Hands-on with the first Snapdragon 820 phone: The LeTV Le Max Pro

We're on the verge of a new generation of 64-bit Android phones, with the imminent arrival of Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 820 processor. We're expecting a tidal wave of Snapdragon 820 phones at Mobile World Congress next month. Until then LeTV — best known for its streaming services in China — is the first with a publicly-announced 820 phone. Meet the LeTV Le Max Pro.

From the outside, the Le Max Pro is a big beast of a phone. It's got a beastly 6.33-inch 2K display and a 3,400mAh battery, and packs that into a metal chassis highly reminiscent of Huawei's latest stuff. There's a similar looking camera hump and rear fingerprint scanner, along with iPhone-style antenna cutouts.

Four new, power-efficient Kryo CPU cores lurk within...

The design may be somewhat derivative, but the hardware inside is entirely unique. A Snapdragon 820 lurks within, with four Qualcomm Kryo CPU cores clocked at 2.2 GHz. Kryo is the next big thing from the world's biggest Android chipmaker, manufactured using a new, more efficient 16nm process, and paired with a new Adreno 530 GPU. That's backed up by an ample 4GB of RAM.

Also onboard is Qualcomm's Sense ID fingerprint technology, a new ultrasonic fingerprint system which allows handsets to detect fingerprints through metal and glass. And sure enough, the sensor on the Max Pro's rear has a glassy feel to it.

On the software side, the Max Pro is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow and LeTV's own custom UI, which draws inspiration from iOS, as well as Huawei's EMUI. Performance is predictably fast, as you'd expect from a cutting-edge CPU like the 820. Is it noticeably faster than the previous gen? That's going to depend on the situation, and it's difficult to make that call from a limited amount of time with one early device.

One area in which we saw lightning-quick performance was the camera. The Max Pro packs a 21-megapixel OIS camera, and in our limited indoor tests seemed to take great-looking shots pretty much instantly.

It's hard to draw any firm conclusions on the 820 as a whole from just one device, but it's clear the Snapdragon 820 is no slouch. And we're looking forward to spending more time with it in the month ahead.

Alex Dobie
Executive Editor

Alex was with Android Central for over a decade, producing written and video content for the site, and served as global Executive Editor from 2016 to 2022.

