Review: LeEco Le Max2
The Le Max2 is worth every penny, casual users will love it!
LeEco burst onto the smartphone scene at the end of last year, scoring several firsts in the process. The Le Max was the first phone to offer 6GB of RAM, and the Le Max2 and Le 2 are now the first handsets to eschew the 3.5mm audio jack in favor of USB-C audio. The original Le Max standing at a staggering 6.33″ tall – the Le Max2 is almost every bit as impressive on paper. It’s an all-metal smartphone with a massive 5.7″ Quad HD display, powerful Snapdragon 820 chip with 4 or 6GB of RAM, great imaging capabilities and a custom eUI launcher on a Marshmallow core.
The biggest change in the device is the absence of a micro 3.5mm Audio Jack. Instead, LeEco has provided a USB-C earphone. Though, a USB-C to 3.5mm converter has been also been provided. More on that later.
In addition to hardware, LeEco is betting big on its Supertainment content platform, through which LeEco is delivering live TV, music, and on-demand video services. The services costs ₹4,900 a year, but comes complimentary with Le Max2 and Le 2 for one-year subscription.
The Le Max2 comes in a big box, to start with, a Quick Charge 3.0 enabled A/C adapter is much appreciated. A USB Type-C cable is supplied too. The CDLA (Psst.. USB-C Earphones-pods) have to be purchased separately for ₹1,999.
The Le Max2 has clean lines and chamfered edges, comprising a metal unibody construction. The front of the phone is designed to look like it doesn’t have any bezels due to the black border. It is leaning towards slightly more angular looks, while the mirror finish of the fingerprint sensor and the enormous camera are far from better.
The metal design is as premium as it can get and the Le Max2 is extra solid. Many people we know who have the Le 2 had noticed quality control issues in the device, this has not been the case with the Le Max 2 unit we have received.
The fingerprint sensor is located below the camera, and offers the ability to unlock the phone even when the screen is off, although we found it to be very slow when compared to OnePlus 3 and Robin unlocking speeds. The sensor itself features Qualcomm’s Sense ID ultrasonic technology, which uses ultrasonic waves to map out the details of your fingerprint.
The unmarked capacitive keys at the front may take some time getting used to. I often had to search around for the back button in the dark and encountered sluggishness to sometimes. The left side of the Le Max2 houses the lone dual-SIM tray. The right one has the volume rocker and the power/lock key, both made of metal. The IR blaster is on the top side of the phone, while the USB Type-C port, the primary mic and the loudspeaker are at the bottom.
Overall, the Le Max 2 is quite heavy at 185g, and one handed use is tough. The design is good, but lacks any distinction.
The LeEco Le Max2 comes with the flagship-worthy resolution of 1440 x 2560px on a 5.7″ diagonal. It’s an IPS LCD with a standard RGB matrix. There is no fancy curved glass on top of the Le Max 2, it even lacks a toughened glass like Gorilla. We would highly suggest you put a Tempered Glass Protector as soon as possible. The viewing angles of the 5.7″ display are excellent and colors don’t shift, though the contrast is very poor. It isn’t the best in the segment, it’s manageable. You do have the option to select or change the display colours slightly though. OnePlus 3 hands down has a better display due to better contrast and blackness (AMOLED Perks).
The base variant of the phone retails for ₹22,999, and for that you get a quad-core 2.15GHz Snapdragon 820 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 21MP camera, 8MP front shooter, Wi-Fi-AC with 2×2 MU-MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, an IR blaster, USB-C, and a 3,100mAh battery. There’s a model that offers 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage, which will be available for ₹29,999.
We have a 4GB / 32GB Variant and it can multitask flawlessly. 4GB RAM too is more than sufficient, and we never encountered any lags or stutters. The phone has a single speaker at the bottom, which delivers adequate sound. The phone has Dolby Atmos integration, which is nothing more than a normal equaliser.
