The quick take
The Le Max is a worthy flagship from the Chinese company LeEco, a recent entrant in the crowded Indian smartphone market. With a 6.33-inch display, it sits on the fence between a phablet and a tablet, which strikes you on first glance. Yet it looks good on paper, boasts of a stylish design with solid build quality, and doesn't miss out on new-age features like fingerprint sensor and USB Type-C.
- Solid build quality and beautiful design
- Good performance
- Good camera performance
- USB Type-C port with QuickCharge
- Unwieldy size for most people
- Average battery life
- Android Lollipop
LeEco Le Max Full review
LeEco isn't your typical Chinese smartphone brand and has a diverse portfolio of products like a smart cycle, Bluetooth headset and VR glasses, as well as an online video streaming service.
The Le Max was one of the first two (along with Le 1s) smartphones from the company to be launched in India. Dubbed as "Superphone," the large 6.33-inch display is the highlight of the Le Max and might also just be the primary factor for or against the device while making a purchase decision. It checks all the boxes of a flagship smartphone on the specifications sheet, and is a great option on the table if you're looking for a premium Android smartphone.
About this review
I used the Indian retail variant of the LeEco Le Max that ran EUI running on top of Android Lollipop 5.0 out of the box. For most of the time, I used it with an Airtel 4G SIM in Delhi NCR. Out of the 64GB internal storage, a little over 58GB was available out of the box.
LeEco Le Max Design
LeEco Le Max sports a solid metallic casing, and is built like a brick. At 204 grams, it almost weighs like one too. The 6.33-inch display and 8.95mm thickness makes it almost a no-go for anyone with smaller hands or those who prefer a proper grip on their smartphones.
Yet, it's good looking and exudes style and with the aluminium frame, and the unibody design feels premium. Undoubtedly, the Le Max is one of the best looking smartphones across price segments and for the display size it packs, it is actually compact with minimum bezels. The matte metal finish at the back and the curved edges help you with gripping the phone in your hand nicely.
The Le Max sports a fingerprint sensor at the back, slightly recessed just below the camera. It's right in the middle so that you can easily access it without shifting the phone in the hand. The Le Max also packs in a two-stage mute button on the left edge, but the position is a little awkward and the slider is not smooth.
I have a little gripe about the LeTV branding at the back. The phone was launched in India after the company's rebranding to LeEco. It's understandable that the phones were in the supply chain by that time, but it's a little annoying to buy a latest phone in the market with a branding no one recognizes.
LeEco Le Max Hardware
Powered by Qualcomm's 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor with Adreno 430 GPU, the Le Max packs in 4GB of RAM with 64GB of internal storage that's not expandable.
|Operating System||Android 5.0 Lollipop with EUI|
|Display||6.33 inches IPS LCD, Quad HD (1440 x 2560), Corning Gorilla Glass 3|
|Processor||Qualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810|
|Rear Camera||21 MP, f/2.0, autofocus, OIS, Dual LED flash|
|Front Camera||4 MP, f/2.0|
|Dimensions||167.1 × 83.5 × 8.95 mm|
With those powerful internals, the performance of Le Max is top notch and there is no stuttering or lag even when you are pushing the device with a lot of apps or gaming for long sessions. Even while playing graphic-intensive games like Asphalt 8, I did not encounter any frame drops or freezes. Although, it does get hot when using camera for an extended period, especially when shooting 4K videos.
The LeEco Le Max sports a fingerprint sensor with mirror surface that the company claims is anti-scratch and USB Type-C connector with quick charging support.
LeEco Le Max Display
The 6.33-inch display on Le Max is overwhelming in size, but looks beautiful and is a delight when you're watching videos or playing a game. The AMOLED display sports QuadHD resolution of 2560x1440 pixels with a pixel density of 464 ppi along with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. LeEco also has a 128GB variant in pink color that sports a Sapphire Crystal display covering typically found on high-end watches.
