LeEco Le Max 2 Review: Big, Bold and Powerful
LeEco Le 2 smartphone was launched in April 2016. The phone comes with a 5.50-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080 pixels by 1920 pixels at a PPI of 403 pixels per inch.
The LeEco Le 2 is powered by 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 processor and it comes with 3GB of RAM. The phone packs 32GB of internal storage cannot be expanded. As far as the cameras are concerned, the LeEco Le 2 packs a 16-megapixel primary camera on the rear and a 8-megapixel front shooter for selfies.
The LeEco Le 2 is a dual SIM (GSM and GSM) smartphone that accepts two Nano-SIM. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, 3G, 4G (with support for Band 40 used by some LTE networks in India). Sensors on the phone include Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, and Gyroscope.
Should you buy it?
- Top-class performance
- Free movies and other content
- Excellent audio via speaker
- Good camera
- Boring design
- Screen not bright enough
- No 3.5mm audio jack
- Average battery life
The Le Max 2 is a big, bold and powerful smartphone. It’s big on content streaming services, bold in chucking out the regular 3.5mm audio jack and powerful enough to give high-end flagship phones a run for their money.
Then again this is a phone centred solely around LeEco’s content ecosystem and multimedia consumption. While free content for one year sounds great (provided you have the bandwidth), I am not sure how chucking out the 3.5mm audio jack would change things, vis-Ã -vis audio.Sure, the company is giving away free earphones that can make use of CDLA tech (for now) but the result doesn’t quite match the output that you can get with a better pair of ‘regular’ headphones. Not to mention, LeEco’s CDLA headphones look cheap and tacky.
Take the content ecosystem and multimedia consumption out of the equation, and the Le Max 2 is still a very capable smartphone. At Rs 22,999 the 4GB RAM Le Max 2 is, in fact, the cheapest Snapdragon 820 powered phone in India right now.
The 6GB RAM variant meanwhile makes absolutely no sense. Sure it gives you more internal storage, but at Rs 2,000 less you can get the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3 has a better screen, almost stock Android, better set of cameras and Dash Charging. The Le Max 2 can be an alternative, but it surely can’t be your first choice.
The Le Max 2 comes with a 5.7-inch QuadHD display with a 2560×1440 pixels resolution which roughly translates to 515ppi pixel density. That’s flagship-class specs at mainstream prices.
It is sharp enough and colours are pretty spot on, but it doesn’t quite match the Super AMOLED screen of the Samsung Galaxy S7 or for that matter even the FullHD AMOLED panel of the OnePlus 3. It does give you as many as four different colour modes to tinker around with, but the changes are minor.
While colours are pretty accurate on the Le Max 2, the phone’s peak brightness leaves a lot to be desired. Xiaomi’s Mi 5 in comparison gets ridiculously bright, even outdoors, thanks to its Sunlight Display technology.
Combine the Le Max 2’s low brightness with its super-reflective nature, and it gets difficult to read something on it outdoors. This is not a phone that you would want to watch too many videos on or do a lot of texting on when you’re out and about. Watching videos on the Le Max 2 while you’re indoors is very nice.
The Le Max 2 runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based EUI 5.6. EUI in LeEco’s new phone is basically Android, heavily inspired by Apple’s iOS to show off (and sell) its content streaming services. The phone comes with as many as two apps — Live and Le Vidi — and an HTC BlinkFeed-like home screen, called LeView. You can’t uninstall either of the apps, but you can disable the LeView, just like you can disable the BlinkFeed.
While Live gives you access to YuppTV’s catalogue of live TV channels, Le Vidi gives you access to Bollywood content and regional movies, courtesy Eros Now. There’s a catalogue of as many as 2,000 movies on demand, and a provision to watch as many as 9 live streams — from over 100 channels — simultaneously, using these apps. Provided, you have the bandwidth to enjoy such a luxury.
LeEco wants users to buy its content subscription in the days to come – possibly after a year – but it’s not an absolute necessity. You can buy the phone, watch the content for free for one year, and then chose not to subscribe to its services at all in the second year.
EUI minus the content bit is a pleasant escape from rival Chinese UIs, in that the company hasn’t jam-packed it with crazy animations and bloatware aka unnecessary apps. There are a few, but apps like Remote Control, that make use of the phone’s IR blaster, Yahoo! Weather and a couple of odd balls like gallery and music wouldn’t necessarily bother you.
