LeEco’s Le2 smartphone is not just about the specs, but focuses on future-proofing and high-quality audio playback which are rare in affordable Android phones
Priced at Rs.11,999, the Le2 looks as good if not better than any of the other high-profile budget smartphones launched recently. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
For a phone maker that has been in the Indian market for five months, LeEco has impressed with its relatively precise portfolio of phones so far. After the Le Max2 which is vying for the title of flagship killer, its low-priced sibling, the Le2, is trying to make headway in the strongly contested budget segment. Priced at Rs.11,999, the Le2 looks as good if not better than any of the other high-profile budget smartphones launched recently
Design: Light and well-built
The LeEco Le2 has a very similar design language as that of its predecessor Le1 and the more expensive Le Max2. The full metallic exterior feels really solid and lends it the look and feel of a premium flagship smartphone. The flat side and back panel gives it a slab-like look but the grip is good. It weighs 153g which is less than what an average 5.5-inch smartphone weighs. The only 5.5-inch smartphone which comes close is the Moto G4 Plus at 155g. The camera module is placed at the back and is slightly protruded. This makes it vulnerable to scratches. The fingerprint is placed right underneath the camera. It allows users to unlock the phone instantly.
The speakers are placed at the base on either side of the USB Type-C. There is no 3.5mm jack as the audio out slot is integrated with the USB type C. LeEco will provide a USB Type-C headset with the phone and a USB type C to 3.5mm audio convertor, though one can use regular headsets with it. Surprisingly, the phone carries the old LeTv logo on the back instead of the new LE logo.
Display: Big and bright
The phone offers a 5.5-inch display with 1920x1080p resolution. It looks bright and colourful and handles most of the on-screen elements well. Text in web and e-books looks crisp, while photos and videos look really bright, putting it at par with most budget smartphone. However, the display reflects a lot and is barely visible under bright light. LeEco has added a colour mode where you can switch between the warmer looking soft mode, or the high-colour, saturation-based vivid mode and the more whitish LeEco mode.
Software: New Android with some Indian content
Like most Chinese phone makers, LeEco uses its own custom UI over Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) with its own set of themes and customisation options. LeEco has made slight changes in the user interface from the one we saw in its predecessor. It comes with a unique looking app drawer icon which doesn’t work as an app drawer. It is a shortcut button for the Live TV services offered by Yupp Tv. This is part of the free bundle of premium features which LeEco offers with the smartphone. LeEco has also added a news aggregator window on similar lines as HTC’s Blinkfeed service. This aggregator shows up if you swipe in from the left side of the screen. Interestingly, it pulls data from Indian sites mostly, and it is good to see a Chinese smartphone company focus on localized content for the Indian market.
Audio: Delivers powerful lossless audio
The phone’s key highlight is the audio quality, with the headphones that are bundled with the phone. These headphones are CDLA equipped which prevent sound loss during transmission. As a result, the sound in the headphones is one of the best we have heard in any smartphone. You can use your traditional headset through the convertor, but you won’t get the same clarity and quality of sound. If you are into watching Netflix or YouTube, the Le2 can deliver a lot better sound than any other phone in the same price range.
Performance: Handles all tasks with ease
Powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 hexa-core processor which is paired with 3GB RAM, the Le2 delivers a buttery smooth performance. Despite the custom UI we didn’t notice any lags while moving from one task to another or even with games. This is a powerful processor and belongs to the 650 series which is a powerful processor too and is used in devices like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 as well. The phone offers 32GB of internal storage which is impressive but there is a microSD slot. The Redmi Note 3 offers 32GB internal storage and has a microSD slot with a capacity of 256GB as well.
The device supports 4G networks which makes it future proof. The 3,000mAh battery is good for modest users as it delivers can manage a day’s back-up. But if you want a longer battery, the Redmi Note 3 and the Yu Yunicorn are a better bet at present.
Camera: A mixed bag
The phone’s 16-megapixel camera is quite inconsistent, but will suffice for social media posts. While it is good with colours in bright light, it struggles to light up the screen properly in close-up shots. It is good with detail reproduction though and in long shots, the amount of noise was lower than its rivals. In low-light shots, it gets the details right, but colours looked a bit unnatural.
LeEco Le2 is an impressive addition to the budget segment. You can buy it for its good looks, impressive display, flawless performance and exceptional audio quality. The only reason for picking up another smartphone over it like the Redmi Note 3 is the camera quality and better battery back-up it offers.