Nimish SawantJun 09, 2016 12:45:03 IST
Chinese internet and ecosystem conglomerate LeEco have just launched their two new Superphones in India. The smartphones called the Le 2 and the Le Max 2 take their places up in two segments and build on their predecessors, the Le 1s and the Le Max. The devices feature a new audio standard called CDLA (Continual Digital Lossless Audio) and skip on the 3.5mm headphone jack to deliver lossless audio to users via the USB Type-C port. LeEco also announced its LeMall.com, which is an online portal for purchasing new and recent models along with its accessories.
The Le 2 has been priced at Rs 11,999, while the Le Max 2 flagship is priced at Rs 22,999 for the 4GB RAM version and the Rs 29,999 for the top-of-the-line 6GB RAM model. After the launch we did get to spend some time with these handsets and here are our first impressions.
Build and Design
In terms of looks, nothing much seems to have changed with respect to its first generation phones - the Le 1s and the Le Max. You cannot tell the Le 2 and Le Max 2 in terms of design. But holding them side by side, the Le Max 2 easily makes it presence felt, thanks to its larger footprint. All the phones employ metal in their build and the phones comes with chamfered edges, antenna cuts on the top and bottom on the rear side, centrally aligned camera module and fingerprint scanner and so on. The phones looks good, no doubt, but do not lend themselves well to one handed use. These are also the first phones to come with LeEco's new logo embossed on their rear sides.
One thing that is missing on both the smartphones is a 3.5mm audio jack, which may be a matter of concern for potential buyers who have already invested in a headphone. LeEco is instead offering buyers its own USB Type-C audio for its CDLA audio standard with the the world’s first CDLA Type-C audio headphones that deliver lossless audio for Rs 1,990. On the left hand side you have the SIM card slots, on the right you have the volume rocker and power standby buttons and the USB Type-C charging and data transfer port is present on the base surrounded by the speaker grille section.
While the Le 2 sports a 5.5-inch display, the Le Max 2 has a 5.7-inch display. LeEco has ensured that the bezel on the sides is really slim, giving it a better screen to body ratio. Overall, LeEco Le 2 phones have no issues with the build quality - they exude premium quality.
The Le 2 comes with a 5.5-inch Full HD display and the Le Max 2 sports a 5.7-inch QuadHD display. Both phones offer really good viewing angles and sharp displays. Although we noticed that smartphones had a tendency to attract smudges. Yes, the display does tend to get too reflective. There wasn't any mention of the Corning Gorilla Glass in the presentation, so we will need to check up on that.
Chipset, RAM, Storage and Connectivity
The Le 2 comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 chipset which has a octa-core setup clocked at 1.8GHz. It is paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. The flagship Le Max 2 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset which has four Kyro cores clocked at 2.15GHz along with Adreno 530GPU. The Le Max 2 comes with a 4GB RAM + 32GB storage variant and a 6GB RAM + 64GB storage variant. None of the phones come with expandable storage.
We did not notice any major lag or slowdown with any of the three phones. But we will still need to test it in real life to get a hang of how these phones perform. Plus considering all the phones have a metal body, equally important will be how they are able to manage the heat.
In terms of connectivity, you get a dual SIM card slot, Wi-fi 802.11ac MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.1, USB Type-C port and so on.
OS and Software
Both smartphones run Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS and come with LeEco's proprietary eUI skin atop it. The skin seen on the new handsets is markedly different from what we have seen on the recent Indian phones, thanks to the LeEco content layer that now sits atop it. At the launch event in China, LeEco also announced a multi-stream feature which will let you stream 9 live TV casts in one screen. Another feature that LeEco talked about was having multiple camera angle views for sports events in a similar 3x3 layout. These features were announced at the India launch event, although LeEco has already announced its partnership with content providers such as YuppTV and ErosNow in the past.
The user interface does not seem to have much bloatware apart from the bouquet of LeEco apps. The notifications drop down menu is divided into two tabs for quick notifications and settings. It does not look drastically different from its predecessors.
Camera and Battery
The Le 2 comes with a 16MP rear and 8MP front camera whereas the Le Max 2 come with a 21MP rear and 8MP front cameras. The camera module on the rear side protrudes out slightly from the rest of the body. The LeEco phones use Sony sensors with f/2.0 aperture on the rear camera.
The camera user interface is similar to the one seen on the Le 1s and the Le Max. Both devices sport the phase-detect autofocus feature for quick focusing and the Le Max 2 also comes with optical image stabilisation. The demo zones aren't really ideal conditions to test out the cameras, so we will reserve our judgement till we actually use them.
In terms of battery, the Le 2 sports a 3,000 mAh battery which will support LeEco's proprietary USB Type-C fast charging feature. The Le Max 2 comes with a 3,100mAh battery which supports both QuickCharge 3.0 as well as LeEco's own fast charging feature.
Both phones have been aggressively priced for the Indian market, something which LeEco is known for. Its first generation Le 1s did quite well, and LeEco will be looking at repeating that with the Le 2, and looking at the pricing and the specifications, it may turn out to be another success story for the brand.
The devices look elegant. But the lack of 3.5mm audio jack will not go down well with a lot of uses who are very particular about their audio and are heavily invested in multiple earphones / headphones for different listening experiences. The fact that you have to buy the USB Type C earbuds separately itself is bound to piss off a lot of potential buyers. LeEco stressed a lot on the CDLA audio experience, which it claims improves the overall audio experience. We will need to check it out in depth when reviewing the devices.
LeEco's real draw is its software and content ecosystem, something it is renowned for in China. In India though, LeEco is still known as that company which launched the Le 1s. The software side of the equation is still an incomplete story and for now is still a bit limited in terms of the content that its offers. Its latest feature seems good for content consumers. But things may change now that two new smartphones have been announced. So check back for the full reviews of these devices.
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