LeEco, the Chinese internet technology company with global ambitions, has suddenly overshadowed the likes of Xiaomi and Micromax in India. The company is the most talked about smartphone brand in India, and it’s stepping up its internet ecosystem elsewhere in the world.
LeEco (formerly known as LeTV) got a jumpstart in the Indian market with the launch of Le 1s and followed that up with an ecosystem friendly version called Le 1s (Eco). The company has been very open to speak of the actual bill of materials, and how it’s selling the devices at a loss.
With Le 1s, LeEco nearly won the sub-Rs 12,000 market in India. Now the company is back with two more smartphones or superphones (as it likes to call them).
LeEco Le 2
LeEco Le 2 is the successor to Le 1 launched in January this year in India. The smartphone was first launched in China in April, and has made it to our shores in just two months, evidence that India is an extremely important market for LeEco.
While the Le 1 and Le 1s had little competition, the same isn’t true this time around. Its major competitors from mainland China have launched very good smartphones in the last few months that deliver great bang for the buck performance.
LeEco phones’ boot screen now reads a message, “I am not a phone but an integrated Internet ecosystem” very similar to what you get to see on Harvest’s breads “Bread Hoon Product Nahin”. That’s not all, every time you shutdown the device, a message reads “I’m getting smarter everyday”.
Le 2 is quite an innovative device otherwise too. It has beaten many industry stalwarts to market by dropping the 3.5mm headphone jack. But Le 2 features the same thin but heavy design as in the Le 1s. Here is our review.
Specs: 5.5-inch (1080x1920p, ~401 ppi) LCD display | Octa-core 1.8 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor | 3GB RAM | 32GB storage | 16MP rear camera + 8MP front | Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery | Android Marshmallow OS
Price: Rs 11,999
ALSO READ: LeEco Le Max2 review
What is good?
For me, the standout feature of the Le 2 is its display. The 5.5-inch Full HD display is extremely crisp with vibrant colour reproduction and has very good viewing angles too. The Le 2 is not the brightest display out there, but it is good by most smartphone standards. One minor issue is with the auto brightness setting which can be easily by passed with Google’s adaptive display setting.
The Le 2, like Le 1s before, is a performance oriented machine. The Le 2 didn’t stutter once while multitasking or handling multiple apps. The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor, and not Mediatek Helio X20 chipset in India. The processor is the same as the one inside Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro, the first Google Tango powered smartphone.
It comes with four Cortex A72 cores and four A53 cores. With Adreno 510 GPU, it makes for a perfect processing machine. For a common user these details of cores might not matter, so in short – Le 2 handles multitasking and mobile gaming really well.
Le 2 has the best camera among all the sub-Rs 12,000 smartphones. The camera on Le 2 is fast and snaps pictures with decent amount of detail. The colours could have been more saturated, but it gives you something to filter. If your primary camera needs are clicking and posting to social media, Le 2 won’t disappoint even a bit. As far as that front camera is concerned, it’s fine but if you go on uploading a selfie daily – your friends won’t be impressed.
Le 2 comes with the same 3000mAh battery seen on Le 1s before, but it easily lasts a day. Thanks to Google’s Doze mode, there is no need to charge this one overnight. Le 2 also supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge technology.
What is not that good?
Le 2 is one of the few phones to run Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but the eUI is not that pleasing. First, the whole app arrangement is slow and when I installed the Google Now launcher, it often switched back to the default launcher. Even ‘Next Lockscreen’ performed really bad on this one. There seem to be some issues deep in the kernel, which doesn’t make it easy for third party apps to work well. On the good side, you get default encryption, Google Now on tap and Doze mode.
LeEco basically wants us to dump all our content/entertainment apps in favour of its defaults. But I am not sure this is a great strategy as I didn’t feel the urge to try them even once. On my home WiFi (which is a 16 Mbps Airtel Broadband connection) as well as on the office WiFi, I often got a “Network is too slow to load content” message. I spend most of my time streaming audio using Saavn and video over hotstar. If these apps can work, I expect LeEco’s content feature should work too.
LeEco also fails to nail sound. Le 2 uses a new technology called CDLA and comes bundled with Rs 1,990 USB-C headphone. Trust me, these technologies are just not enough to make it sound – well – even half good. Worth noting, regular headphones don’t sound good either when connected using USB-C to 3.5 mm headphone jack converter.
Le 2 might not be the most secure smartphone out there. In my test, I found Le 2 to be vulnerable to the Stagefright bug, which has been consistently exploiting Android smartphones. Yes, I did disable MMS auto-retrieval as a precautionary measure.
Le 2’s fingerprint sensor works but it is definitely not the fastest. Even in comparison with a smartphone like Coolpad Note 3 Lite, it is slightly slow.
Should you buy?
Le 2 is a really good smartphone. It’s camera is fast and the battery lasts a good full day of use. LeEco could have tweaked the design though. If your priorities are a smartphone that sounds authentic and secure, then maybe this is not the best bet at the moment.
Once the software issues are fixed, the Le 2 becomes a much better phone. Till then, it is just another smartphone option.