The Chinese brand, LeTV, launched its line of smartphones a while back on its home turf. However, it recently that the brand arrived in India. LeTV, recently rechristened as LeEco, has launched two smartphones in the country, including Le Max and Le 1S.
Of the two, the lesser priced Le 1S managed to catch our attention. This handset brings a whole lot of firsts to the budget segment in India and it has been evident in the manner in which the device has sold out in India. Such was the craze for the device that brand claims to have sold 220,000 units in just three flash sales. See LeTV Le 1S full specifications. We managed to grab our very own unit and here is a comprehensive review of the handset.
Design and build quality
Of late, the handset market in India has been witnessing a shift in focus towards design and LeTV Le 1S is one of the first smartphones to bring full metal unibody chassis in this price segment. Usually, metal clad smartphones tend to feel heavy and bulky.
However, LeTV Le 1S weighs only 170g and is easy to operate with one hand. However, this might lead to the assumption that the metal used might be a cheap material, which is not the case. Le 1S feels as premium as some of the high end flagship smartphones in the market. However, one glitch that has been reported is that there is a slight gap between the metal chassis and front panel. Minimal, but it is there. We found it to be true on our unit and while it is nothing to worry about, over prolonged usage it might become a collection point for dust and moisture.
LeTV has equipped its debut budget smartphone with a large 5.5-inch display, which looks quite decent when indoors. However, it is plagued with an issue that happens to be common across all Chinese handset makers.
While the display feels quite sharp and bright under low light owing to the resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, it is considerably dim outdoors. It is especially hard to use under direct sunlight. During some instances we found ourselves resorting to the age old trick of cupping our palm around the display to view what is on the screen, which should not be the case considering there is an auto brightness option.
Hardware and specifications
On paper, LeTV LE 1S has been equipped with a powerful Helio X10 Turbo 2.2GHz Octa-core processor accompanied with Power VR G6200 GPU and 3GB of RAM. This is one of the best combinations available at this price and allows the handset to handle extensive games like Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger 2 with ease.
On the hardware front, there is USB Type-C port, which is in its infancy at this point and not many compatible accessories are available for it yet. The rear panel of the device houses one of its key features – a fingerprint scanner with mirror finish on top. However, the positioning of the fingerprint scanner poses a slight inconvenience as you cannot unlock the handset if it is placed on a flat surface. However, it is more comfortable than a front one when you are holding the device and is also amazingly fast in unlocking.
LeTV has placed a 13 Megapixels primary camera on the rear panel accompanied by an LED flash, which gave mixed results. It performs quite well in both low and day light conditions with stunning results.
The camera also produces good results when taking macro shots and details are hard to miss in the images. However, at times the camera took its own sweet time to focus, which might result in losing the perfect candid moment if you are only relying on your Le 1S.
The front panel has 5 Megapixels shooter, which again produced good results in selfies and video calling. Here are two outdoor photos we took:
LeTV Le 1S comes with Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system pre-installed in it, which in itself is a pretty great experience. However, LeTV has heavily skinned the stock operating system with its own EUI 5.5, which an entirely new interface and like most Chinese UI, is missing an app drawer.
The settings menu and recent panel of the user interface bears a strong resemblance with Apple’s iOS, which is a norm with most Chinese brands. One good thing about the custom user interface is that it has next to no bloatware installed as LeTV has no services to be offered in India.
It is worth noting here that the Chinese variant of Le 1S has a Blinkfeed like additional screen that lists all of LeTV’s services on one page. However, we are only glad that it has been omitted in the Indian version, resulting in a clutter-less experience.
If you consider the INR 10,999 price tag that Le 1S comes with, there is no other handset in this segment that could beat it.
The only chinks in its armor that we could find are: the focus issue in the camera, which is negligible, user interface borrowing cues from iOS, and the poor outdoor visibility of the display.
However, the phone fares much better than its contemporaries like Huawei Honor 5X, Lenovo K4 Note, not to mention that it is cheaper too.