LeEco has made a name for itself in the Indian market with its uber-popular Le 1s and Le 1s Eco devices which provided the users with a top-notch performance at an extremely affordable price. The successor to Le 1s has now been launched in India. Called the Le 2, the second gen phone promises to up the ante and set a benchmark for devices under Rs. 15,000. LeEco had sent us a unit a couple of weeks ago and this is our review of the LeEco Le 2.
Le 2 is competitively 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). The handset offers a 5.5-inch InCell Full HD (1920 x 1080p) display, 64 bit Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor and a juicy 3,000 mAh battery.
The Le 2 also has to offer a 16MP rear camera with dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, and wide f/2.0 aperture. For the selfie shooter, it has an 8MP f/2.0 shooter. In the connectivity side of things, Le 2 has Dual-SIM slots, 4G LTE with VoLTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS/A-GPS, USB Type-C port and a fingerprint sensor on the back. Note that it has no 3.5 mm jack, instead, the USB port can be used for audio output.
Design & Build Quality- LeEco Le 2 Review
LeEco Le 2 comes in a unibody metal body which has become the fad in the past few months with Xiaomi, One Plus and even Yu rolling out their devices with a unibody metal body. However, the Le 2 design is very similar to the Le 1s it had released in India last year. Le 1s was one of the very first phones to come out with this metal unibody design and it was much appreciated as game changer device which gave one a premium feel in a sub-15k section. LeEco Le 2 is quite light considering that it has a metal body. It certainly feels lighter than my Asus Zenfone Max and one can’t help but notice its striking similarity to the Le Max2. The phone sits nicely in the palm of your hand considering it is a 5.5 inch device and feels solid in one’s hand. LeEco has gone ahead and done he consumer one up by adding a soft TPU cover for the phone in the box which has Le branding and fits the phone perfectly. Le 2 has a body which is screw-less with nicely chamfered edges which give it a premium feel.
On the left side of the device you can find the dual-SIM slots. Le 2 fits the nano-SIM so if you were still using a micro SIM it is probably time to change that. Both the slots are 4G VoLTE compatible. The SIM tray can be ejected easily using the SIM ejector tool which comes in the box. On the right side of the device sits the power button, which has been positioned such that it is exactly where your thumb would be (if you are right handed) or where your long finger would be (if you are left-handed). Above the power button is the volume rocker. These buttons have been manufactured using complex CNC machining and are of really good quality.
They feel sturdy and click nicely. The top side of the Le 2 has a IR blaster which can be used with most of your household devices to control them. We tried using it on TVs (LG, Philips and Sony), Set-Top boxes (Hathway, TataSky and Airtel) and Air Conditioners (LG, Samsung and Godrej) successfully. This feature is very useful and is surely hang onto you once you start using it. The bottom side of the Le 2 has a type C charging port in the middle and two speaker grills on both sides of it.
It should be noted that the sound only comes from the Right speaker. The left one is for aesthetic value only but the phone is quite loud nonetheless. The back of the device houses the big 16MP camera module in the middle on the right side of which is the dualtone flash. The camera lens is covered with a anti-glare CD film to protect it from scratches.Beneath the camera is the mirror finish fingerprint scanner. Antenna bands also run top and bottom sides of the rear side of the Le 2. The back is non-removable and there is no expandable storage on the Le 2.
The front of the device is very similar to the Le 1s. The left and right bezels post the screen are very thin and black in color, so when the screen is off, you get the feeling that the Le 2 is truly bezel-less. The top side has the speaker grill in the middle with the front camera on the right side and the proximity/light sensor on the left. Further left to the sensor is a notification LED which one can not make out unless it is blinking. Le 2 comes with capacitive touch buttons below the screen which light up when touched. These too are impossible to make out when not lighted up. This adds to the premium feel of the Le 2 and the beauty and symmetry of the device are enhanced.
Le 2 comes with the Letv branding instead of the new Le branding seen on the Le max 2. This is still a mystery to us, why the company has not yet decided to do away with it.
