After using the LeTV Le1S for a few weeks now I have finally finished with it. Here is my full LeTV Le1s review.
When LeTV released the LeTV Le1S they rewrote the rule book. They had already done a stellar job with the original Le1 (review here) and now here they are launching a phone with full metal body, and fingerprint scanner for less money. But did they get it right?
LeTV Le1s Review – Design
When the initial leaks of the LeTV Le1s were first published, everyone at GizChina thought they were fake. If you don’t remember them, well they looked like the rear of a UMi Iron, and we just didn’t think the design fitted in to the current LeTV line up. Well we were wrong and the leaks were correct, but in person it doesn’t look half as bad as we thought it might.
Think of a shrunk down version of the LeTV Le Max and you have a good idea what the LeTV Le1s looks like from the front, but the rear is totally unique to the newcomer. The new full metal construction of the budget phone is certainly better looking that the metal and plastic mix on the original Le1, and the inclusion of the rear facing fingerprint scanner puts the specs on par with what Meizu and Xiaomi are offering.
Instead of running through a general description of the look and feel of the LeTV Le1s I think it is more suitable if I compare old with new.
LeTV Le1S review – Le1s vs Le1
Ever since I got my hands on the Le1s I had the feeling that the phone was long, and if you offer it up to the original Le1 you can see that it is infact a few mm longer than the orignal LeTV phone (LeTV Le1: 147.9 x 73.5 x 9.5 mm, Le1s: 151.1 x 74.2 x 7.5 mm). Normally we see a longer design when a phone maker adds a fingerprint scanner to the chin of a phone, but as the Le1s has its on the rear I’m not sure what the reason behind the longer design is.
Width of both phone is almost identical, but the thicknesses aren’t. The LeTV Le1 has a more pronounced curve to the rear making it a whopping 9.5mm thick, while the newer LeTV Le1s has a flatter rear and thinner 7.5mm design. 2mm doesn’t sound like much, but with both in your hand it is certainly notable.
Differences continue to the base of the phone where the Le1s has larger oval speaker holes for it’s dual speaker set up and the Le1 has simple, small drill holes.
Physical button placement on each phone is different too. The Le1s has both the power button and volume rocker on the right hand side, in addition the notification switch found on the Le1 has been ditched on the newer phone. The last difference is the SIM tray that is on the left of the Le1s and on the right on the Le1.
It’s only slight cosmetic changes that are notable at the top of the Le1S, and the phone has the same 3.5mm headphone jack and IR remote as its older brother.
The rear of each phone is very different with the LeTV Le1S benefitting from a full alloy build, rear fingerprint scanner and also getting a new camera placement. I actually prefer the central camera design of the Le1 in all honesty, and its nicer to have a dual LED flash than the single offering on the Le1S.
So physically there are some huge differences between the two LeTV phones.
LeTV Le1s Review – Hardware
Upfront the display on the LeTV Le1s is a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 FHD panel. This is right on par with the competition and very similar to the screen on the Le1. Visually it is wonderful, even going to the LeTV after using the AMOLED panel on the OPX, the LeTV offers equally vibrant colours and impressive dark blacks.
Black bezels around the 5.5-inch panel are the norm for 2015 phones, but it’s almost like LeTV are using them as part of their trademark design. Its fine, but I hope they get thinner on new 2016 devices.
The front of the phone also has touch controls in the gold chin that light up once pressed, and there is a front facing 5 mega-pixel camera.
Under the hood most of the hardware that was found in the Le1 has been passed down to the Le1s. We get an excellent Mediatek Helio X10 chipset, 3GB RAM and 32GB internal memory (there also appear to be some 16GB versions floating about too).
The SIM tray on the left of the phone has space for dual SIM cards and will allow the LetV Le1s to run on 4G LTE networks with bands B1/3/7(1800/2100/2600MHz). The SIM tray does not support micro SD cards (a real bummer).
A fingerprint scanner on the rear of the phone is new for budget LeTV phones. LeTV have given the scanner a mirrored finish so that you could use it as a mirror when taking selfies with the rear camera but I doubt you will ever use it like this. As a security measure though it is amazingly fast and super accurate. There is rarely a time the scanner doesn’t correctly identify me, and unlock speed is almost instant. If you cast you mind back to the camera shootout I performed with the Le1S, OPX and Mi4C, I loved the super fast fingerprint scanner for easy access and wish the other two phones had something similar (if only the same could have been said about the camera).