The images are sharp and the text is crisp, and the colors are rich with pretty good contrast. You can also alter the color intensity of the screen choosing to give it a more natural white look, a brighter vivid look, or a warmer soft look. The viewing angles are great, and you can actually look at the display almost at 180 degrees as well.
The display is quite reflective though, and that affects sunlight legibility. It's not bad, but could've definitely been better. Also, it smudges a lot. LeEco uses a floating glass display technology where the entire front face of the phone is covered by a single piece of glass instead of a curved glass finish. It looks good, but the corners are strangely sharp.
LeEco Le Max Software
Le Max runs on Android Lollipop 5.0.2 with LeEco's proprietary custom interface, called EUI. It's disappointing that there has been no news about Marshmallow update for Le Max, and the fact that the phone isn't even on Android 5.1 is baffling. During my usage, I did receive one large update for EUI though.
As with Android skins on most Chinese OEMs, there is no app drawer and all your apps and games stay on the home screen. The Le Max also includes its own service that allows users to back up their data to the cloud.
The notification drawer only lists the notifications, and you can customize which apps can show notifications. Interestingly, since the phone has a large display, you can bring down the notification drawer by swiping down from anywhere on the screen, and not necessarily from top of the display. From the left capacitive button, you can access the multitasking menu which also offers quick toggles for common settings as well as brightness and music controls.
While EUI is a decent customization with additional utilities like app permissions, user interface is a personal preference and to each their own. With the hardware in Le Max and for what EUI offers, it runs pretty well and could easily be your daily driver. Else, you can always choose an alternate launcher.
LeEco Le Max Battery life
The Le Max packs a non-removable 3400 mAh battery under the hood. While it sounds good enough for most smartphones, for a big and dense display like that of Le Max it barely suffices.
The Quad HD 6.33-inch display clearly drains the battery, and on moderate usage you could just make it last for an entire day. Reducing brightness extends the battery by a good measure testifying our assumption, although that's not a practical solution.
The positive thing is that the smartphone supports Quick Charge via the USB Type-C port which allows one to charge the phone quickly, and you can add good enough juice with few minutes of charging.
LeEco Le Max Camera
The Le Max boasts of a 21-megapixel f/2.0 camera with optical image stabilization and touch to focus. It can capture 21MP images in 4:3 aspect ratio but can only capture 16MP and 8MP photos in 16:9 aspect ratio.
At first glance, you'd notice that the camera lens is slightly protruded at the back, and as the phone rests on the lens when put on a table, it picks up scratches. The photos are very sharp and the phone manages to capture pretty impressive detail in the photos. It focuses almost in an instant and the shutter speed is really quick too. Outdoors in daylight, colors are natural and the photos look rich, sometimes overexposed though. In low-light conditions, there's very little noise and colors still turn out to be okay.
The phone manages to focus on objects really close and the f/2.0 aperture allows capturing photos with quite a shallow depth of field and good bokehs. The HDR mode gives great shots but it slows the capture process.
The Le Max is capable of recording 4K video at 30fps, and the recorded videos offer good level of detail and natural colors. The OIS works well for most parts except in case of sudden movements.
Overall, the rear camera on the Le Max is pretty good and competitive.
On the front, there's a 4-megapixel camera with an 81.6-degree wide-angle lens – which means more people in your group selfies. The front camera takes good enough selfies for social sharing, although those lack details. The Beauty mode enhances facial features, although your dignity might take a hit.
LeEco Le Max Bottom line
The LeEco Le Max is an impressive smartphone and a well-rounded package. There are some misses like the battery life, but the stylish design, good camera, and first-rate performance make up for those. It's a great phone that's also priced right, and the only real question you'd want to ask yourself is if you are okay with carrying a brick as your primary device.
Should you buy it? Definitely
The Le Max is big and heavy, yes, but you know that already — just make a decision up-front about whether you think you can carry a phone this large. Also, LeEco is a brand not many recognize – like most new Chinese brands entering India – but that too might be just a matter of time. For the price of ₹32,999 ($493) in India, the Le Max is a great phone and you'd hardly have any complaints if you buy one.