Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: a killer budget flagship that’s almost perfect


letv x600 review
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You may all know that I received a Le 1 (LeTV X600) a few weeks back and have been using the phone as my daily driver since then. See what I think of the phone after a few weeks running this budget flagship in thisLe 1 (LeTV X600) review.

So for the past few weeks I have been using the Le 1 phone, and for the past week I have used it while traveling (hence the delay in a full review) and have a good idea of how the phone performs plus the good and bad aspects of the device. Keep reading to get it all.

LeTV 1 (X600) review: Unboxing and hands on

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Design

Personally I love the design and build of theLe 1 (LeTV X600). The phone is built way above its price so you get a really wonderful looking all glass front, sat on a wonderfully sculptured alloy chassis which finally backs on to a glossy plastic rear.

letv s1 review

The whole of the front of the phone is a flat panel of glass with a nice smooth finish (not 2.5D) at the very edges to give a comfortable feel and good transition to the alloy chassis. With the glass running right up to the edges of the phone I am not sure how well the panel with live up to a serious drop to concrete and thankfully I haven’t had to put it to the test. I can tell you the glass panel is hard-wearing though, and no matter how many times I place the LeTV in the same pocket as my keys it still comes out scratch free.

Above the 1080p front panel sits a front facing camera and RGB notification light, and below there are light up capacitive buttons on the chin. Only visible when the lights are on.

letv x600 review

The alloy body sits nearly flush with the glass around the edges of the phone. It is a seriously well machined and finished piece of kit with a nice clean bezel to the rear which sits perfectly flush with the rear panel.

The alloy chassis has dual stereo speakers in the base either side a a USB Type C connector, volume button and mute switch on the left side, power button and dual SIM on the right and 3.5mm headphone jack and IR remote in the top.

Finally the rear panel is plastic with a type of ‘brushed’ finish to it. It’s pretty hard-wearing but I have managed to get a few light scratches on it. The glossy finish also means that you have to be careful when placing the phone anywhere. If there is a slight gradient the Le 1 will start to slowly move. For this reason and out of personal preference I hope that optional rear panels will be offered at some point, a bamboo panel being an optoin I would love to see. To be rear the rea panel isn’t really meant to be removed, but like on the Xiaomi Mi4, it can be if you get a good strong suction cup on it.

letv s1 review

The back of the phone is also where we find a dual LED flash, 13 mega-pixel Sony IMX214 rear camera and LeTV logo. The print at the bottom of the phone mentions that the phone I have is a TD-LTE model, but I can confirm it works fine on Vodafone in Spain and 3 in the UK.

letv x600 review

Something I have noticed using theLe 1 (LeTV X600) in bright sunlight is that the glass edges create a light ‘halo’ around the top edge of the phone. I’ve also noticed the same on the Xiaomi Mi Note, it isn’t an issue in use and I kind of like it, its a shame that LeTV haven’t been able to incorporate it in to the design in someway.

Anyway, in short there are very few phones that are made as well as the Le 1, in fact at 1499 Yuan in China there are no phones that are made as well as it, and you would be hard pushed to find a phone built to this standard for around the $400 price point on reseller sites let alone the $299.99 price the Le 1 is going for.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Screen

When turned off or the screen is locked theLe 1 (LeTV X600) has the appearance of a borderless phone. When powered up you will find that the clever design of the Le 1 means that the borders of the phone and screen actually blend together when off, but are visible when on. We’re not talking those ugly bezels of the Elephone P7000 here, but they are a couple of mm thick and do run all the way around the screen.

letv x600 review

The full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution screen of theLe 1 (LeTV X600) is superb. It’s when using a screen of this quality that you really ask yourself if a 2K panel is really worth it (No, is the answer). Indoors I run the screen at about 3/4 full brightness and then full brightness outside. Full brightness could be a little stronger for my liking though as viewing on very sunny days (especially taking photos) is difficult.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Performance

There is really nothing to complain about in the performance department. That MT6795 chipset is really a beast. In Antutu it scores over 51,000 points and in real life the processor just eats every task up in its stride. With 3GB RAM there is enough memory there for running multiple tasks, but I do feel that too much memory is being used at times when compared to other 3GB RAM models so a little optimisation is called for.

Over the past week while traveling I have used theLe 1 (LeTV X600) for everything from navigation (more on that later), gaming, reading and keeping up with emails and social media, and it has just killed it.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) Benchmarks

  • Antutu: 51,272
  • Quadrant: 23,131
  • Geekbench Single Core: 917
  • Geekbench Multi core: 4,996
  • Ice Storm Extreme: Maxed Out!
  • Vellamo Metal: 1,409
  • Vellamo Multicore: 2,299
  • Vellamo Browser: 2,552
  • GFXbench Manhattan: 587.7
  • GFXbench Manhattan Offscreen: 631.4
  • GFXbench T-Rex: 1,478
  • GFXbench T-Rex Offscreen: 1,496

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Camera

I love the camera on theLe 1 (LeTV X600). It’s the same sensor as the Xiaomi Mi Note, and while the more expensive Xiaomi does create better photos (just) I feel the speed of the Le 1 is faster and the images are amazing in most conditions.

letv x600 review

I’ve even used the front camera more often with theLe 1 (LeTV X600)too due to the super wide angle lens and the quality of the photos. If you have a young baby that you are carrying quite often you will appreciate how a decent front facing camera can be a great tool to have.

letv x600 review

If I must complain about the camera then there are times the auto focus isn’t quite as accurate as I might like, and in low light situations the algorithms do sometimes overcompensate too much and create an blotchy ‘painted’ images with loss of detail. Use the powerful dual LED flash though and low light photos are stellar.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) photo samples

