Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to check out the LeEco Le Pro3, an affordable smartphone with premium specs. Can the Android device compete with the competition? And more importantly, is it worth your money? Let’s dive in.
The second smartphone by Chinese electronics company LeEco, the self-proclaimed “Netflix of China” maker of everything is making efforts of coming across the sea to get a share of the US market with their Le Pro 3 Smartphone. As a self-proclaimed Apple fanboy, the Le S3 Smartphone is actually a pretty decent phone at a super affordable price. Costing only $400, and offering up specs you’d typically get from a Samsung branded phone, this phone actually excited me quite a bit when I first received it.
After doing some research on the company itself I found out that LeEco actually was the first company to release a phone featuring a Snapdragon 823 powered processor, I was even more intrigued. And although this wallet-friendly device by the Chinese electronic maker doesn’t sport quite the same specs, the Le S3 is a very solid device. Here are some outline specs of the smartphone:
OPERATING SYSTEM and UI: eui (Ecosystem User Interface); Android™ 6.0 Marshmallow
DISPLAY: 5.5” FHD (1080p; 403ppi; Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
PERFORMANCE: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 821 CPU; 4GB RAM/64GB ROM; 4070mAh Battery (Up to 318 hrs. of 4G stand-by time); Qualcomm® QuickCharge™ 3.0; Intelligent Fingerprint Scanner
CAMERA: 16MP Rear Camera; 8MP Front Camera; 4K Video Recording; Dual-LED Rear Flash; Slow-Motion Recording; Panorama Mode
WIRELESS: Single Nano SIM; 802.11a/b/g/n/ac; Dual-Band 2.4G + 5GHz; Bluetooth 4.2; LTE-A, LTE, HSPA+, HSPA, UMTS, EDGE, GSM; LTE Bands 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/29/30/38; 3G Bands: WCDMA – 2,100 MHz, 1900 MHz, 2,100/1700 MHz, 850 MHz, 900 MHz; IR (Infrared Remote Control)
AUDIO: CDLA Audio; Dolby® Atmos™; Type-C Audio Output
ACCESSORIES INCLUDED: Type-C Charger 100-240V & Cable; CDLA Earphones; Type-C 3.5mm Adaptor; Clear TPU Phone Case; Screen Protector
SENSOR: NFC; Fingerprint; Gyroscopic; Infrared; Proximity; Light; Geomagnetic/Gravity; Hall
BUILD: 6.24 ounces (177 grams); 5.96 x 2.90 x .29 inches; 151.4 x 73.9 x 7.5mm; Aluminum Unibody
CARRIER: Unlocked; Use with any GSM SIM card or service provider worldwide; Not compatible with CDMA carriers including Verizon, Sprint, or Boost Mobile
Unboxing the LeEco Le Pro3 is pretty simple. The all black box that houses the Le Pro3 comes simply with LeEco’s logo on the front in silver. On the back of the box, you get the specs we spoke about before.
Taking off the top portion and you’re greeted by the LeEco Le Pro3 itself, complete with a super impressive 5.5-inch screen. If you pull back the black flap on the right side of the phone you’ll see get yourself the USB-C cable and the 12-volt power brick. They’ve also included a nifty headphone adapter that’s pretty similar to Apple’s adapter in terms of size and functionality that I’m used to, with the difference being the end is USB-C and not Lightning. Unfortunately, though, the LeEco Le Pro3 does NOT include a 3.5mm headphone port physically on the device.
As someone who is more fond of Bluetooth headphones and the ability to go wire-free at the gym and while commuting this wasn’t a really big deal for me at all, especially considering I’m also a user of the iPhone 7 Plus so it’s something I’ve just adapted to. But for those of you who rather be wired for the best audio experience on their device, let me just tell you, the adapter works like a charm.
If you can get past the headphone jack being absent, you’ll notice that the rest of the phone itself is pretty stellar. Typically not too fond of “Gold” smartphones, the Gold I received looked great compared to Apple’s Gold iPhone models. It could be the more streamlined design that continues around the entirety of the device which attributes to that. Since the screen itself does have a black bar around the four ends of the Corning Gorilla Glass screen the black surrounding can be visibly seen while watching or playing media. This could deter some because if you’re simply looking at something that contrasts, or playing a video game, it does look pretty odd, especially seeing as though the front of the device itself isn’t black. LeEco should’ve certainly done away with this option as it’s not my favorite at all.
At the bottom of the device, you’ll notice that the design looks almost similar to the fruit-based smartphone made in Cupertino with two speaker grills on the left and right of the Le Pro3, with the USB-C port directly in the center.