Much like the iOS there’s no app drawer but a springboard of apps and widgets here. The drop-down notification menu houses just the incoming notifications. For everything else, there is the app switcher or control panel. The layout is pretty similar to iOS, but LeEco’s version takes up the entire screen for the purpose.
Performance and battery life
The Le Max 2 is powered by a 2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor coupled with Adreno 530 GPU and up to 6GB of RAM. It comes with up to 64GB of on-board memory. Expandable storage isn’t supported. The dualSIM phone supports 4G LTE (VoLTE-ready) connectivity. NFC isn’t supported.
That’s flagship-class specs at mainstream prices, again. As expected, its performance is at par with top-tier phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5 and HTC 10, at half the price. The Le Max 2 breezes past every task– from basic to hard-grinding — that you throw at it without breaking a sweat.
Six gigs of RAM inside a smartphone is still an overkill, in the Le Max 2 as it is on the OnePlus 3. But seriously, who’s complaining? There’s one area where the Le Max 2 trumps even the OnePlus 3. It doesn’t heat up, like, at all.
The Le Max 2 does not have a 3.5mm headphone jack. So, you’ll have to connect your headphones to the phone’s USB Type-C port through an adapter (shipped inside the box) or use LeEco’s proprietary earphones. These earphones are essentially harbingers of the company’s home-brewed Continual Digital Lossless Audio or CDLA technology that allows it to churn out lossless audio.
All your FLAC files for instance will play ‘untouched’ via LeEco’s compatible earphones, just the way they are meant to sound. Note that, your standard headphones will not be able to make use of LeEco’s CDLA technology, as it is integrated into the proprietary earphones and not in the phone itself.
Instead of giving you a DAC inside the phone (like it is in the LG V10), the CDLA chip built into the LeEco earphones serve as external DAC, converting your audio from digital to analog. Having an external DAC comes at the cost of manual control – the phone doesn’t come with a built-in equaliser — but leads to better audio out. Provided you have good-quality headphones. LeEco’s earphones are good, just that they aren’t good enough. They get really loud, but they are ridiculously flat as well.
Having said that, if unadulterated audio experience is what you’re looking for, it does not get any better than the Le Max 2 at this point of time at this price point. Also, audio out via the bottom placed speaker is loud, and clearly one amongst the best that we’ve heard in and around this price.
Phone calls made with the Le Max 2 are of excellent quality and we did not encounter any odd call drop issues with our review unit.
The phone uses a 3,100mAh battery which is non-removable. Battery life is average at best. While moderate to light usage saw us get close to the one full day mark with some hiccups, extreme usage scenarios were disappointing. The Le Max 2 battery lasted just 9-10 hours in such cases. The phone supports Quick Charge and charges like a bullet, which is nice.
The Le Max 2 carries a 21-megapixel camera on the rear with f/2.0 aperture, Optical Image Stabilisation, phase detection autofocus and dual-LED (dual tone) flash just like the original Le Max.
It clicks pretty good photos, especially in good lighting conditions. There are some metering issues (mostly overexposure) every now and then, but other than that it’s smooth sailing for the Le Max 2 camera in good light. The dynamic range is pretty impressive as well in some of these photos.
Colours are mostly true to source and there’s very little noise, even when photos are clicked in somewhat tricky or low light. That being said, the noise reduction algorithm used by the Le Max 2 often results in somewhat lower detail in photos than what phones like the Nexus 5X or even the OnePlus 3 manage to bring out. The Le Max 2 does achieve better results than the Xiaomi Mi 5. Low light photos come out soft, particularly towards the edges.
The rear camera can shoot good 4K (and 1080p) videos at 30fps in good light. Meanwhile, OIS ensures mostly steady shots, thereby resulting in overall decent videos (and photos) in low light situations.
The front-facing 8-megapixel camera on-board the Le Max 2 clicks excellent selfies with lots of detail in good light. Low light selfies have some noise.
LeEco Le 2 detailed specifications
|Release date||April 2016|
|Dimensions (mm)||151.10 x 74.20 x 7.50|
|Battery capacity (mAh)||3000|
|Colours||silver, gold, grey, rose gold|
|Screen size (inches)||5.50|
|Pixels per inch (PPI)||403|
|Processor make||Qualcomm Snapdragon 652|
|Operating System||Android 6.0.1|
|Wi-Fi standards supported||NA|
|Number of SIMs||2|
|Supports 4G in India (Band 40)||Yes|
|Supports 4G in India (Band 40)||Yes|
|Ambient light sensor||Yes|