LeTV LeECo Le 2 Max – Surprisingly Good Affordable Flagship

Not just powerful but also surprisingly affordable. You seldom see a Flagship caliber smartphone at this price range that offers a gorgeous 2K Quad HD Display, Top Tier Snapdragon 820 Chip and a Powerful 21 megapixel  Camera.

PROS: (FULL REVIEW)

  • Premium All Aluminum Finish
  • Top Tier Performance (Stable and good Multitasking Performance)
  • Gaming is smooth despite the ultra high 2K Display
  • Less Bloatwares in the System
  • Powerful 21 megapixel camera (Great Quality Shots)
  • Gorgeous 2K QUAD HD Display
  • Supports Dual Band WiFi
  • Ultrasonic Metal Fingerprint Scanner (10/10 accuracy)
  • Good Call Quality (Clear and Natural Sounds)
  • Fast Connectivity (Dual Band WiFi)
  • Infrared Blaster (Universal Remote)
  • Impressive (CDLA) Audio Quality
  • Additional Info: The UFS (Universal Flash Storage performance was blisteringly fast) – I retracted my mistake on the review above, I also made another review showcasing the real performance, you can refer below

CONS:

  • Camera UI lacking in features or customizations
  • Camera UI hasn’t changed from last year’s Le 1 Max
  • 4K video has obvious graining, and video has slight delayed focus especially when moving.
  • Limited Storage, no MicroSD Support
  • CDLA (you need to carry the USB Adapter)
  • Frugal 3100mAh battery, especially for a large 5.7 Phablet (7 hours and 6 mins)
  • EUI has not really improved, it’s not on par with other systems such as MIUI
  • My version is TDD-LTE, so I was not able to test VoLTE or 4G LTE Speeds

WHERE TO BUY? (April 26)

Letv LeeCo Le 2 Max retails at $275 – Buy here

You may be interested: Smartphone Deals (updated)

Flagship Caliber at just $250? Really?

A Flagship killer less than $250? Like many reviewers, that question still baffles me. Anyway, there are two versions available but the main difference is just on the RAM (Memory) and Storage space. But what really captured my attention was the Top Tier Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Chip underneath and the 2K QUAD HD Display. Two features that probably are also on most people’s head when they see the spec sheet of this phone.

Not much has changed in terms of the Design but still Flagship Quality

The design pretty much has a candy bar feel to it, which is also what I said when I reviewed the old LeTV LeECO Le 1 Max. However, the build quality still holds true to top notch construction and materials. The whole phone feels premium and has an “All Aluminum brushed finish”.

 

The edges are also rounded or curved to make it easy to hold one handed. Even with a huge 5.7 screen, the overall weight distribution is balanced and in fact.

 

letv-leeco-le-2-max-pic-4

At the left side is the Dual SIM Card Slot, which supports Dual Nano Sim Cards. At the left side are the volume and power button keys are have very good tactile feedback.

The IR Remote Sensor or IR Blaster is on the top of the phone, where is the 3.5mm Audio Port? There is none actually, you will now use the CDLA (USB Type C) Port (see pic below), you will use a USB Type C to 3.5mm Adapter.

The Loudspeaker grills are also facing downward, which on certain situations, it can easily be muffled. lso at the bottom is the USB Type C Port, which also supports CDLA (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio). What is this? Basically, takes advantage of the higher frequencies and lesser interference of the USB Type C to allow better Audio Quality.

Good Loudspeaker Performance but much more impressive CDLA

The downward facing loudspeakers offers quite good Audio Quality with also good range on the volume, sound is clear and bass can be heard. But what is more impressive is the CDLA (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio), meaning, you have to connect a USB Type C to 3.5mm Audio Port Adapter. Even ordinary headphones or headsets sounds great. The Bass is much more pronounced and the sound is much more crisp and clear. However, there are a couple of inconveniences  to mention. You have to carry around the Adapter which can easily get lost. Also the loudspeakers can also be easily muffled.

The Audio Chip is based on DTS Dolby ATMOS.