  • IT'S HERE!!!!!! Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • It'd be nice if the nexus launch cycle hit a bit early this year to have the 820 while its still new. Oh well. Ill take it at 10 months old if need be. This chipset is gonna be industry leading
  • I'm intrigued by the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. Maybe someone will be able to integrate it with the display at some point for a really clean design.
  • Now that would be amazing Posted via the Android Central App
  • yeah it's definitely been talked about and will become a reality, hopefully sooner than later. I had said that the fingerprint sensor wasn't important to me prior to my 6p, but now it's one of my favorite options. Once devs integrate it into their apps is be so much better, and to your point, having it on screen would be pretty slick. Posted via the Android Central App
  • at this point, force touch integrated with Android is what I'm most looking forward to, and hope it find it's way into the next Nexus. It really does have a ton of potential, and since Google is working on their own apps for iPhone capability, it should be sooner than later before we see it. And as pleasantly surprised as I am with the 810 in my 6p, there's no doubt it pretty much ruined most 2015 phones, so I'm looking forward to the 820, specifically in the S7 Edge (with that 3600 mAh battery) and of course there M10, which I'm obviously not all that optimistic about. Force touch, further enhanced audio quality and WiFi charging are what I'm most interested in is say. I just think we're at that point where we should be more concerned with features and optimization that more specs. Didn't you say you were gonna get the gold 6p? I love that color ... If the width doesn't bother you though, I'd probably just hang on to the Nexus 6 for the next 10 months. IMO it's the 2nd best phone available right now, and probably will be for awhile. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Ya force touch is gonna be pretty cool. Yup, as soon as i found out that bestbuy and google olay are offering the gold version i figured i might as well jump on it this week. One of the main reasons is because ive grown tired of the width of the N6. That and id like to have more than just 2 android devices running stock. All i have is the N6 and a Tab S running a very stock AOSP ROM. Ive become a bigtime nexus fan so i might as well start collecting a bit, lol. I could just use my N6 as a house tablet
  • Next month will be crazy Dab on em
  • Should say HTC style cutouts since they had that before the iPhone starting with the M7. Posted via the Android Central App
  • HTC had tastefully done antenna cutouts that actually looked stylish. It's Apple that made bad looking ones, and this phone follows Apple therefore. Posted via the AC App from SM-N910F
  • It greatly annoys me that people think the iPhone had them first just because it was seen and sold more within the market. Though Taife is right, the cutouts on this are the same horrible ones as used by the 6/S and Plus/S.
  • Ohhh... Super buttery Posted via a nexus
  • Hmm... Pretty nice looking tablet. Beastly specs, probably never get updated though. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not much impressed by the CPU score on AnTuTu but the GPU and UX score totally obliterate my Note 4's SD805.
  • You're benchmarks mean nothing. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Wait a minute. The SnapDragon 820 isn't even optimized well enough for benchmark apps to get an accurate score, correct? Or, am I just thinking that? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Agree 100% Posted via the Android Central App
  • people still pay attention to benchmarks? I mean if that's your thing, all the power to you, but in real world use they're completely meaningless. throw in bad RAM management, clunky skins and just an overall laggy phone, and those speed tests are good for nothing! Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's just what losers say. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually, he does have a point. Benchmark tests like Antutu (with the exception of a few) rate a device's performance using a score by pushing the device to its limit while doing tests that calculate the performance of the device's hardware, like the CPU, GPU and RAM. It then gives a score, of which a higher one is always better. Note that I said "pushing the device to its limit". Most people don't do that very often. Most people use their phones to make calls, send texts, browse Facebook, send Whatsapp messages, take pictures and whatnot. For those tasks, even a Snapdragon 410 is adequate. While the 820 will do all of those in a quicker fashion, compared to the 810 in later devices and even the 805, the difference isn't all that big. Note that most of the 820's absurd score stemmed from the GPU, meaning that where the 820 will shine is heavy 3D gaming, again, something many people don't usually do on their smartphones, as Candy Crush and Clash of Clans are two of the most popular games and they aren't 3D games that require something like an Adreno 530. My current phone is an LG G4, and the Le Max Pro's score is pretty much twice of what my G4 scores. While I am astounded at how much better the 820 is overall, daily use performance should be about the same, if not, slightly better on the Le Max Pro. Gaming performance is where the Le Max Pro will pull ahead, but I don't game on my phone, so I don't really mind. That doesn't mean I'm not excited. I am excited for how much more powerful and capable mobile devices will become in the future. Hopefully, they become more efficient as well, which they should be cause phones are at a point where any increase in CPU performance won't yield much real-world benefit, so chipmakers have to make them more efficient, and that should be a priority.
  • On crazy powerful hardware like the 7420 and SD810 (on the 6P at least) you really do notice somewhat faster app opening speeds overall than you see with less powerful SoC's like the 808 and 805. It's nothing big but its definitely there. Software optimization will always be much more important though.
