Overview
Introduction
Design
Display
Hardware
Software and apps
Camera
Audio and video
Performance
Battery life
Conclusion
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LeEco Le 1S Review

A fully-specced budget smartphone with a stylish design
By Sukesh Mudrakola on 2016-03-16
Key Features
  • 5.5-inch Full HD display
  • 3GB RAM
  • Helio X10 processor
  • Fingerprint scanner
What we like
  • Good design
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Loud and crisp audio through loudspeakers
  • Supports fast charging
What we don't like
  • Non-expandable storage
  • Heats up while gaming
  • Camera struggles under low-light conditions
7.6
Our Score
Introduction

LeEco, formerly known as LeTv, is a Chinese brand that’s well-known for its televisions and online video content. The company has also made its entry into a wider range of electronic segments such as smartphones, smart cycles, VR gear, and Bluetooth headsets. LeEco has successfully seized a good amount of market share from the likes of Lenovo, Xiaomi, and Huawei in China, thanks to its ultra-affordable pricing. The company has now entered the Indian market with extensive social media campaigns and launched two smartphones: Le 1S and Le Max. 

LeTv Le 1S Intro

Among these two smartphones, the Le 1S is a more affordable one. It offers mid-range specifications at an entry-level price of just ₨ 10,999. The Le Max, which is priced at Rs. 32,999, is a high-end smartphone. The Le 1S, with its premium looks and relatively higher-end specifications, has managed to gather a ton of hype from smartphone enthusiasts in the Indian market. Let’s find out how the device fares in the real-world usage.

Design
8.5

The first thing that impressed us about the Le 1S is its design. It is manufactured using an aviation-grade alloy, and the device looks great and feels rich in the hand. It sports an all-metal screw-less uni-body design with rounded corners. The chamfered edged on the sides run along the entire smartphone. 

LeTv Le 1s

The 5.5-inch display occupies a significant portion of the front of the device. It stretches to either edge of the smartphone, giving it an almost bezel-less appearance. On the top of the screen, you'll find a set of sensors along with the front-facing camera. All these things are placed symmetrically on the either side of the earpiece.

LeTv Le 1S design

The device also houses an LED indicator above the display. Three capacitive backlit buttons lie below it. A slightly protruding camera sensor and the LED flash are on the back of the device. There's a circular shaped fingerprint scanner with a mirror finish, which is placed just above the ‘LeTv’ logo. 

The 3.5 mm headphone jack and the Infrared port are at the top of the Le 1S, while two speaker grills and the USB Type-C port reside at the bottom edge of the smartphone. The Le 1S comes with flat edges and the volume rocker is present on the right side, with the power button below it. Both these buttons are made out of metal and provide good tactile feedback. The SIM tray rests on the left edge of the device. 

LeTv Le 1S

Overall, the Le 1S is a well-built smartphone that looks stunning. Its metal body feels more fluid than it looks in images. However, it is a bit slippery at times, but that's what you have to settle with if you want a smartphone with a metal body. The device is available in gold and silver finishes. Do note that the gold variant comes with a slight pinkish hue resembling the Rose Gold variant as seen on recent iPhones.

Display
7

The Le 1S has a 5.5-inch Full HD IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels, resulting in a pixel density of 401PPI which is fine for a smartphone in the budget segment. The screen is protected by the Gorilla Glass 3 panel, and it safeguards the device from wear and tear.

LeTv Le 1S display

Blacks levels of the screen are deep and the colours are punchy with a good amount of contrast. Unlike most other budget smartphones out there, the auto-brightness on the device works perfectly well. However, the display's brightness seems just about average and it struggles under direct sunlight. Thanks to high resolution and good viewing angles, it is flexible enough to serve for a variety of use cases such as watching videos, reading e-books, browsing the web or editing the images.

There's also an option to customise the display colour modes. There are four display modes; Vivid, Natural, Soft and a special LeTv mode. The video display enhancement option enhances the colour saturation while playing back videos.

Hardware
8

The hardware of the Le 1S is pretty impressive for its price point. MediaTek’s latest MT6795 Helio X10 octa-core processor powers this smartphone. The chipset is coupled with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of on-board storage. The PowerVR Rogue G6200 GPU is tasked with processing the graphics for the device. Out of the 32GB storage, around 29GB is available to users. Sadly, the storage space cannot be expanded further.

On the imaging front, the Le 1S sports a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera that's assisted by an LED flash. It also comes with a 5-megapixel secondary front-facing camera. It also sports a fingerprint sensor, residing at the rear of the smartphone. The Le 1S comes with two microphones, a compass, a magnetometer, a gravity sensor, a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor, and an infrared sensor.

LeTv Le 1S hardware

On the connectivity front, the device Le 1S is compatible with all the 4G LTE networks that are used in India. Other connectivity options include 3G, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 4.0. For location-based services, the device has an embedded GPS chip which supports A-GPS and GLONASS. The device also supports USB OTG on the go. The entire device is backed by a 3,000mAh non-removable Li-Ion battery

Software and apps
7.5

The Le 1S runs the company’s proprietary EUI 5.5 which is based on Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. EUI is pretty smooth and doesn't come with any bloatware. The UI on the device is quite sober and has a flatter appearance. EUI lacks a dedicated app drawer, so all the app icons are placed on the home screen. Moreover, all the of the app icons have a flat and simple design.

Software on this device is highly customisable. There's an option which lets you manage the notifications to appear on the lock screen as per priority. Unlike most of the Android-based smartphones, the Le 1S doesn't have quick-toggle shortcuts on its drop-down menu. Instead, all the toggles including the brightness slider, recent apps, and other shortcuts can be accessed by pressing the square-shaped multitasking button on the device. All these shortcuts can be customised using the Control Centre option from the settings. 

