The mid-range section in the mobile phone industry has drastically improved when it comes to features on offer since the Chinese players made their way into the segment. The likes of Lenovo, Gionee, Xiaomi, Oppo, OnePlus etc have made the entire mid-range phone, just so much more enticing than it once used to be. As a result, customers today have a little bit more faith when they pick up a device manufactured in China, which belongs to a budget category than what the case was a while ago. This has also helped newer players from China to establish themselves in India, without having to break the hoodoo of having the, ‘Made in China’ tag.
Taking advantage of this, LeTV or LeEco is the latest Chinese player to enter the Indian market. They recently announced two smartphones, the Le 1S, which is the device for the budget conscious while the LeTV Le Max is the flagship or the hero product. The Le 1S is selling on flash sale model in India on Flipkart while the Le Max is available around the clock on the same portal.
We recently got the Le 1S in our hands for trying out the device and we will be covering the same on Techsplurge in the coming days. We only got the device yesterday so we have barely played around with the phone for a few hours so these are pretty much our immediate impressions from opening the phone and popping our primary SIM in there.
We love the way the phone is built and its general feel in the hand. It is bit of a novelty to find phones that are a good fit in the hand in this era of phablets, and the Le 1S is a refreshing change. With a metallic body featuring chamfered edges, the Le 1S at first glance definitely does not look like a phone that is just a shade under Rs 11,000. You are even more impressed when you turn the device back and are greeted by a fingerprint scanner, which is a bit of a rare feature in this price point. The fingerprint scanner is by no means as fast as that we have seen on the Nexus 6P or the iPhone 6s, but it definitely gets the job done. Another gripe we had with the fingerprint scanner is that the gold version of the device has a golden color shiny fingerprint scanner which easily attracts your fingerprint and shines that away, making the scanner look shabby.
The front of the phone is dominated by a 5.5 inch IPS panel and we must say, this is perhaps the best LCD panel we have seen. The contrast is great and the colors really pop out. There are three capacitive buttons just below the screen which light up for about three seconds. The backlight on the buttons is not the brightest and once they are off, you will not really have much trace of these buttons, we did miss having on-screen navigation keys. The volume rocker key and the power key are located on the right phone and have decent feedback.
On the software front, LeTV says that the Le 1s is not just a phone but an entire ecosystem, but we feel it will take time for partnerships on that front to materialize to really sell an ecosystem. Just like most Chinese phones, there is no app drawer here with all the icons living on your desktop. With limited applications, we did not see too many lags or stutters, though, we would be in a better position to address that in our full review. The speaker on the device is fairly loud for a mono-speaker that is located at the bottom. We like the position of the speaker as it ensures the phone is loud enough, even when resting on blankets or any other soft surfaces. The camera takes a good one second or so to fire up, if you do it directly from the lockscreen, though that was just a minor annoyance. Other than slightly inconsistent focusing speed, the camera was rapid and gave good results in a couple of shots we took.
We did face an issue where the microphone of the device was not the best and people on the other side had serious issues picking up our voice, though we will be testing this more in the coming days.
We will be reviewing the phone in greater depth in the coming days, in the meanwhile, we would leave you with the photo gallery of the unboxed LeTV Le 1s.