Display – LeEco Le 2 Review
The Le 2 comes with a 5.5-inch full HD or 1920×1080 pixels resolution display. This means that the display on the Le 2 is 403 ppi which give a greay crisp image. It is very hard to see an isolated pixel with the naked eye. Le 2 has the brightness of the display at 500 nits compared to the 433 nits of the likes of One Plus 3 or 450 nits on the Redmi Note 3. Higher the nits, brighter the phone’s display can get. This means it is easier to use the Le 2 in direct sunlight and to our satisfaction we found this to be quite accurate. It was quite easy to use the Le 2 in Delhi’s bright afternoon sun. The contrasts, colors and hues on the display are better than most budget offerings out there right now. The eUI on the Le 2 also allows for various colour modes like Vivid, Natural, Soft and LeEco mode. The display has just enough brightness for outdoor activities. The touch on Le 2’s display is great, there were no issues faced here.
Software & UI – LeEco Le 2 Review
LeEco quickly scores extra brownie points as Le 2 runs on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow out of the box. Many of its competitors are still running earlier models with no prospect of getting an upgrade soon. We really like the eUI which is specific to LeEco devices. It makes certain very important features much easier to reach. The UI feels fresh with many little shortcuts here or there which make life easier.
For example, in 90 percent of Android devices, you have to pull the top bar twice to get to quick toggle settings. But in Le 2 all one has to do is to touch the “recent ” button (left capacitive button) and voila! This brings in settings for things like the remote app, camera, calculator, flashlight, and screenshot. Also, wi-fi, Data, auto-rotate, flight mode and mute. There is also an iOS 8 like music player integrated into this menu alongside the brightness slider. At the button, you can see all the recently opened apps which can be killed by touching the current RAM reading. If you wish to keep one app while killing rest you can just pull it down to “lock” it so that it is not killed with the rest. This feature is quite useful when multitasking while playing games.
The eUI is more iOS-like than android in the sense that it does not feature an app drawer. Instead, the apps appear on the same screen like iOS or MIUI. LeEco has slyly put a “Live” button where the app drawer button is supposed to be. Touching this takes you to the section of eUI where all the promised, freely available content is present. This menu can also be reached by swiping Left on the main screen. “LeView” provides all the free content from Yupp TV and Eros which has been promised to you.
eUI has many such features to explain which it would take a whole article in itself.
In a nutshell, the UI is quite simple and easy to use. eUI makes life easier once you get used to it and the phone is quite swift.
Battery – LeEco Le 2 Review
The Le 2 has a juicy 3000 mAh battery. Thanks to the fact that the device is running Android Marshmallow operating system, one can use the Doze mode. Otherwise too, Le 2 has several battery Saving features and modes. eUI also gives you a smart battery feature which lets you run only specific apps. Also, there is a provision for scheduling power on and off feature.
Not using any of these features allowed me a full day worth of battery on the Le 2 with a moderate combo of watching a GoT episode, some Asphalt 8, music while traveling and almost-always-on Whatsapp and Facebook.
However, by actually using the battery saving options optimally I could run the phone for 2 days on a single charge. That was really impressive. However what impresses us further is that the Le 2 comes with Quick charge (and a quick charger in the box) which allowed us to charge the phone up to 60 percent in around half an hour. So this allows for a swift charge of the device if one is ever running on low battery. The Quick charger is rated at 5v/9v = 2.7A or 12v = 2.0A
Camera – LeEco Le 2 Review
With the Le 2, LeEco has tried to raise the bar as far as the camera is concerned. The Rear shooter on the Le 2 offers 16MP camera with dual-tone LED flash, PDAF, and f/2.0 aperture. There are options to capture pictures in different ratios at different resolutions. One can click 16MP pictures in 4:3 aspect, 12MP in 16:9 aspect and 6MP pictures in 16:9 aspect.
