LeEco, the Chinese technology company trying to combine content and hardware in its Le devices, has launched two new smartphones in India: the Le 2 and Le Max 2. The smartphones were first launched in April in Beijing. Like rival Xiaomi, LeEco now has its own e-commerce portal called LeMall for India as well.
Registrations for both phones open on June 20 on Flipkart and LeMall.com, and while Le Max 2 goes on sale on June 28, the budget Le 2 will be available in July.
LeEco insists they don’t see a future in making profit from just pure hardware, that their devices offer focus on content, and thus their phones are reasonably priced. Le 2 is supposed to build on the success of Le 1s, priced at Rs 11,999, offering 3GB RAM and 32GB storage along with free membership to LeEco’s Supertainment package (worth around Rs 4,900).
Le Max 2, which is the more premium offering, starts at Rs 22,999 (4GB RAM+32GB space) and boasts of the latest Snapdragon 820 processor. Here’s a detailed look at the two phones.
Design, Display: When it comes to design, LeEco hasn’t changed much with Le 2, Le Max 2. Both phones look pretty similar to their earlier version, at least from the front. However, Le 2’s camera is now bang in the centre, just like the Le Max 2. Plus, the LeTv (the company’s earlier name) branding is now gone, and replaced with LeEco logo, which actually looks more subtle.
In fact, if you’re holding both phones (Le 2 and Le Max 2) in your hand, you can’t really figure out which is which, unless you know the specs.
Le 2 and Le Max 2 both have a metal unibody design, and look stylish for the pricing. Le 2 has a 5.5-inch full HD display, while Max 2 gets a 5.7-inch 2K display. The large-display size of Le Max 2 makes it harder to use with just one hand, and it is quite a heavy device.
But perhaps the biggest change with these two phones is the end of the 3.5 mm headphone jack. For a company that is new to the smartphone business, this is a risky move, and Le 2 and Le Max 2 now support Type-C USB headphones.
LeEco has not made it clear if it will be bundling the headphones in the final sales box, although it also launched Type-C CDLA headphones priced Rs 1,999. CDLA is the company’s proprietary technology, which promises Complete Digital Lossless Audio.
For a lot of budget buyers, this ‘new headphone’ business might not be so appealing. Finding different options in Type-C USB headphones will be a struggle, and users will be dependent on LeMall to get new ones, should the first pair get damaged.
Processor, RAM, Storage: Le 2 comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage space, runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor.
There’s no doubt given the specs and pricing, Le 2 takes aim at the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3, as well as Moto G4 Plus and Micromax Canvas 6 series. Interestingly, LeEco was quick to highlight Le 2’s Antutu score (above 79,000) to build up its new phone. Xiaomi too is known to boast about these benchmark scores.
Le Max 2 will launch in India in two versions: 4GB RAM+32GB storage and 6GB RAM+64GB storage.The 4GB RAM version is priced at Rs 22,999, while the 6GB one costs Rs 29,999. Le Max 2 runs the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, clocked at 2.15 Ghz.
In the launch presentation, LeEco made it clear that with Le Max they were targeting a premium smartphone: Samsung Galaxy S7 edge. However the pricing puts it as a competitor of Xiaomi Mi 5, another premium smartphone that uses the same processor. Mi 5, though, is considerably lighter and slimmer than Le Max 2, but has less storage space ( 32GB).
Camera: Le 2’s camera gets a bump up to 16 mp, while the front camera is now 8 mp. With Le Max 2 users will get a 21 mp rear camera, and a 8 mp front camera. Both smartphones have camera with PDAF, f/2.0 aperture, but OIS capability is only on the Le Max 2.
LeEco insists the Le Max 2’s low-light performance is great, although in the demo-zone’s dim-lighting it was not so obvious. We’ll have more on the cameras during our final review.
OS, Battery, etc: Le 2 gets a 3000 mAh battery and the Le Max 2 has a 3100 mAh battery. LeEco is promising fast-charge on both these smartphones, though remember they support Type-C USB charging, so carrying that cable around will be necessary.
Plus, the headphones can be connected via the Type-C USB slot, which might not always be convenient for some users. Given the 2K display, 6GB RAM, it will be interesting to see how LeEco plans to optimise the battery on the Le Max 2, and whether it will be good enough to last a day for users.
Both smartphones support LeEco’s EUI on top of Android 6.0. There’s also the Supertainment package, which offers access to movies on Eros, Yupp TV’s live channels via a constant live-stream, and more. For Le 2 and Le Max 2 buyers, the bundled content might not be a bad idea; LeEco claims it is giving Rs 4,900 content away for free in the first year.
Both are 4G-ready smartphones, support VoLTE, dual-SIM (Nano-SIM) and don’t have an expandable memory slot.
Le 2 is the budget offering and naturally interest in this smartphone will be higher, given the price-sensitive Indian market. In terms of looks and specs, Le 2 appears to tick all the right spots on paper. The only problem: Le 2’s lack of a regular headphone jack might worry some users.
Le Max 2 is the new premium smartphone, and while LeEco might pitch it against the S7, it is more likely a direct competitor to Xiaomi Mi 5, the upcoming OnePlus 3, the current OnePlus 2. Le Max 2 sports beefy specs, but whether it translates into smooth performance remains to be seen.