On the right side of the device is where you’ll find your power button as well as volume control which is great that they decided to place both on the same side, giving a more seamless feel and helps tremendously when inserting into a phone case.
On the back of the device is where the overall design of the phone really shines. Showcasing antenna lines at the top and bottom of the Le Pro3, the back of the device looks strikingly similar to the OnePlus 3. And since the metal bodied phone feels great in your hand, it’s no surprise that LeEco decided to actually place the home button the rear of the Le Pro3, where it made the most sense.
Having the home button on the back of the device gives the user to interact with the phone more ergonomically, without having to maneuver when doing ordinary tasks to control their phone. Since the home button also is the fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone, it just makes way more sense to place this on the rear of the device. Saying that to say this: I did have quite a few issues with the fingerprint sensor aspect of the Le Pro3. Now at the time of this review, it’s been pretty cold outside, which maybe to my imagination might make it hard for gloves to register fingerprints, however, I have to say, the Le Pro3 isn’t the most accurate fingerprint scanner I tried out. I lost count how many times I found myself re-attempting to put my saved fingerprint into the phone to unlock it, only for nothing to happen. This has happened to with my other smartphones, but certainly not as much as the Le Pro3.
The screen of the LE Pro 3’s 5.5-inch screen comes with 1080p and 403 ppi, which goes without saying – the phone is $400. While some might shun it, this is typically what you’d expect for a $400 phone in terms of display. On top of that, in terms of colors, although great during peak times of the day, as well as in a well-lit room, I felt as though standing in a dim area made the colors seem a bit less vibrant than I would’ve liked, regardless of the brightness setting. Maybe I was just expecting a bit more out of the display, or maybe I’m just comparing a bit much since I’m used to displays of a higher price.
Earlier we spoke of LeEco’s EUI interface, and I will admit I did notice quite a bit of lag in terms of usability with the Le Pro3. Now for EUI to essentially be a skin for Android’s Marshmallow you can’t really expect much, but I did find myself frustrated with the interface, more specifically when scrolling page to page. For a device that comes with an option of 4GB or 6GB of internal ram on top of having a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, I was expecting something a bit more snappy, especially considering that the LeEco is running Android most recent OS that Android considers to be one of their best, more specifically one that causes less lag. I haven’t had apps crash on me in the few weeks I’ve been testing out the Le Pro3 however which is a good thing to note. Apps run as they should, and the overall performance of multitasking between video games and apps on the Le Pro 3 has been pretty good. For a metal phone, I was expecting the device to get rather warm in my hand after an hour of constant use and it surprisingly kept cool.
Even in terms of battery life, the Le Pro 3 seems to be very awesome. Compared to my other smartphone, the Le Pro 3 holds up a WHOLE lot more. With a 4,070mAh battery, I actually found myself charging up on a Friday Evening before bed, and not needing a charge again until Sunday morning (and that’s the absolute truth). This is obviously with moderate texting, and being connected to Wi-Fi, but compared to the competition, the battery is a delight to have. Light Facebook, a couple of Snapchats, random text messages and watching a 20 minute YouTube video left me with enough battery that if I could go another 15-20 minutes without a charge on Sunday morning. Obviously, circumstances could be different for you, luckily since the Le Pro 3 comes with Quick Charge 3.0 technology, if you were to go without battery life, you can plug in and be ready to go all over again in close to thirty minutes.
Above the fingerprint sensor/home button on the rear of the Le Pro 3 is the probably the most frustrating part of the phone for me: the camera.
At $399 for the Le Pro3, you can’t really expect what you’re used to by a phone that might cost you $799, but the Pro 3 disappoints in this regard. The 16-megapixel rear camera has OIS, on top of having an eight-megapixel front facing camera but none of that matters when the camera works when it wants to. Shooting photos and video outdoors will get you by if you just want to shoot as non-moving photos, or poses, however, in low light is where I’ve found the Le Pro3 to disappoint the most. As a dog owner I’m always taking photos of Sparky, or funny things that he does, and even with him sitting still attempting to pose, I found that tapping the controls to lighten the background to make him stand out failed quite often.
Overall if you can get over the fact that the camera may or may not get the image you want on the first try, there’s plenty to love, more specifically the awesome battery life. The phone feels like it’s built to last a while, and although you only get 64GB of storage internally, with cloud-based applications being a thing, on top of Google Photo’s unlimited photo and video compatibility, the Le Pro3 by LeEco is a worthy mid-tier smartphone.
Find out more information about the Le Pro3 by heading to LeEco’s site today.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit
What I Like: Solid build quality; the excellent battery life lasted me a day and a half no problems.
What Needs Improvement: Camera’s significant lag and lack of expandable (SD) memory.