LeEco is a Chinese technology player that wants to integrate hardware and content. And it’s not just looking at smartphones or TV sets. In April, LeEco showed off the concept vehicle LeSee, its electric Supercar, which will be driverless and part of its larger ecosystem.
At the same launch event in Beijing, LeEco’s founder Jia Yueting said the company hopes to see a day where the hardware will be totally free and consumers only pay for the content. For now the company has launched two new phones in India: Le 2 and the Le Max2.
While Le 2 is the mid-range offering, which will compete with Redmi Note 3, Moto G4, Yu Yunicorn, etc, Le Max2 is the more premium option.
Both phones are bundled with LeEco’s Supertainment Package with content worth Rs 4,900 being given away free. LeEco has also got rid of the 3.5-mm headphone jack and introduced a new class of headphones it calls Continual Digital Lossless Audio (CDLA) and are powered via the Type-C USB port.
LeEco might have trumped Apple when it came to killing the headphone jack, but is the Le Max2 good enough to join the league of premium smartphones? Here’s our review.
Specs: 5.7-inch 2K display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor | 6GB RAM+ 64GB ROM | 21 megapixel rear camera with OIS, PDAF +8MP front camera | 3000 mAh battery | Android 6.0 with EUI 5.6 | Type-C USB charging
Price: Rs 29,999
Le Max2 in India is coming in two options: 4GB RAM + 32GB storage at Rs 22,999, while the 6GB RAM version costs Rs 29,999. We reviewed the 6GB RAM version, although only the 4GB RAM version is going on sale in India now.
Le Max2 joins the league of premium smartphones with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor like the Mi 5, LG G5, OnePlus 3 and HTC 10. And like the OnePlus 3, this one has a 6GB RAM option as well, in case you need that kind of power, though as most people have noted, apps which can fully utilise this kind RAM are a work in progress.
Le Max2 has a similar design form to its successor, the Le Max, with the near-bezel-less display, and a front body that’s covered with a layer of glass. Le Max2, however, has less prominent lines on the back compared to the Le Max, and gets a much neater design. The camera is bang in the centre, with the fingerprint scanner just below it.
The LeTV branding is gone, and replaced by the new LeEco logo. The camera continues to jut out sharply, and might remind one of devices like Note 5, as do the drilled speakers at the bottom. Le Max2’s display has buttons at the bottom that light up when you tap on them.
Le Max2 is a definitely a bulky device, and making me relive my struggles with the Nexus 6P. The 5.7-inch 2K display means this phone is not for those with tiny hands, and I managed to drop the device as well. Getting a cover and a tempered glass to protect this phone is a must I’d say.
Le Max2 will come in the pink colour option for now, and I’m not sure if it will appeal to all. Sure, Apple’s Rose Gold is a take on pink that worked, but Le Max2 is definitely on more pinkish side, and the choice will really boil down to personal preferences.
First up Le Max2 has a 2K display, which is bright and vivid with great viewing angles. Let’s not forget rivals Mi 5 and OnePlus 3 have stuck with a full HD display, while Le Max2 offers a high resolution in the same price-range. I found keeping brightness at less than 50 per cent at all times worked just fine. In fact, cranking it up to full was a bit too much for me. Plus, LeEco has included Android Marshmallow’s Adaptive Display feature in the settings.
Like I said, this review is for the 6GB RAM version, and where performance goes, Le Max2 gave no trouble at all. Gaming, browsing multiple tabs, multi-tasking, the smartphone rarely falters and it doesn’t heat either, at least compared to some of the other Snapdragon 820 processor smartphones I’ve used recently.
Le Max2 is already topping the charts on Antutu, although in our case the phone scored around 1,20,705 points in the test, coming in just below the LG G5. Benchmarks aside, this smartphone didn’t give us any cause for complaint.
Camera is one aspect where I feel the LeEco and Le Max2 perform very well, in fact as good, if not better than some of the competition. I used the Le Max2 to take photos at a weekend getaway, and the results were quite stunning.
The photos are sharp, vivid, especially those taken in daylight and the camera is quick to respond. There’s a PRO mode for those who want to tinker and spend some time composing a picture, but I felt in Max2’s case, the automatic mode was good enough to deliver the results. The colours are pretty accurate, even though the pinks and reds are a little too saturated for my liking.
The low-light performance of the Le Max2 doesn’t disappoint either. No it’s not in the league of the S7 edge or the HTC 10 (another phone I used), but it comes quite close and you’ll be able to get nice detailed shots with this. And let’s not forget Le Max2 costs much less than either the Samsung Galaxy S7 edge or HTC 10.
On the battery front, Le Max2 lasted 10-12 hours for me (moderate to heavy usage), which is great considering the 2K Display. I’ve not faced any connectivity issues with this phone so far, and I’ve been using with a 4G Vodafone SIM in Delhi.
What’s not so good?
EUI on Android is not something that appeals to me. The settings tab is not part of Notifications and instead you have to tap to go to the app tray where the settings are also placed. It takes time to get used to, and I feel it’s an unnecessary design change. The fingerprint scanner too takes time to register, and there were a few misses.
The LiveStreams for TV channels, which are powered by YuppTV, don’t have too many options in channels. I don’t really care to watch news on a phone, and I’m not a fan of regional content. Plus, the video-streaming format resolution is not even HD in some cases, and watching a video at 270 p on a 2K display is just not worth it.
Personally, I’ll stick with Netflix for my smartphone content. Of course, those who want to watch Live TV and regional channels on their phone will find it useful, but I am not sure a lot of people have made that choice.
LeEco has touted the CDLA-powered headphones a lot and I can’t see what the fuss is all about. First up, you can’t just use a pair of headphones lying around to listen to music, or borrow one from your colleague. If you forget to carry these special headphones, you’ll just not be able to listen to music.
At the end of the day, this new technology hasn’t really improved sound quality. I felt the audio jars too much in some cases, and I’m not convinced CDLA is a USP.
Le Max2 has some really strong points in its favour. Camera would be the first on my list; for under Rs 30,000, it will please most users. The overall performance of the phone is also top-notch, and gaming, etc should not be a problem.
The 2K Display will again appeal to users, who want high-end specs without paying a lot. Plus there’s the 6GB RAM aspect, which again might impress some prospective buyers. Le Max2 is a great device if you want high-end specs, and don’t mind the free content that comes bundled with it. However, the OnePlus 3 and Xiaomi Mi 5 are the obvious competitors for this devices.