A few Benchmark Scores:
The Le Max2 offers a 21MP camera (last year’s Sony IMX 230) with an f/2.0 lens, OIS, PDAF, and dual-LED flash. At the front, there’s an 8MP shooter with an f/2.0 lens. The camera is quick to focus in daylight but slows down miserably in low light. The Camera App is heavily inspired from Apple’s iOS. The camera UI is simple and you can swipe through the different modes – Photo, Pano, Video and Slow-mo. Live Filters are aslo available.
There’s no dedicated manual mode, but you can adjust the ISO, exposure, and white balance by heading into the settings. Panoramas came out very impressive on the Le Max2. The resulting images are quite big in size. They also have excellent amount of detail, and the colors and contrast are great as well.
For selfies, the 8MP camera is more adequate, it looks very zoomed in though. Lack of wide angle lens.
The Le Max2 offers LeEco’s EUI 5.8, which is based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. It has only one bloatware, Yahoo Weather App. The user interface is heavily customized. The App Drawer is missing, and the quick toggles have been moved from the notification shade to the recent apps menu. The leftmost pane is reserved for the exclusive recommended multimedia content by LeEco, if available in your region.
UI Themes are available as well. They can swap your wallpapers, icon pack, and system color scheme. A few are available out of the box, but you can download more online. The notification area has just one pane that holds all notifications sorted in a timeline.
The recent apps menu is very similar to Control Center on iOS. It gives you access to customisable quick toggles, music controls, apps running in the background, amount of RAM available, and the ability to modify the home screen backgrounds.
The differentiator with LeEco’s handsets is its digital content ecosystem, which is delivered through Le Live and Levidi. Le Live is where you’ll find live programming from over 100 channels, with LeEco partnering with YuppTV.
LeEco’s proprietary Search pane will let you do a system-wide search across the phone’s content. You can fire it up by swiping up anywhere on the homescreen. eUI offers a Super Manager app, which will take care of your junk files, give you control over you monthly data, and of course, it allows you to control app permissions and manage the app auto-launch policies.
No complains here. The UI is easy to get used to and doesn’t feel buggy. You should feel pretty much at home if you are moving in from an iPhone.
CONTINUOUS DIGITAL LOSSLESS AUDIO:
LeEco has completely ditched the headphone jack for a USB-C Connector. The manufacturer’s USB-C in-ear headphones retail for ₹1,999, and for the price, they offer a bright soundstage. They are lacking in detail though and the Bass is decent. The earbuds aren’t the most comfortable to use for a prolonged duration.
But the biggest issue with LeEco’s in-ear headphones is that they plug into the USB-C port, which is also used for charging. Which means you cannot charge your device while the earphones are in use.
This technology is proprietary to LeEco Devices only. You would love it if you are Music Junky, but you shouldn’t buy the LeEco Le Max2 just for it.
The Le Max2 has surprisingly decent power considering the phone has a 5.7-inch QHD display and a 3,100mAh battery. The battery supports QuickCharge 3.0 and in our 30-minute charging test the phone’s battery charged from 0% to up to 56% using the supplied charger in the retail box. LeEco offers lots of options to extend the battery life such as Ultra-Long Standby during sleeps, Align Wakeups for wakeup optimizations, and scheduled power on and off.
I was easily get past 14 hours of heavy usage, I often didn’t have to charge it overnight, because of the juice it still had.
The LeEco Le Max2 is a great offering. It has equal number of pro’s and con’s, but the pro’s are easily able to outperform the con’s. Many people I know have been disappointed with the absence of 3.5mm jack, that is a very subjective opinion. If you have a huge collection of head / earphones, this can prove to be a huge issue for you. But if you are okay using the CDLA powered LeEco earphone, you’ll love the audio. Coming to Battery life, it is exceptionally good, can easily get you through one full day. The design is mediocre, it’s good, but lacks distinction. The same applied to the software. It is lag free and a very subjective topic, you will either love it or hate it. If you are a photography junky, this phone is not recommended for you as the camera performs very poorly in low light and manual control is not at all user friendly.
The Le Max 2 is highly recommended. Considered along with the Supertainment Bundle that LeEco is offering, the deal becomes even more tempting. The 4GB Version should work for almost everyone, it is more than sufficient. If you need more storage, you can go with the 64GB variant which has 6GB of RAM, competing with the OnePlus 3.