LeEco Le 2 Review: Best Budget Smartphone of 2016?

Reviews
LeEco LeTV Le 2 Full Review

It’s not been long since we reviewed the previous model of the current generation device, the Le 1S. To be honest, I wasn’t very impressed with the device since it had numerous issues popping up every second day. The most disappointing features of the smartphone were, the ultra slow & inaccurate fingerprint sensor and heating up issues. Then I was insisted by my fellow friends to give the next generation device, the Le 2 a shot to check if the company had made any significant improvements or it’s going to be another disappointment.

If you ask for my honest opinion, I’m absolutely impressed with the LeEco Le 2 after using it for more than three weeks now. It has the right amount of every factor which a user looks for in a budget smartphone! Wait.. Le 2 does not only challenge the other budget phones, but also offers a good competition to devices priced higher than it. Check out the review further to know how the device performs in terms of design, display, performance, camera, features, user interface and battery.

Design

In terms of design, LeEco (formerly known as LeTV) doesn’t seem to have done much. Coming with a similar design analogy, is the Le 2 which is significantly lighter weighing just 153 grams. Le 2 feels perfect in hand, even with a screen as large as 5.5 inches, which many manufacturers fail to achieve. The phone is available in Rose Gold, Silver and Gray colour options – with Rose Gold being the new addition from the last generation on the device.

Le 2 has a unibody all metal design, which gives it a really premium look. The flat back and chamfered edges give you a solid hold of the device, trust me you’ll love the amount of grip offered by the phone. Incase you feel you are a little careless and are likely to drop the device, you can use the transparent case included in the box. Another interesting part of the Le 2 is that it is the first smartphone to ditch the 3.5mm headphone jack and have a universal USB Type-C port. We shall be talking in detail about this new concept in the ‘Features’ section below.

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The power button and volume keys sit on the right edge; Infrared sensor occupies a place on the top; SIM card tray can be found on the left edge; while the microphone, speakers and the USB Type C port are on the bottom. All the keys are accessible with single handed usage and easily identifiable without having to do much hardwork. The front side of the device offers the 5.5 full HD display, on top of which we find the 8MP camera, earpiece for voice calls and the proximity sensor. The phone takes the minimum possible space around the screen hence offering a device with minimum dimensions. On the back side, sits a 16MP camera sensor along with a dual tone flash for the perfect night shots. There’s also the fingerprint sensor, the accuracy of which will be talked about in the further sections.

Display

Sporting a full HD (1920 x 1080) 5.5 inches IPS LCD display is the Le 2, with a pixel density of 401ppi (pixels per inch). The specifications of the display might seem usual, but the experience doesn’t. The sharpness, the quality and the colours on the screen are marvellous! It is the ideal display on which you would enjoy watching all your favourite movies on.

LeEco LeTV Le 2 Display

The viewing angles are upto the mark and the screen offers the ideal amount of brightness for outdoors. Thanks to the adaptive brightness for taking care of my eyes, depending on the environment I am in. LeEco L2 offers various other colour modes, including Vivid, Natural, Soft and LeEco (default and recommended) mode. The smartphone also offers a Scale Mode, in which you can either choose Standard (default) or Zoom (easy readability of texts).

Performance

If there’s one thing that you can bet on, it is its performance. LeEco Le 2 is the first smartphone to be powered by the 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 (MSM8976) SoC, which consists of Quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A72. For the high graphic requirements, we have the Adreno 510. I didn’t face any lag, however extreme the task might be. I played games, browsed the internet, watched videos online and checked my email, still no signs of lag. All thanks to the 3GB of RAM available, out of which 1GB is always occupied no matter how ideal the smartphone is (which is of a little concern).

The company has also addressed the issue of heating, which was dominant in the previous Le 1S. Le 2 performs exceptionally when under adverse conditions, without heating up or compromising on the speed. It will surely give the mid ranged phones like the OnePlus 3, Apple iPhone SE, Samsung Galaxy A7 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a run for their money! The only place where I feel Le 2 could’ve done a little well, is the 32GB of internal storage – which is non expandable. To my surprise, the LeEco Le 2 occupies the 12th place in the AnTuTu Benchmark list, ahead of Samsung Galaxy S6 and Apple iPhone 6. You can refer to the following benchmarking chart to get an idea of where the phone stands.