Powerful 21 megapixel Camera Shooter but there is still a catch

The giant camera sensor at the back sports a 21 megapixel SonyIMX230 Sensor with PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus), Dual Tone Dual LED Flash, it also supports 4K and 1080p Video Recording as well as Slow Motion video recording.

Great Quality Shots especially on Good Lighting

On absolute good lighting, the camera sensor truly shines, it can capture in great detail images, with low noise, natural colors and acceptable exposure values (especially on Auto Mode). The shutter speed and focus time is also snappy and blurred images are seldom to happen. The sensor also easily adjusts to situational lighting, such as direct sunlight exposure. (Sample shots are available on the video review)

Also good low light shots

On low light shots, the sensor can still capture good images, even with increase noise and decrease detail, it is still one of the better Camera Phones currently available.

4K video Recording but no OIS

The camera is capable of 4K video recording natively at 30 fps, 1080p at 60fps and slow motion recording at 120 fps. The Quality is crisp with continuous focus, i meant, the focus time is quick with no delays. Unfortunately, it lacks OIS (Optical Image Stabilization).

What is the catch? The Camera UI

A couple of months back, I’ve reviewed the LeTV LeeCo Le 1 Max, and one of my biggest disappoints is the lack of Camera UI features. Unfortunately, it still hasn’t changed with the Le 2 Max. The Camera UI shooting modes and the navigation menu hasn’t improved also. Although the interface is clean and easy to go through, there are a lot of features missing, that you normally want to see especially for a Flagship. Simply, the UI is too simple or basic. Although that is just my opinion.

letv-leeco-le-2-max-pic-3

Top Tier Level Performance

The Leeco Le 2 Max is equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Quad Core chip at 2.15GHz. This is coupled also with a powerful Adreno 530 Graphics Chip. My version also came with 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM and 32 GB UFS (Universal Flash Storage).

The benchmark tests paints a good picture of how the phone will perform on real world usage:

CPU focused Benchmark test

  • PCMark Work Performance – 6892
  • PCMark Storage – 2544 (Performance of the UFS storage)
  • Antutu Benchmark: 103,493
  • Geekbench (Single Core: 1327) and (Multicore: 3267)

GPU Focused Benchmark test (Adreno 530)

  • Geekbench GPU/APU: 6938
  • Ice Storm Unlimited: 25805
  • Ice Storm Extreme: Maxed Out
  • Ice Storm: Maxed Out

UFS Storage Performance was blistering fast

PhonesRead Speeds (Mb/s)Write Speeds (Mb/s)RAM (Mb/s)
LeTV LeeCO Le 2 Max419 Mb/s136 Mb/s1,5327 Mb/s
Xiaomi Mi5s 407 Mb/s172 Mb/sTBD
Xiaomi Mi Max (eMMC)184 Mb/s60 Mb/s8,817 Mb/s
Xiaomi Redmi Pro (eMMC)53 Mb/s105 Mb/s4,422 Mb/s

The PCMark Benchmark results on the UFS (Universal Storage Score) was not conclusive. So I used another test, A1 SD Bench and was surprised as how fast the SSD Storage was. The scores on the tablet above shows 3 to 4 times faster compared to the standard eMMC Storage. The performance is close or similar to the Xiaomi Mi5s, which also has a UFS Storage.

On the other hand, the Xiaomi Mi Max has a clearly faster eMMC storage compared to the Xiaomi Redmi Pro, which was the slowest. And frankly, there is a huge disparity between the Write and Read speeds.

Smooth Gaming even with the 2K Screen

I was surprise how well the phone handled my gaming test. I tested it with three 3D intensive titles currently available in the market today. Mortal Combat X, Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt 8. All of which ran smoothly on a 2K (2560 x 1440 pixel) display, which was really impressive

Multitasking is a breeze, 4 GB RAM is more than enough

The 4 GB RAM is enough to handle most applications that I need at a given time. And I also think that it is enough for most heavy users. If that is still not good enough, you can also choose the 6 GB version, which is a pricier but offers more RAM and Storage.

