LeEco’s expansion train has finally made a move outside of China and its first destination is India. And the first phone to launch here is the Le Max. LeEco (previously known as LeTV) is known to dream big, and no wonder its first phone to launch in India is the super big, Le Max. We have seen companies trying to explore the extreme side of phablets, going above the popular 5.5-inch display to 5.7-inch and even 6-inch screens. The Le Max is beyond them all and has to be the biggest flagship smartphone in the market today.
The Le Max carries forward LeEco’s design language, albeit bigger in every way. The 6.33-inch display is a Quad HD (2k) IPS LCD screen with a pixel density of 466 PPI. The moment you see the phone, you’d notice is the ultra thin bezels on either sides, something similar to the one we saw on the Qiku Q Terra. Despite the edge-to-edge display, the Le Max is BIG, and it isn’t pretending to be a smaller device than what it is. At 167.10mm, it is 8mm longer than the Nexus 6P which is already considered to be ‘quite a handful’ and 5.5mm wider as well. It isn’t thin either. At 8.95mm, it’s amongst the thickest flagship smartphones we have seen in recent times, but the unibody aluminum build gives it a solid build. This is NOT a phone for single handed use, no matter how big your hands are.
The Le Max might not stand out for its design, but might warrant a second look considering the huge display. There are antenna lines which run on top and bottom of the unibody metal back. There’s a huge 21MP camera with secondary noise cancellation mic on top of it and flanked by a dual-tone LED flash on its right. Below it is the fingerprint scanner, which is amongst the fastest we have used till now. The placement of the fingerprint scanner is near perfect, as the index finger falls right in its place when holding the phone normally. On top, we have the usual 3.5mm headphone jack on one side and an IR blaster on the right (which is pretty useless in India). On bottom, we have the USB Type-C port flanked by speaker grilles on either sides. The left side of the phone houses the iPhone-like mute button on top followed by volume rockers right below, while the right side hosts the Dual SIM tray flanked by Wireless HD port on top and power button below. We got the 128GB limited edition gold variant of Le Max and must say it looks gorgeous and not gaudy as most ‘Gold’ phones are.
In China, the Le Max was launched as a showcase device which is meant for consumption of multimedia content, which is the stronghold of LeTV. Although the company is quite far from bringing its content game to India, Le Max aims to be an awesome multimedia smartphone. The Quad HD screen from SHARP has great color reproduction, but isn’t as sharp (no pun intended) as the one we saw on Samsung Note 5. The Le Max is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor which is interestingly clocked at 2.0GHz, and paired with 4GB of RAM. As mentioned earlier, our unit packed 128GB of internal storage, but there’s also the 64GB variant, none of which has an option to extend storage. Over the past two weeks of usage, there was absolutely no lags or stutters, be it in general performance or while gaming. Interestingly, we didn’t observe any major overheating issues, which has become synonymous with the infamous SD810 chipset. Of course we will be pushing the processor to its limits before we do our full review, but for now, the experience has been impressive.
The LeEco Le Max runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop flavored with company’s own EUI (Eco User Interface) skin which has some neat touches here and there, but pretty minimal when compared to other Chinese ROMs like MIUI or Emotion UI. Pulling down the task bar from top brings down the notifications menu, but there are no quick settings available there. For that, one has to click for the multitasking menu, which houses not just the recently opened apps, but also quick settings and widgets – pretty much like the Control center on iOS. As you’d expect from any Chinese ROM, there is no app drawer, and all apps are neatly arranged on the home screens. Being a big 6.33-inch display, the icons are placed way far from each other, and that’s something which haven’t gotten used to even after 2 weeks of usage. Sadly, there’s no way to stuff in more apps within one homescreen on the default launcher. There are just 3 themes available at your disposal, but they are all usable and well made.
The 21MP primary camera on the Le Max is a Sony IMX230 sensor and comes with Optical Image Stabilization and f/2.0 aperture. The camera UI is pretty basic, and the general image quality is good. We managed to click some stunning pictures in daylight, but will have to test the camera more in low light conditions to see how good it is overall. The front 4MP camera is from OmniVision and is accompanied by a 81.6-degree wide-angle lens, and has the usual beauty mode to spice up selfies.
For now, we are very impressed with what Le Max has set out to achieve – immersive multimedia experience. Beautiful high resolution edge-to-edge display and Hi-Fi audio with good speaker output coupled with top of the line chipset and smooth software. Having said that, we wished it came with front facing speakers, but that’s probably nitpicking.
The Le Max comes with a massive 3,400mAh battery, which isn’t as big when you consider it has to power the mammoth 6.33-inch QHD display and the power hungry Snapdragon 810 chipset. The standby battery has been good, but in our limited testing, we found that the battery drains quite fast when gaming. Stay tuned for our detailed review for more accurate results.