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.