Benchmarking Application Score
AnTuTu  81639
Quadrant  20532

Camera

The 16MP rear sensor comes with a above average camera application which takes time to get familiar with. Once you are accustomed with how camera works on this one, you’ll be able to take great shots. The native camera application offer options like Slo-Mo, Panorama, HDR, Night, Beauty and Scene and you can choose the picture size to be 16M (4:3 aspect ratio) or 12M (16:9 aspect ratio) or 6M (16:9 aspect ratio). There are also a bunch of filters that you might want to use while taking pictures (it will certainly reduce the editing efforts after taking the picture).

LeEco LeTV Le 2 Camera

The outdoor pictures came out to be great under natural light, but the indoor distant shots suffered with a little noise. The camera was able to use the f/2.0 pretty well to focus at objects, but it did take some time to capture macros perfectly. Le 2 is a perfect option for your casual camera needs which includes pictures of social media and informal shots. During the nights, I did not face any problem with focusing and clicking pictures, but the amount of light gathered by the sensor could have been a little more.

The front shooter, 8MP sensor works great too. Though I am not a big fan of front cameras and don’t take selfies all day long, but the phone served to my occasional needs of video calls and group (selfie) pictures. And yes, there’s a customizable Beautification mode which will make every you look even better!

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Features and Operating System

Based on the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, Le 2 comes with EUI 5.6 which is a much improved version of what we saw in the Le 1S. The user interface is engaging and offers many small customizations which allow users to set their device according to their specific needs. The app drawer button is missing, and its place has been occupied with the new ‘LIVE’ application which falls under the Le Ecosystem. Quick settings can be found on pressing the recent applications button, not besides the notifications panel. The other worthy features which are included in the Le 2 are as follows:

1. LeView (Le Ecosystem): On making a right swipe from the home screen, you’ll notice something similar to what HTC calls Blinkfeed. It monitors your browsing data and shows content which is most relevant to you. Interestingly, it displays many Indian websites which is a great plus point for users who are always on the move.

2. CDLA (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio): Ditching the standard 3.5 mm audio jack and innovating with the USB Type-C port, LeEco introduces an interesting audio standard. With the special Type-C earphones, listening to music becomes all the more better. This is one feature which every music listener will love!

3. LIVE (Le Ecosystem): It is the video on demand (VoD) and live TV streaming service, which comes free with the purchase of a Le 2 at Rs. 11,999. LeEco has partnered with Eros Now and YuppTV respectively for the same.

4. Remote Control: Using the Infrared sensor on the phone, this application transforms your Le 2 into a remote for various electronics, including your set-top box and television.

Battery

While designing the software end, LeEco kept in mind that they just have 3000mAh as the battery hardware. Hence we have many power saving features like the Battery Saver, Smart Battery for applications and Align Wakeup. With the optimal use of all the tools, we were able to juice out over 15 hours of usage. An entire day of moderate – heavy usage is pretty fair at this price point. Considering the other hefty features offered by this smartphone.

Please refer to the table below to get an idea of how the battery dropped over various tasks.

Task Duration Percentage Drop
Cellular Call 20 minutes 3%
Streaming YouTube videos on WiFi at 1080p 10 minutes 2%
Gaming (Real Racing 3) 10 minutes 4%
Browsing the web 30 minutes 2%

Verdict

LeEco Le 2 is a masterpiece in its own way. Not just great specifications, but amazing performance and charming user experience make it a must buy. Challenging devices priced three times of its price is no joke and LeEco seem to have done it like a boss! The device which offer a close competition to it is the Redmi Note 3 from Mi. Comparing the two, the Le 2 has an edge over the Note 3 in terms of display, design, performance, camera and the user interface. Now the only reason for you to buy the Redmi Note 3 is a slightly better battery. Still want to buy the Redmi Note 3? I hope I have successfully answered the question “Is LeEco Le 2 the best budget smartphone of 2016?”

LeEco Le 2

Rs .11,999
LeEco Le 2
8.3

Design

8/10

    Display

    9/10

      Performance

      9/10

        Camera

        8/10

          Battery

          8/10

            Pros

            • - Beautiful unibody metal design, with the Rose Gold colour looks superb!
            • - Performance is unmatched with the Snapdragon 652 SoC.
            • - Fast fingerprint sensor eliminates time consumed to unlock the phone.
            • - Inclusion of CDLA earphones is a huge plus point for music lovers.

            Cons

            • - Rear Camera could have been improved to capture shots in low light.
            • - Battery backup is comparatively less when compared with devices like Redmi Note 3.

            Karan Uppal

            Karan Uppal is the Editor-in-Chief for Virtuaniz. He is currently a bachelor student of Computer Science at Bangalore and is working with a few start-ups. Karan is a keen learner and loves to travel. He loves reviewing gadgets and claims them to hold an important part in his life. Follow him at @freezethinker to get his updates.

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