When I took my son to his hair saloon other day, the hair dresser asked “Sir, what is this new company L-E something… is it good?” He knew I review phones, so I showed him the phone which I was testing then. What that incident reflected was in short duration LeTv, now globally rebranded as LeEco has caught the attention of the people with its blitzkrieg promotional campaigns. Of course any good pre-sale promotional campaigns can give the initial leverage for the company but it can only be sustained if the product was equally good. In this LeEco Le1s review, I share my thoughts on the phone that the company now claims to have sold 70,000 units in 2 seconds in their first flash sale in India. A very impressive number indeed.
Prior to Le1S, I was using the gigantic LeMax, the other Smartphone from the company they are launching in India, it has a 6.33-inch display and when I started using the Le1S, it felt smaller, even though it has a 5.5-inch display. The Le1S is priced competitively at Rs 10,999 in India, a price band that is witnessing the most action here.
Design and Build Quality
- Aluminum unibody
- 151.1 x 74.2 x 7.6mm
- 169 grams
Cast in an all-metal aluminum body, the Le1S is a solid phone to get hold on. At 169 grams, it balances the metal body and the weight fairly well, the 7.6mm thickness makes it pleasant to hold, a right waistline that is not skinny nor hefty. The rose gold works well and is the flavor of the season with many manufacturers following suit after Apple bite the color in its iPhone. It is a refreshing shade considering we have seen lots of traditional blacks, whites and metallic shades of silver gray and gold of late.
The right side has the traditional positioning of the power button and the volume rocker. The edges of the sides are chamfered giving it a clean looks and smooth handling.
The bottom has the USB Type-C port with two speaker grille flanking it. But it is still a mono speaker with only the right grille acting as the speaker and the other for visual balance and also fits in a microphone. There are antenna cutouts too.
The top has the audio jack and IR. and antenna strips.
LeEco claims its mirror-surfaced finger print scanner is a first of a kind, while it is smooth when you touch it, it doesn’t translate into high accuracy or quick responsiveness compared to the regular sensors. The rear houses the 13-megapixel rear camera and the right top corner with the LED flash next to it. A microphone is also positioned on the top. A darker shade panel on the top and bottom half adds to the visual appeal.
In nutshell, the rear looks neat. The front has a black bezel which feels a bit prominent due to the rose gold panel on top and bottom. The front chin has three touch buttons and are backlit, which is very rare to find these days in even mid segment devices, when not lit, there are no visible markings for the buttons. The front also has notification light on the top.
- IPS display
- 1920 x 1080 pixels
- 403 ppi
- 80% NTSC color gamut
- 1100 to 1 contrast
The Le1S comes with a 5.5-inch IPS display with a fullHD resolution. The display is pretty good, with good color vividness and depth. The blacks are deep and impressive. In the display settings, you can adjust to couple of presets – LeTv, vivid, natural, soft. The display settings options also include a scale view and font size adjustments. Soft is akin to the Blue light filter which we are recently seeing in many phones, if you are using the phone on a long usage for say browsing or reading e-books, you can shift to this color mode and it reduces the eye strain.
- Android 5.0
Stock Android is parked at Nexus and Motorola devices and most OEM’s stir up their own user interface. LeEco is no different and the have come up with EUI. It is based out of Android 5.0 but has a different feel to it, almost like iOS. There are no app drawers and all apps are housed on the home screen.
The notable shift from the standard Android layout we are familiar with is the positioning of the quick access settings and toggles or what we call control centre. Usually in typical Android devices you access them at the notification shade but EUI plays it differently. The notification shade shows just the notification and also you can access the notification settings. The control centre is integrated to the mutlttasking screen. So pressing the multitasking button, opens the screen that shows all – the open apps and one click to clear apps occupy the bottom half while the quick access and toggles settings are at the above. This shift takes a bit of time to get adjusted to.
The settings menu is divided into two toggles – system settings and app settings. There are areas to improve on the EUI but other wise, the UI looks clean with minimal pre-installed apps and bloatware. There are no theme store and it has a dozen themes to choose from. There are no fancy gesture options either, which in any case I always find to be waste of resources. The Le1S comes with a IR blaster and a Remote app, so you can use it as a remote. On the downside, the EUI faces lots of bugs and hopefully they will be squashed by some updates sooner, they better be aggressive about it,
- MediaTek Helio X10
- 2.2GHz Octa-core processor
- ARM cortex- A53
- Power VR G6200 GPU
- 3GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage
- 3000mAh battery
- Speakers: Dolby, DTS
Le1S engages MediaTek chipset with the Helio X10 extension, complimented with a 3GB of RAM and Power VR G6200 GPU. There is no provision for microSD card but a 32GB should keep most of us happy. The big question is performance? The Le1S handles the day to day tasks really well, the multi tasking is better and for those who are into gaming, it plays but a keen gamer can notice certain frame drops and slight low down in graphics. I reiterate, these are noticeable by avid gamer but for casual gamers, it still works. The call quality is good and even the audio leaves no room for complaint.
What was impressive was the battery performance. The 3000mAh battery gave me 5 hours screen on time with the phone going past a day of use. It also features fast charge.
- 13MP rear camera
- f/2.0 aperture
- 5MP selfie camera
The day light pictures strikes a sweet spot and the color reproduction was decent but still with intense race in the entry level mid-segment, their are phones that outdo the Le1s in terms of photography, having said that the Le1s does take good pictures overall. The selfie camera was a bit of a let down. It messes up in the color algorithm and I think LeEco could fix it with a software update. Also strangely, there is no beauty filter and I feel by default there is a small degree of beautify applied.
You can also use the finger print scanner to take a picture and it comes handy.
At Rs 10,999 (US$ 162), there no room for big complaints against the Le1S and we can cast aside the few drawbacks for the sheer value for money it brings.
- Amazing build
- Good looks
- Neat 1080 display
- 0verall good peformance
- Finger print scanner
- 32GB storage on-board
- Good audio
- And the battery life
- Selfie camera could have been better
- No expandable storage