Anyway, It doesn’t really consume much of the memory. Surprisingly, the OS isn’t bloated, which is not really the case of the old LeeCo Le 1 Max.

Limited Storage

No expansion option here, the Dual SIM Slot doesn’t support MicroSD or any expansion slot available. You will have to choose between a 32/64 GB Storage when you purchase. Anyway, for me 32 GB is more than enough.

Superb 2K QUAD Display

A whopping 500 plus ppi crowds the 5.7 inch 2K (2560 x  Quad HD Display. Worthy to note, that the phone still continues the 2K display from last years Le 1 Max. Anyway, in terms of Quality, it is superb, the colors look vivid, vibrant and details are so minute, you can even zoom on a picture and see the pixels themselves. That is how high the pixel count is. Although in terms of the strength of the colors and contrast, I still prefer the OLED Display of the Xiaomi Redmi Pro, it just looks quite different on an OLED Display.

The In-cell Display of the Le 2 Max is still one of the best, and in fact, it outperforms the Xiaomi Mi Max and other 1080p based phones I have tested. Compared to last year’s Le 1 Max, an apple to apple comparison, the quality has improved dramatically, including the color saturation and contrast.

No Reading mode but LeEco I think calls it by another name. You can adjust the colors of the display on the Settings, and the phone have plenty of presets available. The best suited for gaming I think is soft.

Touch Capacitive Navigation keys

The buttons offer good tactile feedback or vibrate upon touch, and it is LED back lit and can be seen even with direct sunlight.

Not really impressed with EUI OS

Similar to the old Le 1 Max, the features are very similar and not really had major improvements. Expect maybe for  less Bloatwares in the system. The phone comes with EUI 5.9, which is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. EUI (Ecosystem) is a proprietary System from LeeCO.

So here are some of my misgivings about the UI

  • There is still no App Draw
  • The Notification Windows hasn’t improved, the functions such as WiFi, Bluetooth, etc… are still on the Multitasking button
  • Speaking of Multitasking, it is still cramped, maybe LeTV could have transferred the higher functions to the Notification Window
  • No way to update the OS, I looked deep into the settings and there is no wireless update function
  • The icons are very small and not really adjusted to the 2K Display. It looks weird even on the screen.
  • The customization is not really on par with other UI such as MIUI or MEIZU.

What I liked about the OS

  • Dual App Support is available
  • Permissions are streamlined and easy to navigate
  • Little to No Bloatwares preinstalled, I was really surprised
  • Playstore is already installed

Ultrasonic Metal Fingerprint Scanner (10/10 fast, reliable and accurate)

Unlike standard Fingerprint Scanners, the scanner area is unusually large for the phone. But it does recognize easily your fingers even when damped. It can be used to wake the phone and can store up to 5 different profiles. Other than dependability, my rating is still the same with other phones that I have reviewed, such as the Xiaomi Mi Max and the Xiaomi Redmi Pro.

VOLTE 4G

It is listed to support VOLTE and can go as high as 300Mbps, unfortunately, my version came with TDD-LTE, So I cannot test them in my region. I can only use HSDPA+ or 3G.

Strong WiFi and Supports Dual Band Frequencies

The WiFi performance is excellent, the range is also good and maintains good strength. It supports Dual Band 2.4/5GHz Wireless and so far, I did not experience any issues.

Good Call Quality and microphone

The Call Quality is also good, the person on the other line can be heard clearly and not robotic. The volume levels are also good and you can hear the person on the other line clearly.

IR Universal Remote

The IR Blaster at the top of the phone works as it should, and supports multiple appliances.

