LeEco Le Max review

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.

The Good

  • Solid build quality and beautiful design
  • Good performance
  • Good camera performance
  • USB Type-C port with QuickCharge

The Bad

  • 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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Operating SystemAndroid 5.0 Lollipop with EUI
Display6.33 inches IPS LCD, Quad HD (1440 x 2560), Corning Gorilla Glass 3
ProcessorQualcomm MSM8994 Snapdragon 810
Internal Storage64GB
Rear Camera21 MP, f/2.0, autofocus, OIS, Dual LED flash
Front Camera4 MP, f/2.0
Dimensions167.1 × 83.5 × 8.95 mm
Weight204 grams
Battery3400 mAh

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

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

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 LeMax

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.

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Abhishek Baxi
  • Okay, people. It's June 2016. Marshmallow was officially released in October last year, and Lollipop was officially released in October the year before. Why are some OEMs STILL putting Lollipop on new-ish phones??? I wouldn't mind so much if it's Android 5.1 but this is 5.0.2. WHY?!
  • I thought they said any phone that comes with Lollipop gets a added to the con side. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Really, that should have been a con. At least launching with Android 5.1 wouldn't be so bad. Why some OEMs are just so bad at updating their phones to at least a build that isn't that old is beyond me...
  • Seriously someone needs to edit this article. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I honestly wouldn't recommend it. Launching a phone with a version of Android known to be bug-filled is bad enough. No word on a future OS updates makes it even more sour. The irony? LeEco's CEO called Apple "outdated".
  • A side effect of a massively adopted open source OS like Android = Chinese OEM's with outdated software. Along with pretty much everyone else at one point or another. But this is just comical. Posted via the Android Central App
  • And it's Android 5.0.2..... Of all things, they chose a build of Android that's known to be bug-ridden...
  • They've had over a year and a half to tinker around with it. Plenty of time to optimize even 5.0.2. According to the review this thing runs like a champ, though I'd take that with a grain of salt. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Maybe for now. We'll see in a few months. Posted via the Android Central App
  • If I recall correctly, they (or at least Phil) said that a phone released without Marshmallow would be precluded from an editor's choice award.
  • That's right, and it also usually won't be recommended, although that is up to the editor.
  • Good question. And along with that I wonder what sort of updating options these phones come with: WIll they eventually be updated to 6.0 or even 7.0? or are they stalled at some version of 5 unless they sell well and the OEM decides to have them certified for a later version of the OS?
  • I don't know, and what the reviewer said doesn't paint a picture on how well this phone will be updated when it comes to OS updates. "It's disappointing that there has been no news about Marshmallow update for Le Max..."
  • LeEco hasn't had the best track record when it comes to the Marshmallow update.
  • And that's what worries me. Some of us give Samsung quite a bit of flak for them being rather slow at updates, but at least they're doing it, and they seem to be picking up the pace when it comes to security patches as well, which is great. As for LeEco, I don't know why they are so slow. I'm not sure if their skin is to blame. Perhaps their software development team is small? I really don't know, and I wished they would pay a little more attention to this sort of stuff.
  • Most Chinese vendors are slow to roll out updates. Think it's to do with making sure that the new version works with the several layers of customization.
  • What about Huawei? Given their size, are they a little quicker?
  • Slightly better off, but they need to work on it too. Lenovo seems to be doing a better job of that.
  • Hmm, sounds like Lenovo might finally get it.
  • That's because Lenovo now has a helping hand of Motorola. Posted via the Android Central App on my Zuk Z1. Loving it.
  • That and because they can get away with it. Look at how these skins are all iOS ripoffs, and yet they're selling like mad in China and India. If users couldn't care less that the software on their phone is a clone of the real thing then having updated software is pretty much irrelevant as well. Not to say that many people care in the west but we don't see these iOS inspired UI's in the US really. I assume android updates are also taken much more seriously in the west as well Posted via the Android Central App
  • Well, while I was in Thailand, in a mall, I saw some ads for the 2015 Moto X Pure Edition. One of its selling points was "Pure Android". Just a little point, as Thailand isn't a Western nation. And I'd assume the same, although not everyone goes gaga over a new OS update.
  • Every model released in US is available in asia ..almost all... but 90% of the models release in asia are not thr in US..and there are brands which offer good value for money and almost pure andoid with latest version. its not a bad thing to have more choice. than have few
