LeEco is back into the budget smartphone game with their new smartphone Le2. When Le1s was launched early this year, it was a huge hit in India with LeEco selling over 2 lakh units. Banking on the success, Le Eco launched the Le2 pretty quick this time within a month, compared to its china release. If you are still not aware, the Le2 is the successor to the Le1s Eco and the original Le1s smartphones. The Le2 comes with a free one year subscription of Live TV content and the Hungama music streaming subscription.
The LeEco Le2 is currently available exclusively on Flipkart through flash Sale on a registration basis for a price of INR 11,999. Let’s see if the Le2 truly lives up as a successor to the Le1s.
Hardware, Look and Feel:
Sticking to the winning formula, the design of Le2 is very similar to its predecessors. Le2 retains the full metal uni-body construction from the Le1s. The Rose Gold version looks attractive with the metal body and there is a silver and a grey variant as well to choose from.
There are no major design changes to the front and on the rear we have two antenna bands running across with the primary camera on top and a square finger print sensor located below on the center with LeEco’s typical mirror finish.
We have the volume and power buttons to the right and a dual nano-sim slot to the left. On the bottom, we have the type-c port in the center and two grills on either side. While the right grille houses the loud speaker, the left grille is just for symmetry.
The top is left rather clean with just the IR blaster towards the left. LeEco has done away with the 3.5 mm audio jack and come up with their proprietary CDLA (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio) audio output format through the type-c port.
LeEco claims that the CDLA format will offer high quality audio output compared to a traditional analog connection and will offer an immersive sound experience when listening through earphones that support CDLA. LeEco is currently giving away LeEco’s in-ear CDLA headphones worth 1990/- absolutely free for a limited period as part of the Le2 flash sale. However if you want to use your own pair of headphones, there is a type-c to 3.5mm adapter bundled with the phone.
Despite its 5.5 inch form factor, Le2 is very comfortable to hold and lighter this time weighing 153g compared to the 169g weight of the Le1s. Although the phone feels slippery with single handed usage, the bundled clear case comes to our rescue.
Under the hood, the Le2 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor clocked at 1.8 GHZ which is the successor to the Snapdragon 650 seen on the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3. There is Qualcomm’s Adreno 510 GPU for GFX support. There is 32GB inbuilt storage available which is non-expandable and 3GB of RAM as before. 4G LTE support is available on the dual slim slots which offer dual standby. Also, there is 4G VoLTE support for high definition calls.
The phone has been in news for the infamous creaking sound while pressing the screen hard with your thumb. LeEco acknowledged that it’s not a build or quality control issue and the emanating sound is due to a gasket placed between the protective glass and the display.
We at tech.ink believe that the build quality is comparatively stronger and durable for this segment and definitely better than phones like the Redmi note3. If you are still not sure, there are multiple online bend test videos where the Le2 emerges out as a clear winner.
Just like the Le1s, the Le2 sports a 5.5 inch Full HD (1080 x 1920 pixels) LCD screen with In-cell display. With a pixel density of 401 PPI, the display is crisp and offers good viewing angles. On the software front, there is a color mode setting available with different color schemes like LeEco, Vivid, Natural and Soft to choose from.
We liked the soft mode in particular where the Blue-light filter technology integrated into the display hardware cuts down the blue light, ensuring your eyes are not stressed during long hours of content consumption. Outdoor visibility is decent and there is nothing to nit-pick here.
On to the camera, there is a 16 megapixel primary shooter available with f/2.0 aperture and PDAF support resulting in a focus time of 0.09 seconds. There is a dual tone LED flash for night shots. Video recording options include Slo-mo & 4K video support.
Camera UI reminds us of the iOS camera interface. There are 9 preset camera filters available to choose from. Details like saturation, sharpness and contrast levels can be set as per user liking. Camera performance is decent in good outdoor lighting conditions, but strictly average in low light scenarios. Pictures shot in low light lack detail.
On the front, we have an 8 megapixel camera (1.4 µm pixel size) with f/2.2 aperture. The rear finger print sensor can be used to capture selfies. There is beauty mode built-in, but it fails to impress. Front camera supports video recording up to 1080p.
Have a look at some of the camera samples below.
Software, User Experience:
Le2 runs on LeEco’s custom version of Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, EUI OS (5.8 version). One noticeable difference with EUI is the absence of quick settings on the notification drawer.
The Quick settings is available rather on the multi-tasking view which looks more like the iOS control center with the app switcher and shortcuts to system apps in a single interface. There is option to customize the order of quick setting toggles and app shortcuts.
Finger print sensor works accurate most of the times from any angle, unlocking phone in 0.15 seconds, but it’s not one of the fastest we have seen on smartphones.
IR blaster currently works only with LeEco’s stock remote control app and not with popular 3rd party android apps like Peel which provide detailed channel guide based on your D2H provider. In other words, Indian set-top boxes cannot be controlled with the Le2 which is a bummer.
There is built-in theme support in EUI. However, there are only 3 themes available by default. We do have an online theme page, but sadly there we have only 9 themes available in total.
Le Ecosystem content and membership continues from the Le1s Eco. LeEco currently offers 1 year subscription free of cost and you can choose to upgrade after the subscription period. Even though Hungama music streaming is not yet available on the Le2, we do have the Live TV up and running.
People who are into watching soap opera and news will find the Live TV interesting. It’s a great way to catch up your favorite late night serial right from bed after switching off your TV at the drawing room. Please note that there are no movie channels available if you are looking for one.
Powered by the Adreno 510 GPU, gaming performance is excellent and there are no frame drops while playing graphics intensive games. Call quality is good and the built-in speaker is loud. The loud speaker output does crackle on increasing volume.
The Le2 features a 3000mAh lithium-ion polymer battery that supports Le Super Charge with Type-C port using Quick Charge 2.0 standard. There is a Dynamic Voltage Scaling technology which adjusts the charging voltage according to charging cycles. According to the company this should translate in to longer battery life.
During our battery test, we did notice the phone getting warm as a result of charging. Battery life is excellent and the phone easily lasts a day with 20% of battery juice still left. If you still crave for more, there is a detailed power management feature with a variety of options to improve battery life. Also, there is a phone manager app to clean junk and limit data usage.
Pros and Cons, Value for Money:
The Le2 is slightly expensive at INR 11,999 compared to the previous generation Le1s LeEco. However, with a powerful processor that guarantees impressive performance and gameplay, it’s worth spending the extra buck. Barring the average camera performance, if you find the LeEco Ecosystem and content to be interesting, then the Le2 is a fair option to choose when comparing what competitors like Redmi Note3 offer at the same price point. If you are tight on budget, the Honor 5C is a great phone as well.
Do share your thoughts and questions if any. Thanks for reading.