Inside the new all metal body is a 3000mAh battery which now supports fast charging with the included fast charger. You will be glad it does have faster charging too as battery life from the Le1S is a real disappointment. Even during my camera test when the phone had no SIM (and so no LTE connection) the phone died after a day of use. After a few OTA updates the battery life now has been stretched to a day (just), but then you will need to charge the phone during the night. This might have been ok in the past, but these days my phones (OPX, Mi4C, Le1!!!) all last me well in to the following day.
Other hardware details are PDAF on the rear camera, but I’ll go in to more detail with that below, USB Type C, and HifI Audio. Hifi Audio on the Le1 really blew me away and audio on the Le1S is really great too, but I’m not really feeling its superb. I don’t know if this is because audio on all phones this year has generally been excellent and I am desensitized, or if the audio on the older phone is slighty better.
LeTV Le1s Review – Performance
Can’t really grumble here. The performance of the LeTV Le1s has been fine for me and feels every bit as fast as the older phone. Updates are frequent too, so we should see speed maintained, and hopefully better battery life.
LeTV Le1s Review – Camera
On the rear of the phone we have a 13 mega-pixel F2.0 camera with PDAF. The position of the camera is new, the lens is smaller and now there is only a single LED flash. On paper though the rear camera should perform well, but what I found was the opposite.
I will be honest when I say that I had high expectations for the Le1s. The camera on the Le1 was stunning for the money, and this year I have tested phones with amazing cameras so I honestly though the Le1S would have one too.
The truth is the camera is a huge let down! I have no idea why LeTV have taken such a huge step back in camera performance but they have. The issue seems to be in the lens as I assume the sensor and software is the same as the Le1. Using the camera in the day is fine, but compared to what the Le1 offered, and phones like the Xiaomi Mi4c can do, the Le1s is well behind the game.
LeTV Le1s Review – EUI ROM
EUI is one of my prefered Android ROMS of the year. I like simple touches like the keypad on the lock screen adjusting position depending on where you swipe it, I like the clean style and I also like the frequent updates.
There is alot of fluff in the ROM though, plenty of apps and services that we can simply not make use of outside of China and I hope an international ROM will be launched either with these parts removed or working.
It’s a young OS too so there are a few bugs now and then, and even if your phone is working well today, it doesn’t mean something won’t break on the next OTA. Thankfully though LeTV are fast with updates and tend to fix things.
It’s also worth noting that I received our review phone from Shop.GizChina.Com who install Google Play services before shipping, so Google is already ready to go once the phone arrived.
LeTV Le1s Review – Video Hands on
LeTV Le1s Review – Gallery
LeTV Le1s Review – Specifications
|Model:||LeTV 1S X500|
|Chipset||CPU: MediaTek helio X10 MT6795T Octa-core
GPU: PowerVR G6200
Other: USB2.0 Type-C
|System||EUI 5.5 base on Android Lollipop|
|Screen||Display Size:5.5 inch IPS Screen
Technology:403 ppi pixel density
|Camera||Rear Camera: 13MP camera f/2.0, PDAF
Front Camera: 5MP front camera
|Network and Wireless Connectivity||4G: FDD – LTE: B1/3/7(1800/2100/2600MHz) ,
3G: WCDMA 850/900/2100MHz , TD-SCDMA: B34/39
2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz
WIFI :802.11ac/a/b/g/n 2.4GHz and 5GHz Dual Bands
support APT-X Techonology,Wi-Fi hot ,Wi-Fi Display,WLAN direct
|Battery capacity and life||Non-removable 3000mAh lithium-ion battery
Standby Time: About 2~3 days
Others: Quick Charge 2.0
fingerprint identification, light sensor, gravity sensor, proximity sensor,Infrared ray remote control,compass
Others:Dolby Audio,DTS Headphone:X™,LeHiFi Technology
|Size||Dimensions: 151.1*74.2*7.5 mm
Net Weight: 169g
LeTV Le1s Review – Conclusion
I had high hopes for the LeTV Le1s and this is perhaps why have come away so disappointed. To get things straight this is not a bad phone. It has amazing build, a wonderful display, very good audio, and easily one of the best fingerprint scanners on the market, but it misses the mark in battery and camera performance by quite a way.
If the camera isn’t a concern and you want a powerful phone capable of serious gaming on a budget then the Le1s fits the bill, but then again so does the original Le1 at a lower price and you get a camera too!
If performance, fingerprint scanner and price are your concern then the Redmi Note 3 might be the one to get, and there is also the ZUK Z1 to look at too.