  • Yeah, I know some of those phones that are region-specific and are also pretty interesting. I'm actually one of those guys who believes that choice is great for the consumer as it gives them a much wider range of products to choose from. Unfortunately, from my experience, there are some products that are so bad, you shouldn't even think about them. It's not this phone, but I personally wouldn't recommend it unless it gets an update to at least 5.1.1 Lollipop. 6.0.1 Marshmallow would be ideal, but I'd try to be a little more realistic. Posted via the Android Central App
  • This device is pretty old .... Letv max 2 is available with android 6 and sd 820. Blame AC for posting an old review.. its like posting samsung S6 review now when u have s7 already avaialble
  • Didn't it launch in January of this year? Android 5.1 at least should have been on there. Of course, 6.0.1 would be ideal, but OEMs like these do take their time with updates, so I'd be realistic. Posted via the Android Central App
  • no this was launched in china last october . came to india and other markets only by jan 2016
  • Well, Android 5.1 should have still been on it. As for M, it should have been updated by now...
  • The Device has been updated to 5.1 and le max pro already on 6.0 .. The review unit might not have been update.. http://www.gsmarena.com/leeco_le_max-8054.php
  • Well, he did say he got an OTA. I wonder if he checked to make sure it's not 5.0.2. If it's still 5.0.2...
  • The Chinese version of this phone got 6.0 update last month so hope international version will get it soon.. when a device is reviewed it should be on the latest version .Especially and old phone..
  • +1 re: No excuse for Lollipop -- Posted via my Titanium Silver Galaxy S7 edge --
  • Le specs for le tv, no the le eco I mean le max seem le quite impressive. Battery life you can work around, and even if it gets 5.1 shortly it should be stable. Doze of course would be a bonus.
    The le phone that le nobody knew about but le secretly a le t a lot wanted.
  • Roflmao Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Worst review on AC, why are you reviewing a phone with 5.0 on it? Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • I'll quote Phil on this. "If a new device ships with Lollipop and is otherwise worthy of a review from us, we'll still review it. But on principle it'll have no chance at earning a Choice Award, and in all likelihood it'll not fare well in the "should you buy it?" section of the review. That last part will remain at the discretion of the editors, of course."
  • I'm not going to pretend to be an expert with the market in India, but I'm damn sure they are other much better options from xiomai that eclipse this by miles. And thanks for the quote. And that last bit is broken here as it says you should definitely buy it. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Yeah, the Mi 5 is a better bet. It isn't QHD, but it has one of the best FHD LCDs available today.
  • Yeah, I don't get why I should "definitely" get this over competing options. I don't see anything special that this phone offers over the competition. I mean, sure. It has an OLED display, lots of storage and a large battery, but then, like Harish mentioned above, the Mi5 looks to actually be a more well-rounded package. That's just my thoughts. If I were reviewing it, I would have said "We would wait for some software updates". It's a phone that has solid hardware, let down by a somewhat outdated version of Android.
  • Well let's just come out and say it, it's not just outdated it's one of the worst versions of Android that had and in the case of this device still has performance issues with encryption and is lacking security updates. Posted from my Nexus 6/Nexus 7 2013/Surface Pro 3
  • Yeah, 5.0.2 was a real doozy. I tried it and wished I was running KitKat instead. It was so buggy and unstable. I actually had to reboot my device more frequently because it would become so slow after some time due to the memory leak issue. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I love seeing full reviews for phones in the Asian and Indian markets! Anyone else surprised by how much storage was available? Must be a pretty small rom. Really sad to see that it only has 5.0.2, and not even 5.1!
  • Actually Letv Max launched launched in India way back in jan 2016 .Letv Max 2 is availabe for pre-order and will be availabe by 7th June .This must be an old review.
  • My 5.5/5.7 phones are already beyond the size I truly want. Wish they'd make a 4.5-5 with premium specs...or at least midrange...for the same price as this Honor 5X. If they exist, I didn't find them when I was shopping.
  • Yeah... So in the spec listing it was a IPS LCD but then in the next paragraph it's an AMOLED. Which is it Posted with my awesome Gold S6 Edge+
  • Aaaaaannnnddd again, no video review?! Posted via the Android Central App on my Zuk Z1. Loving it.
  • Must
    Bezelssssss Wait what? Lollipop?... Nevermind Posted with ❤love❤
  • I used to have an LG G3, and currently have a G4 from work... recently purchased a Galaxy S7 edge, and I don't think I could go back to a phone with on-screen navigation buttons. For me, the experience and increased screen real estate of push- and capacitive-buttons is so much better. Also #lollipopfail -- Posted via my Titanium Silver Galaxy S7 edge --