Battery Life could have been better

I’ve tested the battery life or endurance using PCMark’s Benchmark test. It got 7 hours and 6 minutes with 50% screen brightness on this test. It still had 20% battery life left after the test. The results are a bit frugal indeed, but I did expect it for a 3100mAh battery, especially when paired with a 2K Quad HD and a powerful Snapdragon 820 Chip. The phone does support LeQuick Charge, you can charge the phone phone fully in less than 2 hours.

letv-leeco-le-2-max-pic-2

SpecsLeTV LeEco Le 2 Max
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 820, 2.15GHz Quad Core
GPU: Adreno 530
MemoryRAM: 4/6 GB LPDDR4
ROM: 32/64 GB (UFS 2.0)
OSEUI 5.9 (Android 6.0 Marshmallow)
Display5.7" IPS In-Cell, 95% NTSC Color gamut
2560 x 1440 pixels, 551 ppi, 450 nits
Main Camera21 mp, 1.4μm pixel, Sony IMX230, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), 5P lens, PDAF (Phase Detection Autofocus), f/2.0 Aperture, closed loop motor, Flex Double HDR, Dual Tone LED Flash, 4K video @ 30fps, 1080p @ 60 fps, 720p slow mo @ 120 fps
Front Camera8.0 mp, 85° wide angle
NetworkDual Nano SIM, Dual Standby
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100MHz
4G: FDD-LTE 1800/2100/2600MHz
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.2
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Dual Band WiFi 2.4/5GHz
USB Type C (CDLA)
Special FeaturesUltrasonic Metal Fingerprint ID,WiFi Direct, WiFi Hotspot, WiFi Display (Miracast), MHL, Universal Remote
GPSGPS/A-GPS/GLONASS
SensorsProximity, Gyroscope, Light IR Remote, E-Compass, Fingerprint,
AudioDTS Dolby ATMOS CDLA (Continuous Digital Lossless Audio)
Dimensions156.8 x 77.6 x 7.99 mm
Weight: 185g
Colors: Rose Gold, Silver, Gray
Battery3100mAh (Le Quick Charge)

PROS:

  • Premium All Aluminum Finish
  • Top Tier Performance (Stable and good Multitasking Performance)
  • Gaming is smooth despite the ultra high 2K Display
  • No Bloatwares in the System
  • Powerful 21 megapixel camera (Great Quality Shots)
  • Gorgeous 2K QUAD HD Display
  • Supports Dual Band WiFi
  • Ultrasonic Metal Fingerprint Scanner (10/10 accuracy)
  • Good Call Quality (Clear and Natural Sounds)
  • Fast Connectivity (Dual Band WiFi)
  • Infrared Blaster (Universal Remote)
  • Impressive (CDLA) Audio Quality (Dolby Atmos)
  • Additional Info: The UFS (Universal Flash Storage performance was blisteringly fast) – I retracted my mistake on the review above, I also made another review showcasing the real performance, you can refer above

CONS:

  • Camera UI lacking in features or customizations
  • Camera UI hasn’t changed from last year’s Le 1 Max
  • 4K video has obvious graining, and video has slight delayed focus especially when moving.
  • Limited Storage, no MicroSD Support
  • CDLA (you need to carry the USB Adapter)
  • Frugal 3100mAh battery, especially for a large 5.7 Phablet (7 hours and 6 mins)
  • EUI has not really improved, it’s not on par with other systems such as MIUI
  • My version is TDD-LTE, so I was not able to test VoLTE or 4G LTE Speeds

WHERE TO BUY? (April 26)

Letv LeeCo Le 2 Max retails at $275 – Buy here

You may be interested: Smartphone Deals (updated)

Conclusion: Surprisingly good affordable Flagship

Despite some limitations, the LeTV LeeCO Le 2 Max is still one of the must have Smartphones of 2016. If you want sheer performance, the LeECo Le 2 Max  clearly delivers. Another highlight is the 2K QUAD HD Display and the powerful 21 megapixel camera, which are probably what most users are looking into. But you do have to contend with a not so impressive battery life and User Interface (UI). Speaking of OS, I think you can install third party ROM’s, such as Cyanogen etc… which can take advantage of the system.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. On this article, the device runs EUI 5.6 OS, which is base on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, that is so cool. There are so many smartphone use Android M, even the budget smartphone like Bluboo maya, it means Android M is more and more popular.

  2. Hey Vince love your blog man, very informative, had I not come across your site I would have probably bought an overpriced phone. Haven’t yet bought anything, still going through the options. Thank you for your work man

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