Software

Apart from all the necessary applications from Google, including Play Store, Gmail, Chrome, Hangouts, and more, it also comes with a ‘Remote Control’ application. It lets you use the phone as a remote control to operate electronic appliances such as TVs, projectors, and air conditioners. It works fine and comes in handy at times. We felt that most of the UI design and elements were inspired from the iOS.

During our usage, the software did face a few hiccups, which included occasional app crashes and compatibility issues. On a positive note, software updates are being rolled out frequently to ensure a better experience. These updates have significantly reduced most of the software issues that we faced.

Camera
6.5

The LeEco Le 1S uses a 13-megapixel ISOCELL camera sensor from Samsung and an LED flash for the rear-facing camera. The front-facing camera has a resolution of 5 megapixels. The rear-facing camera comes with phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) technology, which focuses faster than cameras with contrast-detection autofocus mechanism. 

camera sample

Both the cameras on the device can capture decent images and videos under natural light. However, the camera fails to capture details under low-light conditions. Even the LED flash can't rescue the camera in such situations. On a positive note, the HDR mode manages to balance the bright- and low-lit areas pretty well. The camera is fast in capturing an image and the shot-to-shot time is negligible.

camera sample 2

The default camera app interface is pretty clean and resembles an iPhone’s camera UI. It comes with four modes including; photo, panorama, video, and slow-motion video. The rear camera can record 4K videos at 30 frames per second or slow-motion videos at 720p resolution. 4K videos recorded on the phone were not up to the mark and showed mild frame drops. Thankfully, slow-motion videos recorded using the device were smooth and detailed. Panorama shots captured using the Le 1S were pretty decent and included enough details in them. There is a set of filters (along with live previews) for those who like to add a bit of fun to the moments.

camera sample 3

Audio and video
8.5

The default music application on the Le 1S has a flat and simplistic UI. It comes with a turn-off time feature which allows the user to turn off the music player after a pre-defined time. Music track listings can be sorted by songs, artists, or albums.

The loudspeaker produces detailed audio, thanks to its Dolby Audio and Dirac HD audio technology. There's no sound distortion even at high volume levels. The device manages to produce a similarly detailed sound when paired with a couple of earphones including the Brainwavz Delta and the SoundMagic ES18. Do note that the device doesn't come bundled with the earphones, so you'll have to buy new ones if you don't have some in spare.

The default video player on the device can even play 4K videos with ease. The video player features a 'cinema effect', which pumps up the volume. However, the function needs a good pair of earphones for it to be noticeable. You can use the ‘small window’ option to minimise the video and play it in the foreground while doing other tasks simultaneously.

Performance
7.5

Powered by the MediaTek’s Helio X10 mobile chipset that's paired with 3GB of RAM, the Le 1S performs quite well. The device scores good numbers in synthetic benchmark tests. In fact, the benchmark scores of the Le 1S might deceive you into believing that it's a higher mid-range smartphone.

LeTv Le 1S fingerprint

The device managed to score 53,898 in AnTuTu Benchmark which reflects its overall performance. To test the graphics performance, we tested it using the 3DMark app where it scored a decent 11,705 points. The browsing experience, metal performance, and multi-core strength of the Le 1S were tested using Vellamo benchmark suite in which it scored well.

Coming to the real-life performance, the smartphone did exceptionally well in gaming, especially considering its price point. Almost all the games ran quite well with no noticeable frame drops. We played graphics intensive games such as the Asphalt 8, the Modern Combat, the Gun Bros II, and the Unkilled, and all these games ran without any hassle. However, the device tends to get hot after prolonged gaming sessions.

Except for minor transition delays and slight heat-ups during intense gaming, none of the issues in the device interrupt the user experience. Speaking about the fingerprint sensor on the smartphone, it works fine and is quick and accurate. However, one might have to unlock the device using the password/PIN provided after few unsuccessful fingerprint scans.

Performance

The Le 1S comes with dual-SIM 4G connectivity and the device latches onto 4G networks without any issues. It supports dual-stand-by mode which works well for managing both the SIM cards simultaneously. The device has good network reception and the call quality on the device is loud, audible, and clear.

Battery life
7.5

A 3,000 mAh battery backs the Le 1S, and it can be charged using the device's USB Type-C port. The device supports a faster-charging mode which takes about 70 minutes to charge the device's battery from zero to 100 percent.

During our usage, the device managed to provide decent battery backup which is expected from a phone of this calibre. The device managed to last a day under moderate usage, which included a few phone calls, an hour of Skype call, gaming for a couple of hours, and a few social networking apps running in the background. The device was latched on to Airtel’s 4G LTE network for the entire time of our testing. The screen-on time was about four hours with the brightness set to maximum.

LeTv Le 1S battery

There are a couple of battery saving modes provided and they're quite effective in improving the standby time of the device. That said, all the background apps are disabled under these modes, so you might not get notifications from some apps that matter to you.

Conclusion

LeEco Le 1S is surely a good value-for-money device. Although there are a few hits and misses in the device, it still is the best device you can get around the Rs. 11,000 price mark. Currently, there are a good number of phones that feature a fingerprint sensor and 3GB of RAM. However, Le 1S with its powerful Helio X10 chipset and an all-metal body has an upper hand over its competitors.

If one is ready to overlook a slightly dull display, then Le 1S is surely a better buy over the likes of Lenovo Vibe K4 Note, Honor 5X, and the Coolpad Note 3.

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