 13MP rare camera takes good shots during the day but is a hit and miss with the detailing and exposure. Low light photos look decent on the phone but not satisfactory once you look at them on your PC/laptops. The camera interface is pretty simple and again bares resemblance to the iPhone camera app. It has options for Slow motion video and panoramic photos and on screen options lets you chose different filters. It can record video in 4K at 30fps but the phone does heat up in less than a minute. Slow motion video in 720p and 120fps captures are a good addition.
The front cam takes beautified 5MP selfies and only supports 85 deg. wide angle photos.

Gaming & Multimedia:


Tried out Asphalt 8, Dead trigger and FIFA 15 which played smoothly and did not cause any serious lags even on switching apps. Graphics could be a tad bit better but you won’t realise it till you’ve seen it on branded flagship phones. The loudspeaker is pretty loud and music on the earphones are above average. (There’s no earphones in the box BTW!). Also, there’s no FM radio. For those who go by AnTuTu benchmarks, the phone scored 51950 which is commendable.

The 3000 mAh battery lasted 8 hours after heavy usage of games, YouTube, Camera and music. Perhaps you can getter more juice since normal usage would be easy on the phone and would last 10 hrs which still is not great! Thanks to the bulky charger though the phone charges quickly and took just over an hour when switched off to reach 100% battery. 


Conclusion:


It’s a great looking phone and pretty good specs for the price point but the software needs to improve and could have done with a better camera and improved battery performance. K4 Note by Lenovo also throws in a VR headset in a price point just higher but lower specs. Go for it if you need a great looking phone with just about the best specs you can buy at this price.

My rating on this one is 3/5.


★★★☆☆


Pritesh Khilnani


Le 1s at CeX


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