When LeEco unveiled the LeEco Le Max in India earlier this year, there was no doubting the sheer power of the device – it came with a quad HD display, a 21.0-megapixel camera, a Snapdragon 810 processor with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. No, no one had any complaints whatsoever about the hardware, but the frame into which all this was crammed was, to put it mildly, rather ample. The Le Max came with a massive 6.33-inch display that made it one of the larger high-end devices around. And at 204 grammes, it was definitely in the heavyweight division. No doubt it was a barnstormer in terms of performance but it was also a palm and pocket expander par excellence.

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So when the folks at LeEco came out with its successor, the Le Max 2, they still packed in the best hardware in tech town into the device, but this time decided to trim some frame fat from the phone. The display is not exactly small at 5.7 inches, but LeEco has managed to pack it into a 156.8 mm long, which makes is shorter than the 158.2 mm long iPhone 6s Plus, which sports a smaller display, and is even slightly lighter – 185 grammes to 192 grammes. At 8 mm, it is impressively slim too (the LeMax was 8.95 mm). Yes, seen from the front, the Le Max 2 seems cut from the same cloth that designed the Le Max – a jet black display (that makes bezels disappear when switched off, as they merge into the darkness) with rose gold colored panels (depending on the color of the model) above and below it, three touch navigation buttons below it and an earpiece on top, with a camera and sensors next to it.

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That’s where the similarity between the two devices ends, however. In fact, we would say that the Le Max 2 seems to have drawn inspiration from the LeEco Le 1S, and has added prominent chamfers along the sides of the device. Button placements have changed too – while the LeMax had the volume buttons and a ‘mute’ slider on the left and the power/display button on the right, the LeMax 2 places the volume buttons and the power/display button on the right, leaving just the dual SIM tray on the left (the ‘mute’ slider has been ditched). There is an infrared blaster on top of the phone, and a USB Type-C port on the base, flanked by speaker grilles. The back is similar to that of its larger predecessor with, very slightly textured with bands on the top and the lower part and a square-ish camera with dual LED flash, with a square-shaped fingerprint sensor below it. This is a very handsome looking device and literally more handy than the rather burly Le Max.

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In case you were wondering if we missed mentioning the 3.5 mm audio jack on the device, well, we did not. Because there is none, making it the first high-profile device since the Oppo R5 that we have seen minus this feature. But whereas Oppo had left you with no option but to go for Bluetooth headsets, LeEco has its own USB-type C supporting headphones which it claims deliver sound that is even superior to Hi-Fi in terms of quality. Yes, it does mean that you cannot listen to music over wired headphones AND charge your device at the same time, but LeEco is hoping that the sheer quality of audio (what it terms Continual Digital Lossless Audio) will compensate for this slight inconvenience.

Helping you alleviate the pain (if any) caused by the absence of a 3.5 mm audio jack is also some very serious hardware muscle. On paper, the LeEco Le Max 2 is at the time of writing, perhaps the best-specced phone in the Indian market. The display is a quad HD one, giving it a pixel a density of 515 ppi and powering the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor backed up by 4 GB or 6 GB of RAM, with storage options of 32 GB and 64 GB. The camera on the back is a 21.0-megapixel one, and an 8.0-megapixel camera above the display handles selfies. Connectivity options include 4G, Wi-Fi, Infra-Red, GPS and Bluetooth. The task of keeping all this running is entrusted to a 3100 mAh battery which comes with quick charging or what LeEco terms Le SuperCharge, and which it claims can charge half the battery in half an hour and the complete battery in 90 minutes.

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And yes, the LeMax 2 comes with what many consider to be LeEco’s real weapon – access to multimedia content out of the box. The “Supertainment ecosystem and membership program,” which gives you access to several films, shows and TV channels. But unlike in the Le Max, here the content is baked into the OS, so hitting the ‘Live’ button on the homescreen opens up a plethora of TV channels, courtesy the company’s tie-up with Yupp TV, while more content is available on the LeVidi app.

All of this comes at what can only be considered to be a surprisingly affordable price – Rs 22,999 for the 4 GB RAM and 32 GB storage edition, and Rs 29,999 for the 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage edition. Which makes it perhaps the most affordable high-end performance phone in India by some distance – the Xiaomi Mi 5 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip too but comes for Rs 24,999 with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage and a full HD display as compared to the quad HD one on the Le Max 2, then we have the OnePlus 3 with 6 GB RAM and 64 GB storage but with Full HD display priced at Rs 27,999, and the only other Snapdragon 820 device in the market, the LG G5, costs almost twice as much.

Just how much justice the Le Max 2 does to its very impressive spec sheet and design will be revealed in our review. As of now, suffice to say, it is not as high as its predecessor, nor as wide, but it sure is handsome as hell, both outside and inside!

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Editorial Mentor

Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.