Le 1 (LeTV X600) low light indoor

Le 1 (LeTV X600) Panoramic

Le 1 (LeTV X600) Selfie

IMG_20150606_154838

Le 1 (LeTV X600) slow motion video

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Navigation

Mediatek have come along well with their GPS and the lock on speed of the GPS while visiting the UK was very very fast, in fact there simply was no wait most of the time. Navigation was mostly good, but there were times that the Le 1 did get a little disoriented and wanted me to drive around in circles. Thankfully this only tended to happen at the end of a journey and while annoying didn’t really slow me down too much or get me lost, still it is something I hope will be fixed sooner rather than later.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Battery

Over the past week I used the Le 1 a lot and as usual left the phone on 24 hours a day. Generally if you are using the phone with LTE, WIFI, and GPS on constantly, take plenty of photos and use social media to keep updates and check in you will easily have enough power for a full day and even a little to get you through the morning.

If you plan to travel around and need the GPS to get you where you are going though then don’t forget that Type C USB data cable and in-car charger though as you will be running out of juice well before the end of the day. Speaking of type C USB, as it is a new standard I suggest you buy a couple of spare wires, those days I forgot the included cable meant I had no power in the Le 1 for the afternoon and evening on long travel days which was rather annoying.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Audio

I can sum up the audio from the LeTV 1 simply by saying “stunning”. The built-in speaker is incredible for the asking price, and easily wipes the floor of phones priced at even double the cost. Plug in a set of decent earphones and you will be drooling at how good your music sounds.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: Call quality

Oddly enough I don’t use a phone to call all that often but when I did have to receive a call the signal quality was an issue. Call clarity is just fine and when the signal remains you can have a crystal clear conversation, but now and then the signal just drops away for a second. I’ve had the same experience on two different sims and networks, so am awaiting a system update to come out and solve the issue.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) review: EUI5 OS

EUI5 is LeTV’s own Android ROM based on Android 5.0 Lollipop. So far I have received a single OTA update which solved an issue I was having playing videos in the YouTube application, but still hasn’t stopped Sound Cloud from force closing.

EUI5 is a visually appealing ROM with wonderfully clean transitions and some nice design flourishes. It’s amazing that a company launching their first Android phones has managed to make such a great ROM first try, where as companies like Meizu don’t seem to be able to produce one fully bug free ROM yet! Visually the ROM is similar to Huawei’s EMUI and IUNI’s ROM, but I prefer the LeTV system over those more established offerings.

As mentioned there are a few app compatibility issues (Sound Cloud being one) and it seems to eat in to the RAM much more quickly that MIUI, but I belive that LeTV have proved that they can build a great system and we will see these issues fixed.

letv x600 review

There are a few differences in EUI5, for example the notification bar is just for notifications, getting to the main settings. Quick settings and toggles are found by pressing the left ‘square’ navigation button on the chin. From here you can also change the screen brightness and clean up your running applications. The same quick settings (expect app management) are also available from the lock screen too.

Speaking of the lock screen you have a short cut to your camera, and if you have pin code set up you will notice that the keypad will appear on the side of the screen you swipe up from. For example if you swipe up from the far right a single hand mode keypad will appear on the right, the same for the left and swiping in the middle opens the full size pad, a very neat feature!

letv s1 review

LeTV have added a few LeTV services in to the system which don’t appear to be working correctly outside of China since the latest update. Swiping to the far left of the home screen would bring up the most popular LeTV video channels and that button in the middle of the dock called ‘live’ opens up the LeTV live streaming viewer, giving access to videos playing right now.

There isn’t much junk in the system and most of it can be removed without root which is great as I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet. Also you will notice that only Chinese and English come as standard on the system and installing Gapps is required but super easy if you use the same Google installer method as Xiaomi devices.

Le 1 (LeTV X600) Review: Conclusion

So my niggles are currently the battery life isn’t the best of the phones I have used this year, the screen is a little dull in very bright sunlight, signal quality on my phone is hit and miss and there are a few apps that don’t play nice on the EUI5 ROM out of the box. Also, I haven’t mentioned it till now, but the X600 only has 16GB memory and no room for an SD card, after a week of use I have 5GB free (after installing all the Google apps I run, a single game and taking 1GB worth of photo), that isn’t much these days and will mean you will have to resort to cloud storage if you need more.

letv s1 review

The good news is that everything else is way above what you would expect from a phone of this price, and those minor niggles can all be fixed with OTA updates which LeTV have proven by fixing an early YouTube compatibility problem, in fact there is even an app on the phone in English that will send your bug reports straight to LeTV to check out!

I love the audio on the Le 1 (LeTV X600), it is better than the Meizu MX4 Pro with all of its audio centric features and better than the Oppo N3 with Maxx Audio and even the high audio quality available on Vivo phones. The camera is really great for a 1499 Yuan phone. I belive that LeTV could get a little better performance out of it and have it perform as well as the Xiaomi Mi Note eventually.

letv s1 review

Once LeTV have the call quality issue solved theLe 1 (LeTV X600) will be a near perfect phone. A few optimizations for RAM and to boost battery life would also be nice, but as they are they aren’t big issues and as long as you aren’t running navigation for hours on end the battery life should be adeqete for most buyers.

Seeing what LeTV have done with a 1499 Yuan phone I am really excited to see what the Le 1 Pro is like and I am pleasantly surprised by just how well LeTV have done a smartphone, and how much old favourites could learn from the new kid on the block.

Thanks to Honorbuy for sending over the review phone.

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