Foraying into the Indian market, LeEco (previously known as LeTv) launched two phones - Le Max and Le 1s - at its event on Wednesday. While the former is their flagship phone for the Indian market, the latter is a budget phone, which will compete with the likes of the Moto G, Asus Zenfone Max, Coolpad Note 3 and the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note, in India.
We have already shared our hands-on experience with the Le Max, and here’s the first impressions review of the Le 1s, which carries a price tag of Rs 10,999.
We all know that there is no dearth of value-for-money phones in India, but the introduction of the Le 1s seems to have raised the benchmark for budget phones in the country by a bit. While many companies including Coolpad, Asus, Lenovo and Motorola have been successfully endeavouring to offer consumers feature-rich phones at competitive prices, LeEco, with the Le 1s, appears to have gone a few steps ahead to get an edge over its rivals. Based on the brief period I spent with the phone, here’s why I think the phone may go well in creating a favourable position for itself.
1. The budget smartphone market may be flooded with a plenty of good-looking phones, but there are barely any with a full-metal unibody design. Not only the metal body gives the Le 1s a premium touch, but it also makes the phone stand out against the competition. I am quite impressed by the way the company has put together different elements on the phone - which makes the phone aesthetically pleasing.
Given that the phone features a large 5.5-inch screen, many may assume it to be a little bulky, but the phone actually didn’t feel heavy in hands. It, in fact, was comfortable to hold and operate.
2. Another highlight of the phone is a fingerprint sensor (at the back) for increased security and easy unlocking. Though there are a couple of phones in this price segment (including the Coolpad Note 3 and Note 3 Lite) to have come with a fingerprint sensor, but it is still not a common thing to find on budget phones. And the inclusion of the same in the Le 1s increases its chances of earning some extra scores.
Also, the company claims to have the world's first mirror-surfaced fingerprint scanner which not only adds to the looks, but is also claimed to be scratch-proof.
3. Large screens are common now. It can be found even on phones less than Rs 7K. But what makes the Le 1s’s display stand out in the budget market is an ultra-thin bezel around it, which keeps the dimensions in control.
Currently, there are not many companies paying heed to having a narrow bezel on their low-cost or budget devices. Also, the 5.5-inch display on the Le 1s is quite good - in terms of both colour reproduction and details.
4. Another highlight of the phone is the USB Type-C connector with fast charging. If the company’s claim is to be believed, the phone can give 3.5 hours of talk time on a charge of 5 minutes.
Also, the USB Type-C, which is the new USB standard, lets users plug the cable in either orientation. We have USB Type-C in OnePlus 2, Nexus 5X, and 6P, but how many budget phones have you seen with USB Type-C?
5. We briefly tested the cameras - both front and rear - on the Le 1s, and found the results to be bright and rich in colours. Talking about their video capabilities, the rear camera can shoot in 4K, which is again a rarity in this price segment, and the front in 1080p.
Nevertheless, we are are holding on to our verdict on its cameras as the demo zone was brightly lit up and we are yet to test them in different lighting conditions.
At its heart is an octa-core MediaTek processor coupled with 3 GB of RAM. While the specs on paper suggest a powerful performance, but that can only be verified after using the phone for a longer duration. Also, the phone includes 32 GB of internal storage (of which around 29 GB is user accessible). The speaker grill at the bottom is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also emits great sound.
Altogether, the phone has pushed the envelope further for budget phones, but does it deliver the promise that it shows? Wait for our detailed review.