  • Yeah. Like I said, it'll do some normal tasks quicker, but the difference isn't all that big. We've hit the performance plateau with mobile processors. The focus is now on software optimization and efficiency. Soft and sweet Marshmallow
  • It opens the potential for better gaming to be created. As more devices get better stats, developeds get more incentive to make better games. I look forward to the day when android is considered a viable gaming platform much like the windows pc
  • That score was 40k+ more than what I get on either my Note 5 or 6P. I'd say that's more than impressive. Posted via the Android Central App
  • It obliterates every phone I have. That's an absurd score.
  • And you will not see any difference in day to day usage from your current phone. Posted via the Android Central App
  • That's by score comparison....... I didn't put a real world comparison
  • Also note that the majority of the score came from the GPU. So while normal day-to-day use will be the same compared to even a phone from 2014, gaming performance should be killer. For the few people who play games that are not Candy Crush and Clash of Clans.
  • Agree. I think we are at the point now, that unless you are a big gamer, you won't notice much of a difference, because most of the OS wont take full advantage of the increased performance capabilities.
  • bingo Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not gonna lie as I read the drool increased. Posted via the Android Central App
  • My SD 810 is officially obsolete. Some would say it was when it launched but I beg to differ. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Yeah, the 810 was more like DOA. Posted via the Android Central App on the Samsung Galaxy S6 active.
  • How is it obsolete, the 805 still does a fantastic job, what's with all you spec junkies. They all need to make improvements in software development and battery technology. Posted via the Android Central App
  • He was not entirely serious. He was using that term to describe how much the 820 improved over the 810.
  • Technically obsolete. Realistically though any high-end chipset launched by Qualcomm and Samsung since the SD 800 and exynos 5420 in late 2013 is still very powerful and very snappy with software optimization
  • I want that phone right meow. Posted via the Android Central App on the Samsung Galaxy S6 active.
  • How's the heat though? That's the burning question (pun intended).
  • Qualcomm had 1 generation of overheating chips and this is a thing now? Posted via the Android Central App
  • Given that this is going to be a direct successor to the 810 (aka the SnapToaster), I feel that it's a valid question.
  • Not really... this is finally QC custom silicon again... the 810 and siblings were all standard ARM IP cores... that was the problem. QC rushed them out because they were falling behind and needed something stopgap... the new Kyro cores are what QC should have had ready earlier but they were caught off guard.
  • Direct successor? You need to read dude, seriously... So lame... Posted via the Android Central App
  • You guys who are upgrading your phones every year probably will not even know the difference if you were given a blind use test. Phones are at the point where you are trying to differentiate between a core i5 and a core i7 while checking your email. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Probably because we've already hit that performance plateau with smartphone processors far quicker than PCs which has hit that plateau for some time already. So the focus is now on efficiency.
  • I agree 100%. Posted via the Android Central App
  • You're exactly right.
  • It has come Let's hope we won't have another SD810 fiasco on our hands. Looks like this won't since it's running a custom architecture like the SD805, Samsung is likely to use it this time and that Antutu score is absurd. Early days, though, but it's looking good so far.
  • Why do you care, do you work for Qualcomm or have invested stock in them. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I care because the 810 kinda ruined a few phones from last year and only the later ones were alright. I don't want the same thing happening.
  • What a bizarre comment. Yeah, its a real mystery why someone reading a website about phones might care about how good the new processor a lot of this years new phones will be using is. Posted on LG V10 via the Android Central App
  • Thank you! Posted via the Android Central App
  • Why do you care, that he cares?
  • So sexy! And I like the new Mobile Nations outro too. Posted via the Android Central App
  • No idea what app Alex clicked on but the phone was crazy slow opening it... Posted via the Android Central App
  • Wish is coulda been in the Nexus 6P but... I supposed next years nexus can have version 2 820 silicon and be even more beastly and awesome than the 6P already is today... I may have to actually get back on the annual nexus buying cycle again o.O!!! Wooohooo! I can't wait to get a new nexus tablet with this in it!!!! Can you say Nexus 10P!!!! Dang unlock that bootloader and overclock the frack out of it!!!!!!!!!!! PURE nexus butta that'll be!
  • Finally, a non laggy Nexus? Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't have an issue with lag on my 6P - even doing processor intensive tasks.
  • Too bad we won't be seeing this device stateside in accessible way for the masses.
  • Finally the 820 ... snapdragon 810 muahhaa that piece of overheating, always warm phone, snapdragon 801 performance chip.
  • Hmm my 810 always cool in my Flex2, wished was more warm because getting winter here :) Do you own an 810 device? Or just saying because everyone saying that crap? Heating problems worked out long time ago. posted via the LG Flex 2
  • LG , unleash the SD820 beast FLEX 3 !!!!!!!! posted via the LG Flex 2
  • It's a little bit depressing when you see that it gets 132000 points on antutu. The A9 processor in the iPhone 6s gets almost the exact same. So Apple is a whole generation ahead. But of course benchmarks is only a number, but frustrating never the less! I LOVE the 6p....!
  • Actually only goes to show that Android is a complicated OS thats not as efficient as iOS..... After all these years Android still takes a lot more brute force to get the same results as iOS.... (I'm an Android fanboy) I LOVE the 6p....!