Performance & Hardware – LeEco Le 2 Review
At the launch event of the Le 2, it was announced that the Le 2 scores around 79,000 on AnTuTu benchmark which was good because well the Redmi Note 3 scores around 75,000. But when we ran the benchmark on the phone ourselves we were surprised. 81947 is the AnTuTu score our unit of Le 2 scored on AnTuTu 3D benchmark test. It was impressive to see the Le 2 ahead of the likes of iPhone 6 and Nexus 6P, devices which can burn your pockets. This does not imply that Le 2 performs better than these devices in real time usage but the sheer power in this device is overwhelming, to say the least.
On the Geek Bench 3 benchmark, the Le 2 again passed with flying colors. The scores were:
Le 2 is the first device to feature a 64 bit Snapdragon 652 octa-core processor which coupled with Adreno 510 GPU and 3GB DDR3 RAM is a combination which can handle most of the things you can throw at it!
We played heavy games such as Asphalt 8, Dungeon Hunter and Modern Combat for a long duration at a stretch. Surprisingly Le 2 did not heat up as much as some of its competitors do. It was comfortable to hold the phone even after a couple of hours of gaming.
Multitasking was not an issue even with 8-10 apps open simultaneously and the phone worked without any lags during the day to day usage.
Connectivity – LeEco Le 2 Review
Le 2 scores full points when it comes to connectivity. With dual SIM slots, 4G connectivity, dual-band WiFi (a/b/g/n/a), WiFi Direct, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.1 A2DP LE, Infrared port and USB Type-C port, the Le 2 has all the connectivity features that can be expected from a budget offering. However Le 2 misses out on NFC but since here in India, Android Pay hasn’t really caught on, that is fine. Le 2 also allows for “HD quality” voice calling and also has a microphone for noise cancellation.
For navigation purposes, Le 2 offers GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS, and BDS. The fingerprint sensor took its own sweet time to register my fingerprint but once that was done it would quickly unlock the phone in (as LeEco claims to be) 0.03s.
Audio – LeEco Le 2 Review
This is one of the most controversial things about this device and hence we have taken it in the end. If you have yet not formed an opinion on the Le 2, this might as well be the deciding factor. The integration of CDLA technology might swing consumers either way. To keep it simple we shall keep it basic.
Q- Does Le 2 support 3.5mm jack?
A- No. It uses the Type C port as-as a digital audio output.
Q- What is CDLA technology?
A- CDLA stands for Continual Digital Lossless Audio.
Q- Why is CDLA better than 3.5mm jack ?
A- CDLA gives a digital output to audio compared to the 3.5mm jack which in turn is analog, hence more losses in audio quality using the latter.
Q- Will my old pair of earphones works with Le 2?
A- Yes, Le 2 comes with a type-C to 3.5mm jack adapter in the box, using which you can use your old earphones/headphones. However, that defeats the whole purpose of CDLA. So it is recommended to buy the Type-C earplugs which LeEco is selling on LeMall India.
We are totally in love with the new CDLA tech which LeEco has dished out. Audio output is much better compared to our regular pair of Sennheiser or Skullcandy. However, the focus is on treble, so bass-lovers might wish to stick to their chunky earphones/headphones for now.
The Le2 is the 1st smartphone to arrive at the Indian shores with a USB Type-C audio port. This port, till now had been used for charging and data transfer. If you buy the Le2 in the first flash sale you will get a pair of type-C CDLA earphones (priced at Rs 1,999) for free. Removing the 3.5mm jack slot has various reasons. CDLA through Type-C port gives better sound quality, there is more space to fit in components inside the phone now. Also, one less hole in the body means fewer chances of damaging it with water, lint etc.
The Le2 Does not seem to have a pre-installed FM radio app. However we downloaded an app from the Play store and it worked well. With over 10 FM channels playing all genres of music, one would not want to miss out on this aspect.
Verdict – LeEco Le 2 Review
All things considered, the Le 2 is clearly a winner for anyone wishing to buy a smartphone in under Rs 15000. With a powerful processor, meaty RAM and tons of useful features, Le 2 ticks all the right boxes. Adding to that is all the free India specific content that is being offered for a whole year and the CDLA technology plus features like 4G VoLTE etc make the Le 2 extremely future proof and useful. This is one purchase you would not regret.